Tag: Matthew

Loving our Neighbour as Ourselves (Second Commandment) (Matthew 22:34-40) (Part 2)

The Law and the Prophets

“All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:40, NIV). Mark 12:31b (NIV) “There is no commandment greater than these.” 

  1. To the Jews this means that the entire Old Testament centres about these two Commandments (“love God and love neighbour as yourself”) – All the teachings in the Old Testament are summarised by these two Commandments (“love God and love neighbour as yourself”).
  2. These two Commandments (“love God and love neighbour as yourself”) combined all the Laws in the Ten Commandments:
    • The first Four Commandments deal with man’s relation to God.
    • The last six deals with man’s relationship to others.
  3. The “love for God and neighbour as yourself” must permeate obedience to all the other Commandments in the Law and Prophets (Matthew 22:40). The two Commandments are basic, touching all of life’s relationship. The precepts of the Law and the preaching of the Prophets are simply expositions of the two Commandments.  
  4. We might add that the teachings of the New Testament’s Epistles reinforced Jesus’ declaration. If a person has a right relationship with God, he should have no problem relating to others.
  5. Love is the basis of obedience and relationship. In fact, all the Law is summed up in love – Romans 13:8-10 (NIV) “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the Law. The commandments, do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet, and whatever other, commandment there may be, are summed up ion this one rule: Love your neighbour as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore, love is the fulfilment of the Law. 

Instead of giving the Pharisees a loophole that allowed them to obey one Commandment while ignoring the other 612 Commandments, Jesus gave them two Commandments that contained all the 613 Commandments. By this, Jesus puts aside the Pharisees’ multitude of meticulous rules and sub-divisions of the Scriptures. The Pharisees became entrenched in a system that they missed God’s Revelation in the Scripture.


When Jesus calls forth the Commandment to “love our neighbour as yourself,” the definition of “neighbour” is defined in the “Parable of the Good Samaritan – the “neighbour” is anyone who needs our mercy, anytime, anywhere. Furthermore, “love” is not merely emotion but a commandment to be obeyed.  Leviticus 19 provides the 11 Practical Ways of “loving our neighbours as yourself,” each end with the Divine Declaration: “I am the LORD:”

  1. Respect for our ParentsLeviticus 19:2b-3a (NIV) “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. Each of you must respect his mother and father……I am the LORD your God.” Holiness is linked to our respect for our father and mother, which is the 5th Commandment (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:3-6; Ephesians 6:1-4).
  2. Respect for the ElderlyLeviticus 19:32 (NIV) “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.” God is concerned about the elderly (Isaiah 46:4; 1Timothy 5:1-2, 4, 8; 1Peter 5:5), and we should be, too.
  3. Concerned for the Physically HandicapsLeviticus 19:14 (NIV) “Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind but fear Your God. I am the LORD.” God is also concerned for those with physically handicaps. Jesus healed the blind and the deaf; we must help to protect them and enable them to live better lives.
  4. Concerned for the Poor and NeedyLeviticus 19:9-10 (NIV) “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien (stranger). I am the LORD.” God’s concerned for the “poor and the needy” is seen in the “harvest laws” (Leviticus 23:22; Deuteronomy 23:24-25; 24:19-22; Ruth 2).
  5. Concerned for Strangers in our Midst Leviticus 19:33-34 (NIV) “When an alien (stranger) lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien (stranger) living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens (strangers) in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” God is concerned for the strangers, and He often reminded the Israelities that they had been strangers in Egypt (Exodus 22:21; 23:9; Leviticus 25:23; Deuteronomy 10:19).
  6. Pay the Workers’ Wages on TimeLeviticus 19:13b, 14b (NIV) “Do not hold back the wages of a hired man overnight…..I am the LORD.”” Since workers were paid daily, any delay would cause hardship (Deuteronomy 24:14-15; James 5:4), and employers must never take advantage of their Employees.  
  7. Rich and Poor Stands EqualLeviticus 19:15, 18b (NIV) “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly…….I am the LORD.” Rich and poor stand equal before God and the Law, and justice must not be partial (see also Exodus 23:3), because God hears the cries of the poor when they are oppressed (Psalm 82:3-4). 
  8. Do not Cheat in BusinessLeviticus 19:35-36a (NIV) “Do not use dishonest standards where measuring length, weight or quantity. Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah (dry measure) and honest hin (liquid measure). I am the LORD your God.” We must be careful to have “just weights and measures,” lest we rob innocent people (Proverbs 11:1; 16:11; 20:10, 23; Amos 8:5; Micah 6:10-11).
  9. Respect for Truth and Property Leviticus 19:11 (NIV) “Do not steal, do not lie, and do not deceive one another. Do not swear falsely……I am the LORD.” The 8th Commandment states: “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15); the 9th Commandment warns against “lying” (Exodus 20:16). Both are included in Leviticus 19:11. Respect for truth and property is the foundation for a just and orderly society.
  10. Do not be a SlandererLeviticus 19:16 (NIV) “Do not go about spreading slander among your people……I am the LORD.” “Liar and Talebearer” are a menace to public safety and peace, particularly if he or she is a lying witness in court.
  11. Do not Seek RevengeLeviticus 19:18a (NIV) “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people……I am the LORD.” When someone offended us or hurt us, we need to seek clarification and not revenge. The word “grudge” (nafar) means literally “to watch for” and thus to bear malice in the heart towards the person who offended us. The Word of God commanded us not to do so – that is not to have grudge (or malice) in our hearts. 

Lawyer’s Response

The Lawyer was impressed by Jesus’ answer. Mark records that he spoke approvingly of His words – Mark 12:32-33 (NIV) “Well said, teacher, the man replied. You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but Him. To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Thus, a critic of Jesus became His Admirers. In turn Jesus responded with words of kindness and hope – “When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, He said to him, you are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34a).

Loving our Neighbour as Ourselves (Second Commandment) (Matthew 22:34-40) (Part 1)

The Text

Matthew 22:34-40 (NIV) “Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the Law, tested Him (Jesus) with this question: Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Mark 12:28-31):

Love Neighbour

The Second Commandment is from an obscure Commandment in Leviticus 19:18b (NIV) “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39):

  • The Hebrew word translated “love” in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 describes an act of will characterised by dedication, commitment, and choice.
  • The Greek term used for “love” in Matthew 22:37-39 is the verb of intelligent, purposeful, committed love.
  • Putting both the Hebrews and the Greek terms together – Love is a Choice, commitment, dedication, intelligent, and purposeful.

Thus, “love God, love neighbour” is never a “half-hearted” commitment. It is a choice, commitment, dedication, intelligent and purposeful:

  • Jesus goes further and reinforces that “love for God” cannot be divorced from our “love for our neighbour,” by quoting Leviticus 19:18b, He places it alongside the First Commandment of “Love God.”
  • This is evidenced by the pairing of the Second Commandment (“love neighbour”) alongside the First Commandment in Mark’s account – “There is no commandment greater than these (Mark 12:31b, NIV).
  • Jesus gives the Second Commandment – “Love your neighbour as yourself,” even though the Lawyer did not ask for it. The reason is that the First Commandment: “Love God” cannot be seen or understood without the demonstration – our love for our neighbour. Love is an active experience, not inactive and dormant.
  • In “loving our neighbours as ourselves” the best of us come forth in the very act of loving.
  • The New Commandment to “love one another” (John 13:34-35) helps us handle human relationships and treat people the way God treats us.

Both the Hebrew and the Greek make it clear that loving God and neighbour is a choice. This is evident by the fact that loving God and loving neighbours is used as an imperative (or command) in Matthew 22:37-39. To love God is not only to “have good feelings about Him,” but genuine love is a choice, involving the will as well as the heart, whether we feel good or not is secondary.

To love our neighbours as much as we love ourselves is a challenge – because people are flawed, imperfect, needy beings. Loving people is hard when they cannot (or worse, they refused) to return our love. It is even harder when they hurt us. But we must remember this: Loving people is a choice to be made and a command to be obeyed before it becomes a feeling to be felt. The feeling comes or it might never come. But we must still act in love.

A loving relationship involves: (1) Commitment and loyalty; (2) Trust and respect; (3) Knowing and sharing. This also permeates the New Testament – 1John 4:20-21 (NIV) “If anyone says, I love God, yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Love of Self

Leviticus 19:18b (NIV) “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39). There is a clear relationship between “loving one’s neighbour” and “self-love” (acceptance of oneself). The Godly loves of self-come from knowing three things:

  • That we are God’s Creation – “Made in His image and likeness” (Genesis 1:26a).
  • That we are the “children of God” and the objects of His love – Romans 8:16 (NIV) “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirits that we are God’s children.”
  • That “love of self” stirs a strong self-image, confidence, and assurance; this is pleasing unto the Lord

The measure of our “love of self” = “acceptance of ourselves” (Matthew 22:39) and not “lover of ourselves” (2Timothy 3:1-4) will be the measure we are able to love our neighbours.

To be continued….. Stay tuned…..

Forgiveness (Matthew 6:12) (Part 1)


Matthew 6:12 “Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors” (NIV).

Unforgiveness is the greatest single barrier that exists amongst professing Christians. From Calvary onwards, if there is any barrier between God and men, they are on men’s side and not on God’s side. From the Death, Burial and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ all the barriers are down on God’s side. If any there is any kind of barrier on our spiritual progress, something that is holding us back, frustrating us, holding us down, keeping us from the peace, satisfaction, the fulfilment, that we long to have, that the barrier is on men’s side and not on God’s side. The greatest single barrier to in Christians to God’s Peace and Perfect Rest is unforgiveness. 

Forgiveness resulted in reconciliation, peace, harmony, understanding, and fellowship. The world stands in need of these things. The failure to forgive resulted in bitterness, strive, disharmony, hatred, war. These negative feelings can only be dealt with as we learn and apply the Principle of Forgiveness. There are two directions of forgiveness represented in the Bible. These two directions are well portrayed by that great symbol of our Christian faith, the Cross. The Cross has two beams, one vertical and one horizontal. And these two beams represent the two directions of forgiveness:

  • The vertical beam represents the forgiveness that we all need to receive from God through the Lord Jesus Christ as to our Christian Faith.
  • The horizontal beam represents our relationship with our fellow men. It speaks of the forgiveness, which in this case is two ways: the forgiveness we need to receive from others and the forgiveness we need to give to others. Once again, the only place where we can receive the grace for that kind of forgiveness is the Cross.

The Lord’s Prayer – When Jesus commented on the Lord’s Prayer, the only part that He comment on is Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” That is the source of all the problems the Person faces who does not forgive. That Person does not have God’s forgiveness. Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that sinned against us:

The Person cannot ask God for forgiveness if he does not forgive others. The Person is entitled to God’s forgiveness in the same proportion that he forgives others but not more. If that Person does not forgive others their sins, God will not forgive him, his sins.

Matthew 6:13“Deliver us from the evil one.” – The Person has no right to pray that Prayer until the Person confesses, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespasses against us” (Matthew 6:12). Obtain God’s forgiveness settled, then deliverance is not a problem. If the Person is not in a forgiving spirit and attitude towards any Person who has offended him, the Devil has a legal claim against that Person life – If there is any area of unforgiven offend in the Person’s life, that an area to which Satan has a legal claim. The Person cannot get Satan out of that area of his life. If there is anyone whom the Person has not forgiven, in that proportion the Person is not forgiven by God and because the Person is not forgiven in that area, the Devil has a legal claim over that Person life. Therefore, the Person cannot have deliverance until the Person has freely forgiven “ought against any.

Parable of Unforgiving Servant

Matthew 18:15-35, our Lord Jesus Christ reveals the life of the Church – Right relationship among the Members of the Body of Christ, and with others. He (Jesus) laid down the steps in Restoration:

  • Steps in Restoration of Relationship between Offending Christians (Matthew 18:15-17).
  • Power house of Right Relationship (Matthew 18:18-20).
  • Attitude of Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-23).
  • The Parable on Forgiveness (Matthew 18:24-35).

The Comment of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Parable: “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if you from your hearts, forgive not everyone his brother his trespasses” (Matthew 18:35). Our Lord Jesus does not leave it as a Parable, but He (Jesus) applies it specifically to each of us. He warned us of the consequence of unforgiveness. The warning comes from the lips of our Lord Jesus Christ. No one was more ready to forgive than our Lord Jesus Christ, but He set certain Principle – “If we want to be forgiven by God, we must forgive others.” Our Lord Jesus warns us of the consequences of failure to forgive:

  • Wickedness (Matthew 18:32) = Unforgiveness is not only sin but Wickedness in God’s Sight.
  • God’s Anger (Matthew 18:34). Unforgiveness provokes God’s Anger, because there is an exact parallel between the Master and the Servant and God and Us.
  • Unforgiveness delivers us to the Tormentors (Matthew 18:34). The torment is in three Areas: Physical, mental, and spiritual. Today, there are multitude of Christians that have been delivered to the Tormentors because they failed to forgive those that have offended them.

When God delivers the unforgiving Christian to the Tormentors. No Pastor can deliver that Person out of the Tormentor. The Person has to meet God’s Condition, that is to forgive before he can be delivered from the hands of the Tormentor. Forgiveness must be from the heart (Matthew 18:35).

To be continued….. Stay tuned.

Endurance (Matthew 24:13)

Lawlessness & Loveless-ness

Matthew 24:12 (KJV) “And because iniquity (lawlessness) shall abound, the love (agape) of many shall wax (grow) cold.” – There is a direct connection between lawlessness and loveless-ness. When people become lawless, they become loveless. We often think of love as free, spontaneous that requires no lawless or discipline. This is an incorrect view. Love and discipline go hand-in-hand. And when discipline and law break down, love goes cold. In this somber picture, lawlessness abounding and love goes cold, it is the Love of Christian and not of the world that goes cold. Thus, Love is a matter of Character (Romans 5:1-5).

Then, comes the warning from our Lord Jesus Christ – Matthew 24:13 (KJV) “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 13:13 – Prophetic preview of the situation that will exist before the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Endurance is that Christian virtue that we need to be able to live through those perilous days (2Timothy 3:1-7).

The word “endure” means an inner fortitude. It expresses the idea of the person having the quality which enables him to withstand all situations/enemies thrown against him, and still have the reserve power to love his enemies (Matthew 5:43-48), being an Overcomer (Revelation 21:7). It speaks of the genuine Christian as the person who possesses the kind of character which will enable him to endure. Such a person will maintain a warm of love for Christ, and Others. He will endure the trials and will thereby prove the genuineness of his faith and spiritual life which he already possesses. This also speaks of the person who holds out even to the point of death.

Mark 13:12-13 “Now brother shall betray brother to death, and the father, his sons; and children shall rise up against their parents and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake; but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” – In the midst of betrayal and lawlessness before the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, proven character is a very essential Christian attribute to develop. Endurance to the end is the requirement that will see us through the perilous time before the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (2Timothy 3:1-7). Sometimes “holding out” is what God expects us to do in tight and difficult situation.


Proven Character – Romans 5:1-5 (KJV) “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh (produced) patience. And patience, experience (proven character); and experience (proven character) hope. And hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us.” (James 1:2-4).


Love is the matter of character. The forming of character is through trials (tribulations) – Produces patience (perseverance) and perseverance produces proven character (experience).

  • Bob Monford said, “Suppose there are 10 areas in our character that need to be corrected. The person can probably deal with 6 of them successfully but the remaining 4 needed to be adjusted by others.”
  • Joyful Endurance – Colossians 1:11 “Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering (endurance) with joyfulness.”

It takes strength and patience to be able to suffer long with joyfulness. Patience and endurance are marks of strength.

Inheritance of Promises

Inheritance of Promises – Hebrews 6: 11-12 (KJV) “And we shall that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end. That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience (endurance) inherit the promises.” It takes both faith and endurance (patience) to inherit God’s Promises (Hebrews 10:35-36). If we have done God’s Will and have not yet receive the promise, we need endurance (patience) to hold out from the point that we did God’s Will to the point when we receive His Promise (Hebrews 12:1-2). Ecclesiastes 9:11 “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.” It takes endurance to complete the race that God has set before us.

Apostolic Anointing

2Corinthians 12:12 “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.” The first evidence of an Apostolic Anointing is “Patience” (Endurance). The Person with the Apostolic Anointing is the Person who hangs out when everybody gives up.

Two Tests

Matthew 13:19-23 (Parable of the Sower) – There are two kinds of tests:

  • Test of Persecution (hard life) – Matthew 13:20-21.
  • Test of Riches (prosperity) – Matthew 13:22.

Principle of Enduring

Principle of Enduring is the hearted commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ – Acts 11:23 “Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cling to the Lord.” And Acts 14: 22 “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorted them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

  • Sees the Invisible – Hebrews 11:27 “By faith he (Moses) forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible.” For the Person to hold out he must believe in God and the unseen world (2Corinthians 4:17-18).
  • Moved On – Psalm 37:23-24 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and he delighted in His way. Though he fall he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD up-holdeth him with His hand.” Face the issue squarely and moved on in life (Luke 22:31-32 – Peter).
  • Rewards – 2Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” We are to keep the faith, fight the fight and finished the course. Paul kept true to the end because he saw the reward that he will receive from our Lord Jesus Christ.