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November 21, 2014

Text: “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with  all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'”  Matthew 22:37-40

Two preacher  friends of mine entered a cafeteria. They were chatting with the servers and came to the cashier. One of the preachers quizzed one of the servers,  “Do you love Jesus?” After the  two men seated themselves this woman  took her break, came out and sat down and they had a discussion about Jesus. I don’t know what the outcome  of  the discussion was, but it still entrances me now and again.

Let me say now that this is one of the greatest statements made by Jesus! Don’t just read it, memorize it, live   by it.  Jesus firmly insists that this is the  greatest and foremost commandment, and then links it with; You  shall love your  neighbor as yourself.   Jesus doesn’t say that it is merely memorable, nor that it deserves all our study (though it is). He says that it is  FOREMOST AMONG ALL THE LAWS OF GOD!  This law is a bell weather of the Old Testament. It is part of the “Shema”. Deuteronomy 6:4-7  There are other Old Testament citations. All the other laws  of both testaments are subsumed by this command of God.

Please do not belittle any of the laws of God, any scripture in the Bible. On the other hand, do not fail to obey today’s text. When Moses gave the laws of God to the Israelites at Mount Sinai he told his hearers how to honor what they had heard, he set a high standard for its personal acceptance and obedience. “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently  to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk in  the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7   This sounds like a job requiring 24/7 attention!

Jesus puts three words before us to assure that this directive is a personal obligation: heart, soul, and mind. These are  lofty  inward guides for our seat of moral choice and righteous behavior. To ignore them is to  accept sin and to reject righteousness. There are many ways to ignore this commandment, or to forget it, or just minimize its value. Study this command carefully, then open your heart, soul, and mind, and to embrace that this is your greatest duty to God.

Lastly, let’s return to the question, Do you love Jesus? Does your life conform to his teaching? Do you study the Bible to find out a Christian’s work? Do you worship him often in spirit and truth? Do you act as a Christian acts wherever you go? Do you regularly set aside time to study the Bible  and to pray? These are  all elements of the Christian’s heart, soul and mind.

One more saying of Jesus.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15





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