Jesus answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.
Matthew 22:37 (CEV)
Note from Kip..
But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7 (NLT)
Let’s do something a little different today. I want to because what we do everyday simply doesn’t seem adequate to the task at hand.
The opening passage is taken from the account where the Pharisees were attempting to snare Jesus into a corner. See they were the scholars of the time. They felt no one understood God as well as they did.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)
Jesus also criticized these same people for washing the out side and making it look acceptable while leaving the inside filthy and unfit.
Question Your Love
So today lets question our love. Not because I want us to feel bad. Pointing fingers to attempt to single out those who are less loving than the next.
No, I think there isn’t any of us that loves up to the potential we can, or even to the potential we should.
I firmly believe, that when Paul said:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 3:23 (HCSB)
That he would have been just as correct if he had written, “For no one has loved in the manner God desires us to, we have all failed to love as Jesus loves us.”
Of course Paul didn’t write that. However, Jesus did say:
He said to him, “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind., This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 22:37-39 (HCSB)
This of course was Jesus responding to those Pharisees, when the asked him about the greatest commandment. Jesus gave them a two for one deal.
And perhaps the first bible verse we all learned was John 3:16.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 (NLT)
I do enjoy how Jesus played with us in this quote of Him. God so loved. And who is God? Well it was God the son talking, so He in fact was talking about Himself. I often wonder if when He put things like this out there, if He wouldn’t look about those He was talking to see if they had caught on to the verbal puzzle he’d presented to them.
I think this especially so when he was explaining that no one can see God, but if they had seen Jesus then they had seen God. Oh and I an my Father are one.
Yeah, those had to really have some heads spinning if they were truly listening.
Back to John 3:16, He so loved the world, the one that He had created by the way, that he was willing to to sacrifice Himself to have a life with us eternally. That’s some pretty powerful love.
Are we returning that love? Question it, seriously. If your answer is yes then I am going to have to challenge you because there is no way possible that we can return the love He’s graced us with, in kind. The best we can do is but a token of that which he gives us.
Later in John Jesus throws another curve ball at us when He doesn’t just suggest but commands that we love each other.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
John 13:34-35 (NLT)
Don’t skate by it. Do we? Really love each other as Jesus loves us? If so, just how many folks know you are a ‘disciple’ of Christ Jesus? How many?
Because Jesus makes it clear here that if you do love this that your love for each other will prove to the world that you are His disciples.
And discipleship is about love and love is about discipleship. Who was the last person you discipled? Because if you really are a disciple, which is the one who follows and imitates to learn from the one being followed, then you’ll do what Jesus does which is make disciples of those who come to believe. Say nothing about evangelizing the lost. We don’t because we don’t love them enough to care. I’m sorry to be so brash, but it is the truth. If we are capable of drawing breath we can disciple others and we don’t because we simply do not love as He loves us!
It’s our questionable love.
“Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
John 14:21 (NLT)
Here is another quote from the mouth of the Lord. This one hurts if we take it to heart. Obedience is a demonstration of love for the Master. How obedient are we?
Jesus asked Peter, “Hey Pete! do you love me sacrificially?” Peter came back and said “Lord, I love you like a brother”. Jesus responded to Peter telling him to feed His lambs.
Jesus followed this up asking Peter a second time if he loved Him sacrificially. Peter’s response was a bit more animated but he said the same thing, I love you as a brother!
Jesus comes back to Peter a third time asking, but this time Jesus uses the term that Peter kept repeating to Jesus regarding brotherly love. Peter responds,
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
John 21:17 (NLT)
Peter later finally got the drift and responded to the love of His master with the sacrificial love that Jesus was calling him to. But it took some dings in the fender to get on that road.
So it is with us. We say we love Jesus. But what do we mean by that? How much do we love Jesus? Is it like Peter here with brotherly love? Or is it that sacrificial love that Jesus was pointing to?
Remember, Jesus said ‘if’ you love him, you will follow His commands. So question your love. Are you following all the things He calls us to or just a few select ones that are easiest for us?
The Great Commission isn’t a proclamation for pastors and missionaries. It was given by Jesus for you and I. It’s intended to transform the life of every follower of Christ. We all are to obey it.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
Be a disciple. Be a disciple maker. Teach these new disciples to obey ALL the commands Jesus has given to us. Foremost to Love, remembering that discipling is a demonstration of our love. We imitate that which we cherish.
Question your love!