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"Three loves and four"

Sunday, 4th September, 2005

The great commandment The new commandment  The other commandment  'commandment' Individuals Church

The great commandment

1.Mt 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.

2. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

The new commandment

3.Jn 13:34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

The other commandment

4.Matthew 5:43- 48 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


The core of our being is who or what we love. 'I think therefore I am' is not enough. Few live in isolation without wanting someone to share it. In Castaway Tom Hanks has a relationship with a volleyball because he needs to relate.

So who or what do you love and how do you do it?

Jesus, the perfect man, had a fully developed and balanced personality. How? Because he loved fully and properly.

What did he say about it? What did he do about it?

1.Love the Lord your God with all...

Forget your reaction to the word commandment. Jesus is telling you what it means to be fully human. To be fully human you must have a right relationship with God. You must have God as your first love. So lets ask ourselves some questions. If God is your first love, how does your love for him affect your pocket ? That is not just a question about whether you're giving 10% or not, its about how you spend all of your money. "'Love the Lord your God with all....

What about your work? Is it a means of earning, of status, satisfaction or is it part of your worship? "'Love the Lord your God with all ......

So that means your time when you are off work as well. The Psalmist said Psalm 63:6 On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. 'Love the Lord your God with all ...... Has to mean 24/7. I struggle with that. I like to have my time out to do as I please. But 'Love the Lord your God with all ......

'Love the Lord your God with all your heart.' That involves both emotion and intellect. Hebrew thought was seen as with your heart, emotions happened in your stomach. 'Love the Lord your God is a matter of considered conscious effort not just an emotional action. I choose to love God, so I choose his moral standards, I choose to make him central to my life. When you say "I love you, Lord" its not just "I feel good about you" but also I will do as you choose. I choose God's way. I reject idolatry, celebrity culture, and the like. I turn away from other gods whether they are sex, money, fame, or security .I choose to spend Sunday with God and not working. I respect those in authority. I turn away from hatred, lust, sex outside marriage, dishonesty and covetousness. 'Love the Lord your God with all ...... means all Christians all full-time Christian workers and fulltime disciples. If you think this is likely to get over the top listen to these words: Matthew 10:37-38 "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

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2. Love your neighbour as yourself.

That speaks of a direct challenge to my selfishness. If I like say to be invited round for a meal, then I must be a host and invite my neighbour round for a meal. If I want you tell someone about my experiences, I must listen to others telling me about their illnesses, their family problems, their holiday pictures. If I like encouragement, I must give encouragement. And so on. Jesus is saying that what I want for myself, I must give to others.

We must move on because it is "three loves and four"

We have considered the Greatest commandment and the second commandment Now we look at the The new commandment
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3. Love one another. As I have loved you,

so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." Jn 13:34

At its heart is the sentence 'As I have loved you, so you must love one another.' This is the standard of love for one another. Why does Jesus introduce a new commandment when we are already commanded to love our neighbour as we love ourselves? Because he wants us to understand the special relationship that we have as Christians. We are loved by God and God -Jn 3:16-

The measure is As I have loved you, so you must love one another. What did Jesus do? WWJD? That is the guiding principle of our fellowship. Read the gospels and look how Jesus treated people, to what lengths he went for them. Then copy Jesus. That means we should, if necessary, die for our brothers and sisters in Christ. It certainly means praying for them. Checking up that they are all right. Taking time to be with them at house group even if tired, to refresh them rather than just refresh myself.

So what is our fourth love?
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The other commandment

4.Love your enemies...that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.

Love your enemies. First recognise your enemy! Then love him!

So if you fear the rise of Islam, love a Muslim!

If you hate teenagers hanging round the streets, love them!

If asylum-seekers are a threat, love them!

Hold on, I don't mean have a vague feeling, even just pray, Jesus meant DO SOMETHING !

The solution to the wars in this world is here. The solution to all hatred and bitterness.

Three loves and four is the Jesus way to heaven on earth - love God, love your neighbour, love one another and love your enemy.

But before you say, I don't have enemies. Consider this. David was Saul's enemy. Yet he was his son-in-law and his son's best friend. Why was he an enemy of David? Because he was jealous. Because he harboured bitterness. Jesus calls us to love those we are jealous of. Those we are bitter about. So love your enemies means that when ever you sense anger about how someone behaves in the fellowship, jealousy because they seem to have all the attention, Jesus is calling you to let go of your anger, your jealousy and your bitterness and find a way to act in love towards that person. The healing comes from forgiving, and loving.
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Lets think about the word 'commandment' for a moment. There are two reasons why you respond to a command. One is fear. That is why you slow down when you see a speed camera. That is how we persuade people not to steal, or abuse or murder. We say if you do we will punish you. Our legal system is based on fear of punishment and rightly so. In regard to God, fear is what made us try to obey the 10 commandments. However try as we might, we fail. But Jesus does not command us out of fear. He died for you to take the punishment and the guilt away. He calls you to obey his commands out of love for him. A song from Oliver describes how this works in human relationships. - "I'll do anything your you dear, anything, Oh, I'll do anything for you."

So we are not called to love or else. We are called to love because we are loved. We are under compulsion not because failure brings retribution but because we want to see a smile on the face of God, to express our love for him in some way because we are passionate about Jesus.

It is out of these commandments that our purpose as individuals and as a church derive.

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It is because we love God that we spend time with God everyday.

It is because we love our neighbour that we are committed to evangelise them.

It is because we love one another that we meet together and have fellowship.

It is because we love our enemies that we respond differently to aggression, abuse and threats.

It is because we love we seek to develop the gifts God gives us so that we can serve him and others effectively.
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As a church, because we love God we meet to worship him. The quality of our worship is the best we can bring because we want to love him with all....

We as a church are committed to evangelism and to the community because we have been taught to love our neighbour.

As a church we meet together in a variety of ways to have fellowship, to love one another as Jesus loves us.

As a church we are deeply committed to the Word of God, poring over it to understand God's love and will so that we may better obey and serve him. We learn together not to be experts in bible knowledge but to be experts in Christ likeness. we are disciples interested in discipleship.

As a church we are open to all, regardless of their background, even those who oppose us, that we might find a way to love our enemies.
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