Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. In this 5-week series, Pastor Tito will explore what it means to follow through on being a follower of Jesus Christ, looking at how our relationship with God should affect each of these aspects of our life.  When it comes to being a Christian, believing is just the beginning.  There is more to it than just praying a prayer and attending a weekly service.

This week we learn what it means to love the Lord with all of your STRENGTH

Read the Sermon Summary below



“Your body is either a tools for worshiping God, or Satan’s tool for destroying your soul” Cody Bobay

I once saw a boy attempting to take a martial arts test.  To advance, he had to break a board with a punch.  During his test, his instructor was saying, “Don’t pull your punches.  Push past the pain and punch through the board!”.  After many failed attempts, he was able to break the board with his right hand.  Then after much encouragement from his instructor, he was able to break the next board with one punch, and with his left hand which was his weakest and was in a lot of pain from before.

What did the boy do differently the second time compared to the first?  He didn’t pull his punch.  If we too would like to see any kind of breakthrough in our lives, both in life and in faith, we must learn not to pull our punches in our efforts to know Jesus and follow through in every area of our lives while following Him.  That is what worshiping the Lord with all of our strength looks like.

For many of us, it might take some time, encouragement, and lessons learned through failed attempt.  It’s during the moments when we are not seeing the results that we would want to see is when we should remember that following Jesus is a continual process.  When Jesus called his early followers, He didn’t call them to come and believe at first.  He asked others to simply, “Come and follow me”.  That means that Jesus called people to follow Him even before they believed in Him!

It’s not that believing that He was the Messiah wasn’t important because it is essential for salvation.  The point is that the more they listened to Jesus and did what He would say, they would see that His teaching were helpful, which lead them to see that they were truthful, so that in the end they would encounter the God of Truth that desires to help them with their sins.  Please understand that those who follow Jesus find a source of life that will help them to live a better life until it transfers over into eternity in Heaven.  This is why every Christian should do everything in their ability, both during their services and especially after their services, love the Lord with all of their strength by looking to love their neighbors in a simple way.  Find a need.  Meet a need.

21 And the king commanded all the people, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” 22 For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this Passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem.

24 Moreover, Josiah put away the mediums and the necromancers and the household gods and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might establish the words of the law that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord. 25 Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.  2 Kings 23:21-25 (ESV)

King Josiah found a need that needed to be met.  For whatever reason, we see in this passage that for generations the nation of Israel had not celebrated it’s most important feast that God Himself had ordained.  The Passover was so special because without it there would be no nation of Israel.  It was the moment when God displayed His power and freed His people in a mighty way.  This feast was meant to be a yearly reminder of God’s power, presence, and love.

It’s no wonder that the Jewish people had wandered so far.  How well do you think a couple’s marriage would be if they had forgotten their past dating experience and had forgotten to celebrate their anniversary on a yearly basis?  King Josiah’s solution was to start doing what they should’ve been doing all along and get right with God.  He didn’t say, “Somebody has to do something about this”.  Instead he said, “I am somebody.  I can do something”.  He found a need and met the need in the best way possible.  One interesting detail is that when you read and consider King Josiah’s full story, you will see that he did made mistakes and left certain things undone, despite doing so much.  Yet God honored the king for the way he expressed his love towards Him and others.

19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God,  Acts 15:19 (ESV)

The above decision was made my James, the brother of Jesus and the Pastor of the Church in Jerusalem.  These words came at the end of a debate between the Apostles some time after Jesus had ascended to Heaven.  The purpose of this meeting was to meet a need that the early church was struggling to deal with when it came to non-Jewish converts.

The first believers were all Jews, and they all debated about whether one had to be a Jew in order to be a Jesus follower.  Some believed that you had to adopt Jewish customs and follow the Law of God in order to be a Christian.  While others, like Peter and Paul, believed that Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law.  That means that a Jesus follower doesn’t have to technically live like a Jew in order to live out God’s truth and principles.  That was good news because even the Jews couldn’t even fulfill the law themselves, so why should they ask non-Jews to do what they couldn’t.

After hearing both sides, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, James pretty much concludes by saying, “Let’s not make it difficult for people to be disciples”.  Personally, as a Pastor of a local church, I take this piece of advise to heart.  Why should Christians try and make it difficult to be a disciple and enjoy the abundant life that Jesus promises to give?  This is something that every Church should consider because in order to meet the need that people have to find the forgiveness of their sins, we must first help them to overcome a lot of obstacles, prejudices, and misconceptions that non-believers may have.  We have to be cautious of asking sinners and recent converts to run spiritually before they can even sit up.

As a pastor, I strive to make sure that our congregation is attractive and not coercive.  I’m always welcoming new guests and crafting my sermons, never assuming that everyone in attendance is a believer that studies the Bible as much as I do.  North Point Church says it best when they describe their vision as “Creating Churches that un-church people love to attend”.  That church is not ok with having a church full of unbelievers that are encouraged in their sin.  But they are ok with having a church full of unbelievers that engage with believers because they believe that through love, un-church people will find life in Jesus Christ the more they see Christians following Jesus first hand.

The Church is called to meet the need of the lost to find new life in Jesus.  That responsibility doesn’t just fall on the pastor, because you are the church.  In fact, the main reason why most people love their local is because of the people more than the preacher.  You are the church.  You are called to love during and in between service times.  Don’t pull your punches in your prayers, Bible study, or service.  Don’t pull your punches is a parent, employee, neighbor, or friend.  You are called to share Christ and reflect Him in all that you do.

“If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go farther, go together”  African Proverb

You are able to do this more effectively the more you serve in this way with other believers.  I believe that every Christian shouldn’t just attend a local church, they should be engaged through the local church in serving both believers and non-believers, and not only just on Sundays but everyday.  The reason why is because Jesus followers personally grow stronger and follow Jesus better the more they serve together rather than sit together.

If we avoid pulling our punches and loving the Lord and others with all of our strength, we will see many more people follow Jesus and find enteral life.  Never overlook that Jesus did the most difficult thing (live a sinless life, die for the sins of the world, and rise from the dead after three days) in order to offer everyone new life.  So since Jesus did the most difficult thing, let us make sure that we don’t make it difficult for others to find Jesus and become His disciple.  It is through our faith in Christ that we will receive the remaining strength that we need to serve others in this way so that others can be saved in a mighty way.