This morning we begin to wind down our series entitled, “The Power of Fellowship.” For the past 15 weeks we have studied the importance of fellowshipping with God and man. I will end this series tomorrow. Today we will look at something Jesus said about the importance of our (upward) relationship with God and our (outward) relationships with others.
(Mat 22:34-40 NIV)
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The Pharisees and Sadducees made several attempts to stump Jesus. They wanted to somehow get Him to violate the Law. The first five books of the Bible are known as the “Torah” or the “Law of Moses.” The Law contained many commandments and it was literally impossible to live by them all. The Sadducees attempted to entangle Jesus in a legal dilemma by asking Him if it was lawful to pay taxes. Jesus knew it was a trap and He asked whose face was on the money. When they agreed that it was Caesar’s face, then Jesus said, “Then give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his.” With this Jesus silenced the Sadducees.
Since the Sadducees were unsuccessful at getting Jesus entangled in the Roman law, the Pharisees came and attempted to get Him entangled in the Jewish law. One of their experts asked Jesus what the greatest commandment in the Law was. Jesus’ answer lines up perfectly with this series. Jesus first quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 which states, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.” But then Jesus took it to another level. The Pharisees only asked Jesus to identify the “one” top commandment, but Jesus went on to add a second one. Jesus said that the second one was like the first one and it was to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This second commandment was not a quote from the Law at all. Loving your neighbor might have been a principle, but it became a law that day. This is the Law of Love. This is the Law of Jesus. Furthermore, Jesus said that all the Law and the Prophets hand on these two commandments.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. Love is a Law – it’s the Law of Jesus.
a) Once you are Born-Again you are no longer under the Law. Jesus fulfilled the Law for us. But being free from the Law of Moses does not mean we have NO LAW. You have the Law of Jesus, which is the Law of Love. This is the highest Law. You must love God and love others.
b) Paul said, “For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14).
c) In his letter to Rome, Paul said, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).
d) Jesus said that all the Law and the teaching of all the prophets could be summed by by loving God and loving your neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40).
e) James said, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right” (James 2:8).
f) John said, “For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.” (1 John 3:11). John also said, “And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” (1 John 4:21).
g) The Bible is clear. While we are not under the Law of Moses, we are certainly under the Law of Love!
2. Jesus made it simple for us. Jesus summarized the entire Law of Moses and the teachings of all the Old Testament prophets into two statements: Love God and love man. In this series we have studied the importance of spending time with both. As you fellowship with God you cannot ignore your requirement to also fellowship with men. You need both. You are commanded to love both. So let’s connect with God and connect with each other today and every day!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I thank You for loving me when I had nothing to do with You. Even while I was a sinner, You loved me and Your sent Your Son to die for me. Jesus took the punishment of the cross because He loves me. Now the Holy Spirit now lives in me, despite my flaws, because He loves me. Your love is amazing. You put Your Spirit inside me and I now do not have to live my life based on external rules or laws. But I am not free from all laws. Your Word teaches me that I am required to comply with the Law of Love. I attempt to love You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength, and I seek to love my neighbor as myself. Saying I love You is easy. But I prove my Love for You, whom I cannot see, by loving those I see every day. Your love has come TO me, it now flows THROUGH me, and just like it changed me, I believe it will change others. I am able to love others because You first loved me. I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!