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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

It’s a Matter of the Heart -- Part 2

                     Part 1 can be seen at sandrakingministries.com if you are interested.

Jesus has taught in the temple, cleansed His Father’s House, resurrected Lazarus from the dead, healed the blind and the lame. Throughout all of this, some of the Jewish religious leaders were trying to trap Jesus to accuse Him of disobeying the Law and hence God. One of the Pharisees asked Jesus a question. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? Matthew 22:36 (see also Mark 12:28; Luke 10:27) If Jesus answered incorrectly, they would have accomplished their goal because every commandment of God is important, and the Israelites were required by God to obey all the Law. Perhaps these teachers of the law wanted Jesus to choose the law of the Sabbath, or circumcision, or of sacrifices so they could prove that Jesus is a fraud. All commandments in the Word were given by God and were to be obeyed.

Two Greatest Commandments – Dt.6:5; Mt.22:37;Mk.12:30;Lk.10:27

Jesus. who is the Word of God brought to life in the flesh and pure, perfect wisdom, chose correctly. He quoted Deuteronomy 6:5-6, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. This is the great and foremost commandment.” It is a matter of the heart, not ritual. The heart maintains our physical life as well as our spiritual life. Why did Jesus call this scripture the most important? If we love God first with all our heart, we will obey the second great command, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:39 Jesus reduced the hundreds of laws in the Older Testament to these two and said, “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Godly love holds God’s people together, not ritual or works.
Love is how God reigns in the hearts of humans because God is love. Even our love originates from Him. Love is the root of all of God’s commandments. We love Jesus because He first loved us and gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Love fulfills the Law as Jesus did on the cross. His and the Father’s love saved us from eternal death.  James 2:8 and 10 says, “If you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well….for whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”  Love for God and others is the foundation of Godlike living. Everything rests upon this! What we do for others stems from our love for God. Without love for God we won’t love others as God would have us love. Jesus told us we even had to love our enemies. Jesus’ love is a royal love – a love that is higher than ours. Love is the royal law of Christ. Whoever loves another with the love of God is doing right.
Love, the favor of God and doing the will of God are linked. Jesus put it this way in John 14:21, 23-24, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him. V21 If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent me.” V23-24 Understanding and obedience should be our goal. Jesus showed His love for His Father by obeying Him and His Word. Because of this, God said He was well-pleased with His Son. God is also pleased when we obey His Word and love others. God is also understanding of the weakness of our sinful flesh and is long-suffering, patient and kind to us and slow to anger.
            Loving God and others are a learning process. We begin by knowing God. As we learn more about God through the Anointed Word, Holy Spirit and life experiences, we should be loving Him more and thus able to love others more. Our love for others will stem from our love for God. Loving God and others would be impossible without the power of God – the Holy Spirit-- and His Word. As God helps us through our life’s experiences, our knowledge and understanding of God increases and helps God’s love grow and mature within us – in our heart, our actions, words and deeds. In Jeremiah 31:33, God told Jeremiah that He would give His people a “new heart” and a “new spirit.”  This new heart and spirit would reflect God’s heart and Spirit and please Him. True to His Word, God did this through His Son Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.
            When God, the Word/Jesus and the Spirit shaped and formed the original Man/Adam, they infused Adam with the Godhead’s love. Adam was perfect (holy) when he was created. Unfortunately, when the first Adam disobeyed God, sin entered the heart of every human because we descend from Adam and Eve. God wants to infuse His love into us once again and grow us in holiness. This takes a willing heart. Loving God is a process. As we know more about God, our love for Him should grow We were made for a deep love relationship with God – His heart to our heart.

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