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Psalm 15 1
1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? 2 The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; 3 whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; 4 who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; 5 who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.

img202Background 2

David had a house in Jerusalem for the LORD. It was a tent, made from goat skins. (Look at the end of Psalm 4) Holy means very, very good. Only God is really holy. David called his tent the house of the LORD and believed that God lived in it. Because of this, David made the entire made the hill of Zion holy too. People that loved the LORD came to his house. They asked, “Who can come into the house of the LORD?” The answer is in verses 2-5. A priest of the LORD probably said it. Psalm 15 says the same things today. If we want to live with the LORD, we must obey verses 2-5. Because God loves us, he will give us help. If we do not obey a rule, we must tell God that we are sorry. He will forgive us.

Biblical Truths

The verbs in Psalm 15:2 are different from those in Psalm 15:3-5. The words in verse 2 tell us what believers are like on the inside. Verses 3-5 tells us what believers are like on the outside. This is what everyone sees. There is no temple today. Soldiers destroyed it about 2000 years ago. Jesus told his friends that he would make them another house. It will be in heaven. Christians believe that Psalm 15 is about that house in heaven.

Items for Discussion

  • What is the behavior that David states will be in God’s good graces?
  • Are some of these things impossible to do, even if one believes deeply in our God? Which ones?
  • What is the difference between someone’s faith on the inside (their heart) and on the outside (their behavior)?
  • How does our faith in Christ help us with this Psalm?
  • Is it easier or harder to follow this Psalm if you exercise love for those around you? Why or why not?

 

Mark 12:28-34
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” 32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

Background 3

Mark was a sister’s son to Barnabas, Col 4:10; and Ac 12:12 shows that he was the son of Mary, a devoutly religious woman living in Jerusalem, at whose house the apostles and first Christians assembled. From Peter’s calling him his son, 1Pe 5:13, the Mark is supposed to have been converted by Most writers agree that Mark was the first person to write a Gospel. Both Matthew and Luke seem to use what is in Mark. Mark perhaps completed it in the year 65, soon after Peter’s death. Mark wanted to show that Jesus was the ‘Son of God’. So he emphasizes how the crowds and the disciples were very often astonished at Jesus’ actions. Jesus made the storm on the lake become calm (4:41). Then the disciples asked, ‘Who is this?’ They had a feeling of fear. And they greatly respected Jesus. Evil spirits recognized who Jesus was. Mark also records that (3:11; 5:7). At the same time, Mark shows that Jesus was really human. He was ‘the carpenter’ (6:3). He became tired and he became asleep (4:38). He had human feelings. He felt sad (6:34), and he was angry at wrong ideas and actions (3:5; 11:15-17).

There are details that are only in Mark’s Gospel. They give us the idea that someone had been an eye-witness. In the account of the storm on the lake, ‘there were other boats with him’. Jesus was ‘in the back of the boat with his head on a cushion’ (4:35, 38). The groups of people were sitting on the ‘green’ grass (6:39). On the road to Jerusalem, Jesus was walking ‘ahead of them’ (10:32). Jesus ‘took the children into his arms’ (10:16). The blind man ‘threw off his coat’ (10:50). Mark records some of the actual Aramaic words that Jesus used. He gave James and John the name ‘Boanerges’ (3:17). He raised Jairus’s daughter with the words ‘Talitha cumi’ (5:41). He said ‘Ephphatha’ to the deaf man (7:34). He called his Father ‘Abba’ (14:36). The cry from the cross was in Aramaic (15:34).

Mark shows how the crowds, the disciples and Jesus’ own family did not understand Jesus. The religious leaders opposed him. Most people had the wrong idea about what the Messiah should be like. Christians were suffering for their faith when Mark wrote. He showed them that Jesus suffered. He suffered in the plan of God and he made the Scriptures come true. Mark uses the word ‘immediately’ very many times. He wants to emphasize the power of Jesus, whose command always brought a quick result (1:20, 42; 2:12; 5:42). It is also as if he is anxious to reach the end of the story. He cannot wait to tell everyone about the death and resurrection of Jesus. Mark knew that these two events were ‘good news’ for everyone. When Jesus suffered, it made it possible for God to save people. ‘The Son of Man did not come for people to serve him. Instead, he came to serve other people. He came to give his life as the price to make many people free’ (10:45).

Christ showed us in parables, that he would lay aside the Jewish church. It is sad to think what base usage God’s faithful ministers have met with in all ages, from those who have enjoyed the privileges of the church, but have not brought forth fruit answerable. God sent his Son, his Well-beloved; and it might be expected that he whom their Master loved, they also should respect and love; but instead of honoring him because he was the Son and Heir, they therefore hated him. But the exaltation of Christ was the Lord’s doing; and it is his doing to exalt him in our hearts, and to set up his throne there; and if this be done, it cannot but be marvelous in our eyes. The Scriptures, and faithful preachers, and the coming of Christ in the flesh, call on us to render due praise to God in our lives. Let sinners beware of a proud, carnal spirit; if they revile or despise the preachers of Christ, they would have done so their Master, had they lived when he was upon earth.

Bible Truth 4

Those who sincerely desire to be taught their duty, Christ will guide in judgment, and teach his way. He tells the scribe that the great commandment, which indeed includes all, is, that of loving God with all our hearts. Wherever this is the ruling principle in the soul, there is a disposition to every other duty. Loving God with all our heart, will engage us to everything by which he will be pleased. The sacrifices only represented the atonements for men’s transgressions of the moral law; they were of no power except as they expressed repentance and faith in the promised Savior, and as they led to moral obedience. And because we have not thus loved God and man, but the very reverse, therefore we are condemned sinners; we need repentance, and we need mercy. Christ approved what the scribe said, and encouraged him. He stood fair for further advance; for this knowledge of the law leads to conviction of sin, to repentance, to discovery of our need of mercy, and understanding the way of justification by Christ.

Items for Discussion

  • Why is it so hard to love those around us like Christ requires us to do?
  • Can you love mankind as we are asked to do without loving God?
  • How is service to our God and Love for each other interlinked?
  • How do we exercise love for those who behave in a detestable way?
  • How would Christ’s greatest commandment relate to God’s own “Ten Commandments?”
  • In what way does a repentant heart demonstrate Christ’s greatest commandment?

Discussion Challenge

  • How can the Church teach its members to love one another with all their heart soul and strength?
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