Summary: You cannot say that you love God while you hate your neighbor.
WHY CANNOT CHRISTIANS JUST GET ALONG?
37 And He said to him, “’YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 “This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
Let us pray: “OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, GIVE US A GOOD SENSE, A GOOD MIND AND A GOOD HEART SO THAT WE WILL UNDERSTAND YOUR WORDS. INSPIRE US AS WE LEARN SO THAT WE WILL LIVE A LIFE IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR WILL, IN JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.
I have entitled my message this morning as a question.
WHY CANNOT CHRISTIANS JUST GET ALONG? I will say that again. WHY CANNOT CHRISTIANS JUST GET ALONG?
God created us human being to enjoy intimate relationship with Him and not only that but with one another. And when Jesus Christ becomes the Lord of these two relationships, we will be able to experience the meaningful intimacy that was part of God’s original plan. However, so much has changed since that first relational encounter at creation. Our relationships then have become damaged and fractured by sin.
As human beings, we live in relationship with other human beings. And there is no escaping from it. God made us to live in harmony with one another. Also nature shows that we are meant to exist in relationships. God made us to be in relationship with other people. And yet, no matter how basic to our existence and identity as humans, something has gone wrong with our relationships. And all around us we can see examples of relationships gone sour, relationships gone really badly. Most of the pain and heartache we suffer as humans, we suffer because of bad relationships.
But let me remind you this morning that God loves us and He obviously cares about our relationships, which form such an important part of our existence. God wants us to have good, healthy, affirming relationships. I want you to understand this folks: That our interactions with others, the true measure of our walk with Christ will be revealed. How you treat others reveals your relationship with God.
So where is Christ in your relationship now? Where is Christ in your relationship with God and your relationship with others? If Christ is not Lord of your relationships with others, then the devil will take over, and we will experience damaged and fractured relationships. And that will hinder God’s work.
WHY CANNOT CHRISTIANS JUST GET ALONG? There two main kinds of relationships that Christians are concerned with: One is their relationship with God and second is their relationship with other human beings.
Our text this morning tells us that Jesus spoke of two great commandments that:“ YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.” And “The second is like it, is that: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” And we often speak of these as our vertical and our horizontal relationships.
Here Jesus quotes from Deut. 6:5 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” There must first be love in the heart before a person can, in the strength and by the grace of Christ, begin to observe the precepts of God’s Law. Obedience without love is as impossible as it is worthless. But where love is present, a person will automatically set out to order his life in harmony with the will of God as expressed in His commandments.
Jesus wants us to love God with all our hearts. And His purpose here in enumerating different parts of one’s being, is simply another way of saying that love for God, if truly present, will permeate every aspect of the being. And now Jesus is setting the stage for the next command:
Then He said, “In the same way,” ‘Just like this one,’” being based on the great principle of love, and like it in requiring the concerted attention and cooperation of all parts of one’s being. The same cooperation needed to love God is the same cooperation needed to love your neighbor.
“That you love your neighbor:” Jesus here quotes from Leviticus 19:18 “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.” “Neighbor” refers to a fellow Israelite. Your neighbor this morning is the one belongs to this church. Friends we are all neighbors. Jesus, however, widened the definition of “neighbor” to include all who are in need of help.
The law of love toward God and man was by no means new. Jesus was the first, however to unite these two thoughts of loving God and loving your neighbor, as summing up “The whole duty of man.” Even Micah comes very close to the same idea: Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”