Summary: Loving God, Loving Others, The Greatest Commandment
ONE CHURCH - Committed to Loving
Matthew 22:34-40 (p. 692) August 14, 2016
Anybody here find it hard to love people who are mean to you or who try to put you down?
How about those who get in your face and try to prove how wrong you are and how right they are?
In the next 80 some odd days I promise you we’ll experience more of this in America than any other time in our history…at least in my lifetime.
We will hear 45% of our country proclaim that Donald Trump is a misogynistic jerk, a racist, a me focused egomaniac that should not have his finger anywhere near the red button…and 45% of our country will proclaim Hillary Clinton is a corrupt liar, a soldier abandoning baby killer who only received this nomination because the system was rigged…5% of the nation will vote for the independent Gary Johnson while the 2 major parties shout how can you throw away your vote for this “pot smoking” libertarian?
Instagram, Facebook, and protests will be inundated with caustic strong opinions about how right the posters are and how stupid the opposers are. Spit will spray from mouths shouting in anger…with ears firmly closed.
These are just the facts…It doesn’t take much of a prophet to forsee this truth.
And yes I realize all the important issues from Supreme Court appointments to social inequality. I’m human and have opinions just like every one of you.
But the most important question we as God’s people can answer is “How do I keep the kingdom of God as my priority? How do I seek His Kingdom first?”
Jesus gives us the answer:
I. LOVE GOD WITH EVERY PART OF OUR LIVES
In Matthew 22 Jesus is under verbal attack. Verse 23 tells us that a powerful group called the Sadducees…Religious leaders who took a stance that there would be “No resurrection from the dead,” came to Jesus with a question…I promise you that they weren’t seeking a real answer, they were seeking to make Jesus stumble. They didn’t want dialogue…They wanted His failure.
They call him teacher…And remind him of the Levite law which says…If a man dies, his brother should marry his widow. They then gave an impossible scenario…Suppose 7 brothers die one by one (I’d be a little cautious of that widow). They then ask, “Whose wife will she be at the resurrection?”
Here’s Jesus’ reply:
MATTHEW 22:29-33 (p. 692)
They don’t believe in the resurrection! And the scriptures, God’s Word isn’t their guide…but their fervent hatred of Jesus is…Jesus answers their question…but even more let’s them know God is “I Am”…not “I Was.” He is the God of life and the living. He is firmly saying “God will take care of death.”
When the crowds heard his answer they were astonished…this made sense powerfully.
And it shut the Sadducees up…at least for a while.
So another powerful political and religious group tried to take Jesus to task…The Pharisees, the law keepers and enforcers…remember Saul? He was one of them…They come and test Jesus with this question “Teacher (Rabbi) Which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus answers, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”
I passionately believe that scripture teaches that life begins at conception because of what Psalms 139 says…I passionately believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman because of what Jesus said in Matthew 19…I passionately believe that no matter whether you are black or white or male or female…Jesus can restore and make us one because of what Galatians 3:26-29 reveals.
But I believe this even more passionately. If our love for God and others doesn’t totally overshadow those individual beliefs then all those beliefs profit me nothing. I’ve become a clanging gong…a noisy cymbal…and so have you.
Jesus spoke truth to very political religious people…but in the midst of that truth He firmly stated, “our first priority is to love God with our thoughts…our spirit…our emotions to the core!”
God’s Kingdom is what we are to seek first…and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). Because the eternal spiritual destinations of men and women will not be determined by Caesar…but by God.
I’m not minimizing the importance of individual issues…I’m maximizing the importance of loving God first, and allowing that “same attitude that Jesus has” to flow through our hearts and lives into a very lost world!
There is a more excellent way of life according to the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13.
1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-13 (p. 800)
This love, agape, is an action word…and even if you think you have special insight and knowledge and can communicate that insight powerfully…you and I don’t see all that God is doing…just a little part of it…children focus on themselves and speak without thinking of others…but when we become mature…It’s not all about me…It’s about faith, it’s about hope…but even more it’s about love…or it’s worthless.