6. The Elevation of Love



Vs 34 The Pharisees had tried to trap Jesus in His speech (vs15) without success. Then our Lord had just had a conflict with the Sadducees and silenced (muzzeled them).  Now the Pharisees gather together and consider what they ought to do.

Vs 35 “One of them a lawyer (one learned in the law), tested Him with a question, him.

Vs 36 “Teacher, which is the great (the first of importance) commandment in the law?”  He was not being inquisitive and his outward politeness should not fool us he tried to entrap Jesus into an answer that would discredit Him.

The rabbis had determined that there were 613 commandments contained in the Pentateuch one for each letter of the Ten Commandments. Of the 613 commandments, 248 were seen as affirmative and 365 as negative.  These laws were also divided into heavy and light categories, with the heavy laws being more binding.  The scribes and rabbis, however, had been unable to agree on which were the heavy and which were the light ones.   The Pharisees thought that Jesus had devised His own theory and asked Him this particular question in order to incriminate Him by revealing His unorthodox and unilateral beliefs.  Since there was no yardstick for measuring one commandment against the other he reckoned the Jesus’ answer would be a matter of argument or for controversy, so whatever Jesus selected for the first place would certainly have been placed by others.

Vs 37 “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one.  And you shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Deut. 6:5). Love for god is to be whole hearted, involving all that we have and all that we are.  The threefold is all important, heart ,soul and mind.

Vs 38 “This is the first commandment.” He did not answer they way they expected but choose to answer this way, a pious Jew would recite this every day. And the second, like it, is this:

Vs 39 “And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”  Jesus did not only give what He was asked for but goes further and adds a “second” that He says “is like it.”  Wholehearted love for God means coming in some measure to see people as God sees them, and all people as the objects of God’s love.  Anyone who truly loved God with all his being must and will love others.  The term “neighbour” is elastic and Jesus certainly meant more than loving the person next door.   One must love ones fellow human being.  There is personal love where you choose a person to love in an intimate way a spouse you chose to marry and live with, your family whit whom a friend you share your life with, a friend you choose and love them in spite of their short comings.  There is impersonal love you may love people in a country who are suffering and desire to help, you may love your fellowman in an impersonal way, you do not choose to live with them and their habits, you do not desire to share your life with them.  Either way we are to love people not what they do , but because God gives them worth by creating them in Hi s own image.

Vs 40 “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  Any one who does this will seek to please God and want the best for his neighbour.  Jesus swept aside all silly and petty nonsense.  He did not quibble with them He told them what is right.    With one stroke He wiped away any self-sufficiency or pride.

We all need love if you do not have love you are malfunctioning.

Jesus is saying a person’s love is to be in three directions.   Upward to God, outward to others and inward to myself.

We are creatures of love, God made us that way, He made us to love and be loved. Any person who feels unloved and is unable to express that love to someone else is suffering from a painful disease of emotional anaemia.  They are miserable, they make the people around them miserable and inside they have hostility on the inside   because deep down inside they have something they cannot attain or cannot accomplish.


God is a person; His essence consists of many attributes.  He is sovereignty, righteousness, justice, eternity, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, immutability, veracity, and all other attributes besides.  His plan of grace in sending His Son to die on fallen man’s behalf is stupendous. As crater and provider He cares for all His creatures. We love God because He is the source of all life   He gives us the seasons and our food.  He cares for all His creatures and loves them even though they are fallen and have rebelled against Him.  We love God because He first loved us.  His grace in providing salvation for us draws praise and worship.  He provides a personal plan for each believer.  He never lies to us.  He is always there for us.  H e loves us no matter what. He blesses us in life and in spiritual life.  He treats us fair and is forgiving when we fail. He teaches us and wants us to grow in knowledge. He disciplines for our own sake and corrects us so that we can be better people. We love Him for His majesty in creating all the species animals, insects, fish, herbs, trees, and the wonderful heavenly bodies in space.

Let us love and adore Him.  Let us see our smallness and humble ourselves under his powerful hand.  What a God we serve let us do it with a sense of His awesomeness.  He is majestic and unique there is none like Him.


Remember the story of the Good Samaritan.  He took of his time and ministered to some fellow who had been robbed by thieves.  He paid for his food, treatment and accommodation, Jesus said “Go thy and do likewise.”  A man who loves his brother gives of himself.    Remember when Zachaes was standing by the roadside in Jericho waiting for Jesus to come by.  He was a small fellow he was a Jew woho collecterd taxesfor theRoman government.  No one liked him he was worhthless outcast so far as the Jewsish people were concerned.  He heard Jesus was coming so he ran and climbed up the sycamore tree.  Jesus is walking along the road He’s listening, and talking and teaching and all of a sudden He stops and looks up in the tree Jesus said to that outcast traitor “Come Dow Zachaeus I’m going home with you.  Jesus ignored all the important people and chose the outcast to go home with.  How do you think they must have felt?  How do you think he must have felt?

Remember the crippled manta the gate Beautiful, he had been there all his life Jesus did not say he was worthless.  Remember Mary Magdalene a prostitute from whom seven demons were cast out Jesus did not say, “Mary you are worthless.”  Remember blind Bartameaus he cried out to Jesus when He was on the way to the cross to redeem to redeem mankind “Jesus thy Son of David have mercy upon me” he was a blind worthless beggar, we would call him a nobody.  Jesus did not say you will come to nothing you are a nobody.  No Jesus said to him “What would thy have me to do.”  On the last leg of His journey Christ healed him and he rejoiced and praised the Lord and went on his way following Jesus Christ.  Remember the man in Mark 5 who was possessed with a legion of demons Jesus did not say, “You are beyond help and are scum, no good for anything.  Remember the women at the well who had been married five times and was probably looked down upon.   Jews and Samaritans did not speak to each other they crossed when the saw each other.  Probably these women’s own race crossed the street she was an embarrassment to them.  She was guilty of adultery many times and Jesus said you have had five husbands and the one you are living with is not the real one.  And He said “Woman what about giving me a drink”?  The very fact that a Jew would speak and ask something of Samaritan had to do something to that woman and mad e her something of worth.  He thrilled her by saying “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says, “Give me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  …It shall become in him a fountain of water spring up into everlasting life.”  He did not see her as worthless scarlet women but as a woman of worth.  When He was hanging there on the cross, suffering, with the thorns on His head, sticking that javelin in His side He saw the thief on the cross not as a worthless human being but worth dieing for.  The thief an insurrectionist, was a nobody, no one knows his name Jesus made him a somebody He said “Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise .”  That man had a tremendous lift in His dieing moments.  Each example shows us Jesus’ concept of every man’s worth and value to God.  Every single one of us is somebody.


There is confusion regarding loving yourself.  Many think it is wrong to love ourselves.  They quote Paul, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find” (Rom.7:18).  People read that verse and say you shouldn’t love your self because there is nothing in you worth loving.

“O wretched man that I am!  Who shall deliver me from this body of death?  I thank God –through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom.7:24).  Some say how can you love anything that is wretched.

1 Tim. 1:15 “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”  Surely Paul didn’t have a very high regard about himself.

In Galatians 2 he talked about being crucified to himself and he is no longer and no longer had ant value to him.

Mark 8:34 “Whosoever come after me let him deny himself (not love himself) and take up his cross and follow me.” Doesn’t sound like we are worth too much.

Lk. 14:26 When Jesus is describing discipleship He says, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”   The “hatred” here is actually a lesser love.  The Lord Jesus is calling for such a devotion to Him that their attachment to everything else- would seem like hatred in comparison. That is strong language.  The explanation is that He did not mean hatred, animosity, anger or hostility to any of those he mentioned.  The more we love God the more we love each other. Does not the Bible teaches that we are to love our parents, love our wives and “love his children and not provoke them to wrath” (Eph.6: 1) and children love (a son) should love his father, love our brothers and sisters? What Jesus is saying not that we should not love them and yourself also, He is not teaching them to hate that would be against everything Jesus lived, preached, taught, and exemplified. He is simply saying in this passage that our loyalty and allegiance, and obedience, and submission and yeildedness and commitment that Jesus Christ must be so superior to Him above all other loyalty and allegiances that those who love us and may at some time in their life may at some time in our life may interpret that we hate them and have choose him over them and to choose Him over them may bring pain and suffering to them.   It has nothing to do with a person’s self worth.  There is no place in our Lords life where he downgraded another person and called them worthless. When you look back at the passage you must ask did he really ay I am to love myself?  “Love your brother the way you love yourself.” In all the passages we have looked at none tell us that any of person that God created is a worthless thing.

Eph. 5:25.   “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her.”  The supreme responsibility of husbands in regard to their wives is to love them with a sacrificial, unreserved, selfless, and sacrificial love that Christ has for the Church.

Vs 28 “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who love his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.”  He is responsible for providing for her needs and also has to help her grow mature in Christ and provide warm and tender affection to give her comfort and security.  A husband cares for himself, nourishes himself, provides for himself, washes himself, watches out for himself.

We are told it is wrong to love ourselves you should hate yourself   humble yourself.   But Jesus has told us to love you.   Somehow down through the years self-love has been considered egotism, pride, arrogance self-centeredness, occupation with self, to be narcissist to be enveloped in viewing one’s own self appearance and admiring oneself.  When Jesus spoke of loving yourselves he did not mean that at all.

What did Jesus mean when He said we are to love ourselves.   Every single one of us is a creation of God “ For a man in deed ought not to cover his head for as much as he is the image and glory of God” (1 Cor.11: 7).  If we are the image of God how can we fail to love what God loves.   God loves every single one of us, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom.5:8).  He thinks we’re worth dieing for.  “He who did not spare not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things”?  God loves you and if He loves you, you have no legitimate reason for not loving yourself.  Loving yourself is part of the whole beautiful triangle of love.  Love is not complete if I love God and love my brother I must love myself.  If I don’t love myself I cannot love God as I ought to, I can’t love my brother as I ought to, cannot love my wife and children as I ought to.  It takes a three-pronged love for man’s love life to be right.  The true formula is this man plus God equals the whole man.  When a man is rightly related to God he can become a whole man.

We are to love our selves as Christ loves the church, as we love ourselves.  It isn’t pride, arrogance, self-will, it isn’t self-conceit, and it is not self-centeredness.  Do not let anybody tell you not to love yourself.  Love for oneself is to reverence one’s self as the child of God.  Whatever God loves I ought to love and the Bible tells us that God love s you and me and He intend s for us to love ourselves.  To love ones’ self means in light of the fact that God created me for Himself.  In light of the fact god created me to have fellowship with Him.  In light of the fact that god created me to use me to glorify Him.  In light of the fact that God created me to fulfil His purpose His purpose and plan through me.  In light of the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells in me.  In light of the fact that Jesus Christ came to the earth to die for me. In light of the fact the blood of Jesus Christ continually cleanses me.  In light of the fact the Jesus Chris has a unique, personal plan for me.  On the basis of that I must take care of myself and you must take care of yourself.  We are the temples of the Holy Spirit.  Wherever in God dwells that is precious and that means you are precious, you are valuable to God, you are worth something to God. You are a somebody and that is not conceit, arrogance or pride, that is reverence, acceptability and the reorganisation and the awareness of the great somebody God has made you to become.  We are becoming better persons.  What does he have in mind is for us to love our selves.

  1. In order for us to relate to Him on a person-to-person basis in love.  If you don’t love yourself you cannot relate to God because your impression and conclusion I am not worth being loved by God therefore I must not be worth being loved.
  2. When a person loves himself then he sees that he is an available vessel of the Lord and therefore god can use a person the maximum that recognises God has a special plan for your life and that He chooses you uniquely and there is nobody else like you in the world.  If your attitude towards yourself is bad your service to God will suffer.
  3. God wants you to become the maximum of everything that God wants us to be.  Your are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ if you degrade yourself you will never be transformed in teethe image of god.  He predestined us to become in Hi s likeness.  Only when you recognise yourself worth will you be free to serve god fully and without any hang-ups.

How can you carry out the great commission if you hate yourself?  If you feel you are not worth y how can you give your life away to any body?  Christ gave Himself away.  Do you think you are worth enough to give your self away to others?  See yourself as a valuable vessel; understand that you are giving Jesus! I am crucified with Christ and I live yet not I but Christ who lives in me”. Paul was so immersed in Christ that he thought it was a great thing that God had done in him and so he wanted to give it to everyone else.

We are the body of Christ we are to see ourselves as sinners saved by grace, on the same path to heaven, accept one another, love one another, and give you away. Love ought to come from our church. We are not going to like everybody but you can love.

A person who doesn’t love him or herself cannot relate other people except on a superficial basis. He can never become intimately involved.  Pre-marital sex is a cop out for building relationships are sound and lasting. Going to bed with someone does not mean love. It does not build a person up. A person who has no self-love because of his negative attitude towards himself he is always projection criticism to other people. Doesn’t like this, doesn’t like that, the others not right, no matter how right things are he will find a flaw.    He is projecting his hostility, projecting his anger and projecting his lack of love and primarily projecting his ugly attitude towards himself.  Selfishness is always found in a person who doesn’t love himself.    He always is attempting to receive and to get, and to get, because what he is saying is I don’t love my self, I’m not worth it, but one of these days I will get enough I will love myself.  He doesn’t know that he does not have to have anybody else love or approve you as long as God loves and approves you it doesn’t make any difference.  But the other side of the coin someone who is deeply in love with Christ is magnificent.  People will want to love you, will want to be with you, who will want to enjoy your happiness.  They see you accept yourself, you trust yourself, your attitude to God makes you want to be you’re best and look your best.  He is not content to live in the dumps.  He wants to see more of life, enjoy the day, enjoy the creation about us, enjoy our relationships, enjoy our food, Loving oneself is enjoying yourself and God working in you.   We are created in the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Love with Christ withal of my heart, that’s all of my affection.  My entire mind, that’s all of my thinking.  All of my soul that is me the total me. I am to be obsessed with Him.  That is when we have something to give to a brother.  “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works.”  We are the products of God in our lives. God see that everybody is worth something and He intends that we think the same thing. Accept the forgiveness of God that is saying there is something of worth in your life.  Focus on the Word God thinks enough to speak to you that make you a somebody.  When you pray and talk to Him you are accepted as worth in Christ top come to Him.  He thinks you are worthy and builds you up.

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