Summary: Jesus held love for God and neighbor out as the sum of Christian living
The Most Important Thing We Can Ever Do
1.If you posed the question, “What is the one most important thing the Church can do?”, you would likely get about as many different answers as different people you ask (i.e., prayer, music, preaching, reach the lost, hold revivals, etc.)
2.The problem with this mentality is that it is focusing on the peripherals, the outside issues that Scripture doesn’t stress. A lot of it is simply personal preference and tradition.
3.What Jesus said was the most important, fundamental thing the Church can do is love. That is what we’re going to discuss today.
Jesus has been tried by every religious and political entity since verse 15
The intention of these groups is understood as antipathy towards Jesus - they are testing him in an attempt to discredit him publicly
A lawyer is not what we think of when we think of the word. In ancient Judaism, religion and the state were one and the same - a theocracy. A lawyer was then both a theologian and a civil officer.
If they could get Jesus to stumble in regards to the law, they would have a cause for serious allegations towards him.
Jesus offered love for God and others as the summary of all the law which both silenced his opposition and affirmed the positive aspect or spirit of the law.
1.LOVE IS THE FUNDAMENTAL CORE OF CHRISTIANITY
a)To be a Christian is to be filled with the love of God (1 John 4.7-10)
b)To be filled with the love of God is to share his love of people (1 John 4.11-12)
c)Love is not sentimentality - love is a verb - it is a matter of seeking the welfare of others
2.THE EXTENT OF OUR LOVE
b)Love for others requires the same care we offer ourselves
3.LOVE FULFILLS THE INTENTION OF THE LAW
a)Jesus is saying that proper application of the Law depends upon love
b)The Law in the Old Testament is really love in the negative expression
c)God love and neighbor love are like two bookends that serve to hold the rest in place
You can argue all day long that what the church needs is more revival, prayer, better music, better equipment, more preaching on hell, and any number of other things. But God in his infinite wisdom has said that love is the essence of Christianity and that it is the most important thing we can ever do.
However, it is also the most difficult thing we will ever do. It’s messy, difficult, takes a lot of time and patience to accomplish, and is very, very costly. Dorothy Day said, “Love in action is harsh and dreadful when compared to love in dreams.” We love love. We talk about it, sing about it, we read novels about it, and we watch movies about it. We can sit and romanticize about how wonderful love is, but it can be brutal and discouraging. It can even kill us. That is precisely what killed Jesus. It was not the nails that kept Jesus fastened to the cross. It was his love for you, me, and all of the redeemed.