Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” -Deuteronomy 6: 4-9

How many times have we heard these words? The “Great Shema” from Deuteronomy isn’t a suggestion, but a necessity in the life of a Christian. It seems to me that the call to “love God with all our hearts” receives most of our attention when we hear this Scripture. But what about the call to love God with all our minds?

In the weeks to follow Resurrection Sunday, we’ll be starting a new sermon series in Philippians. The focus will be on a Christian’s mindset. How are we supposed to think as Christians? The Shema gives us a great starting point. We’re called to love the Lord in how we think.

This begs the question: how do we love the Lord in our thinking? That starts by hearing and studying Scripture. I invite you to come and continue to come to hear the Word of God in Sunday morning preaching and to study the Word in a Sunday School hour Bible study. Resurrection Sunday isn’t the end, but the beginning! So come, learn, and grow in your knowledge of God’s Word!

Are we ever able to be done learning in the Lord? Do we truly understand the three persons and one essence of the Trinity? Have we wrapped our head around the two natures of Christ? We’ll never fully comprehend these mysteries on this side of heaven. But what Biblical teachings might we need to be considering? There’s a great difference in perspective within the Christian church on Baptism. Is an infant’s baptism a legitimate and sufficient baptism? I am convinced given my study of Scripture, but great men and women of God have studied Scripture and come to a different conclusion. Are we studying Scripture on this topic, or do we just blindly accept what another has told us?

Consider the Lord’s Supper. What does the pastor mean when he says, “the real presence?” What does that mean? What is Transubstantiation? And why is that unbiblical? Are the elements only symbolic? You see, there’s disagreement within the church. I personally believe the elements aren’t merely symbolic; others will disagree. We need to look to the Bible to try to understand these things.

The Sacraments are customarily taught in confirmation class to middle-school aged students. At Emmaus, we use Luther’s Small Catechism as our tool for teaching central truths of the Christian faith. But did you know the catechism was designed as a resource for fathers (and mothers) to teach their children at home? Look again at the Great Shema: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” You should be teaching your kids in your own home. Are you learning what you should be teaching?

I don’t think God expects us to be “walking encyclopedias.” Most people don’t spend their Saturdays reading systematic theology textbooks. But here’s the thing: there’s so much for us to learn! For three years, I studied seminary to study theology full-time, frantically reading systematics texts just about every Saturday! And the one thing I took from that time is I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg of biblical theology!

A few systematic theology resources I would suggest are: Called to Believe, Teach, and Confess by Steven Mueller, Elements of Religion by H.E. Jacobs, and Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. (Note: Grudem does have some perspective I personally would disagree with. Nonetheless, he is a fantastic resource that comes from a more “reformed” perspective.) These texts walk through several essential biblical topics such as the Trinity, the person of Christ, the Bible, sin, justification, salvation, sanctification, the church, end times, etc., etc.

If you’re not much of a reader, there’s great resources online also, such as YouTube channels. I really enjoy Sean McDowell’s videos. Dr. McDowell covers several important Apologetics issues and topics that are highly relevant in our culture today. No matter where you are in your walk with Christ, there’s still plenty to learn. And there are plenty of good resources out there.

But above all, I implore you, study Scripture! “The Word of God is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” As we examine Scripture and ourselves, we’re constantly reminded that we don’t love the Lord with our mind. But God has always been gracious. You don’t need to “learn your way to Heaven.” But rather, by the working of His Holy Spirit, we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). And thus, the call to love the Lord with our minds comes from the overflow of what God has done in our lives. Friends in Christ, press on. Learn, study, and grow in your knowledge and relationship with Him. Love Him with all your mind.