Jesus' Favorite Rule

Struggling To Love Unconditionally? The Greatest Commandments Of Jesus

Troy Spilman
Feb 25, 2024    41m
favorite_border
FAVORITE
Are you having trouble truly loving God and loving your neighbor? This message unpacks the greatest commandments of Jesus - a guide to living with wholehearted devotion to God and others. Discover how prioritizing these two commands can radically change your perspective. Video recorded at Upland, California.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. Also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Linda Young: [00:00:21] Good morning. My name is Linda Young, and I work with the women on the Monday Night Women's Bible Study, and it's a great privilege to do that. Our scripture for this morning is Matthew 22, verses 34 through 40, "Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” This is God's word.

Troy Spilman: [00:01:28] Good morning, friends. I'm Troy, one of the pastors here, I'm excited to be able to get into God's Word with you all today. So let's just get right to it. If you look at Matthew chapter 22, just what was read, just this confrontation that takes place. Here we see that Jesus boils all the law down into just two points, just two points, he brings it all down to two points. Pick your topic, no matter what it is, that would be pretty hard to do, no matter what area it might be. Imagine how difficult it would be to be able to do this, maybe ask a pilot to teach someone all it takes to fly a 747 with two brief instructions. Right? Good luck with that. Ask a gourmet chef to prepare a seven-course meal using just two ingredients. That would be pretty hard. Or asking a scientist to describe the entire nuclear fusion process in two sentences. I don't think you could do it. Yet, Jesus takes all the content of the Old Testament law and sums it up in these two perfectly simple statements. Jesus gets right to the point.

Troy Spilman: [00:01:28] So let's get some context to these well-known commands that Jesus puts out here. This passage actually drops us right into the scene where Israel's leaders were looking to confront Jesus and trying to discount his ministry, trying to discredit him. So in chapter 22 is we'll be, verse 34, "Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Now the Sadducees and the Pharisees were two different ruling groups in Israel that didn't get along all that well. There are accounts of them, the Pharisees in particular, that they are referred to as rabbis. And this is who we hear about mostly in the gospel accounts, they're often seen as the more aggressive group trying to confront Jesus. They believed in a strict following of God's law, and they created tons and tons of additional rules that led to this hyper-legalistic atmosphere. Now the Sadducees, then functioned more as priests, often came from wealthy families, and only trusted that the first five books of the Bible, called the Torah, was truly God's Word, all else they discounted. However, they tended to have a more secular view of life. There's an old passage joke and it goes like this, so the Sadducees didn't believe in eternal life or the resurrection from the dead. That is why they are sad, you see.

Troy Spilman: [00:04:35] Now verse 34 says, "Hearing that Jesus has silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. The Sadducees tried to trap Jesus with their questions, but it just didn't pay off. The plan was to trap him by creating a hypothetical case where a woman marries a man and he dies, leaving no children. So therefore the next older brother marries as well. So the next in line, you know, the next in line out of the seven. And so that one dies with no children, so then she marries a third, and all the way down to the seventh. So the question that the Sadducees had was at the resurrection of the dead, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? They thought they had him on this. Jesus' response was simple, yet profound. He declared, "At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." The Lord is not God over the dead but of the living. And Jesus says this, you all don't know who you're talking about in the Kingdom of God, life to come, there's something else in store for the child of God on an entirely new level.

Troy Spilman: [00:05:56] So after silencing the Sadducees, the Pharisees, they want their turn. Verse 35 says, "One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Now since the Sadducees were silenced, the Pharisees stepped in with an attitude that kind of communicated you guys blew it, so we're going to have to step in, we'll take it from here. In a sense, Jesus brought these two groups together, they were brought together with a common purpose to stop him from disrupting the status quo. He was really a threat to their leadership; both saw Jesus as possibly taking away their power and control over the people.

Troy Spilman: [00:06:44] So verse 36, the question, "Which is the greatest commandment of the law?" This was really kind of one of those no-win situations, or at least that is what the Pharisees hoped. It's kind of like asking who is the greatest baseball player of all time. It's kind of like no matter who you say, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, and others, you know, or more recent names you might put out there. No matter who you choose, someone's going to probably differ with you or disagree or take issue with it. This question feels like it's one of those setups, a classic lose-lose situation. In asking Jesus to choose one of the great commandments, the hope was to make Jesus look as if he were neglecting other areas of the law. It was a setup. In principle, the leaders considered every command, all 613, in the Old Testament to be binding, and all of them were to be obeyed, not just some. Now some had the law to Sabbath be it may be of greater importance, others the law of the sacrifices, some laws about purity, or about the family might be at the top, but yet they were all binding. So here's the trap, if Jesus didn't go along with the people's practical choices here, it would be possible to stir the crowds against him and therefore claim that he's one that's like canceling out the law or knowing the law. However, if he should magnify one command over the other, they would vilify him as a rebel against the Lord's standards, so they just thought that they had him.

Troy Spilman: [00:08:24] The Pharisees were known for creating and laying out tons of arbitrary rules that became weight upon the people. In the following chapter, Jesus confronts the Pharisees and slams them with laments. He calls them, "You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel." Now the context was, it was the truth that they actually would strain out their wine, so they might not swallow an insect or a gnat that maybe slipped in and be guilty of breaking one of their dietary rules, eating something that's unclean. So it was meant to show everyone how spiritual they really were, how obedient they were. The Pharisees are focused upon trying to trap him by emphasizing one law over the other.

Troy Spilman: [00:09:12] So Jesus replied to their question about the greatest commandment by bringing it all back to the basics. What did he bring it back to? He brought it back to love. Verse 37, "Jesus comes back right at him by stating, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” He was asked for one commandment, but he gave two. However, let's be clear Jesus didn't just make up two new commandments here on the spot, he perfectly summed up all of them. All the commandments together, he basically summed them all up in these two brief statements and boiled them down to these two concepts, love God, and love others. That's what it really boils down to, that's what it came to you. If God is real in our life, it will show by the presence of our love for him, but also our love for others.

Troy Spilman: [00:10:21] Some of you might remember the W.W.J.D bracelets in the 1990s. Do you remember those? The W.W.J.D., does anyone remember what it stands for? Yeah, you got it, what would Jesus do? I remember having one of those. The idea is that, you know, what would Jesus do in any given situation? Sometimes it really did make me think about what to do if I get too much change back from the cashier, W.W.J.D. Do I put the shopping cart back into the shopping cart corral in the parking lot? No one's going to care or find me, W.W.J.D.? What would Jesus do? Do I leave an extra nice tip for the waiter who's having a hard day? And do I react when someone cuts me off on the freeway? We may be tempted to give not a very nice gesture, and then you see that W.W.J.D. bracelet hanging on your wrist and you're like, oh, maybe I shouldn't do that. But this is a call to come back to the basics.

Troy Spilman: [00:11:22] Now, there's one word in the world that generates some of the most sweetest, most exhilarating memories, and emotions, and experiences, what is it? This word is love. With Valentine's Day just a week and a half behind us, I'm sure that you made some effort to extend your love and show your love in practical ways. Maybe you bought some candy, or you had a nice dinner, maybe you had a card, maybe some flowers. Why? Because you want to show your love. From Song of Solomon to Shakespeare's Sonnets on Love, from Jane Austen to Taylor Swift's Songs, from Snow White to I Love Lucy to Princess Bride, it's all about love. And God's Word confirms that the greatest virtue that we can strive for is love. The Greek word for love is agape, it's a verb for this intelligent, purposeful, and committed love that is an act of the will. This love has a weight to it, a gravitas, it's lasting, and it is full of determination. We can't overlook the fact that the first fruit of the spirit is love, and the other fruits follow after that. As a follower of Jesus, love should be a defining characteristic for us.

Troy Spilman: [00:12:42] Now let's break this down starting with verse 37, "Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment." Okay, so the command to love our neighbor flows out of this love we have for the Lord. So we need to have the right order, we need to start with the Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. Altogether, this means that we are to love the Lord with every part of our being. To love God is not just having good feelings about him, it's more, it's more than that, for true love involves a will as well as the heart. Yes, there was love; yes, there was heart and passion, but there's also action, there's also obedience. This phrase, 'all your heart' this love refers to the core of one's being, the essence of who we really are, this is what drives us. Someone likened this to being in a state of flow, this is an exclusive love, it's all about him and him alone. It's a love where the Lord is at the center of our focus and our purpose, and it is derived from this relationship. This love involves energy and effort, it's being all in, and it's a driving force in our lives. If something has all of our heart, it gives us this focus, it's galvanizing, and all their priorities revolve around it, not the other way around.

Troy Spilman: [00:14:07] So what could distract us from having this kind of love? Well, we can be our own worst idols. Idols are basically just false gods who are set up, particularly in the ancient world, but we still have idols today that compete for our attention for God. And so for us, we made ourselves our own idols, we put ourselves in that place where we want to be in the driver's seat. We simply put ourselves as numero uno, our feelings, our agenda, our wants, our priorities, that's what really comes first.

Troy Spilman: [00:14:40] Now what does this person look like that is loving with all their heart, excited for each new day? The thought is, what is God going to do next? I remember having a roommate who had that mentality, what is God going to do next? What's next? What's around the corner? What's God going to do? There's a center of gravity based on the love for God, and this helps him keep that focus all throughout the day, there on a mission for him, a mission for the work. Where Jesus says this, and I must decrease and he must increase, so he must become less, so the Lord will become greater. May we have that same attitude. May I decrease and He increase?

Troy Spilman: [00:15:27] Okay, now, talking about all your soul, this love is connected to what we call the seat of our emotions, this is where our feelings are pulled out from, and brought to the surface. This is the love that is driven by interest and passion beyond just the facts. Connected on a soul level, like seeing my wife come down the aisle at our wedding, or seeing our children for the first time when they were born. Emotion does not create love, but when we choose to love, emotion comes along with it. A.W. Tozer says this, "Flowers and bird songs do not make spring, but when spring comes, they come with it." Feelings come with a dedication to love.

Troy Spilman: [00:16:09] King David expresses his desire to pursue the Lord through the Psalms, which we have, of course, in our Bible through Psalms, many of them are written by David. In one of them, he writes this, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. 2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" This is a passion; this is a love that comes from the soul. What idols might distract us? Well, we live in a culture that encourages feelings to have the driver's seat in our lives, we can fall into the trap of loving our feelings to dictate our spiritual life. I didn't feel like going to church today. I didn't feel like reading my Bible. I'm just not in the right frame of mind to pray. We need to be able to push through those, you need to push through those distractions and know this is a priority. I'm going to put the Lord first today, whether I feel like it or not. And what does this person look like? This person, this person is not just going through the motions, doesn't just fall into this religious routine, another week, another church service, here we go again. well, yeah, I read the Bible because I have to, you know, kind of that kind of idea. Yeah. I pray my usual prayer; I say my three sentences. This person sees life as an adventure. The person who loves the Lord will also see his life with God as an adventure and looks forward to connecting with God throughout the day, they're not just mailing it in.

Troy Spilman: [00:17:44] Then you have, to love the Lord with all your mind. This love is about our intellectual, willful vigor, and determination that carries our mental focus. This is about making a choice after considering all of our other options and then charting our course. This is where our problem-solving comes in, our sleuthing, our fact-finding, and then we purposely put all of our chips in once we make that decision. We love God with all of our minds when we make decisions daily to obey his commands, we see that he's worth it, that he's reliable, that he's trustworthy, even if my feelings might not match up with it at the moment. This love is backed up by a lifestyle that represents this deliberate priority. This love occupies our headspace, you could say, renting a room in our minds. We think about Him, we think about His promises, and we think about His Word. This is also where our imagination comes from. What would Jesus say to me today? How would he want me to handle this situation? Choosing to make the Lord a priority means that other things become less, and this becomes more. We can't do it all, and at some level, we have to figure out how best are we going to use our time, our energy, our focus, and our resources.

Troy Spilman: [00:19:06] Okay, so what idols could distract us from this? Well, there's the pride of life. We think we know what's best for us. God's warnings are maybe for others, but not necessarily for me. What does it look like to love the Lord? What does this person look like to love the Lord with all their soul, there's a laser focus on the kingdom of God, and want to make wise investments of their time, energy, and resources toward kingdom work. This is like the person that uses some of their vacation time to go on a go team or volunteer at a youth camp, that would be very calculated, right? That would be using their mind to love the Lord with all their mind.

Troy Spilman: [00:19:46] To sum it up, what does it mean to love the Lord with all of your heart, all of your mind, all your soul? One pastor put it like this, "Genuine love of God is intelligent, feeling, willful, and serving." It involves thought, focus, intent, and action when possible. God is not interested in empty words and mindless rituals, his desire is for the person in him or herself, not simply with a person has to offer. The idea here is that God loves us with his whole being, so we are to love him with all that we are as well. To love the Lord means that this relationship takes priority. Loving Him with all of our heart, mind, and soul makes it possible for us to love those around us. This love brings meaning to my love for others. What am I willing to say no to in order for this love to grow and depth and have meaning? The reality is, that in any relationship we spell love with four letters, but it's T I M E, it comes down to time. To love Him with all that we are is an investment, and it costs us, and it's of our time. I can say I love my wife, but if I don't spend much time with her. No one's buying it. You'll never hear a kid say this, I was a youth pastor for quite a few years, and I never heard a junior higher say this, I don't see my dad much at all, but when I do, boy, I got to tell you, it's quality time. Right? No, I never heard that. It's time, in the midst of the quantity of time, you get the quality of time that comes out.

Troy Spilman: [00:21:28] Love means investment in time, in a particular relationship, this reveals what our priorities really are. For the Lord, this might be time spent in prayer, time carved out in the morning digging into His Word. Time and worship, maybe I just listen to worship songs as I'm driving. Maybe I just shut down everything in my office, just for a moment, to be able to worship and put on some music. Time serving His purposes in our home, our community, and out in our world. It comes down to time. Now there are time wasters that can do just the opposite. You know how it is, if you're like me, I'm kind of a news junkie. I had to kind of put it on hold because I realized it's starting to take over. Scrolling news, and social media, leaving cable news on nonstop. Do you know someone who does that? Do you do that? Engage in doom scrolling where you're just mindless, just kind of going through. Binging on a show and watching the whole season in a weekend or maybe in a day? Do any of you do that? Let's renew our love for him. We're only capable of loving God and loving other people by first receiving His love that he has for us, so let's renew this love.

Troy Spilman: [00:22:48] First John chapter 4 says this, starting in verse 10, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us." So it's difficult to claim that we love God when we aren't loving his people, his children are so important to him. Now our family actually moved here 70 years ago from the Central Coast, and it happened actually, that when we actually got here, it was two days before EXIT83, our youth ministries Rock the Boat summer camp was taking place. Pastor Jeff reached out to us beforehand and said, hey, we will save two spots for your two oldest of your three kids so they could be a part of this camp. And it was so great, it just spelled love to us that here, you know, we're leaving a place we've been for a long time, totally moving and relocating to a new place, a new church, not really knowing a lot of people, but yet, this group, the youth ministry reached out to our kids and made sure that they were connected. They came not only to the camp, but they were connected each day, and they made new friends. When they returned, they came back home, like, I could tell that they were connected to the church now because of it. Jeff and the leaders checked on them all week. I mean, I can't even tell you how much that spelled love to me and my wife, knowing that, hey, our kids were loved on, were taken care of, were provided for, and this is a community and church that did this. Yet God had a whole new season in store for them and for us. So to show love to our kids actually showed love to us is spelled love for us. In the same way, if we love God, we will love the family of God as well, it just makes sense. It's hard to say I really love God if I hate his children, and so he wants us to be able to love not just for him, but also for his kids, where we show that love. And also those that maybe are, we would say not as kids yet, but are made in his image.

Troy Spilman: [00:25:04] Now, in verses 39 and 40, this next command flows out of the first, where we love the Lord your God. And then, here it is, "And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” There has been much confusion about what this means, love your neighbor as yourself, it doesn't mean that we must love ourselves before we can love anyone else. We already do love ourselves; the reality is that all we tend to do is think about ourselves. Even now, you might be thinking about what you want next, right? You want that donut. You want hot coffee? You are going to stop by Starbucks. We think about our needs, our timing, our hopes, etc. It means, in the same way that we care for ourselves and are concerned about our own interests, that we should have that same concern for others, for our neighbors. When we're hungry, what do we do? We get some food. We're thirsty, what do we do? We get some to drink. When we're sick, we take some meds or go to the doctor. When it's cold and rainy, I get a jacket. It just makes sense; we care for ourselves. Well, the same care that we have for ourselves he wants us to be able to have for others. We live in a self-focused culture, do we not? This is actually kind of going against the grain. When the culture says to love yourself, there's self-care and self-vacation, having a self-day. Here's a new one I didn't really know about until I started doing a little research, there's even self-dating, right? One article talked about dating yourself, I kid you not, this is the caption of it. One Hundred Fun Solo Date Ideas to Boost Self-Love. We already do love ourselves, that is just weird. Self is seen as supreme. God is calling us to do what instinctively we already do for ourselves to refocus and do for others. God is calling us to do something different.

Troy Spilman: [00:27:06] Imagine what life would be like if we had the same care for others that we had for ourselves. How revolutionary would this be? Jesus takes us to the next level and defines our neighbor as not just being those who are in our inner circle, but it includes those that we might not even consider friends, or maybe even as enemies. In Matthew chapter 5, verses 43 through 47 say, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor i and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?" So as far as Jesus, we are called to be different. Even the unbelieving world around us makes some effort to love their own, it just makes sense, but generally not those outside the normal circle, and particularly those who maybe they don't know, or are their enemies.

Troy Spilman: [00:28:15] What about those on the opposite side of the spectrum? Those who maybe vote differently, educate their children differently, and those who choose a vaccine or not vaccinate, have a different view when it comes to same-sex marriage, and the list goes on and on and on, are we willing to extend love and grace and be able to make a connection? May we be more concerned about their souls, the souls of those around us, that they're checking all the right boxes. But I think what we do, we kind of like, nope, I can't try to reach that person, they don't check all the right boxes. We want them to come to Jesus and trust that Jesus will do a fresh work in their lives, but it starts with a connection. We have to have a relationship; we have to be able to make an effort.

Troy Spilman: [00:28:58] Now, during my wife and my engagement year, we volunteered at this inner-city coffeehouse in Denver, which is kind of the crossroads of America, and so you'd have these teens that were street kids and runaways that would be there. We did this every week for pretty much a year. Now, let's say those teenagers knew so much more about tattoos, piercings, and street drugs than I ever even knew existed, the challenge was, could we actually love those who are different from us? Even those that are standoffish toward us. We often bonded over a cup of coffee, it kind of broke the ice, maybe a lively game of Scrabble, but then they would start to lower their guard, and they'll start to share about their real struggles, their hopes, their fears, the challenges they face on a daily basis on the streets of Denver were pretty wild. May we remember that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. He reached out to us and didn't just sit back and wait for us to come to him, he initiated, he came for us. Friends, we're called to be different. We're called to love those who are outside of our circle, even our world, and we're called to work to win them over. Yes, even our enemies. We're called to love our neighbor. You might say there's no stinkin' way that they will come around, you don't know who I work with or who my neighbors are. Well, first, have you really tried? Have you spent time praying for them, pleading for the Lord to have mercy and do a work in their lives? Have you prayed for an open door?

Troy Spilman: [00:30:36] Second, we're called to be faithful to what the Lord would have to do and leave the results in his hands. Well, they might not respond anyway. Well, I'm just called to be obedient and do my part. And hopefully not grudgingly, okay, I'll be nice to him, I'll hold the door open for him. No, let's see if God would do a work in our hearts, but we're called to do our part. Yes, this is a trait that has set the Christians apart. What is that trait? It's love, especially in this highly charged political environment. Have you considered giving up on an estranged family member? Maybe that disgruntled coworker? That reclusive neighbor? We need to assume that they are in your life for a reason. If they're there, we have to trust it's part of the plan. If we don't, who will? If you don't reach them, if you don't love them, and you don't care for them, who will? I'm so glad that others didn't give up on me when I wasn't yet deciding to commit my life to Christ when I actually made a lot of dumb decisions. That's why we're called lost before we come to Christ, right? We're actually lost. If you don't know which way to turn, this neighbor is in your life for a reason, seek to love them, seek to pray for them, and not give up on the fact that God can still do a fresh work in their lives.

Troy Spilman: [00:30:36] Now, my parents sent me to a private Christian school in another city because I got in trouble where I was, and they wanted to get me away from my friends. Yeah, if you're in like a ministry of a Christian school, you're like, oh, yeah, great, you've probably dealt with that before. Yet, at this school, there were teachers, a campus pastor, and coaches who reached out to me. They just spent time with me, they invested in me, and they heard my rants or my complaints, and they were patient with me. There's one coach in particular who wasn't very fazed at all, he wasn't fazed by being disgruntled, they were on a mission to do their part to love me, to hear out my frustrations. There were times I was frustrated, times I vented, times I just, you know, would express how dumb I thought this whole Christian thing was at the time. One coach always checked up on me and he wasn't fazed. I'll say, well, you want me to be like one of them. They're all a bunch of hypocrites. The coach said to me, yeah, that might be true, there might be some hypocrisy taking place there and there's no excuse for it, I'm not going to try to make an excuse. But it doesn't change the fact that Jesus died on the cross for you, Troy, and you have to choose what are you going to do. And I remember being a turning point, just in my decision-making of committing my life to Christ. Can we be that voice to others, to reach out to someone else might not be all that terribly reachable at the moment, but who knows what God would do. He continued to want me to know that I was important to him and that I was important to the Lord.

Troy Spilman: [00:33:38] Can we do that for others? There are times I'll be out in the community, and I want to do just that. I want others to know that they are valuable, they are valuable to me and have value to the Lord. Jesus commands us to love your neighbor as yourself. So how are we loving our neighbors? After we first moved into this area of the Central Coast my wife was driving not too far from our house and there was this intersection, and all the cars were suddenly slamming on their brakes and coming to a screeching halt, and people actually, like, were getting out of their vehicles. And she's like, what in the world is going on? Well, she noticed over the side there was a young man that fell out of his electric wheelchair, and it was tipped over. And so people were coming to like, rescue him, people with their cars in traffic to be able to do this, running over as a team effort to get him back up, and he was okay. It was amazing to see strangers do this. After seeing the strangers do this, when we were new here, and just in a beautiful way, we knew that we were in the right place. Like, oh, this is a sign. May the Lord open our eyes to the value of those around us, those that bear his image. He loves our neighbor so much that he sent His Son to die in their place. May we have some of that love as well to be able to extend?

Troy Spilman: [00:34:54] What does it look like to love this way? Maybe it's showing real appreciation for the cashiers, maybe at Costco, or those that mark off your receipt at the door, or those that stock the shelves, or check you out at Trader Joe's. Maybe it's holding doors open for anyone, not just those that are elderly or have disabilities, even though that's great. Not posting mean or spiteful comments on strangers' social media accounts, which Christians, we're kind of like kind of known to do this sometimes. No matter how much we disagree with them choosing to be different, maybe put some encouraging notes out there. Let's be clear this isn't about just being a nice person, it's not about just being a good guy, but it often opens a door for new opportunities to be able to point people to Jesus. I don't want you to do good deeds just to have good deeds, but I want it to be able to open a door, and I want to be able to speak truth and love to others. But oftentimes we have to show love before people receive what we might be saying about love. Yes, it's great to invite neighbors, coworkers, families, and their kids in sports events to our Easter services, and I encourage you to do that at the end of March. Of course, with the Easter service, I want you to invite. People are looking for a church. We want you to do this. We want you to be able to put it out there.

Troy Spilman: [00:36:14] But what about today? What about interacting with those that are right around you? Are you praying for them? I want people that I interact with and know that they matter to me, and they matter to the Lord. Did you know that there's no statute of limitations on turning the other cheek? One Christian leader put it this way to another, shouldn't we turn the other cheek? And their response was, well, sometimes you run out of cheeks. Well, sorry. Jesus didn't really give us that way out, we're called to be different, we're called to love. "Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." How many times are we to forgive our neighbor? The answer, stop keeping track.

Troy Spilman: [00:37:06] Verse 40, "All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments." Basically, Jesus is saying that everything else hangs on these two commands, to love the Lord your God with all that we are, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. These are weight-bearing supports where everything else is hung upon that. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, slammed into the south and brought such devastation, destroying pretty much everything in its path, scammers acting as professional contractors were coming and taking advantage of people either people in desperation to get their lives back together, and they rebuilt these either shoddy or sometimes incomplete homes if they did it all. That's actually why our team was out there to actually correct damage that one of these people did, of not building the house correctly. The support systems weren't built well enough to support the weight of everything else or a coming storm. Anyone involved in construction just knows that, like, this is critical, right? To get the framing down, it is critical, you have got to have that figured out first. You have to have good bones. The house we worked on was stripped down to these two-by-fours and the framing, we're able to establish this internal structure and put it in place, then we could build the rest. Friends, we're called to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and mind; and love our neighbor as ourselves. These are the building blocks; this is the framework I believe God wants to build upon. So he wants to have that framework in our lives and then build upon that. So let's build this foundation well.

Troy Spilman: [00:38:41] Now, if you've never committed your life to Christ, hey, we'll give you a moment to be able to do that a little bit while the prayer team up here, I'm going to ask that actually the prayer team would come up now. They'll be up here ready for you. If you want to give your life to Christ, but you don't totally understand exactly what we're talking about, we'd love to be able to walk you through what it means that you can have a personal relationship with him and to have hope for all eternity.

Troy Spilman: [00:39:03] Some of you are taking a hard look inward, and maybe you need to do a heart check. You need a heart check of, hey, how are you loving the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind? Maybe we have to commit to him. We have our prayer team up here. We want to pray for you to be able to lock that in and come alongside you as you commit yourself to be able to do that. Maybe you've neglected him as an everyday part of your life, and he's kind of getting the leftovers and you want to correct that, but there's something powerful about doing that with someone else and praying. You can pray right where you’re at, later, maybe even just with a friend or family, but also the prayer team is up here, and they want to pray for you.

Troy Spilman: [00:39:41] And also, what would it look like? What would it look like to love our neighbor as ourselves? Who's in your life that you need to pray for? Maybe it's a strange family member, a friend, or emotionally distant relative, or a competitive coworker, who do you need to pray for? Hey, let's take advantage of this time when the prayer team will be up here. Friends, we're called to love the Lord with all that we have and to love others. So let's pray.

Troy Spilman: [00:40:12] Lord, you're worthy. Lord, we express our need for you afresh today. Lord, we need you. Lord, please show us how to love you with all of our heart, all of our soul, and all of our mind. Lord, show us what that looks like just on a daily basis. Lord, this next week, show us what that looks like. Lord, reveal and empower us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Lord, show us how to do that. Empower us to be your church out in the world representing you and lead us by your spirit. Lord, empower us to be able to do this. Lord, we know we can't do it on our own strength, so, Lord, we commit it to you. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen. Amen. All right, friends, go in his power and his grace, be the church to the world around you. Our prayer teams up here love to pray for you.



Recorded in Upland, California.
Read More
Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848