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