Summary: With all the laws and requirements in the Bible, Jesus boiled it all down to just two.
October 8, 2000 Luke 10:25-37
"Pass me not, O gentle Savior"
For the last several months, as you are well aware, we have been studying the Ten Commandments. Now that we have spent so much time on this part of the Bible, I’m going to give you a chance to re-take the test that I gave you when we first entered into this study. We’re going to see if we can name off all ten and do it in order. This is going to be an oral test, and it’s going to be a group effort, but it is not an open book test. Make sure that your Bible is closed at this point. [name off the 10 commandments] How many of you could have done that without the help of the group? How many of you think that you would have done better than you did the first time that you took that test? Thankfully, remembering the 10 command-ments in order is not a requirement for entering into heaven. But remembering what they are - in or out of order - is necessary to helping make sure that I follow them on a daily basis. Over the last couple of months, I have asked a lot of people a question that is very similar to the one that Jesus was asked in the encounter that we will be examining today. I’ve been asking, "In your personal opinion, what do you understand it takes for a person to go to heaven?" Most people have responded with an answer that was something along the lines of being good or keeping the commandments. If I was to ask those persons to name the 10 commandments, I believe that they would have a very hard time of it. My question then would be, "How can you obey commands that you don’t even remember?"
Admittedly, 10 Commandments is a lot to remember. Most of us need things to be as simple as possible if we are going to remember them so that we can act on them. I am that kind of person. Tammy can do and think about 100 things at one time. I am a "one-thing-at-a-time" kind of person. I believe in the K.I.S.S. philosophy. That doesn’t mean that I’m romantic. KISS is an acronym that stands for an old saying that someone taught me a long time ago - Keep It Simple, Stupid! Jesus, knowing that when our brains get too full they leak, boiled down the 10 commandments into two. In Matt 22:35-40, we have the account of a man who came to Jesus and asked Him what the greatest - the most important - of the commands was. Maybe he was having trouble keeping all of them, so he figured that he would just concentrate all his energy on the most important one and let the others take care of themselves. I don’t know which command that man thought Jesus would say, but Jesus responded, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind." Jesus went further and told him what the 2nd greatest commandment was: "You will love your neighbor as yourself." Then Jesus made this statement: "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Everything that is recorded in the pages of the Bible from Genesis to Malachi have as their foundation and their goal love for God and love for people. If you want to be right in God’s eyes, then love God and love people. I want you to repeat that after me: "If you want to be right in God’s eyes . . . then love God and love people . . ." In fact, fulfilling these two commands is our whole purpose for being on this planet.
Later on in Jesus’ ministry, another man came to Him one day with a slightly different question: "What must I do to inherit - or gain - eternal life?" Jesus’ answer to that man’s question centered around these two great commands. This morning, I want us to take a look at the discussion that took place between Jesus and a lawyer one day to discover what it actually means to love God and love people. I want us to see how doing those two things will enable us to better be able to fulfill all of God’s commandments including the 10 that have been the focus of our attention over the last several months.
1. I can fulfill the law by loving God with everything that I am.
- with all my heart ( motivation, feelings
The man that Jesus was speaking with on that day was a lawyer or what might better be termed a scribe. He was responsible for recording the law which would have included both the biblical texts as well as laws that were made by the Jewish authorities. Since his job was so closely associated with the law, he would have known what the law said, and he would have made a conscientious attempt to keep every segment of that law. But it was in this area of the heart that the lawyer and most of the other religious leaders of the day had failed in. They kept the law in order to look good. They were in right, but they were not in love. (Mat 15:8 NIV) "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. God wants us to keep the law, but He wants us to do it for the right reasons. He wants us to have the right motivations. Husbands, wives, parents - would you rather your spouse or your kids do something nice for you because they are afraid that you are going to be mad at them if they don’t do it or do it because of the level of their love for you?