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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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matthew

It All Hangs On Love

Matthew 22 37_40

Yesterday we discussed the same passage as we will briefly discuss today. Today our focus will be on the last sentence of the passage. What does it mean that all the law and the prophets hang on those two greatest commandments?

It’s a pretty visual and simple illustration Jesus used, really. Just picture a rack entitled, “love.” On the rack there are two pegs, “The Law” and “The Prophets.” Now picture what happens if there is not a rack entitled “love.” Got that? The pegs fall to the ground if they are not attached to a rack. Jesus was just illustrating that all of God’s expectations concerning His moral law can be met if we just do two things: Love God and love each other.

We can take a look at the Ten Commandments to illustrate how loving God and loving one another roll everything up within them. These are paraphrased in a short form, incidentally.

  1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy
  5. Honor your Father and Mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

If we love God with everything we have, then the first four Commandments will be the natural result. If we love our neighbor, then the last six will be the natural result.  If you carry this to its ultimate conclusion, there is really nothing God expects of us which could not be found in one of the Ten Commandments; we could say they have many unspecified subcategories. And The Commandments can be further reduced to two: Love God and love each other. Love.

All of God’s moral law does hang on Love. If we really do love God with our all, and each other with our all, then the natural outflow of keeping those two commandments will be doing the things God wants us to do. If we fail in either of those two areas, then we will be unable to meet any expectations God might have of us.

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Is it I, Lord?

Matthew 26_22.JPG

In chapter 22 of the Gospel of Matthew, we see one of the accounts of the Last Supper; we see the last Passover feast to be celebrated by Jesus before His crucifixion. Most readers will recognize this as the institution by Jesus of our current celebration of the Lord’s Supper. This, however, is not really a post about that, but something else.

Jesus had just announced in this passage that one of the disciples would soon betray him:

Matthew 26:21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

The reaction from the men present was very telling, and I think we can learn some things from it. Immediately, they all began to wonder out loud who the betrayer was to be; isn’t that interesting?

No one had ANY clue that Judas Iscariot was to be the betrayer. If there had been something amiss with that fellow, instead of wondering if they were the one, all of the disciples would have immediately pointed fingers at him! They, however did not. Friends, we don’t know the state of another’s heart, as only God does. False converts and even outright evil can lurk in our midst and we may never know. Does that mean we start trying to hunt down those folks? No, it does not; again, we can never know nor are we to even try to know that. What it means is we need to preach to ourselves. There is a reason why(hopefully) the Gospel is preached in our churches week after week. If we are preachers and teachers, the clear Gospel message should remain an integral part of our teachings…always.

Now, let’s move on the the other disciples. Paul taught us this:

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

A bit of self reflection never hurt a soul. Are we secure in the salvation of Jesus Christ? Have we accepted and believed on the complete payment He made for us on the cross of Calvary, or are we thinking that somehow we have worked our way to God’s grace by our own efforts, and because we look the Christian role? We all know, deep inside, that we are simply sinners in need of somebody to pay what we can never pay, except with our own lives and souls. I have to think that even the disciples understood that in and of themselves they were sinners, and concerned that they would fail their Lord given the opportunity.

It doesn’t hurt for us to always remember that we are all sinners; some are simply saved and forgiven sinners….and some are not.

 

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