Summary: We are to love God and love others
THE GREAT COMMANDS OF JESUS
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Pastor Brian Matherlee
The teacher in an adult-education creative-writing class told her students to write "I love you" in 25 words or less, without using the words "I love you." She gave 15 minutes. A woman in the class spent about ten minutes looking at the ceiling and wriggling in her seat. The last five minutes she wrote frantically, and later read the results:
"Why, I’ve seen lots worse hairdos than that, honey."
"These cookies are hardly burned at all."
"Cuddle up-I’ll get your feet warm."
(Charlotte Mortimer, in February 1990 Reader’s Digest.)
How do you let people know you love them?
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
• Jesus says, “As I have loved you”. How has Jesus loved us? What is the hallmark of Christ’s love, of God’s love?
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were sinners, Christ died for us.”
• Love and forgiveness are bound together in expressing God’s character. When we forgive we represent the heart of God. When we don’t forgive we fail to represent the heart of God.
Love… “keeps no record of wrongs”.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
• "Above all" reminds us of the primacy of agape, "love" among fellow Christians. This love is to be "eager" or "earnest". Such love can be commanded because it is not primarily an emotion but a decision of the will leading to action. The reason for us to show love is that "love covers over a multitude of sins." This quotation from Pr 10:12 does not mean that our love covers or atones for our sins. In the proverb the meaning is that love does not "stir up" or broadcast sins. So the major idea is that love suffers in silence and bears all things (1Co 13:5-7). Christians forgive faults in others because they know the forgiving grace of God in their own lives. (Zondervan NIV Bible Study Commentary)
Jesus tells us a parable that reflects truths of the kingdom of heaven.
What are these truths?
1. The kingdom is unreachable without forgiveness (v.24-25)
a. The man’s debt was impossible to repay in his position (it was millions of dollars)
2. Forgiveness is extended because of God’s mercy and compassion & not because of our merit (v.27)
3. Unforgiving people will be in torment (v.35)
Action steps of true forgiveness?
1. Go to the person.
a. And ask forgiveness
b. Matthew 5:23-24“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
i. I believe this verse indicates the involvement of God in directing us to make things right. Sometimes we can have false guilt but God will be persistent in directing us to make relationships right.
ii. We are all really good at knowing when we’ve been hurt but pretty bad at being sensitive to how we hurt others.
2. Make restitution when possible.
a. Zaccheus in Luke 19:8 told the Lord Jesus that he would pay back those whom he had cheated.
3. Quit counting the cost.
a. We can’t let our minds rehearse the hurts of the past. I believe God can touch our minds so we stop the cycle of remembrance, hurt, and taking back forgiveness.
b. A couple married for 15 years began having more than usual disagreements. They wanted to make their marriage work and agreed on an idea the wife had. For one month they planned to drop a slip in a "Fault" box. The boxes would provide a place to let the other know about daily irritations. The wife was diligent in her efforts and approach: "leaving the jelly top off the jar," "wet towels on the shower floor," "dirty socks not in hamper," on and on until the end of the month.
After dinner, at the end of the month, they exchanged boxes. The husband reflected on what he had done wrong. Then the wife opened her box and began reading. They were all the same; the message on each slip was "I love you!"
4. Pray for them
a. For their benefit
i. Rabbi David A. Nelson likes to tell the story of two brothers who went to their rabbi to settle a longstanding feud. The rabbi got the two to reconcile their differences and shake hands. As they were about to leave, he asked each one to make a wish for the other in honor of the Jewish New Year. The first brother turned to the other and said, "I wish you what you wish me." At that, the second brother threw up his hands and said, "See, Rabbi, he’s starting up again!"
b. For their spiritual growth
i. Either to come to Christ or renew with Christ.
c. For their healing