Summary: The challenge is for all of us to learn to love God and love people on a deeper level.

The Great Commandment

A minister was speaking about all the things money can’t buy. “Money can’t buy happiness, it can’t buy laughter and money can’t buy love” he told the congregation.

Driving his point home he said, “What would you do if I offered you $1,000 not to love your mother and father?” A hush fell over the congregation. Finally a small voice near the front, raised an important question, “How much would you give me not to love my big sister?”

This morning I want to talk to you about the important matter of love.

Matthew 22:35-40 NIV

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: [36] "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

[37] Jesus replied: " ’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ [38] This is the first and greatest commandment. [39] And the second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ [40] All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Jesus’ response to the Pharisee’s question has been called the Great Commandment. Simply put, The Great Commandment states that we are to love God and to love people. That’s it! We might call it the Summary Statement of all of Jesus’ teaching.

It sounds so simple! Yet so few do it.

Jesus’ reply really simplified things. From 613 rules and regulations known as the Old Testament Law, to the Ten Commandments, Jesus boils it all down to the verses that we just read. We are to love God and love people.

This isn’t complicated. Love God. Love people. Who doesn’t get that?

The expert in the law was trying to trap Jesus. Instead of giving them a loophole that allowed them to obey one commandment and ignore any of the others, Jesus gave them a commandment that encompassed all of the commandments of God in two simple sentences: “Love God” and “Love your Neighbor.” Five words!

You see how it works? Think about it. If you truly love God, you will have no other gods before Him. You will remember the Sabbath day. You will not misuse His Name.

If you truly love your neighbor, you won’t murder him, you won’t steal from him, you won’t take his wife, you won’t gossip against him.

With this simple answer to the Pharisee’s question, Jesus did not gratify their desire to prove themselves to be scholars. He didn’t even give them any wiggle room so that they might keep one commandment, while ignoring another. He didn’t let them off the hook. In fact, He actually put them on the hook. Look at Matthew 22:40

Matthew 22:40 NIV

“All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

That’s serious! Instead of trying to keep 613 laws, or even the Ten Commandments, Jesus has now condensed it down to two simple commands. Love God & love people.

You could even take it one step further and reduce it down to just one word. LOVE. LOVE. Jesus is basically saying, that is what God expects of us. That’s what we are supposed to do. Love!

We sometimes make things far more complicated than they should be. There’s nothing confusing about what God wants us to do. He wants us to love.

My question to you is; How have you been doing at that?

When I come to church, I come fully aware that I need to allow God’s Holy Spirit to speak to me. I need to hear what He has to say and I need to act upon what He tells me. And I come expecting that He will speak and He does.

Sometimes people say, preacher you really stepped on my toes this morning. I don’t step on toes. That’s not my job. My job is to do my best to hear from the Lord and to obey Him by speaking the truth that is from His Word.

If anybody gets their toes stepped on, blame it on the Holy Spirit. And don’t go away mad. Be thankful. If the Spirit of God is dealing with you on this level, be thankful. Hear what He has to say and then act on what you hear. That is a significant part of the process of becoming the person that God has called you and created you to be.

Too often, we hear something we don’t like or something we disagree with and we want to bail out. May I encourage you to do one thing? Before you jump ship, consider the Word of God, and if what is being said is based on the Word of God, then be willing to be uncomfortable. Be willing to do the hard work of growing up in Christ.

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