Summary: The two great commandments: 1- Loving God 2- Loving People
INTRO.- ILL.- There was a not-too-bright fellow who decided to become a counterfeiter. He hired an engraver of equal intelligence, and they proceeded to produce some counterfeit money. By some mix-up, the money turned out to be $11 bills.
Not wanting to waste the effort, the crook decided to head to an isolated small town where he figured he could cash the bogus bills. He went into a small country store and asked the clerk if he had change for an $11 bill. "Sure do," the clerk said. "Would an $8 and a $3 be okay?"
That fellow was not too bright. Sometimes “not-too-bright” fits us all. It depends on what we’re talking about. However, when it comes to worldly decisions we are sometimes pretty good.
ILL.- I’ve never been the best when it comes to dealing on cars. But at least one time, I did pretty good and prided myself on it. I traded a 1998 Ford Taurus for the 2002 Ford Taurus that I now drive. I checked out the value of my car with Kelly’s bluebook before going to trade. My car had a lot of miles on it (over 100,000) and was worth only about $2500. I figured if I got that out of my car it would be a good deal. I tried out that 2002 Ford and the dealer tried out my 1998 Ford and then I waited for his offer. To my surprise he offered to give me $3500 for my car or a thousand dollars more than I figured it was worth. I said, “SOLD!” I drove away with that 2002 Ford that day.
Occasionally, when it comes to worldly matters we do pretty good, but when it comes to spiritual matters all of us fail at times and sometimes, miserably.
John 18:25-27 “As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, ‘You are not one of his disciples, are you?’ He denied it, saying, ‘I am not.’ One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, ‘Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?’ Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.”
We all recall the fact the apostle Peter denied Jesus. Some say that Peter stood warming himself at the devil’s fire. The Scripture doesn’t call it that, but it’s a pretty good thought. And whether we want to admit it or not, we’ve all warmed ourselves at the devil’s fire and denied Jesus at times. We’ve denied Him in one way or another. It may have been by committing some sin or it may have been by the sin of omission, failing to do something good.
Unlike Glenn Campbell who said he “wasn’t really that drunk,” but was “just over-served,” we need to admit that we have failed at times.
WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST SPIRITUAL BOO-BOO? I’d rather talk about yours than mine. We really don’t want to go there, do we? However, in secret and before the Lord, we should go there and own up to our spiritual failures. THE WAY UP IS DOWN.
James 4:8-10 “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
I Peter 5:5-6 “’God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
ILL.- A man was stopped by a police officer, who asked him why he was driving 66 miles per hour when the speed limit was 35. The man replied, "But, officer, I saw a sign that read 66." The officer patiently explained, "Mister, that’s the route number, not the speed limit."
"Oh, goodness, officer!" the man exclaimed. "It’s a good thing you didn’t see me on Route 109."
Brothers and sisters, we’ve all been on route 66 or 109 whether we admit it or not. But admit it, we must. The way up is down. We’ve all failed spiritually.
In Matthew 22:37-40 we have the question put to Jesus. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?”
People are either good or bad about questioning things. We are good if we are truly interested in discovering God’s will. We are bad if we are only interested in picking apart God’s Word. Hopefully, we all want to learn and grow and become more in tune with God in all ways.
Jesus boiled down God’s commandments for us in life: Love God and love people. If we get these right, most things will fall into place. But if we get these wrong, most other things will go wrong as well.