When Jesus was asked what was the most important law in all of Holy Scripture, this was His response:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’
This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it:
‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’
These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
Matthew 22:37-40 from The Message
CBCBaltimore is: Helping people connect with Jesus, grow in faith, and share His love. Helping people take next steps in following Jesus.
Reflecting on Scriptures we discussed:
Ephesians 3:8-10 “so we can do,”
Matthew 18:15-20 “I’m there,”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “love is…”
Under every behavior there is a belief.
So let’s look at beliefs and behaviors for “Love God” and “Love Others”.
Love God – Beliefs
- God is alive, aware, Creator & King,
- always giving & forgiving,
- worthy without weakness & malice.
- God is a “rewarder” & tenacious.
- God’s love for me is better than…
- When I love God I am better than…
Love God – Practices
- Turn myself back to constant awareness of who & what He is.
- List & celebrate what He’s done for me.
- Steward what He’s given me.
- Give my focus/energy to Him.
Love Others – Beliefs
- We’re created in His image.
- There’s a reward.
- We represent Jesus.
- Results are up to Him.
Love Others – Practices
- Choose Courageous Generosity
- Available for Intentional Relationships
- Share Life
Love Gives – Personal Results
- Intimacy with God
- Community with Insiders
- Influence with Outsiders
Here’s a prayer that we can pray asking God for help:
“Dear God, please forgive me for the times that I have not loved the way that you do. Help me dream big & think small. Give me the grace to love You & others more all the time.”
Carve out time to read Jesus’ words recorded in John 15:1-17.
Okay, now read those words again slower.
Jesus’ speaks of “abiding”…or we could say, “remain in me”, or “stay”. He speaks of an ACTIVE CONNECTION with Him. Jesus’ refers to something that requires a decision from us…an intentional turning ourselves back to Him…a staying in His presence…a constant awareness of Him. This isn’t a passive thing on our part. It’s an active thing. It’s not like a “set it and forget it” wifi setting on your phone or tablet.
What is the emphasis of His words here? “Stay in Me.”
What results come of this?
v 4 “I will remain in you,”
v 5 “produce much fruit,”
v 16 “lasting fruit,”
v 7 “My words remain in you,” answered prayer
v 10 “we will obey His commandments,”
v 11 “overflowing joy, so that My joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full,”
v 17 “love each other”
v 14-15 “friend of God,”
Carve out some time to write out how you can “remain in Jesus”. How do we do that?
Try asking yourself a few questions, such as, “What do I believe about…?”
- Jesus is…
- Jesus’ life on earth means ____ to me.
- Jesus’ death on earth means ____ to me.
- Jesus’ resurrection means ____ to me.
- God’s love for me is ____.
- God’s love for me means ____.
- An active connection with Jesus brings me ____.
Results of this active connection with Jesus: salvation from Hell, eternity in Heaven, forgiveness of sin, freedom from sin, “fruit” (positive results in my life) that last, and a purpose for every day in my life.
If I truly believe these things it should be easier for me to do the following, in pursuit of an active connection with Jesus: make time, turn back to Jesus’ believing that He forgives, read about Him, reflect on what you read & what He’s done, write out what you believe and what He’s done, memorize Scripture and then pray it, celebrate the good that God has done in your life, and tell someone else about it.
Consider these words from Hebrews 12:
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joyawaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
14Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.
15Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
Jesus said, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:16-17
Here’s a prayer to use:
“Dear God, please forgive me for the times that I have not kept an active connection with you. Give me the grace to remain in You. Help me dream big & think small to strengthen my relationships.”