COMMANDMENTS OF THE KINGDOM - 1
In the Sermon on the Mount our Lord Jesus Christ made a profound statement concerning His commandments in relationship to the Kingdom of God. He said, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law and the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever does and teaches them., he shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven." (Mt. 5:17-19) Our Lord Jesus Christ clearly defined the meaning of "the Law and the Prophets". "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Mt. 7:12) It is the Golden Rule. Our Lord pointed out the great commandment in the law. "Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Mt. 22:37-40) If you look at the Ten Commandments you will find they are divided into two parts. The first four commandments refer to the vertical relationship between man and his Creator God. The remaining six commandments refer to the horizontal relationship between man and his fellow human beings. The Law and the Prophets that Jesus spoke refers to the Ten Commandments that must be kept by everyone on earth. (Ecc. 12:13-14)
1. Love the LORD our God and worship Him only
"Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, 'Which is the first commandment of all? Jesus answered him, 'The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment." (Mk. 12:28-30) This is called the "Shema" which is the basic and fundamental tenet of our true religion. "You are My witnesses, says the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior." (Isa. 43:10-11) For the salvation of mankind God was manifested in the flesh as the Lord Jesus Christ who declared, "I and My Father are one." (Jn. 10:30) The Lord Jesus Christ is the One True God. The apostle Thomas cried out to Jesus, "My Lord and My God!" (Jn. 20:28) The disciples of Jesus worshiped Him (Mt. 28:16-17; Lk. 24:50-53).
2. Love your neighbor as yourselfOur Lord Jesus Christ said, "And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' there is no other commandment greater than these.' So the scribe said to Him, 'Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 'And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.' So when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, 'You are not far from the Kingdom of God.' And after that no one dared question Him." (Mk. 12:28-34) The apostle Paul wrote,"Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not murder.' You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness.' 'You shall not covet,' and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Rom.13:8-10) Jesus told His disciples, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (Jn. 13:34-35)
Our Lord was referring to how Christians should treat one another. The apostle John exhorts Christians, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. . . . No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us." (1 Jn. 4:7-12)
(To be continued on the next page)