Summary: This message deals with the greatest and second greatest commandments.
“Love: The Hinge of God’s Word”
Matthew 22:35-40 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
A. Much has been said about love, but if you search the horizon, you will discover that most of the things written about love are either condensed or gibberish.
1. In the most popular venues, love is seldom dealt with in any degree of seriousness.
2. Modern humor mocks marriage, while husbands and wives glorify every conceivable breech of virtue, such as sexual immorality and profane and obscene values.
3. Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
B. In today’s world, love is usually very poorly defined.
1. Love often has a false definition in relationships between couples. People think they are in love, but they can’t explain it.
2. There is a great deal of confusion and cross-referencing of the terms LOVE, ROMANCE, INFATUATION, AFFECTION, TENDERNESS and so forth. Love may include romance, infatuation, affection and tenderness. However, these elements may be present without any love, or even if those elements are not present, it could still be love.
3. A lot of people will tell you that they are in love, or that they have been in love, but there is a huge difference between one person’s definition of love and another’s.
C. The modern church has presented a false definition of love.
1. From the pulpit, preaching against sin and the truth of God’s word is now called judging and preaching without love. The so-called preacher who smiles all the time and tells you what you want to hear to appease your itching ears and fill his pocketbook is falsely labeled a man of love. If you love you someone, you’ll tell them the truth.
D. Our culture, for the most part, has a false definition of love, with a soap opera mentality:
1. We live out THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES as THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS realiz-ing that we only have ONE LIFE TO LIVE, and AS THE WORLD TURNS we want to search for the GUIDING LIGHT that will keep us from falling in love at a GENERAL HOSPITAL in SANTA BARBARA . . .
2. The bizarre definitions of “love” portrayed to millions on the daily soap operas are no laughing matter. Like heat at an ice cream stand, these daytime dramas accelerate the decay at the core of our cultural values.
E. What is Love?
1. 1 Cor. 13:4-8, 13 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away… And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
2. 1 John 4:8 God is love.
3. Love is noble and idealistic. Love is the highest of all the virtues.
a. Paul classified faith, hope and love as the highest virtues, and concluded that love was the highest of the three.
4. Love is fascinating inasmuch that it draws a person into an expression of caring and concern for another.
a. An entirely selfish person cannot love.
5. Love requires the giving of ones’ self to another.
a. It involves an element of self-depletion, self-exhaustion.
b. Love is empathic. It puts itself in someone else’s shoes. Love seeks to understand.
c. Love cares. It does not pre-judge, nor does it pass sentences. Love does not jump to conclusions. Love does not throw down ultimatums. Love does not declare war on its object. Love is tender, it is kind, it is forgiving.
6. Love is essential to the success of any relationship.
a. It is the force that holds two people together while they sort out their differences.
b. Love is the C-clamp and it is the glue. If you love, you will be forced to be patient while the glue dries.
c. Love will not always hold things together, but if anything can hold it together, love will. Love is the last and best chance at sealing a relationship.