WHAT IS THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT?
Matthew 22:34-40 (NIV)
34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Jesus’ answer identified the two important relationships that all of us must deal with:
1. A VERTICAL Relationship—between Us and God
2. A HORIZONTAL Relationship—between Us and Others.
His answer came in the form of quoting two Old Testament Passages—the first from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and the second from Leviticus 19:18.
Another example of these two relationships is the Ten Commandments. Some would say that the 10 Commandments are a part of the Old Testament Law and so that don’t have the same significance today because in the New Testament our lives are governed by grace.
What I want you to see is that the 10 Commandments are all about relationships:
VERTICALLY between us and God & HORIZONTALLY between us and others.
When Jesus was asked what the Greatest Commandment was, he was summarizing God’s desire for all people: That they love Him with all that they are, and that they then let His love flow through them so that they could love others. That is exactly what the 10 Commandments are all about.
I’d like for us to read the 10 Commandments, and then I want to restate them for you in words that I hope we can apply to our lives today.
The 10 Commandments
1. Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me.
I will give Jesus Christ 1st Place in my life. There will be nothing, and no one that has a higher priority than Him.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
I will worship no one or no thing but God, and that includes my job, my possession, my hobbies, and every other aspect of my daily life.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.
I will honor God’s name in the way I speak. Not only will I refrain from using bad language, I won’t speak in ways that demean or devalue those around me. I will build up with my words not tear down.
4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
I will take time every week to join others in worship. In addition, will make it a priority to spend time with Jesus on a daily basis so that I might live a holy life every day.
5. Honor thy father and thy mother.
I will honor my parents through my attitudes and my actions. As a parent I will work to be an example of Christ to my kids so that they will have a worthy model to honor.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
I will not murder and I won’t allow hatred to dwell in me. I will deal with the things that anger me and trust that God through His Holy Spirit will enable me to be just in all my relationships with others.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
I will not commit adultery and I won’t allow lust to dwell in me. I will keep my eyes and my heart away from things that don’t honor my Lord, and my spouse. I realize that marriage is God’s only plan for sexual fulfillment and will honor that plan.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
I will not take what is not rightfully mine. I will even pay all my taxes because creating “loopholes” that aren’t there is no different than stealing. I will not justify do that which I know Jesus himself would never do.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
I will speak the truth. My “yes” will be “yes” and my “no” will be “no.” I will not say one thing to one person and then turn around and say something different to another. I will not gossip.
10. Thou shalt not covet.
I will not exalt my wants and desires over the well-being of others. I will accept that there will be things that I do not need and cannot have. At the same time, I will realize that others may have things that I don’t and that it is ok.