Sermon Summary (6/18/17) “Of First Importance” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Mark 12:29-30)
Happy Father’s Day. This sermon is about what Jesus said about his Father that changed everything. Here’s something for you: Do you that Judaism has a different first commandment than the Christian Church? (Read Exodus 20:2-3) We say, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Judaism uses verse 2, “I am the Lord your God.” They say without that, the rest have no value. “I am the Lord your God.” Lord: AM WHO I AM! I AM Life itself. Without me there is to meaning.
When I was at Sikorsky I worked with a young engineer. I was going to do a children’s time at church on Deuteronomy 6:4-9, the “Shema,” “Hear O Israel.” I called Larry and asked him to meet for lunch. He returned two weeks later with a friend who showed me his grandfather’s Tefellin, Jewish prayer devices worn on the forehead and upper arm and bound around the hand. “And you shall keep them upon your heart; you keep them as a frontlet between your eyes, and bind them as a sign upon your hand and write them on the doorpost of your house and on your gate.” Then Larry gave me a treasure that I have to this day. He had made me a set of Tefellin of cardboard and ribbon including the appropriate scriptures that go inside for use with children’s time.
What if we really, really believed in God and that he was our Lord? What if we did? Jesus did, and Jesus recited the ”Shema” twice daily. When asked which of the 613 laws was of first importance, there was no doubt in Jesus’ mind, “You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and all your mind and with all your strength.” This was Jesus’ Father’s Day present to the world. The gift that changes everything . The essential. Of first importance.
If we really believe that, we will keep the Lord’s commandments on our hearts, we will pass them from generation to generation. We will view the world through God’s eyes; we will use our hands as God’s hands. Then as we pass our doorpost, we will be reminded that we are going out into God’s world, and as we return be reminded that the family we return to are God’s gifts. We will live differently. We will be changed.
Changed by grace. Also at Sikorsky, I had a younger friend who was a running mate. I watched him be transformed from a disinterested non-believer to becoming a seminary graduate, ordained minister and now leading his own church in Connecticut. If we truly believe that the Lord is our God and that we are to love him with all our might, it is amazing what God can do. Loving the Lord is of first importance.