When Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” He replied,
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.” Matthew 22:37-40
The Old Testament Law and the entire ministry of the Prophets can be summed up in two commands. Love God. Love Others. It is pretty amazing. And convicting.
Sometimes, I find obedience to God a pleasure. Doing the things he asks of me is a joy and I know there is no other place I would like to be. Unfortunately, in my life, there are people other than just me. They ruin things. They frustrate me. They get on my nerves. And they are often needy. If all I had to worry about was my relationship with God, things would be a lot easier.
On the other hand, people are not always so bad. And, frankly, God often requires obedience in areas where I would prefer my own way. His desires differ from mine and my stubborn spirit chafes against his direction. Just being around people, people I can see and be involved with in practical ways, can be a lot easier than having to purpose to follow God each and every day.
Jesus’ message and the message of the Old Testament, however, is that both matter. If I desire to follow after God, I do not have the option of a purely vertical relationship with him at the exclusion of those around me. I also cannot simply be the mega-servant to all around me and ignore my relationship to God. Both matter. If I want to follow Jesus, he desires that I love him and others. Both.
That is why I am so excited about our upcoming series: Love God, Love Others. Just as we saw in our study of the 10 Commandments, God is concerned with both our vertical relationship to him and our horizontal relationship with others. Over the next four weeks, we will look at four different parables that teach us about these primary relationships in our lives. We are blessed to have some gifted guys unpack the scriptures for us and I know you will not want to miss it.
July 1st – All In | Worth Any Sacrifice – Bill Ketner
The Hidden Parables – Matthew 13:44-46
July 8th – Reaching Out | Having Jesus’ Heart – Jon Bolin
The Great Banquet – Luke 14:12-24
July 15th – Counting the Cost | Planning to Persevere – Mark Duncan
Builder’s Plan/King’s War Cost – Luke 14:25-33
July 22nd – Living the Life | Meeting Others Needs – Micah Pattisall
The Good Samaritan – Luke 10:25-37
It is my prayer that over the next four weeks you will gain a better understanding of God’s love for you and learn how to love Him better. As a result of that, I pray that God will increase your love for others and that you will love them unselfishly, as He has loved us.