On Sunday, Mike shared that the Bible is a difficult book to understand, especially if we try to understand it alone. This is because the Bible is a living book, that is meant to be interpreted and read by a community of believers. We began to put this into practice at our Bible Study last night. We focused on what it means to really love God and love others. We discussed the following verse:
“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 greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37-40
In this verse, Jesus states that the most important command is to love God with all your heart soul and mind. The second greatest command is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” However, in John, Jesus stated, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35
At our Bible study, we discussed the way that these two commands were the same. Each command instructs us that it is of the utmost importance to God that we love others. We discussed what it means to really love. We also discussed what is different about the verses. In Matthew, we are instructed to love others as we love ourselves, but in John we are instructed to love others as Jesus loved us.
A few things became clear to me in this study of these verses. First, God is the source and essence of love. (“God is love." I John 4:8). If we are to love as God loved us (with an unconditional love), we must know God and be filled with his love. Although many people that do not love God may be able to love others with an “earthly” love, we can only love others with an unconditional love if that love comes from God. Second, God knows our hearts and knows how much we love him and love others. However, the only way OTHERS will know how much we love God is through our actions in loving others. Thus, Jesus instructed us to love others to so that others would see that we love God by our actions.
The challenge this week is to think of one person that you can show God’s love.
Remember, you can also read the prayer email update at http://bethleann.blogspot.com/
Also, as an outreach, the Refinery will be collecting eyeglasses to donate to the Lion’s Club. Please bring your glasses to church and we will deliver them!