The reason people heard Jesus differently was this—Jesus wasn’t sharing advice but he was revealing the truth.
“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. 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.’ ”
Why are these two commandments the most important?
Love is the most powerful and pure motivation in any relationship!
God always thinks, speaks, acts and wills by love. (1 John 4:16)
“…God is love…” 1 John 4:16
We are most like God when we love.
1 John 4:19
“We love because he first loved us.”
2 Corinthians 5:14
“For the love of Christ controls us…"
1 John 4:11
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
1 Corinthians 16:14
“Let all that you do be done in love.”
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Love clarifies our priorities!
Love God like no other.
What does it mean to love God with all your heart, will, mind and strength?
First, to love God with all means to love Jesus.
“Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.’ ”
Second, to love God with all means to obey him.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Third, to love God with all means he occupies a place of affection that supersedes and permeates every other affection.
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
Love others like God loves you.
1 John 4:7
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”
1 John 3:10–11
“By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”
1 John 3:23
“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.”
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
As one theologian put it, “It is like taking the skin off of your own body and wrapping it around your neighbors.”
Love is the only motivation that truly glorifies God.
- Keeping God’s commandments without loving Him is legalism.
- Loving God without keeping His commandments is deception.
1 John 4:19–21
“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
- Keeping God’s commandments while loving Him is life.
1 John 5:1–5
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
How can we love God and others like these words instruct us?
When we know the love of God we are able to love like God.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”