From the Pastor's Pen
Sermon Notes February 4, 2018
TEXT: Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Matthew 22:34-40; SERMON: The Summary Of Life
WHAT DOES THE LAW REQUIRE OF US?
Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22 –
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. 1 This is the great and first commandment.
And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. 2
On these two commandments depend all the
law and the prophets.
1. Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Matthew 22:34-40
2. Leviticus 19:17-18
TEXT: Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Matthew 22:34-40; SERMON: The Summary Of Life; DATE: February 4, 2018;
God gave his chosen people Israel commandments to live by. They struggled keeping them and often rebelled against Him. When reading through the Old Testament we marvel at Israel’s wishy-washiness towards God and we marvel at God’s mercy toward Israel.
How could a people so loved by God, and who experienced His great power & grace, rebel against Him and His Word?
Before we look for the answer we need to ask ourselves the same question: How could we who are so loved by God, and who experience firsthand His saving grace, rebel against Him and His Word?
The answer is frightening easy, we are no different than Israel of old in that we take God and His Word for granted.
God gave the Ten Commandments to Israel as blessings that would lead to fulfilled lives. But, often the people of God saw the Commandments as barriers to their happiness. In other words – God and His Word got in the way.
We, like Israel of Old, face a brutal truth, it is impossible to faithfully obey God’s Commandments on our own power. For that reason God the Father sent His beloved Son to fulfill the Law on our behalf’s.
(2 Cor. 5:21) “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Jesus took all the Commandments of God and trimmed them down to just two:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, 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.
LOVING OUR GOD: >>>>>>>>>>>four power packed words: Love, Lord, God, our,
We are to love the Lord our God
●Lord = Master
●God = Sovereign
♥love . . . (John 14:15) “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
>>> with all our hearts . . . Loving God is a heart issue . . . (Is God our treasure?)
(Mt. 6:21) “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
>>> with all our souls . . . . Loving God is a reflection of our souls [some people sell or
exchange their souls for worldly riches only to find out they have been scammed by Satan] (Mt. 16:26)
>>> with all our minds . . . Loving God is renewing our minds so we can prove what
is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God as found in Romans 12:1-2.
Before we can love properly we have to love the Lord our God who enables us to love Him and love others through Jesus.
The truth of the matter is, we love God because He first loved us – (1 John 4:19)
LOVING OUR NEIGHBORS:
Down through the ages both secular and religious people have been asking “who is my neighbor?” The reasoning behind this question has remained the same down through the ages – we prefer to choose the neighbors we desire to love.
This of course flies I the face of Christ’s teaching on love, especially that of keeping the second most important commandment in life: “loving our neighbors as ourselves.”
The Apostle Paul builds on Christ’s teaching when he wrote to the Romans, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. . . . Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)”
In some ways it is harder to love our neighbors than to love our God!
Have you ever felt like giving a person a piece of your mind?
Figuratively speaking, have you ever felt like wringing someone’s neck?
Have you ever felt like kicking someone in the butt?
As tempting as these actions are we must resist them as Christians, because we are called to love our neighbors – whoever they may be.
So what does it actually mean to love our neighbors as ourselves?
Whatever we do to maintain or enhance our individual lives we must be willing to do the same things for our neighbors. Wow, that’s a tall order to fill. Who does God think He is anyway? God.
Jesus even takes this love a big step further (Mt. 5:43-44) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, ‘love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you.’”
We must remember that before we were born again through Jesus Christ’s redeeming blood we were enemies of God. That in of itself should motivate us to love as we ought to love.
LOVING OUR FAMILIES:
Before we can love properly we have to love the Lord our God who enables us to love Him and love others through Jesus, especially our families
Remember that keeping God’s Word is a heart issue.
(Deuteronomy 6:6) “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.”
(Deuteronomy 6:7) “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk to them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.”
How important are our loved ones to us?
How important are our neighborhood children to us?
♥diligently teaching . . . [carefully] . . . [persistently]
♥talking with them in our homes . . . [turn the television off]
>>>At one time families sat around tables to eat and talk together. Those days are
long gone. We need to ask ourselves: how can we bring that back in today’s fast
paced world? Are we willing to bring neighborhood children into our homes to
share our hospitality and above all the Gospel with them?
♥talking with them while walking . . .
People no longer walk. In fact most people will jump into a vehicle just to drive a
block or two rather than walk it.
You can learn a lot about a person by just walking with them for a spell.
(Disciples walking with Jesus on the Emmaus road – “Luke 24:13-35”) “Then He said to
them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all the prophets have
spoken (Luke 24:25)”
● foolish ones . . .
● slow of heart to believe . . .
How often are we like the Disciples of old to whom Jesus called “foolish ones” and
“slow of heart to believe?” Once again we see it is a heart issue.
♥talking with them before bed and when they wake up . . .
When I was a child growing up in a Christian home, my mother would read bedtime Bible stories to me before I went to bed. Then come morning my grandmother, who we lived with, would read Bible verses to me. Thus when I went to sleep I had the Bible on my mind, and when I woke up I had the Bible welcome me to a new day.
Children today are in desperate need of hearing God’s Word, especially before going to bed so that their minds and hearts could be influenced by It.
Let us go forth loving the Lord our God
with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with
all our minds, and with all our strength.
And just importantly, let us go forth loving our neighbors as yourselves.
Grace Covenant Ministries
“We are a Covenant people, impacting a broken and hurting world with the Christ of redeeming love”
From a Biblical perspective the statement above identifies “who we are,” “the work we are called to do,” and “the means by which the work will be accomplished.” In stating these three areas, the Collegiate Consistory has created a mental picture or vision of what the work of Grace Covenant Ministries is all about. A brief explanation of each area follows.
“We are a Covenant people”
A covenant is an agreement/promise between two parties. Generally, these are bilateral agreements which are binding on both parties. There are, however, promises God made with His people that are unilateral—binding only on Himself. History reveals that God is a covenant making God, but also a covenant keeping God. He never breaks his promises. A few examples follow:
- To Noah He promised never again to destroy the world by flood (Gen. 9:12-17)
- To Abraham He promised to bless his descendants and make them His own special people (Gen. 12: 1-3)
- To Moses He promised “--out of all nations you will be my treasured possession--a kingdom of priest and a holy nation” (Ex. 19: 5-6)
- To David He promised that he and his descendant would be the royal heirs to the throne of the nation of Israel (2 Sam. 7: 12-16)
- To us He promises a “new covenant” under which we are justified by God’s grace and mercy because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Hebr.8: 8-12 and Acts 2:29-39
Jesus said when eating the Passover meal at the Last Supper with His disciples, “this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). This covenant is intended for all mankind--every man, woman and child, regardless of race. As believers in Christ we are redeemed “children of promise” (Gal. 4: 28 & Rom. 9:8. We are heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). We are a Covenant people.
“--Impacting a broken and hurting world”
The word “impacting” means leaving a deep impression or having a compelling effect on something or someone. Impacting causes change to occur. It leaves the target of its focus different than it was before. As covenant people we are called to impact a broken and hurting world. It requires us to be catalysts of change, instruments used by God to make a difference in the world. Impacting implies that differences come when connections are made. We are called to be imitators of Christ (Eph. 5:1) with a goal of pleasing Him. Compelled by His love we are to care about those He cares about, and to love those He loves. We have been reconciled to God through Christ who has extended to us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5: 18-20). As His ambassadors we are, through word and deed, to make a difference in our lost and need world. There must remain, in the wake of our presence and efforts, a positive impression and a compelling difference. Christ is the answer. It is He who redeems, it is He who brings new life, and it is He in whose name we serve.
“--with the Christ of redeeming love.”
Scripture records various names and/or titles used in reference to Christ. Each name, with its special meaning, helps us answer the question, “Who is ‘the Christ’?” A few references follow:
- In the prophecy of Isaiah (7: 14) he is called Immanuel, meaning “God with us.”
- The Gospel of Matthew (1:21) records that Mary was to give her new born son the name Jesus, meaning “Savior.”
- Matthew (16:16) also records that during his public ministry Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ (meaning Immanuel) the Son of the Living God.
- In the Gospel of John (4: 25-26) Jesus tells a Samaritan woman the he is the Messiah, meaning “The Anointed One.”
The names help us understand that Christ is The Anointed One who is with us always. He is Jesus, our Savior who seeks and saves those who are lost. His love led him to Calvary’s cross to purchase our salvation. It is He who we must make known. It is His story of redeeming love that we are to tell.