The Greatest Commandment

Known By Love

Pastor Jerry Gillis - May 6, 2018

Community Group Study Notes

  • Based on what you heard in Sunday’s message, what does it mean for everything to hang on the two commandments we discussed?
  • Why are we, as Christians, to be known by love? How do we define what this word means?
  • What is one action step you can take with what you heard in Sunday’s message?




Memory Verse

 "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:40)

Sermon Transcript

Alright. Good morning. Tell me, when you look at these pictures, if you can identify who the picture is. Here's the first one. Anybody know who that is? It's Don King. How do you know? His hair, right? I mean the dude has hair that is epic. His hair's fantastic. And he's got this style that he wears that everybody knows it's Don King, boxing promoter, right? He's known by his hair, right?

How about this building? Anybody know what that is? If it were standing straight up, you'd be like, "Um, I'm not sure." But it's known because it leans. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, right? That's why you know, not pizza. Pisa, right? I used to call it the Leaning Tower of Pizza, and that's why I got it wrong on every test I tool, but none the less.

Next, that is a sequined glove.

(Michael Jackson.)

That's Michael Jackson, right, you know the king of pop wears a sequined glove. So every time you see a sequined glove, he's known by that, right? So this is what Michael Jackson is known by, among his dance moves as well. But you see the sequined glove you know who it is.

All right, next. If you see that jersey, that red jersey number 23. What do you think?

(Michael Jordan.)

Michael Jordan, right? I mean there's nobody else. There's other people that wear 23's maybe even play right now for the Cavs, whoever. But that's Michael Jordan right there, right? Now Lebron's good, that's Michael Jordan. So you see it, you know what it is, because he was known by his number. Like he was identified by his number. And you knew him by that.

All right next.

(Julia Roberts.)

Just based on the smile who is that? Julia Roberts, right? You just know her by her smile. You can see the smile, you know it's her, even though we kinda did all this stuff around her, whatever. You don't see her face. She's known by her smile.

Heres the thing. Everybody's known by something, right? And sometimes it's superficial, like our smile, or our number, or our hair, or whatever, right? But if you cut down a little bit deeper, many of us are still known by other things. And maybe what you've been known by is something people have put upon you. You're the smart one, you're the athletic one, you're the talented one, you're the tough guy, you're the hard worker, you're the beautiful one, you're the whatever, right? You can name any of those things and some of those have been put upon us.

But if I were to ask you, if any of those, of those things that you can think of that maybe you're know by or you know other people by, is there anything that you think would be the most important thing to be known by? Now before you answer, it would be wise of us to ask that question of God, right? God if there were something that I was supposed to be known by, maybe above every other thing, what would it be that I would want to be known by? Whether or not that's something that I'm thinking of or whether it's not, God what wold you have to say to that? Maybe some of us would debate about what that might be.

The good news is, the text that were looking at today in Matthew chapter 22, is a text where there were some religious people debating about certain things around this idea. In fact, Jesus was talking with a group of people called the Sadducees. And the Sadducees didn't believe in the resurrection, that's why they were sad you see. Because they didn't believe in the resurrection. That's the stupidest joke in the history of jokes, right? It's like a pastor joke passed down generation after generation. And I'm like, "I should stop it." But it just comes out, right? So forgive me.

So the Sadducees didn't believe in the resurrection and they tried to trip up Jesus. And they set up a scenario related to marriage and somebody dies and married again, somebody dies and marries again. They're like, "Who's the spouses in heaven?" They're trying to trip everybody up, particularly Jesus. Jesus answers and blows them away, and basically like, "You don't really understand the scripture." And then just sit there and go, "Oh."

So there's this other religious group that's around at the time of Jesus called the Pharisees. The Pharisees were very conservative in the way that they approached the scripture. They were kind of students of the law, so to speak. And the Pharisees heard about what happened with the Sadducees, and so they're gonna take a run at Jesus.

Notice what it says in Matthew chapter 22, verse 34. It says, "Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together." They were like, "Okay were gonna get him." "One of them an expert in the law, tested Jesus with this question. Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?"

Now you listen to that and you think, "Okay, well that's a pretty simple question, because I kind of have an idea of how Jesus is gonna answer that, because I've read this passage before or I've heard this before." But what we need to understand is how loaded that question actually was when they asked it. You see, you've got an expert in the law, a lawyer, a teacher of the law. Who figures he's going to test Jesus. And by testing him he asks him, "Which do you think is the greatest commandment in the law?" Why was that such a big deal and why did that matter?

Well, the Pharisees themselves were having an internal debate among one another as to which of the laws was the greatest. They had identified 613 commands of God in the Old Testament that were to be obeyed. Six-one-three, 613. Why did they go looking for that many? Because loosely they knew that there were around 613 Hebrew characters in the entire command around the 10 commandments that God gave to his people. And so they looked at that, and had a loose parallel saying to themselves, "There must be 613 commands to be obeyed." And so they walked through the entirety of the Old Testament and they began to teach that there were 613 commands to be obeyed.

248 of them were positive. You shall do blank. 365 of them were negative commands. You shall not do blank. How did they get those? Well, because they talked about 248, again this was kind of ancient understanding. They didn't have the science behind it, but they were just saying, "There's about 248 bones in the human body. So there is a positive command for every bone that makes up who we are. Thou shalt do this."

And 365 was not only connected to the solar days of the year, 365. So a negative command, you shall not do blank. And there's one for every day of the year. But they also kind of said, loosely that this was representative of the number of tendons and muscle groups inside the body. Again, it's a Jewish way of saying, that for every bone and for every fiber, there is a command of God. That was kind of the idea behind it. 613 of those, 248 that were positive, you shall do blank. And 365 that were negative, you shall not do blank.

And if that wasn't enough, they actually took all of those groupings and they started dividing those groupings down into what were heavier laws and what were lighter laws. And they would debate what were the heavier laws. That whatever happens, you can't disobey these things. And these are the lighter laws, maybe if you have a bad day you can maybe disobey these things, right? But they were fighting sometimes as to what were the heavier laws and what were the lighter laws. They sometimes were fighting over which laws that they would include.

Sometimes they even, in their own traditional background, built what they called fence laws, that were laws made by human beings, religious leaders that would keep you from breaking the law that was actually given by God. So if this was the law given by God, they make up a new law right here. And a new one right here, so that in case you break this one, there's this one. So that you hopefully don't break this one and get to this one that was actually given by God. This became a nightmare.

That's why this was such a loaded question, are you following me? Because when they asked Jesus this test question, they ask him, what's the greatest one? They've been debating about all of this, right? Heavy laws, light laws, positive laws, negative laws, traditional commands giving by human beings, and God's laws. And they just kind of look at it all, and they've been debating among one another. And they say, "Okay teacher, which is the greatest of all of these laws?"

And you know how Jesus answers, here's what he says in Matthew 22, "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 you neighbor as yourself."

So you may have anticipated, maybe having read this passage before or studied this before, you kind of knew what Jesus was going to say, but what Jesus does interestingly enough, is he answers from the scripture itself. They ask the question what's the greatest command, well he says, "I'll point you to that. I'll summarize all of the commandments very quickly for you." And the first one he does, he ends up quoting what is called in Hebrew understanding is the Shmah. Now this came out of Deuteronomy 6. Shmah is just a Hebrew word that means hear. Because that passage in Deuteronomy 6 says, "Hear O Israel." That's how it begins.

This was a passage, you can see it right here in Deuteronomy chapter six, verse number four and five, "Hear O Israel," Shmah, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one." Or the Lord is one God. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength." This was coming right out of the law that was given to Israel. And Jesus, when asked what is the greatest commandment, points his attention to something that the Israelites prayed every morning and every evening. So two times a day the Shmah they would pray. "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one." Or the Lord is God all by himself. That would be kind of a looses translation of that. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength, some add. This what something they prayed in the morning, and something that they prayed in the evening.

In the first temple period, did you know that the Israelites actually not only prayed this prayer, but they backed up from chapter six into chapter five. And before they prayed, they read aloud the 10 commandments from Deuteronomy chapter five. So they would read the 10 commandments that God had given to his people, and then they would pray, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your could, and with all your mind." Jesus when asked the question, he says, "This is the first thing I would point you to, and the second is like it." Why is is like it? Because it's talking about love as well.

And there he quotes Leviticus chapter 19. Which simply says this, "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord." This is what he was quoting from. So he took from Deuteronomy six, and he took from Leviticus 19. And he pulled those things together when he was asked what is the greatest commandment?

Now that starts to make sense when we think about what Jesus was doing here. Jesus was basically, summarizing the 10 commandments in stating two things just like this. It was a summary statement, because basically he says this, "Love God with everything that you are, and love people, love others. Love God with everything that you are, and love others." This is the commandment, this is the summary, right?

Well how does that summarize the 10 commandments? Well you know how the 10 commandments are structured, right? The first four of them are aimed at God. In terms of our relationship to God, right? You shall have no other gods before me, that's the first one. You shall have no graven images, that's the second. You shall not take the Lord's name in vain, that's the third one. And you shall keep the Sabbath holy for I am holy, he says. That's the fourth one. Those are in God's direction.

And then the other six of the 10 commandments, are aimed at how we relate to people, right? Honor parents, don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, don't covet. There they are, right? So first four, aimed in God's direction. Second six, they're aimed in people's directions.

So when he is asked the question, Jesus is asked the question that is kind of a trick question, "What's the greatest commandment?" He says, "Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself." When he summarizes this, what we can see is we can see that there's an order to what he said. He said, "The first and greatest commandment is love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself." He didn't put those in reverse order. Obviously there was a reason for that. Because he talked about loving God first, before you having an ability to love others.

But before we get confused on the idea of love your neighbor as yourself, I need to pause here for a moment so we don't walk into a place of confusion. You see in the world that we live in, pop psychology has taken this idea and even credited Jesus with saying some things that actually he wasn't saying. And we have to be careful here. Because what you'll hear often times in kind of the world that we live in, you go get secular marriage counseling and they'll say this. Until you learn to love yourself, you'll never be able to love other people. You gotta learn to really love yourself. Almost like it's the supreme love.

In fact I think what's happened, we've kind of bit into the Whitney Houston theology apple. Who I think by the way as an aside, is one of the greatest vocalists in the history of human kind. I can listen to her sing like the phone book or a restaurant menu, and I would love it. But when she sang the song, "The Greatest Love of All," is happening to me. "I've found the greatest love of all inside of me." And what did she summarize and conclude that this is? Not that she write the song, but whatever. "Learning to love yourself. This is the greatest love of all." With respect, no it's not. No even close. And that's not what Jesus was saying.

You see Jesus here does not say, "Love your neighbor after you have supremely learned to love yourself." He says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." You see what the problem is, is that when we make ourselves the object of supreme love, listen carefully, it is the death of love. You know why? Because the object of our love is a false God, that's called idolatry. Now what I'm not saying is, that you should loathe yourself, right? Because when people read what Jesus says, when he says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." They kind of read it as, love your neighbor after you have supremely learned to love yourself. That you are your chief affection, and then and only then can you actually love someone else.

That's actually not what he said, because he said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And then, love your neighbor as yourself." He didn't talk about us making our love for ourselves supreme, why? Because that would be the death of love, because the object of our love would be a false god, ourselves. And heres what I know. You and I, we're terrible gods. We've tried it, we've messed around with the idea. We've tried to run our own universe and do our own thing. Were horrible at being God. And I'm putting myself at the front of the line. But if you were God, I would also not be happy. You wouldn't be happy with me, I am not happy with you. None of us should be a god. That's not who we are.

But when we make ourselves the object of supreme love, we're acting as if we are ultimate and God is not. And that is a bad for place is to land. Because it creates all the wrong things. So people take what Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself." And they do all kinds od weirdness with it. By the way, it can get so weird that if we inverted it you would see how ugly that gets, right?

Okay, heres how I justify hating everyone. I hate myself. If I hate myself, I can then hate others as myself. Not what he was talking about, not. Now I'm not talking about self loathing. I'm not saying you have to hate yourself, okay? Because in the world that we live in, it's broken. And we have a lot broken people. And we have a lot of people that come from relational brokenness. And there is relational shrapnel all over your heart. Because those relational bombs have gone off over, and over, and over again. And people are lonely, and they're heart broken, and they're torn, and they're scarred. And so, what's happened is, we've rushed in in that vacuum to kind of fill it to say, "You know what? You need to make ... It's all about you. You've gotta love yourself, more important than nay other relationship. You don't even need those things, just love yourself."

I'm telling you, that is the wrong answer to a real problem. And that's what happens sometimes, we buy into what the world is feeding us. But I can promise you this, but love for self as the highest priority, kind of the supreme love, is absolutely not what God had in mind for your life or my life. Because when that's the case, the object of our love is a false god, and it leads us into idolatry of self.

In fact Paul, when he was leading his protégé Timothy, he actually warned him about this kind of thing. He said, "You know what? This is gonna be characteristic when we start running toward the consummation of history, as time starts to move forward, I can tell you the characteristics of those kinds of people." In fact listen to what Paul said in 2 Timothy chapter three. He said, "But mark this Timothy. There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self control, brutal, to lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people."

You see Paul was warning Timothy about this very thing. So the reason I'm warning us, is because it's worth a warning. Because Paul warned Timothy, and sometimes it's us taking the teaching of Jesus and making it something that it's not. This isn't us learning to love ourselves with supreme love. It is also not self loathing. It is the idea that we know how to care for ourselves intuitively. This is who we are this is what we do. We take care of ourselves and we should extend that same kind of love and grace to those who are around us. To think, listen, to think less about self, and to think more about others. This is what love does. And this is what Jesus was getting at.

Now that said, what I think about when I hear this is that Jesus summarizes this trick question, "What's the greatest commandment?" He summarizes it this way. "Love God with all that you are." He's not trying to segment, just you know, like mind, body, spirit, soul, and then give some explanation. That's a much more Greek way of thinking, that's not at all what he's doing. He's basically saying, "Everything you are. Love God with everything you are. And like it, love your neighbor as yourself."

That's the summation. You're going, "Okay, yeah, sounds good." Let me pause for a second. It doesn't actually sound good to me. It sounds to me, devastating. When I hear that summary from Jesus, it's devastating to me, and let me tell you why. Because there has never been a day, by myself, that I have ever loved God with everything I am. Never a day in my life, by myself that I've loved God with every fiber, every intellectual muscle, every piece of my heart. There's never been a day in my life, by myself, where I have ever done that. And also, there's never been a day in my life where I have ever truly, fully, loved my neighbor as myself, by myself.

Am I alone? I don't think I am. If I know you and you know me, what you may not think about when you come to this passage of scripture, because you might have just skipped up to it and gone, "Oh I've heard this before. Oh I know what's going on here. Oh yeah, I already know that, Jerry." Really? Do you know how devastating that is? Have you lived up to it? When Jesus says, "Here's how you summarize all of it. Love God with everything you are. And love your neighbor as yourself." Because I haven't. Never a day in my life, by myself.

What I'm grateful for, is that I take a little bit of solace when I read the Apostle Paul. Who basically ran into the same wall that we run into. In fact listen to him in Romans chapter 7 he says this, "For in my inner being I delight in God's law." I know exactly what that feels like, don't you? Inside we're like, "I love God and I love what he said." But he says, "But I see another law at work within me. Waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?" Can I get a witness?

I'm a witness to this where I just go, "Aaaaah, Paul I get it man. Everything in me is like yes God, yes God, I love your word, I love what you've said, I want to do these things. But there is another war going inside of me. And it's this war of my flesh that's calling me to say no. And it's calling me to disobey. And it's always there, it never goes away."  And if it was there for the Apostle Paul, I'm not even the Apostle Jerry, right? I just Jerry, and if it's there for the Apostle Paul. What do you think it's gonna be for me? The same.

But you know what I'm grateful for? I'm grateful for Paul's conclusion of all of those things. Because the next verse heres what he says. "But thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord. Thanks be to God, because he has delivered me through Jesus Christ our Lord." In fact, in the next chapter, Romans chapter eight, listen to how Paul summarizes our new life. He says, "What the law was powerless to do, because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us." Did you hear that? "The righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."

You see, even though when we hear this, it is devastating to us, do you know why? Because it's impossible for us. We cannot ,by ourselves, any day of our life love God with everything that we are. And love our neighbor as ourselves. It's devastating because we are failures when measuring up against that. "But thanks be to God, who delivers us through Jesus Christ our Lord." Because in him, who fulfilled all of the law perfectly, and taught us, and showed us, and demonstrated what it meant to love God with all of his heart, and could, and mind, and strength. And to love neighbor as self. In other words, even those who are sinful, he wrapped his flesh around them and died on a cross on their behalf. Sacrificial showing the love of God.

That we now, listen, we now by putting our faith in the resurrected one, have his life by his Spirit living in us. And we now have fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law, because of him, not because of us. It was impossible for us, it was possible and completed by him. And as a result of that, we now can live in obedience to what God has called us, and can live in victory because of the power of his Spirit. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because the law of the spirit of life has set us free from the law of the spirit of death," Romans chapter eight, verse number one.

This is the great news of the gospel, ladies and gentlemen. When we are fact to face with the law, and we realize it is impossible for us to fulfill it, what we do is we turn in faith and in the mercy of Jesus Christ. This is what we need. You know what you need? Jesus. You know what I need? Jesus. Because I can never stand face to face with the law and fulfill it's obligations by myself. "But thanks be to God, who delivers us through the Lord Jesus Christ."

I love the richness of the gospel. That's why Paul can actually say a little bit later that this idea is something we can actually live out. We can actually do it, because Paul has set up in his teaching in Romans, he has already set up that Jesus is the one who's done this on our behalf. And it's by his spirit and his power that we can live it out. That's why when you get to Romans 13, he says this, "Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another. For whoever loves others, has fulfilled the law. The commandments you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and whatever other command there may be are summed up in this one command. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law."

Paul says it again in Galatians too, by the way. In Galatians chapter five he says, "For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command. Love your neighbor as yourself." You see Paul is taking the teaching of Jesus and he's helping us to see that by the power of the Spirit we can live that out. Why? Because it's Christ's life in us, and he's the only one that's ever done it fully. He's the only one that's ever done it fully. He's the only that's loved God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength. Every fiber, every moment, every second. And love neighbor as himself. He's the only that's veer done it perfectly.

And now, by faith in him, his life in us enables us to live that way, instead of living in a way where we're trying to compare ourselves to the law that we could never fulfill on our own. This is the beautiful love and mercy of God that is demonstrated to us.

So Jesus' answer to the question is straightforward. He's asked, "What's the greatest commandment?" And he says, "Love God, and love others." But he add something. He add something to that. Did you see it? Let's look again. He says this to conclude that passage.  "All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments." What's the greatest commandment, Jesus? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, could, mind, and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.

Let me see if I can illustrate. Ask and it shall be given to you. So let's pretend for just a moment, that what we have here is we have a scroll in terms of the record of scripture, right? All the law and the prophets kind of giving us this idea of scripture. Over here, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Over here, love your neighbor as yourself. On these two things, hang all of the prophets and the law.

In fact, lets unroll for just a moment. Let's start in Genesis chapter one and two. Because in Genesis one and 2, we've got the picture of creation. Do you know why creation was born? Here's why, love. That's why. You see God, who has existed from eternity past, so has already existing in love relationship among himself. Within himself God had a community of love as Father, Son, and Spirit. This self giving, self deferential kind of love, that made much of the other, Father, Son, and Spirit from eternity past. And so what God does in his love and out of the overflow of his love, he creates all things and creates people as image bearers so that they can now be invited into a pre-existing love that was long before they ever arrived.

What happened after that? Well Genesis 3-11 happened, we saw the fall. You've got Adam and Eve, you've got Cain and Abel, you've got the Tower of Babel, you've got the time of Noah, right? You've got this period of people who are falling further and further into sin. Who have said no to God, and they've said yes to independence from God. And what does God do? God initiates even in their life, you see it with Adam and Eve. He covers them when they are shamed in heir nakedness. Why? Because he loves. And because he's initiating love. And he wants to teach what this love looks like.

Now the fall brings a stark relief in showing what it doesn't mean to love neighbor as self. You see that when you see Cain and Abel. You see that when you see the Tower of Babel. You start seeing this in stark relief. But God is the one who initiates. How does he do it?

Well that's when we get to Genesis chapter number 12. And it runs all the way through Malachi. It's the idea of covenant. What God does in Genesis chapter 12 is he taps on the shoulder the son of a pagan idol maker. Not the most likely candidate in the world. His name was Abram. And he said, "I'm gonna make a covenant with you. It doesn't have anything to do with you. It's not actually about you. You're not even gonna be the one who's gonna fulfill it. I'm gonna fulfill it through you. It's not contingent upon you, it's contingent upon me and my character. Because I'm God. So here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna rescue the world through you, Abraham. I'm gonna save the world through you. I'm gonna build a people out of you that's gonna be more numerous than the stars in sky and the sand of the sea shore."

"And through that is going to come one who's gonna rescue the world. And I know you're old, but it's okay. I know you're 90 and 100, Sarah and Abraham. And I know you haven't had any kids, it's no problem. You're gonna have a kid, you're gonna call him laughter because you're gonna be cracking up going I'm 90 and 100 and we're having a baby."

"But I'm gonna do this. Because it's contingent upon me." Why? Because God loves. Because God loves. And we see that running all the way through the Old Testament scriptures. And when God creates this people for himself, he's designed that people to show the world his glory, to demonstrate to the nations his glory. Why? Because he wants a world full of love. That's what he created in the very outset. That was the original divine design. And he wants a world full of love. Love for him, loved by him, and love for one another. This was God's original intent.

Now it's gotten marred. But God in his love has entered into that and said, "I'm going to create a people for myself. I'm gonna give them some laws. They're gonna be distinguished from other people, so that the world will see them and say there's a God who's unique, who's different, who loves, who's holy, who's righteous." This is what God does, but Israel keeps falling down on the job, and falling down on the job, and falling down on the job. And it doesn't look like his plan is going very good.

Until, in a small town called Bethlehem, a faithful Israelite is born, named Jesus. This is where we see redemption, when we get to the gospels. We see the story of Jesus played out in the gospels themselves, and we see ultimately what it means for Jesus to fulfill everything Israel failed to be. That he is the fulfillment of all of Israel's hopes and dreams. And that he is not only Israel's long awaited Messiah, but he is the world's true Lord. And that when he went to a cross to die, he fully demonstrated what it looked like to love God with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength. And to love his neighbor as himself.

You see, that's why this matters. Because while the scriptures hang on these two commandments. The reason they do is because the scriptures hang on Jesus. And Jesus is the one who demonstrated these things. Everything hangs on Jesus. And that's what the scriptures point us to. In fact I might say it even a little bit differently. I'd say it this way. Everything hung on these two commandments as Jesus hung on a cross to demonstrate them. Everything hung on these two commandments as Jesus hung on a cross to demonstrate them.

Do you know that word when Jesus says, "All of the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments," is the same word that the New Testament writers use to describe Jesus' crucifixion in Acts chapter three and five, and later on in the book of Galatians they use the word hanged on a cross. And it's the same exact term. Jesus demonstrated that everything hangs on him. And he hung to demonstrate that.

But what we see is now, with the people of God, through the resurrected Christ and the sending of the Spirit, they're filled with the richness of who he is by his Spirit. Then what do we see? We see mission. So after we get out of the gospels and see redemption, now from Acts through Jude we see the church of God on mission. We see people living out the reality of their faith. We see people who are full of Jesus, full of his Spirit, now living out the reality of what it means to love God and to love neighbor. This is what we see here, and this is why the world gets turned upside down. Because now we've got people filled with his Spirit who are loving God with all that they are and loving neighbor as themselves. And the world starts to turn on its axis.

And that's why we get to the very end of scripture itself, what we see is renewal in the book of Revelation. There's a new heaven and a new Earth, and do you know what ultimately happens? The very thing that God had designed in the divine design, where this would be a world of love. Where people understood the love of God, where people loved God with all their hearts, mind, soul, and strength. And where they loved one another finally comes to fruition in the new heaven and Earth. Where it is a kingdom of love. Where everyone loves God, and everyone loves one another. This is a reminder, that on these two things all of this hangs. Love god with all that we are, and love our neighbor as ourselves. On these two things everything hangs.

So that's why when Jesus told us about this greatest commandment, what we can see is this. Is that Jesus showed us that the scripture actually fulfills this when he rose from the dead. He rose from the dead and he pointed people after his resurrection, "Don't you remember what the scripture said? That everything hangs on me." In fact look what is says in Luke chapter 24, verse number 25. He said to those he was in their presence, Cleopas and the other disciple. He said, "How foolish you are and slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the prophets he explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself."

Why? Because all of scripture points to Jesus. And all of scripture hangs on these two commandments. And Jesus is the one who demonstrated what these two things look like when he went to a cross, he died, and he rose from the grave. He does it again when he later appears to other disciples at the resurrection. Here's what it says in verse number 40 of Luke chapter 24. It says, "When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, 'Do you have anything here to eat?' They gave him a piece of broiled fish and he took it and he ate it in their presence and he said to them, 'This is what I told you while I was still with you, everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the Psalms.' Then he opened their minds so that they could understand the scriptures."

You see this is what Jesus has been pointing us to. More than just an idea where we're face to face with the law that we can't fulfill. We're looking at Jesus. And now heres what we're doing. We're seeing how Jesus summarizes how we should be known. We should be known by love. Not a love absent of truth, but known by love. What kind of love? A love for God and a love for others, but even when we talk about others, we can distinguish there. Maybe I could say it super simply like this.

Love God, love the church, love the world. There it is. This is what the summary is. Love God, love the church, love the world. If you wanna know what you should be known for, there ya have it. Not your hair, not your intellect, not your athleticism or your talent. All those things are wonderful, particularly your hair. All of those things are wonderful. But what we should be known for as followers of Christ, is that we love God, we love the church, the people of God, and we love the world, those who have yet to know God.

This will demonstrate a cross kind of life. A resurrection kind of life. Because this is what Jesus demonstrated. You see when we think about these things, when I look at this tex and I begin to think about this do you know what it does? It magnifies the love of God. It magnifies the love of God. The reason that we can say that our job is to love God, love the church, love the world. Is because Jesus modeled it, Jesus demonstrated it, and God himself empowers us to do it. That means we magnify the love of God.

So before we are dismissed, and we are not yet. Before we are dismissed, I want us to take just a moment magnifying the love of God, singing it together. And then I want to close you with a final thought as I get you out of the door on time.

Stand with me all over the room, and in the east worship center, as we magnify the love of God. You see whenever we talk about the love of God, we need to magnify his love above our own. Even when we're commanded to love him with all of our heart, soul, mid, and strength, we still must magnify his love above our own because we love because he first loved us. He initiated the love.

Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot fulfill this because we can't manufacture love. God is love. And God is the one who manufactures love, we're just distributors. We can't make it, only he can. But we can distribute it. And it is why you and I must be so deeply connected to Jesus Christ, because in his death and in his resurrection, and by the power of his Spirit, he has demonstrated for us what it means to love God with all of the heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love neighbor as self. And the only way that we can begin to live in that, is when we live in the light of his love and in the power of his life in us. That's the only way to do it. That's why we must pause to magnify the love of God.

He loves us. Oh how he loves us.  How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us that we might be called the children of God. His love is overwhelming. It's awe inspiring, and he is to be praised because of the love that he shown us in Jesus Christ. So far from this being a person-centric message, for me or you. It's just response message to who he is. He has loved and therefore we can love, because he fist loved us.

So by his life in us, we can begin to live out what it means the love God with everything we are. And to love neighbor as ourself. But it's only as we're deeply related to him, will we have that overflow of life and love coming out of us. And that's what the world around us needs to see. Not what we're, listen to this, not that they know the church for what we're against. But we are known by love. The love of God and the love of people. That's what Jesus said and that's what Jesus demonstrates. And everything hangs on that.

If you're here and you've never known the love of God, you've never been freed by the love of Jesus Christ, forgiven and changed, then when we dismiss in a moment, I hope you'll come across the atrium into the fireside room. We'd love to talk to you about what it means to begin a relationship with Jesus.

And Father for those of us that do know you, because of your great love, because of your great mercy, because of your great grace that we can know you. Because of what you have done in and through Jesus, may we be a people of deep gratitude who humble ourselves and turn in mercy to Jesus, who will fill our lives with life and love, so that we may in turn love you well, God. And may love others well also. Because until we love you first, we can't love others best. So help us to do that by the power of your Spirit. And thank you, thank you, thank you, for the love that you have shown to us. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

More From This Series

Watching Now

The Greatest Commandment

Pastor Jerry Gillis Part 1 - May 6, 2018

Love God

Pastor Jerry Gillis Part 2 - May 13, 2018

Love the Church

Pastor Jerry Gillis Part 3 - May 20, 2018

Love the World

Pastor Jerry Gillis Part 4 - May 27, 2018

Worship Set List

I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)



Be Adored

The Chapel Worship Band


Build My Life



I'd Rather Have Jesus



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