Summary: This sermon shows the priority that the Word of God gives to loving God, and loving others.
THE TWO GREATEST COMMANDMENTS
Text: Matthew 22:34-40
"But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put
the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered to-
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him
a question, tempting him, and saying,
Master, which is the great commandment in the
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 neighbor as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the
Background of the text
Notice, please the context in which these words
were spoken by our Lord. He was under vicious
scrutiny and attack by the Scribes and Pharisees.
Notice, also, that he had successfully already
put the Sadducees to silence; in other words, he
had outsmarted them with his wisdom.
The self-righteous Pharisees had heard about this,
and they were determined to entrap Jesus. One
of their number, a lawyer, an expert in the Mosaic
Law, tempted him by asking him what was the great-
est commandment of all.
Jesus, of course, knew their hearts, and what they
were out to do. His response was to quote from
Deuteronomy 6:5, to begin with, and then to quote
Leviticus 19:18. Let’s notice-
The passage Jesus first quoted in Deuteronomy
tells us to love God supremely, with all our
heart, soul, and might. All of us, who are
believers love God somewhat, but do we love
Him with ALL our heart, soul, and might? That
is saying a lot. According to Jesus, God desires
much more of us that religious ritual, or our
good works, or our money. He desires us. He
wants us to love Him. He wants us to love Him
more than anything or anyone in this world. He
deserves such devotion, for He is our Creator,
and our God. The proof of our love for Him is
our obedience. As Samuel asked King Saul:
"Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offer-
ings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice
of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than
sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."
(1st Samuel 15:22)
This is why the commandment to love God is su-
preme, because, you see, when we love God with
all our heart, soul, and might we will have no
problem keeping the first four of the ten com-
mandments that deal with our relationship with
God. If we love Him with All our heart, soul,
and might, we will not have any other gods be-
fore Him. We will not make or worship any idol.
We will not take His name in vain, or fail to
keep the day that He set aside as holy, the
To love God supremely is the greatest expression
of religious faith. To fail to love Him supreme-
ly negates all the "so called" religious devotion
that we might pretend to display.
Nothing is right between us and God if we do not
sincerely love Him.
Love will motivate us to do His will, and keep
His Word. There is no greater incentive than
The 2nd greatest commandment is also true. If
we do not love our fellowman, and especially our
fellow believers, then all our religious activity
and profession is futile.
The 2nd quote from Leviticus 19:18 says that we
are to love our neighbor as ourself. According
to the epistle of first John we cannot and do not
actually love God if we do not love our fellow-
man, especially those of the household of faith.
1st John 4:7, 8, 20
"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is
of God; and every one that loveth is born of God,
and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not
God, for God is love. If a man say, I love God,
and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he
that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen,
how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"
If we loved our neighbor as ourself we would keep
the last six of the ten commandments than deal
with our relationships with others. We would
obey and honor our parents. We would not kill,
or commit adultery, or steal, or bear false wit-
ness, or covet anything that was our neighbors.
So, we can see that Jesus was right when He said
that on these two commandments HANG ALL THE LAW
and THE PROPHETS.
But, we also need to notice something else-
II. LOVE DEMANDED
God commands us to love Him and others. He is
God, and He has a right to demand that of us.