#1 Love God, #2 Love People
The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man, the roles are quite reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge; if God should have a reasonable defense for being the god who permits war, poverty, and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God’s acquittal. But the important thing is that man is on the bench and God is in the dock.”
― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics
We might call that role-reversal.
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
This lawyer first sought to test Jesus, then to justify himself.
He had it the wrong way around. Jesus does the testing and the justifying.
It’s more common than you think… judge God then justify myself.
Example: Many times a person will ask, “Why does God allow evil in the world? Why are people starving? Why is there violence?”
If God were loving, he would remove evil from the world. True.
But if God removes evil, where does he stop? I am evil and so are you. The sins of the heart are many. To God, they are the same as the actions. If I have hated someone, to God, I have killed them. If I want him to remove evil from the world then he has to remove me too.
Removal of evil is exactly what he will do.
We just get a chance to repent before he does.
Example: We’ve all done it. “Why did you allow that, God?”
Jesus asked the Lawyer,
He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”
Then the lawyer gives the right answer. (Quotes Deuteronomy 6:5)
A smart guy.
This is the answer to the original question.
“Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
But he didn’t have the right heart.
Didn’t act on this knowledge.
Ever asked, “What should I do in this situation?”
All questions about which way to go and what to do can be answered by obeying the first and second commandments.
1. All questions are answered in the love of God.
Jesus even said…
“On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Filter your decisions like this:
The 1st COMMANDMENT:
1. Love the Lord your God by being loyal to him above all else. heart
- bow to nothing else (white road)
- “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
“Laying up treasures in heaven will draw the heart heavenward.”
― George Muller
2. Love the Lord your God in who you think you are. (identity). soul
- You can see where your identity lies when you loose something.
“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t…
He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
3. Love the Lord your God with everything you’ve got. strength
*** Strength is relying on God. Weakness is relying on yourself. ***
Endurance in times of trouble.
Example: “I don’t feel good here, so I’m leaving.”
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had…”
4. Love the Lord your God with all your thoughts and meditations. mind
- the mind is what justifies what it wants.
Example: Sometimes you run into a Christian who is living in sin but has used their mind to rationalize their way to keep doing it.
“Everyone is doing it these days.”
You can ask a provoking question:
How is your time with God? How are your prayer times?
Putting all thoughts under the Lordship of Christ
“…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:5b
“First things first.”
LGLP in that order.
Looking at decisions through that lens brings clarity and answers.
(Review) 1. All questions are answered in the love of God.
And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Why is it like the first commandment?
Love that is unselfish and unconditional.
2. Loving God births love for others
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Reminds be of someone who asked a similar question.
“Am I my brother’s keeper?” - Cain
He certainly must have felt he would come out on top.
Is the neighbor the other lawyer living next store in the fancy house?
…the priests in the temple who are receiving his generous donations?
A good question: And who is my neighbor? Jesus answers it.
30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
Jesus paints a graphic picture of the man’s neighbor.
3. Real love is unconditional
Who are they?
The undesirable, inconvenient, expensive, time-consuming people from a race who has hurt you but happens to be suffering and put in your path.
…and who can’t or won’t love you back.
Golden Rule: Treat others as you want to be treated.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests,
but also to the interests of others.”
The second commandment,
“…and (love) your neighbor as yourself.”
Then Jesus asks a question.
36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Remember: The lawyer wants to judge God and justify himself.
He knew the answer, but didn’t do it.
Knowing the truth is not enough.
Are the words of my concern matched by my actions?
“You go, and do likewise.”
4. Real love is proved by action.
Will I prove to be a neighbor to the person who suffers?
“…and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.