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Love God. Love People. (Mark 2:17)

Sermon on 13 August 2023 by Pastor Gaius

Introduction

We know that we are supposed to love. But it can be difficult to love, especially the unlovable. If we know the word, we know where to draw our strength and energy from. If we have the right mindset, we can really love people the way Jesus wanted us to.

Message

Jesus was preaching to a crowd.

He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” - Mark 2:13-16

And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” - Mark 2:17

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” - Luke 18:9-14

We are sinners. A self-righteous person has different characteristics from a sinner.

Haughty or Humble

The self-righteous are prideful, but God wants us to be humble.

Judgemental or Just

The self-righteous are judgemental, even when they are not doing the right things themselves. Let us not be quick to judge. In Matthew 9:13, we see that God desires mercy.

Hypocritical or Honest

When we are honest, God sets us free. Let us not try to cover it up. It tortures us. Let down your pride and admit wrongdoing. The devil no longer has a hold on us.

Reject or Repent

The self-righteous will reject the gospel of God. God came to call the sinners, not the self-righteous (Mark 2:17).

The Most Important Commandment

The greatest commandment of God is to love God and love others.

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. - And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “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.” - Matthew 22:34-40

If we merely fulfilling the law, but we do not love God or love others, then we are not obeying God’s commandments.

Mark of Christ’s Disciples

Even the disciples had their imperfections, just like us. God wanted them to love one another.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”- John 13:34-35

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. - 1 John 4:20-21

Love God by Obeying God

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. - John 14:15

Obedience is better than sacrifice.

Love People by Caring

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. - Philippians 2:3-4

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. - 1 Peter 4:7-9

If we can provide the help, we help.

Reconcile to God

If we submit to God, our love for people will come naturally. Let us come humbly before God, let ourselves be prompted by the Holy Spirit.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. - 1 Timothy 2:1-4

God wants all to be saved. God loved the world.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13

Closing

Let brotherly love continue. - Hebrews 13:1

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