Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene 400 Stillmeadow Lane York, PA 717.764.4888
God's Big Idea
Session #1 - The Simple Revolution
Friday September 17th
Today we begin a journey that could last for up to a year.I’m calling this new series of sermons:God’s Big Idea.This entire series will be based on a conversation Jesus had with a nameless “teacher of the law”.Here is that brief conversation:
READ Mark 12:28-34
Biblical background – Every day, the Jewish people recited their own creed.It was known as the Shema.The shema was found in Deut. 6:4-9.So the Jesus creed was a restatement of the shema and the addition of Lev. 19:18.Jesus creed – love God . . . love others.Simple
Say what you want about Jesus answer to this man’s question, I think you would have to admit that Jesus answer was simple.And in this day of information overload, I have a growing appreciation for simple.
Have you ever heard that term, “information overload”?Well, the term was first popularized by Alvin Toffler and it refers to the difficulty some people have understanding an issue and making decisions because of the presence of too much information.In fact, it’s become popular these days for people to respond tmi . . . “too much information.”
Some have suggested that, in response to this phenomena . . .information overload that is . . . that a simple revolution has begun.Simple is in.Apple knows this.Plug and play. Google knows this.Graphic designers know this.Southwest Airlines knows simple is in.Papa John’s pizza knows this.Their founder, John Schnatter writes:“At Papa John’s we have a simple formula for success:“focus on one thing (pizza) and do it better than anyone else”.
Interior designers know this.Real Simple is the name of a popular interior design magazine and web site (www.realsimple.com)Marketing people know this.In their book Simplicity Marketing, Steve Cristol and Peter Sealey teach executives to position their products to promise customers a more simple life.Clutter is out.Simple is in.Simple works.
Fact is, I don’t think the simple revolution is something new.It’s at least 2,000 years old.I think Jesus started it.
One day, a man . . .let’s call him Bob . . . asked Jesus:“What is the most important commandment?”Conventional interpretation has suggested that Bob was trying to trip Jesus up.Maybe.But maybe poor Bob was suffering from informative overload.
See, Bob was considered to be a religious expert.Bob and other teachers like him had boiled the Bible down to a mere 613 commands . . . 613 rules. And Bob traveled around holding seminars trying to convince folks that to make God happy you have to obey not most, but all of these 613 commands.400?God is not happy.500?Nope.God’s still mad.600?Close but no cigar.612?Oh so close but not quite there.It had to be all 613 if you wanted to receive God’s stamp of approval.
Could it be that Bob came to Jesus because he was exhausted?Worn out?Tired of putting up a front?“Jesus, seriously bro, you got to help me out.This business of keeping all these rules and regulations is eating me alive.Can you cut through all this stuff, help me out and just tell me what is the most important of these 613 commandments.
Jesus responded by giving him, in one sentence, what we are calling God’s Big Idea! (I’m reading from The Message) Jesus said:“The first in importance is – “Listen, Israel:The Lord is one, so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy”.And here is the second:“Love others as well as you love yourself.There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”
Friends, some of you may be asking:
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