Summary: The second greatest commandment is to "Love our neighbors as ourselves." As christians, how do we live up to this command?
Theme: Commitment to One Another in the Body
Text: Matthew 22: 36-39
A. Now, let’s open our bibles in the book of Matt.22: 36-39. In this passage we find the two greatest commandments of God –to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Lord talks here about our priority and commitment.
First He said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.” He told us that our first priority and commitment in life must be to the Lord who created us, saved us and sustains us. Without Him we would not be here for there is no life apart from Him. He is the Giver of life! So if you would notice, we started our series on the subject of commitment with several admonitions that we must be committed to God.
In view of that, being your pastor, I will always encourage you here to grow and mature in your commitment to the Lord. I believe each of you don’t want to leave this world and step into eternity and be shocked and embarrassed over your lack of commitment to the Lord while you lived in this world. Certainly, the only time when we will truly understand where we failed in this life is when we face our living, loving, gracious Creator. But if we’re doing our best, our shame and humiliation shall be erased by His grace because God knows how much we endeavor to live our lives for His glory and honor.
Then the Lord tells us that our second priority and commitment must be to people, He said: “Love your neighbor as yourself,” or, “Love your neighbor as you would love yourself.” He is saying, “You take care of your neighbor.” If you would remember, in one of our previous messages I said, “Life is not about us; it’s about God –therefore, we should live our lives for His glory. Now I would also say, “Life is not just about what we do in life or what we accomplish in life. LIFE IS ABOUT MINISTERING TO OTHERS!”
Look at the example of the Son of God, our Lord. On what did He focus His life? His first priority was pleasing His heavenly Father, which He did. His second focus in life was ministering to people. He focused His life on ministering to people.
We are members of the body of Jesus, the church, the family of God, right? We belong to God, we belong to His family, and we belong to each other. Now, what can we do to minister to one another? The Word of God will show us how we can live our commitment to serve and support one another in the body of Christ. We can and must support one another in various ways.
I. ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER
Sometimes, I watched movies depicting true war stories like that of Vietnam, Germany, North Korea, etc. There were things that I really admired about soldiery. It’s their dedication and loyalty to their duties that is very impressive. And what is more astounding is their concern and sense of responsibility to each other. When someone gets wounded, they would do their best to get him from the battle lines. They would jeopardize themselves just to bring the wounded comrade to a secure place. And I observed that there is greater loss in the battle lines when a soldier is wounded than killed. Why, because it takes only one person out of the battle when a soldier is killed, but it will take three persons out of battle when a soldier is wounded because it needs two persons to remove him from the battle lines.
Now, I believe we have a lot of wounded people that make up the army of the Lord. We have people who are wounded because of their past sins and they are overwhelmed with the guilt of those sins. We have people who are wounded because of sins they are struggling against currently, that cause them to feel a false sense that they are useless in the kingdom. We have people who are wounded by relationships that have failed. We have people who are wounded by other people, perhaps by their children or spouse, or by Christian brothers or sisters who have hurt them maybe even unaware. Perhaps, we have wounded people here, people who are carrying heavy loads of life.
Anyway, the truth that we have a lot of wounded people in our churches is not surprising. What is surprising is the lack of concern and sympathy of many so-called believers with those who are hurting. We do nothing to help heal their wounds, don’t we? We fail to ever help the healing process, maybe because we do think their wounds are not serious at all. Being members of one body, we must be willing to help one another. How can we help our wounded brothers and sisters in the Lord? One of the greatest ways for us to help one another is through a steady diet of encouragement. To encourage is to provide someone with courage.