Summary: This sermon helps us to understand the command "Love Your Neighbor" and how to Love the unlovable.

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Matthew 22:34 When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 One of them, an expert in Moses’ Teachings, tested Jesus by asking, 36 "Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in Moses’ Teachings?" 37 Jesus answered him, "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and most important commandment. 39 The second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’



In the verses listed above I found four steps that you must take before you can be able to love your enemies. I told someone once that Christ commands that we love our enimies and the reply was I have not yet reached the point where I can do that. I asked, "why?" The answer was simple, This person could not forgive the things that he preceived being done to him. Yet, he could quote the verses in {Matthew 6:14} and {15}(For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.) word for word and never skip a beat.

How many times as humans do we know what is right but do what is wrong. Paul in his letter to the Romans made it clear that he struggled with this very issue. Jesus always made it a point to tell a story to get his point accross. He was the greatest siminary teacher that ever lived. I take no exception to this, I like to use a lot of illustrations to get my point across. My first is going to seem a little common sense to most but I feel it drives this point home. In the above story where forgivness is an issue I liken it to a person that is putting a swing set together for the first time, for his children. He has read and understood all of the directions and has everthing in place, the parts are ready, the tools are ready, and he is psyched up for the task. He chooses to do it his own way and ignore the instructions. What do you think happened? The possibility that this swing set will look like the picture on the box is highly improbable. Not impossible. I have taken on tasks in the past and thought I knew a better way to complete them. The process usually caused a lot frustration and parts of the task having to be redone. We know what Jesus commanded us to do but we choose to do it our own way. We would rather take our chances at heavenly peace and hold our little grudges against those who do us wrong. (That is yet another Sermon)

In reading the Scripture for this sermon what would you guess is step number 1? 37 Jesus answered him, "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ The first step is loving God.

Loving God has to be first, because without God there is no love. Look again at the verse, there are actually three parts that you should devote to loving. Your Heart, your soul, and your mind. Most of us can love with our heart and if you are really happy in your marriage you know how to love with your soul. A lot of us like to love with our mouth. You know the routine, Your mouth can say, "I love you." and your heart is looking off in another direction, while your soul is wondering if this will fullfill your obligation, and you mind is saying, "yeah right." It is difficult, I have found, to get all three to work in unison. But, as followers of Christ we need to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. The way I do this is to clear my mind of all that is happening around me, Then I meditate on connecting to God mentally and spiritually. I repeat, "God I love You" or "Jesus I love You" And if you can be effective with drowning all outside influence out you will feel a connection to God. Your spirit will connect with the Holy Spirit. I can feel when this happens. It may take a little practice for you but, you will know it when it happens. You do this often enough and number 1 you will know how to connect to God and stay connected. Number two your total love for Him will grow. Your total love for God will then lead to the second, third and fourth step to loving your enemies.

Step number two is found in verse 39 [The second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’], actually you will find the rest of the steps in this verse. The question is how do you love your neighbor? The answer is as you love yourself. Step two is to love yourself. I have come into contact in my life time with a number of types of people. I have often wondered how they could abuse themselves and still be satisfied with who they were. Then I realized that they were not. I am an alcoholic, I have not had a drink in over 19 years. When I was drinking I did not think that I was doing anything to hurt myself. I thought it was natural to have your mind fried before 4PM everyday and sometime fried for weeks at a time. But, In the worst part of my illness I spent 5 years in a blacked out state. I remember very little about that five years. I sobered up on the 14 of June 1986 to a wrecked life on it’s way to prison. Not just any prison but to a military prison. I was slated to go to Leavenworth, but for the grace of God, I did not. I committed a crime that I thought was the most unrepentable sin that I could do. Even after I sobered up I could not forgive myself for what I had become. I poured myself out to God and asked for forgiveness from God Then the ones I had hurt. I hated myself. But, God showed me how to start loving myself. Today I have no need for alcohol. I have no need to get High. I have been known to get high on Jesus. But, I don’t need anything other than my spirit mingled with the Holy Spirit to achieve that feeling.

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Imran Gill

commented on Feb 11, 2007


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