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Summary: Jesus has opened our eyes to the true nature of love.

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Matthew 22:34-40

“If You’re Not Loving, You’re Not Living”

By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church

What is “it”?

In any language, “it” is the most powerful expression of the most powerful emotion and experience in the

world.

“It”, of course, is “I love you.”

An old song says: “You’re nobody till somebody loves you.”

And if that is true...then everybody is somebody because God loves everybody!

Jesus opened our eyes to the true nature of love in Matthew chapter 22: “Love the Lord your God with all

your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second

is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Jesus plainly taught that God, in His love, created human beings.

Life does not precede love...

...love precedes life!

In this passage the Lord Jesus tells us about three directions for love...

...they are:...

....love toward God...

....love toward others....

....and love toward ourselves.

Our love for God is an upward love that must take priority over everything else.

God deserves all of our love...

...not only part of our love.

We should love nobody more than we love God.

As the Bible says: “God is love.”

The love of God is what gave us life in creation....

...The love of God is what sought us out and offers us salvation through faith in Christ.

Jesus taught that if love is to be fully manifested we must love God first, Others second, and Ourselves

Last.

Wow, how so many of us have got this completely backwards!

But God has it right!

If we love God, then our love for others will grow even greater...because this upward love supernaturally

produces a love for others...and then for ourselves.

In fact, if we love God the most, we will love others the best.

C.S. Lewis once said, “When I have learned to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my

earthly dearest better than I do now.”

Jesus calls us to love our neighbor.

And, our love for God inescapably motivates us to love others.

But, of course it’s hard to love everybody....

....As C.W. Vanderbergh once wrote: “To love the whole world for me is no chore. My only real problem is

my neighbor next door.”

I remember, as a kid, we had a neighbor across the street who would not---for some reason--give us the

time of day.

That didn’t stop my parents from cheerfully saying: “Hi!” everytime our neighbor was in his yard.

One day I asked my parents, “Why do you all bother to say “hi” to that guy? He never even looks your way.

He never says “hi” back!”

My parents answer...very matter of fact...no explanations or complaints...but with a hint of surprise at my

question: “Because we are Christians.”

That stuck with me. That impressed me. As Jon-Michael Akers would say, “That’s cool.”

Charlie Brown, the leading character in the “Peanuts” comic strip series, wants very much to be loved and

treated with respect.

In one episode, Charlie Brown is lying down with his head resting on a stone as Lucy stands beside him.

Charlie looks up at Lucy and asks: “If I tell you something, will you promise not to laugh?”

Lucy replies, “I promise.”

“This is very personal and I don’t want you to laugh.”

Lucy responds: “You have my solemn promise.”

Charlie then shares something very special to him: “Sometimes I lie awake at night listening for a voice

that will cry, ‘We love you, Charlie Brown!”

Lucy bursts forth with a boisterous: “HA HA HA HA,” and Charlie is bowled over from his reclining

position.

I would imagine that many of us can relate to what Charlie Brown was feeling...

...I sure can.

The Good News is, however, that Christianity proclaims that this scornful, hurtful laughter is not the last

word...

...that life is not finally a cruel joke in which we are the punch lines!

We are loved...

...God loves us...

...and Jesus overcame hate, evil and death through His sacrificial act of Ultimate love on the cross!!!

And just think of how much more bearable this life would be if all of us practiced love!

Most businesses would benefit greatly if the boss truly loved his or her employees and they knew it!

Most marriages would be happier if spouses heard and saw constant reminders that they were loved.

Most families would be happier if the parents constantly and lovingly affirmed their children.

Think about two very simple but extremely powerful principles that can transform any relationship

almost overnight...

...Here’s the first: When it comes to love, say it.

We need to say it....

....we need to hear ourselves say it....

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J Jeffrey Smead

commented on Oct 19, 2011

Well Done a very Nice Message

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