October 11, 2017

The Entire Bible is Found in One Word - ‘Love'

INTERESTING FACTS : "Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote."
 
George Jean Nathan - Clifton Fadiman, The American Treasury, 1455-1955, p. 344 (1955). [1]
 
Daily Reading : MATTHEW 22 - 23
 
TEXT : Matthew 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  22:38 This is the first and great commandment.  22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
 
THEME : Love
 
Matthew 22 
 
This chapter is a continuation of Christ's discourses in the temple, two or three days before he died. His discourses then are largely recorded, as being of special weight and consequence. In this chapter, we have,  I. Instruction given, by the parable of the marriage-supper, concerning the rejection of the Jews, and the calling of the Gentiles (Mat_22:1-10), and, by the doom of the guest that had not the wedding-garment, the danger of hypocrisy in the profession of Christianity (Mat_22:11-14).  II. Disputes with the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes, who opposed Christ,  1. Concerning paying tribute to Caesar (Mat_22:15-22).  2. Concerning the resurrection of the dead, and the future state (Mat_22:23-33).  3. Concerning the great commandment of the law (Mat_22:34-40).  4. Concerning the relation of the Messiah to David (Mat_22:41-46). [Matthew Henry][2]
 
Matthew 23 
 
The character of the scribes and Pharisees, and directions to the people and the disciples to receive the law from them, but not to follow their bad example, Mat_23:1-7. The disciples exhorted to humility, Mat_23:8-12. Different woes pronounced against the scribes and Pharisees for their intolerance, Mat_23:13; rapacity, Mat_23:14; false zeal, Mat_23:15; superstition in oaths and tithes, Mat_23:16-23; hypocrisy, Mat_23:24-28. Their cruelty, Mat_23:29-32. Their persecution of the apostles, etc. Their destruction foretold, Mat_23:33-36. Christ's lamentation over Jerusalem, Mat_23:37-39. [Adam Clarke][3]
 
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "The Entire Bible is Found in One Word - ‘Love'"
 
Jesus taught that to love is the entire law and prophets.  It is much like an old-fashioned clothesline.  You have two pulleys that hold a  rope of a certain color and thickness.  Then, you hang all the clean clothes, still wet, out in the fresh air to dry.  This sight was common in the neighborhoods where I grew up.  All the women hung their clothes out to dry in the open air.
 
Thus, it is with love.  On this one attribute of God - that is also imparted to Man - everything is built. All of life,  all that is good, and all you read in the Bible is founded on love.  Without love, one cannot be certain they really are a follower of Christ.  That is to say, if you do not love God with your heart, intellect, and emotions (emotions and feelings are part of the  soul) you cannot properly say that you are a Christian.  This also includes the use of your body.  You are taught not to use your physical body for sinning such as we find in the sexual promiscuity.
 
Jesus also teaches that love of your neighbor is second only to the first commandment, which is to love God.  In point of practice, loving one another is not only more difficult - since God is perfect, but also is more frequent.  This is because unlike God we see each other and talk to each other etc.  almost constantly.  On the other hand, God cannot be seen.   Thus, God is easier to love because He is perfect and unseen, and loving each other is harder because people are sinful, selfish, and prone to rebel against God and Man.
 
Therefore, the primary challenge is in our attitude, actions, and even our thoughts to one another.  This becomes the litmus test of true Christianity.  If we do not love one another, we do not love Christ.  Jesus said -
 
Joh 14:21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Joh 14:22  Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Joh 14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. Joh 14:24  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
 
Based on these words of Jesus in the Gospel according to John the true test of a Christian is obedience to Jesus.  Notice in verse 24 that Jesus says those who do not love Him do not keep His sayings.  This begs the question, what did Jesus command?
 
Joh_13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
 
Joh_15:12  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
 
Joh_15:17  These things I command you, that ye love one another.
 
Thus, there can be no confusion about what Jesus requires.  These simple instructions are easy enough for even a young child to understand.  How then is it that so many professing Christians  lack this salient quality?  It is fair to say that anyone who has read the Bible or heard it - even once, would you know what they are to do.  The instructions of Jesus on which all of the New Testament and the Old Testament - that is, the entire Bible - is built, are simple, uncomplicated, and straightforward.  No one could miss it.
 
If Jesus' teaching is so simple, why do not people obey?  The same may be said of the Old Testament since the same characteristic of loving God and loving one another is found there as well.  The answer is as simple as the command.  Man is sinful and selfish from birth.  It is in Man to love only himself or herself.  This is human nature.  Thus, Jesus came to redeem us from sinning, but in order to do this you must put away your selfishness.  How is this done?
 
It is accomplished by the crucifixion of the old nature, and the renewing of the mind in the new nature.  In other words, you must die to yourself and live, not only for God (which once again, is easier than loving people - including another professing Christians) for the sake of the Gospel.  This means, every day you are alive after you have met Jesus you dedicate yourself to the Glory of God.  Further, the Glory of God is seen by the world in how Christians treat one another.  This is understood in the following verses.
 
Joh_13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
 
Joh 15:8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. Joh 15:9  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. Joh 15:10  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
 
It does not matter what Christian leaders say about how your town, city, or community will know your Church is alive and well.  Nor does it matter what the "experts" say about how the community will define or decide you are truly a follower of Jesus Christ, a relevant minister, or ministry.  It only matters what Jesus says.  He, and He alone, is the final authority.  He is God, come in the flesh.  You must listen to Him before you listen to his professing leaders, writers, authors, speakers, teachers, Christian leaders etc. 
 
Jesus said if you love Him you will do what he says.  He tells you to love the brethren.  This is all that matters.  Jesus is the Word of God.  The entire Bible is found in the word "love." To love then becomes the chief aim of life.

  • [1] Cited in the American Freedom Library. Orem, Utah: Western Standard Publishing Company, 1998.
  • [2] Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. Public Domain, [1662 - 1714].
  • [3] Adam Clarke LL.D., F.S.A. Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible. Public Domain, 1715 - 1832.
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