- Sermon Notes
You Shall Love
ILLUS – It’s the most sought after yet elusive thing every person yearns for
1. What is love?
2. Why should we love?
3. Who should we love?
4. How should we love?
5. Tonight, as we study Matthew 22:34-40, we will discover the answers to those four questions, answers which will transform our lives if we embrace the truths found in God’s Word.
1. The day after the Triumphal Entry, Jesus returned to Jerusalem and began to teach the people in the Temple. (21:23)
2. The chief priests and elders saw Him and challenged Him, asking, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?” (21:23)
3. Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?” (21:24-25)
4. After reasoning together, they lied and said, “We do not know” because they feared the people for they all regarded “John as a prophet”. (21:26)
5. So, Jesus told them three parables which were like mirrors that revealed the condition of their hearts; “The Parable of the Two Sons,” “The Parable of the Landowner,” and “The Parable of the Marriage Feast.”
6. Next, the Apostle Matthew recorded three challenges from religious and political leaders, each an attempt to trap Jesus into a making a misstep so that they had grounds to accuse and reject Him.
7. But Jesus knew what they were up to and gave them answers which, once again, revealed the hardness of their hearts and the wisdom of our Savior.
8. Two weeks ago, we studied the first two challenges:
a. The lawfulness of paying the Roman poll tax; and
b. The resurrection and a woman married to seven brothers.
9. Tonight, we will study the third test regarding the greatest commandment from the Mosaic Law.
- After Jesus silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees came back for another round of testing.
- Sure, they had been silenced earlier when they tried to trap Jesus with the help of the Herodians, but this time they brought their ace, an expert in the Law, a lawyer.
- The lawyer asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” (36)
- At first glance, this does not appear to be a tough question but, at that time, there was a raging debate about the Law.
- Jesus’ answer had the potential for creating a great divide among the Israelites.
- Here was the issue; the Ten Commandments contained 613 Hebrew characters.
- Using each of the 613 letters, the Jews categorized the Law.
- One category had 365 prohibitive laws, things that one must not do.
- The other category had 248 positive laws, things that one must do.
- After dividing the Law into two categories, they further organized the laws by giving them relative weight, meaning, some laws were “weightier” than others.
- These categories resulted in the perception that a person could focus on the “weightier” laws while ignoring the “lighter” laws.
- The only problem with this line of thinking is that if you break one law, you are guilty of breaking the entire Law!
James 2:10, For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
- Once again, Jesus amazed them with His answer because He answered their question in such a way as to cause them to consider their relationship to God, their neighbors, and even Himself!
- Jesus answered by quoting from Deuteronomy 6:4-5, known in Hebrew as the Shema; which means “to hear”. It was the centerpiece of the Jewish morning and evening prayers.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
- The Ten Commandments are divided into two tables.
o The first four relate to our relationship with God.
o The last six relate to our relationships with others.
- Jesus began with the greatest and foremost, our relationship with God, before He addressed our relationships with others.
A. God loved you first
1.Now, some people are bothered because loving God was given as a command. How can someone command love?
ILLUS – Although some have tried, and you can be sure it has not ended well.
2.But it is important to understand that we love because God first loved us.
1 John 4:19, We love, because He first loved us.
ILLUS – “I love you more!”
APPL – It’s not only that God loved us first, it’s that we are responding to His love. God is the Initiator and we are the responders.
John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
3.We must also see that God, in love, seeks to lead us in the way that is for our greatest good.
Psalm 23:1-4, The Lord is my shepherd,I shall not want.He makes me lie down in green pastures;He leads me beside quiet waters.He restores my soul;He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I fear no evil, for You are with me;Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
APPL – God knows that the very best thing for our lives, the place of greatest blessing, is for us to draw near to Him. His presence, His protection, His provision, His guidance is our good.
Psalm 73:25-26, 28, Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God
is the strength of my heart and my portion forever… as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may
tell of all Your works.
APPL – But you may ask, “How much does God love me?” Jesus revealed the answer in His prayer to the Father before He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot.
John 17:22-23, The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in
Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
Transition – In light of God’s love for us, there is only one response that is worthy of His love…
B.God deserves an “All That You Are” kind of love
1. The key word is “all”. God wants us to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and Mark adds, all our strength. (Mark 12:30)
2.I believe there is a great lesson for all of us here. I submit that the way to love God is to receive more of God’s love by embracing the truth found in His Word.
APPL – When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are receiving more of God’s love which results in more love being seen in our lives. Love obeys and bears good fruit.
John 14:15, If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
APPL – But when our relationship with God is lacking, it’s because we have moved further away from Him and His Word.
Revelation 2:4-5, But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first…
- If we, like the church in Ephesus, have fallen from our first love, then we must remember, repent, and do as we did at first.
ILLUS – When a married couple starts to drift from one another, they need to remember, return, and do what they did when they were first married.
APPL – Do you remember the zeal you had when you first came to faith in Jesus Christ?
ILLUS – Matt Redman, The Heart of Worship
Transition – If you love God, then you will…
II. Love Your Neighbor
- Jesus said the second great commandment is like the first, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Jesus was quoting from Leviticus 19:18 and the entire verse is powerful.
Leviticus 19:18, You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as
yourself; I am the Lord.
- This is a very personal verse for all of us and we need to understand its application for our lives.
A. Love others like you care for yourself
1.Please note that Jesus was not suggesting, as some do today, that we need to spend more time loving ourselves.
a.That really isn’t a problem for people.
b.In fact, the problem is self-focus, arrogant self-love, and me-first thinking; that’s what causes the problems we see in our world!
2 Timothy 3:1-4, But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful,
arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable,malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of
good,treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
ILLUS – Group photos
2.Jesus was talking about the fact that we need to care for others, even as we care for ourselves.
3.Paul relates the principle to marriage and how husbands must follow the example of Jesus, for He loves His bride, the Church.
Ephesians 5:28-30, So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no
one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.
APPL – If we love God, then we will love others.
1 John 4:19-21, We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one 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, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.B. Love as Jesus Christ loves you
1.One of our great problems in relationships is that we are all imperfect, flawed people.2.Because we are flawed and imperfect, it’s easy to fall into a terrible trap of responding in kind to each other’s failures. What I mean is…
a.If someone is nice to me, then I will be nice to them.
b.If someone is rude, then I will be rude.
c.We think the worst about others because we assume the worst about others.
APPL – Here again, we must think about God’s love for us.
- Why did Jesus love us?
- Because we are perfect? No!
- Jesus loves us with all our imperfections and flaws.
- And He commands us to love others as He loves us.
John 13:34-35, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By
this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
APPL – This kind of love is more than a feeling, it’s a heartfelt choice of the will.
Colossians 3:5, 8, 12-14, Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry… But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth… So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
APPL – We need God’s love. Through faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, we can experience God’s love.
- God’s love is powerful.
- God’s love heals.
- God’s love transforms.
- God’s love wins!
- Tonight, will you let God’s love change your life?
- Will you ask the Lord to fill your heart with His love?
Ephesians 3:14-19, For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that
He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell
in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and
length and height and depth,and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Matthew 22:34-40 NASB
34 But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 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.’38 This is the great and foremost commandment .39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”