The Goal of Christian Teaching – Love From a Pure Heart

Psyched out by the hills and what to do about it
Why do we make church so complicated?

Confused About the Goal

Heart

In Matthew 22:37-39 and Mark 12:29-31, Jesus tells us that the two great commands are to love God with our entire being and love our neighbors. The concept is simple but the execution is difficult. Only two commands and if we’re honest, we admit that we cannot keep either one of them on our own.

If these are the two great commands, it seems that every time Scripture is taught, every time a sermon is delivered, every time we worship in song, it should encourage us to the fulfillment of these.

Yet, often we miss the opportunity to reinforce these commands in our expressions on a Sunday. We should come away from worship with a burning desire to love as God commands us to love.

The Goal is Love

The Apostle Paul reinforced love as the goal when he wrote to his protégé Timothy. He writes, “the aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5)

The goal, the end game, the desired result, the proof that we have progressed is love. What is the source of that kind of love? The source is a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith. Encouraging people to this kind of love should be the goal of every teaching opportunity.

The Path Toward the Goal

From this passage in 1 Timothy, we can see that if our teaching is geared toward developing a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith, that teaching will be in support of the two great commands.

David asks a pair of rhetorical questions in Psalm 24:3, “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?” His response is found in the following verse where he writes, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” In Psalm 51:10, David cries out to God “create in me a clean heart” after confessing his sin with Bathsheba.

A clean heart, a pure heart is required to love as God wants us to love. I am reminded that in 1 John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and confession of our sin, we can have a pure heart.

Romans 5:1 tells us that we are not condemned if we are in Christ Jesus. We can have a good conscience if we are waling in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:16). To be waking in the Spirit precludes any behavior that would tarnish our conscience.

The Greek word translated sincere in this verse means literally without hypocrisy. In other words, the faith that is on display is genuine; what is on the inside matches what is on the outside. I should also point out that the value of faith is dependent upon the object of faith. As a Christian, our faith is dependent upon Christ and the reality of who he is.

Conclusion

While not every sermon should have the two great commands as their subject, every sermon should have the two great commands as their goal. Everything that is said from the pulpit should be evaluated by preacher and pew sitter alike in light of the two commands.

My guess is that if we did a better job of this, our churches and our world might be a lot different than they are.

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Mark McIntyre

A follower of Jesus Christ who shares observations about how Scripture should impact the church and the world. Mark is the original author and editor of Attempts at Honesty.
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Psyched out by the hills and what to do about it
Why do we make church so complicated?
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Diana (@TampaAHA)
Diana (@TampaAHA)

When Jesus was asked by the lawyer, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus gave him an example of how loving our neighbor is to be carried out. The details are found in Luke 10:29-37. Basically, love is an action word. We are to help people who are in distress no matter how much we may feel inconvenienced. We are to have compassion for those who are in distress and then take action to assist that person. We currently have a holocaust in America where preborn babies are being abandoned by their mothers and fathers and then carried off to be brutally murdered. Sadly, this is happening within the body of believers. Will Christians stand up and take notice of this and then take action to love their preborn neighbors? Will you, Pastor Mark, lead the way for your congregation to take action? 1John 3:18 says, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” It’s time to take action to put an end to America’s Abortion Holocaust. There is the Abolish Human Abortion Christian movement that started just over two years ago. This movement functions under two modes and five tenets of abolition as it engages in completely non-violent activities. And it’s centered and under-girded with the Gospel message as the ultimate answer to ending this national sin. Will you get started in learning more about this Gospel centered Christian movement? The main website is http://www.AbolishHumanAbortion.com . I’d really like to know your feedback. Thanks. Diana (email me at TampaAHA@gmail.com)