13 March 2022 AM – Matthew 22:34-40 – Love – Scott Childs
Introduction: Read Matthew 22:34-40. Without oil doors squeak, engines freeze up, massages sting, skin cracks, drawers stick, bike chains skip, and hair clippers will not cut. The lubrication of oil is invaluable. Similarly, God’s love acts as an oil in the Christian life.
The Greek language has four primary words for love, Eros, Storge, Philia, and Agape. Eros is romantic love. Storge is family love. Philia brotherly love. Agape is God’s divine love. Only Philia and Agape are found in the NT. Today, we will be focussing our attention on God’s agape love.
Agape love is sacrificially giving of yourself to meet the needs of another, expecting nothing in return. Love is meeting the needs of another at your expense. Love is treating others as you want to be treated. [Being kind, respectful, polite, helpful, generous, etc.]. Love does not overlook sin, but humbly and tenderly confronts the sinner with the goal of helping him make things right. This love is an action, not an emotion. You can choose to love like God. Love is like oil; it makes every relationship run more smoothly.
Transition: This morning, I want to answer the question “What did Jesus say about love?” Our text does not give us a comprehensive answer, but it is very helpful.
1. Jesus said that love fulfils the law
a. The law reflected God’s character
1) God is holy, sinless, and perfect in every way.
2) The law gave man God’s measure for perfection. Reaching that perfect measure is beyond human ability.
3) Loving with agape fulfils God’s perfect requirement.
4) In reality, Jesus was saying that if you could love perfectly, you would be perfect. By loving, you obey God’s law.
b. How can that be?
1) When we meet the needs of another at our expense, we put God first, others second, and ourselves last.
2) It is impossible to love God while breaking one of His commandments.
3) In Romans 13:10, we read that “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.“
4) If we have agape love for God, we will put Him first, worship Him only and never use His name carelessly.
5) If we have agape love for our neighbour (i.e., those near us), we will obey our parents, not murder, not commit adultery, not steal, not lie, and not covet.
c. Such love is beyond our human ability
1) God is love. All true love has its origin in God. Barnes (1John 4:7) “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” (1John 4:8) “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” God first loved us. (1John 4:19) “We love him, because he first loved us.” In love, God gave His all for the sinful human race. (John 15:13) “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.“
2) Though unbelievers may sometimes display a love similar to agape, true agape love with selfless ambitions and pure motives is a fruit of the Spirit given only to believers.
3) When a sinner places his trust in Christ to save him from hell, the Holy Spirit of God indwells him. Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). When we yield to Him, He enables us to love. (Gal 5:16) “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.“
2. Jesus said that loving God is the greatest law
a. Loving God is our number one duty.
1) Jesus commanded us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. Mark includes the word, “strength”. (Mark 12:30) “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.“
2) Since love is giving of ourselves to meet the needs of another, how can we meet God’s needs? Does God have needs? No, God does not have needs, but He does have desires. He desires our obedience. Jesus said, (John 14:15) “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (Eccl 12:13) “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” God commands us to give him glory, worship him, honour him, praise him, and multitudes of specific commands. For example, (Ps 29:2) “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.“
b. Loving God fulfils the vertical commandments.
1) By vertical, I mean up and down, between God and us.
2) Loving God fulfils our duties to Him.
3) If we love God, we will do nothing that offends Him. We will do all that he asks. We will praise Him, thank Him, and worship Him.
3. Jesus said that loving others is the remaining law
a. This is the rest of our duty.
1) Jesus commanded us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves (v.39). Remember, love is treating others as we want to be treated. We have no trouble loving ourselves, but it is challenging to love others as we love ourselves. Our neighbour includes our spouse, our children, our parents, friends at church, the people who live next door, the person without Christ, or anybody in need. We must sacrificially give of ourselves to meet the needs of our neighbour, expecting nothing in return.
2) Both Paul and James repeated this command. (Rom 13:10) “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Jas 2:8) “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:“
b. Loving others is a NT theme.
1) Jesus told his disciples to love one another, John 13:34.
2) Paul urged the new believers at Thessalonica to increase and abound in love one toward another, 1Thess 3:12, and to esteem your spiritual leaders very highly in love, 1Thess 5:13.
3) God urged us in Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:“
4) Peter also promoted love. 1Pet 4:8 And above all things have fervent love among yourselves; 2Pet 1:7 add love to your faith.
c. Loving others fulfils the horizontal commands.
1) By horizontal, I mean side to side, between others and us.
2) By love, we can help, build up, and serve other Christians.
3) By love, husbands can lead, spiritually strengthen and honour their wives and avoid bitterness.
4) By love, wives can complete and respect their husbands in honour to the Lord.
5) By love, children can honour and obey their parents, bringing joy to them.
6) By love, parents can train and discipline their children in a way that they do not provoke them (Eph 6:4; Col 3:21).
7) By love, we can soften the hearts of unbelieving neighbours, enabling us to share the Gospel of Christ with them.
8) Like oil, love calms the heat and hurts of life. Without the “oil” of love, unbelievers turn from the Gospel, Christians become hypocrites, selfishness thrives, marriages break down, children rebel, friendships crumble, tension increases and peace disappears.
Conclusion: Agape love is the sacrificial giving of oneself to meet the needs of another, expecting nothing in return. Today, we have learned that agape love fulfils the law. Though it is beyond our human ability, the Holy Spirit will enable us to love as we ought. We learned that loving God is the greatest law. This fulfils the vertical commands between God and us. Last, we learned that loving others is the rest of the law. This is fulfils the horizontal commands between others and us. If we love others, we will do nothing that will harm them. We will do only what will benefit them. All of God’s commands are summed up in the command to love.
If your love for God or others has been deficient, listen again to Jesus’ words and surrender to Him today. Ask him to help you love as you ought. (Read Mt 22:37-40).