Gardendale Nazarene

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Archives for September 2015 | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene

September 2015

The "Thou Shall Not's"

On Sunday, we will begin our look at the last five commandments.  I'd like for you read through them and ask yourself what they have in common:

  • Thou shall not murder.
  • Thou shall not commit adultery.
  • Thou shall not steal.
  • Thou shall not bear false witness.
  • Thou shall not covet.

I probably know what you are thinking.  You are thinking, "I know what they have in common!  These are the 'Thou shall not's'".

That is true.  But their commonality is deeper than their grammatical structure.  Each of these commandments is about our love of neighbor.  

It has been said that The Ten Commandments are not about self-improvement, but neighbor-improvement. 

Remember the story in
Matthew 22?  A lawyer comes to Jesus to trip Him up and asks, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"  Jesus replies in grace and beauty, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

This is one of those responses that we could spend weeks discussing.  Jesus simply explains to the lawyer- Love God with everything in you.  When you love someone you love what they love, and God loves your neighbor.  

When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, I believe the lawyer and the Pharisees were running through the commandments in their heads.  "Which 'Thou shall not' was Jesus going to pick?"

Then Jesus answers-

Love God.

"Wait, wait, what about all those 'Thou shall not's?'"

Love those He placed around you.

The answer is right there.  How do we love our neighbor?  We celebrate life.  We protect life.  We don't steal.  We are generous.  We remain faithful to our spouse.  We tell the truth about our neighbors.  We stay away from gossip.  We find contentment in our lives, not coveting someone else's.  In doing so, we show love to the ones that our God loves, our neighbor.

May we love our Lord with everything in us- and radiate His love to those He has placed in our neighborhood!