Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

What Is Love? 10/23/2011
What is Love?

Matthew 12:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.
43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?
45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions

As Jesus wound his way toward Jerusalem with his disciples following him closely, those who were threatened by his ministry of grace and forgiveness continually attempted to trip him up and to descredit him so that their influence would not be lost. God's decision had been made from before the world was created that He would be gracious to fallen humanity, but humanity in its darkness and blindness could not grasp this reality.Whether it was the Herodians asking about the paying of taxes to the government, or the Sadducees challenging him concerning the resurrection, he silenced them with his questions and answers. In our text today, the Pharisees, observing as to how he had put the Sadducees to silence, sent a lawyer to Jesus to try to get him in a trap which would discredit him. Our text contains two parts, but it needs to be taken as a whole in order to be able to grasp the significance of how Jesus turned their question into a teaching moment for the Pharisees.
A question was asked by the lawyer: "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus responded by quoting from Deuteronomy and Leviticus the following: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," and added, "This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as theyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

Here are the two places that Jesus most likely was referring to.
Deut 8:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.


To the Pharisees mind, the answers that were given were right on, but maybe not what they were expecting. For they had broadened the interpretation of what these two meant to over 600 laws which were to be kept in an exacting manner. They understood the first part very well and had spent a lot of time making sure that they honored God in every detail according to their thinking, but had not understood the meaning of loving one's neighbor as oneself. They spent all the time making sure that they did not offend this holy God through not doing things as well as doing things, but had not grasped the significance of what it meant to love their neighbor as they loved themselves.


So when Jesus begin to illustrate the kindness and grace of God through opening the eyes of the blind, through making the dumb speak, through healing the leper, through raising the dead to life, through making the lame walk and through the preaching of forgiveness, they were threatened by him. And when He did some of these things on the Sabbath and when He called himself equal with God, they realized that they needed to kill him in order to protect the holiness and honor of God.

How do I feel about this statement that Jesus made? How do you feel about it? Are we as humanity able to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul and all our mind? I don't think so, for the Bible tells us so and experience tells us that we fall far short of being able to do so. From the time of the fall, mankind has loved himself in a self sufficient and self serving manner and as a result domination has carried the day. The evidence of this is that we consider people to be things to be used or disposed of for our gain and do not value them as unique creations of God whom we are given the privilege of serving. God destroyed the first world because of sin, he gave the Law to restrain and hold back sin, but even that was not able to command obedience. The flesh is weak and outward restraints and constraints were not enough to hold it in check.


The ones asking the question honestly thought that they were in the right and that Jesus was all wrong and was to be rejected and put off. Jesus, knowing this, asked them some questions which were designed to take that which they knew and understood related to the coming of the Messiah. He quoted from Psalm 110. This is how it went.

Jesus said, "What do ye think of Christ? Whose son is he?"

Pharisees, "The son of David."

They knew very well that the Messiah was coming through the line of David and could not say anything but what they said.

Jesus said, "How then does David in spirit, call him Lord, saying?" The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?"

Psalm 110:1The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

ESV Matthew 22:46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Instead of trapping Jesus, they were now trapped and they were not able to answer him. From that time on they did not dare ask him anymore questions, but they resorted to more severe methods to remove him from their sphere of power.
They were looking for the Messiah, but they had the wrong understanding of the nature of the Messianic kingdom. The decision of God to be gracious in Christ did not align with their convictions and practices.

It seems that Jesus was teaching us that without coming to recognize him as our Saviour and Redeemer, we were never going to be able to be able to properly love God and our neighbor. Of ourselves, we are unable to do so. We need the help of the Holy Spirit who would be sent on the day of Pentecost to forever indwell all those who come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ as he is revealed in the Scriptures. This is what happened and we today live in the power of Jesus Christ through this Spirit.

Living in the kingdom of God, we recognize that its nature is of serving the other in the way that God has served us. We recognize that of our own efforts we serve ourselves. But as we have been given to see how God has blessed us through forgiveness, we have been placed in His care and keeping, knowing that he will give us that which we need to keep our lives concurrent with His plans and purposes.

Illustration:
A family man who has had struggles with work lately shared with me. "I need to pray that God will give me (or not give me) in the future those things that will keep me looking up to him.

It is in this vein the we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. We do not need to be told to love ourselves, for we do that. So then, as we wish for blessings to ourselves, we also wish for blessings for our neighbor. As we do not wish trouble for ourselves, we do not wish it for our neighbor. When we are blessed, we are thankful. When our neighbor is blessed, we are glad for him and thankful to God with and for him. When our neighbor is having difficulties, we will pray that the difficulties will be used by the Lord to help them to look up or to keep looking up.



KJV Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.


Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Illustration
Yesterday I heard a pastor sharing concerning the marriage relationship, and what he said applies very well to this message. He was speaking of the importance of considering one's own responsibility in the serving of one's spouse and this statement was made. (Application was to husband and wives, but would be for all relationships)

Expectations of the other are the enemy: Listening for someone else rather than self

Fulfilling one's own obligations is the protector: Listen for self and do what the Word calls us to do.


The Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer have the same progression of duty: Love to God and Love to Neighbor. The first four three commandments command our love to God and the last seven command our love to our neighbor. In the Lord's prayer, the first part glorifies God and the last part contains our requests from Him.



The Ten Commandments:
The First Commandment.
Thou shalt have no other gods.
What does this mean?:We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

The Second Commandment.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God that we may not curse, swear, use witchcraft, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.

The Third Commandment.
Thou shalt sanctify the holy-day.
What does this mean?óWe should fear and love God that we may not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred, and gladly hear and learn it.

The Fourth Commandment.
Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother [that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long upon the earth].
What does this mean?óWe should fear and love God that we may not despise nor anger our parents and masters, but give them
honor, serve, obey, and hold them in love and esteem.

The Fifth Commandment.
Thou shalt not kill.What does this mean?We should fear and love God that we may not hurt nor harm our neighbor in his body, but help and befriend him in every bodily need.

The Sixth Commandment.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
What does this mean?óWe should fear and love God that we may lead a chaste and decent life in words and deeds, and each love and honor his spouse.

The Seventh Commandment.
Thou shalt not steal.
What does this mean?--We should fear and love God that we may not take our neighbor’s money or property, nor get them by false ware or dealing, but help him to improve and protect his property and business

The Eighth Commandment.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
What does this mean?--We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.

The Ninth Commandment.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house.
What does this mean?--We should fear and love God that we may not craftily seek to get our neighbor’s inheritance or house,
and obtain it by a show of right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it.

The Tenth Commandment.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.
20] What does this mean?--We should fear and love God that we may not estrange, force, or entice away our neighbor’s wife, servants, or cattle, but urge them to stay and [diligently] do their duty.


The Lord's Prayer: Our Father who are in heaven, Hallowed by Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses against us as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and forever, Amen.

JOY=Jesus, Others, You

May we be renewed in our minds again today through this message of the love of God toward us in Christ, and may our response be one of love to Him and love to our neighbors. We ask the Lord for this blessing not only for ourselves today, but that it may be everyone's blessing today.

In Christ's love,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 23 Oct 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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Help is on the way Isaiah 40.1.11
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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