As often as I rehearse this word I tend to but scratch the surface of its great worth: Love. The Lord silenced the Sadducees in Matthew 22. Having seen an open display of His authority, a Pharisee, a lawyer, decided to try his hand at trapping the Lord. He asked, Matthew 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Without hesitation the Lord replied: “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” This would have been sufficient in itself, but Jesus went further: Matthew 22:38-40 This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Everything hinged on those two commandments. 1) Love God. 2) Love others. Paul wrote
(I Corinthians 13) of the worth of Faith and Hope which are powerful concepts in their own right. In the end Paul said that the greatest is Love. Love supersedes the rest. All spiritual matters; all prophetic terms; all gifts and callings rest on Loving God and Loving people. 1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
Programs are good, but without love all programs are empty. Some hang their hat on insights, but without love these things are failing mechanisms. The bedrock of our faith and our church is Love. Loving God and loving people. Love is the foundation of all growth internally and emotionally. It is both the launching pad and the necessary energy that sustains the church. Even in disagreement, Love is the bridge that holds us together. I hope you hear this. Talent; spiritual insights; biblical understanding are all empty without love. Add some smart people. Throw in some intellectuals. None of it matters if there is no love. If love is missing, talent won’t make up the difference. If love is left out, we cease to be the church of Jesus Christ. We are a dysfunctional social club.
I’m a little weary hearing people talking about how much they love people, but talk about them behind their back. That’s not love. Love would never speak against a brother. Love is more than an emotion. It’s a decision. You don’t just feel it in your heart, you make the conscious choice in your mind. I’m not impressed with talent or intelligence. I’m impressed with those who love people. All gifts fail without the choice of Love.
Love never needs an explanation. Love transforms lives. It allows people room to grow, even make mistakes. Love picks people up when they fall and doesn’t condemn them or remind them of their failure. Love covers the infractions of others. It considers the greater picture in all things. I present the great hinge of the revival to come. I submit the way for prodigals to return to the Father’s house and all sinners to be saved. Let Love rule and take preeminence in this house. The Greatest of these…
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole