Love God. Love People.
February 9, 2016
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Many people are familiar with the Ten Commandments, but did you know there are actually 613 laws in the Old Testament of the Bible? Most of us cannot even name seven of the Ten Commandments, let alone summarize the mitzvot—the 613 commandments found in the Torah concerning worship, rituals, sacrifices, judgments, lawsuits, dietary laws, business, how we treat others, and more.
The good news is that Jesus, God’s one and only Son, came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17). The law served an important purpose: it pointed out right from wrong and revealed our sin.
Where there was law, there is now grace and freedom in Christ. Where there was separation between God and man because of sin, Jesus broke down the dividing wall and is “the way, the truth, and life” (John 14:6). What’s more, the Holy Spirit equips the believer to obey what Christ has instructed.
Galatians 5:18 says, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” And Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.” This means that Christians are not obligated to keep the Old Testament law in order to be saved from God’s righteous judgment, so they don’t go to Hell. We are promised everlasting life through our belief in Christ Jesus.
[Photo GotCredit on Flickr]
This is grace, the free and unmerited favor of God. But how quickly do we attempt to return to legalism? We do this by thinking our salvation is a matter of how many good deeds we accomplish. We quarrel about baptism, what kind of worship music is truly honoring to the Lord, or which commands are the most important.
Jesus settled this matter once and for all in Mark 12:28-31 when a teacher of the law asked Him a question during a debate. He asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus answered,
“The most important one is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
By quoting the Shema, the central prayer to the Jewish people found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Jesus is saying that all the laws boil down to these two commands: Love God and love people.
Every year at Shepherd Church, we have a special theme that guides the sermons, events, and everything we do. Our 2016 is “Love God. Love People.” Sounds simple enough, right? But these four words, while easy to remember, can be difficult to accomplish. We have trouble loving people in our own family who get on our nerves. Or people who look different than we do. Or people who seem downright unlovable.
This year at Shepherd as we explore this theme, we are going draw closer to the heart of God than ever before. We are going to learn what it means to love the Lord with our entire heart, soul, mind, and strength. We are also going to learn how to love not just our neighbors, but also our enemies as Jesus boldly instructed us to do in Matthew 5:43-48.
Won’t you join us? Our service times are Saturdays at 5:00 pm and 6:30 pm and Sundays at 8:30 am, 10:00 am, and 11:30 am.