Summary: Trying to live by the two great commandments begins with understanding them. It doesn’t end there, but it begins there.
The Two Great Commandments
1. What is the difference between these two true stories. Here is the first one.
2. My cell phone quit as I tried to let my wife know that I was caught in freeway gridlock and would be late for our anniversary dinner. I wrote a message on my laptop asking other motorists to call her, printed it on a portable inkjet and taped it to my rear windshield.
When I finally arrived home, my wife gave me the longest kiss ever. "I really think you love me," she said. "At least 70 people called and told me so."
3. Here is the second: “Some Boeing employees on the airfield decided to steal a life raft from one of the 747s. They were successful in getting it out of the plane and home. Shortly after they took it for a float on the river, they noticed a Coast Guard helicopter coming toward them. It turned out that the chopper was homing in on the emergency locater beacon that activated when the raft w as inflated. They are no longer employed at Boeing.”
4. The first story involves people giving of their time and energy to help someone else. The second is about some people who helped themselves to what belonged to someone else. One group demonstrated a kind of love, the second a lack of it. That second group, however, probably never connected their behavior to a lack of love. They didn’t connect that corporations are made of people. Although they probably knew it was wrong to steal, they never would have understood their behavior as unloving, which it is.
5.Loving God and others is the theme of today’s sermon, a broad subject. These are called the 2 great commandments.
Main Idea: Trying to live by the two great commandments begins with understanding them. It doesn’t end there, but it begins there.
I. The CONTEXT of the Question
A. Jesus was put to the TEST and refuted the Sadducees (see vs. 23-33).
B. Now a Pharisee asks a COMMON question (34-36).
1. These are rabbis questioning another Rabbi, JESUS.
2. A VARIETY of opinions among the Jews.
3. 613 commands in the Torah, but what is the larger PRINCIPLE behind them?
C. It is good to STUDY the Scriptures, but we must alter our views and adjust them to the Bible, not the other way around.
• Daily devotions — spending a few minutes in the Word and letting something hit us
• We do not generally grow in great leaps, but in little increments.
Psalm 119:11, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
II. The GREATEST Commandment (37-38)
A. This did not take CONTEMPLATION.
1. The Jewish people RECITED this every day (from Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
2. Notice that Jesus pronounces loving God as the GREATEST; it is not the means to an end.
• Awana — defined “Philosopher” = contemplating the purpose of life; boy asked a question, what is the purpose: “To glorify God.”
• I John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.”
• Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
B. We love God with our whole selves, as LISTED.
1. Loving God with our heart means our innermost BEING, our complete selves.
• This is the summary statement; heart = more than emotions
2. Loving God with our soul means leaving God with our ENERGY (life force).
3. Loving God with our mind means expending intellectual effort (THINKING).
• One of the reasons we gather is to learn; we tend to do better if we have a support group of fellow learners…
• Some may be further down the road that others, but none of us have arrived…more
• The word “disciple” means not just a follower, but primarily a “learner.”
III. The Second Greatest Commandment Is Also A PILLAR Commandment (39-40)
The Biblical concept about love is not really about warm feelings, as we tend to view it. It is more along the lines of compassion or concern.
A. You love your neighbor as YOURSELF (39).
1. The idea that we love ourselves is ASSUMED.
2. Two different parts of our BRAIN
3. The Bible does not condemn us for looking out for ourselves, but for ourselves ALONE.
4. Matthew 7:12a DEFINES loving others: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them...”
• This is not the same as people pleasing.
• Jesus left one town where large groups gathered for healing (Mark 1:35-38).
• He told people he did not want them following Him because they were only after free meals (John 6:26-27)
• The “tough love” concept is a Biblical one.