I normally have us focus on a Scripture text by standing, and we’ll do this in a moment. But first let us review some truths that we all ought to know by now. This morning we studied Deuteronomy 5 and it’s call to that nation: Hear, O Israel or שָׁמַע shama` יִשְׂרָאֵל Yisra’el
Chapter 5 focused on the Ten Commandments – “Statutes” – which are God’s blueprint for a blessed nation.
Genuine Faith Works By Love
The Old Testament Law is a list of the Commandments (Mitzvot) that God gave to Israel the nation and believing Israel. The Commandments are categorized as “statutes” (laws for all) and “judgments” (laws for a specific people – in the Old Testament specifically Israel). Some of the judgments God gave believing Israel were:
Ceremonial laws (Day of Atonement, Booths, Feasts)
Circumcision laws (eighth day of birth)
Sacrificial laws (animals without spot)
Dietary laws (clean and unclean foods)
Social laws (dress codes, menstrual or death times of uncleanliness)
When Christ came and died for our sins the Church had to come to the realization that the Gentiles were not under the same Judgments as the Jews were. In one of the early business meetings of the Church we read:
Acts 15:1-11 (KJV) And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, EXCEPT YE BE CIRCUMCISED AFTER THE MANNER OF MOSES, YE CANNOT BE SAVED.  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.  And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.  And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.  But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.  And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.  And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;  And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.  Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
The leadership of the early Church realized that God did not ask the Gentiles to be under the same judgments as the Jews. This caused a lot of confusion in the early Church – and causes a lot of confusion today.
The Apostle Paul – himself a Jew of the Tribe of Benjamin, saw circumcision as one of the judgments to Old Testament Israel
that ceased with the coming of Christ.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the Apostle said that He saw all believers as spiritual heirs of the promise of Abraham if – on believing on Christ, the Holy Spirit circumcised their hearts. He radically stated:
Romans 2:28-29 (KJV) For he is NOT A JEW, WHICH IS ONE OUTWARDLY; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:  But he is A JEW, WHICH IS ONE INWARDLY; AND CIRCUMCISION IS THAT OF THE HEART, IN THE SPIRIT, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Gal 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but FAITH WHICH WORKETH BY LOVE.
Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, BUT A NEW CREATURE.
Col 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but CHRIST IS ALL, AND IN ALL.
To the Apostles true circumcision was evident when – upon receiving Christ as Lord and Savior – the heart was circumcised and the hardened heart was eradicated. This is what God prophesied through Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 36:26-27 (KJV) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  And I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT WITHIN YOU, AND CAUSE YOU TO WALK IN MY STATUTES, AND YE SHALL KEEP MY JUDGMENTS, and do them.
God promised a New Covenant to His people one day. Integral to the New Covenant was the new heart and new Spirit. God would change the heart of His people. His people would supernaturally be obedient to God’s statutes (rules that transcend time) and His judgments (specific directions to His people NOW). We who are His “do them”, obediently obeying our God. We are not saved by the keeping of the Law, but once saved we become obedient to the Law.
Jesus ushered in the New Covenant when He shed His Blood on Calvary for all who believe. He said at His Table:
Luke 22:20 (KJV) Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the NEW TESTAMENT (διαθήκη diathḗkē, pronounced dee-ath-ay’-kay, which means “covenant” or “contract”) in MY BLOOD, which is shed for you.
Christ’s Blood shed on Calvary brought in a New Covenant, with new judgments that we are to obey.
- The Christian is not lawless but spirit driven.
- Saved by the grace of Christ (for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves – it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast [Ephesians 2:8-9]) we now walk daily obeying the indwelling Spirit, loving God and loving one another.
- We are to walk in the Spirit rather than walk I the flesh (Galatians 5:16-26).
- We are to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
- We are no longer to walk selfishly or self driven, but are to walk in love, imitating God as dear children (Ephesians 5:1-2).
- We are a people who have been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Peter 1:23).
- The Christian does not belong to this world. We are not of Adam, but of Christ. In Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).
- We are a people under new judgments. Jesus said in John 13:34-35 “A NEW COMMANDMENT I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” And again in John 15:12 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
The Great Commandment Endorsed By Jesus
Deuteronomy chapter 6 gives us a command that every believer in God must keep. Let us stand and read this commandment together:
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (KJV) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
God speaks to His people of all ages. HEAR Me, the Lord says. If you belong to Me, if you are born of Me, if you have been saved by Me, Hear this. Do not just hear this, but DO THIS. Do you wish to be blessed? DO THIS!
Deuteronomy 6:2 That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.
We are to FEAR the Lord, to have a reverential awe of Him. Every child should have a somewhat awe and fear of their parent. I loved my daddy, but knew that if I misbehaved that he could and would PUNISH me. He could take away my privileges, or tan my behind. I had deep respect and love for Him.
Psalms 111:10 (KJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Why do many who profess Christ not fear the Lord today? I believe it is because of cheap preaching of a worthless grace. Grace was blood bought. Grace was purchased at a great price. See Him. See Him hanging there on Calvary’s tree. See Him, bleeding. His eyes swollen shut. The crown of thorns about His brow. His flesh in tatters, His body naked. People pass by and spit. “If God is your Father come down from that Cross.” The thieves next to Him mocking. One says, “Get yourself down, and take us down too.” His breath shutters. He struggles to breath. What Law did He break? None. What stature or judgment did He refuse to follow? None. And yet He is convicted. Cheap grace preached is a travesty in our day, a mockery of the truth of the Cross. There He is dying for you and I. He took the beating. He died in my place, so that I might live. The Father commanded the death of His Son because of our sin. He stood in our place. This is why I love the Lord.
love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might
Matthew 22:35-36 (KJV) Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,  Master, which is the GREAT COMMANDMENT in the law?
A lawyer asked Jesus a sly question. Lawyers can be sly. He didn’t ask Jesus what was the FIRST commandment. The FIRST commandment given by God was “do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:15). The Lawyer did not ask what the FIRST of the TEN commandments was. The first of the ten commandments is (Exodus 20:3) Thou shalt have no other gods before me. God is to be first as your God. The lawyer asked:
What is the GREAT (μέγας megas) Commandment
Megas means greatest in weight
Massive in size
The largest and most overshadowing
The most intense and powerful
The lawyer thought that Jesus – considered by the Pharisees to be an uneducated man – would quote one of the statutes from the Ten Commandments. Jesus is very educated. He is God Almighty in human flesh. As God, He wrote the Scripture through the Apostles and Prophets. So Jesus without hesitation knew the answer to the Book He wrote. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:5, our focal text! Jesus said:
Matthew 22:37-38 (KJV)… Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.
This is the one overshadowing Law upon which all other laws come.
Man is made in the image of God.
All men are made in the image of God.
All men and women are made in the image of God.
The chief and most predominant Law of all Scripture is Deuteronomy 6:5. We are to love God with everything we have. If we love God with everything we have, then the second most preeminent Law is …
Matthew 22:39-40 (KJV) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
All laws proceed out of these two Parent Laws. When God made man He made them male and female (Genesis 5:1-2). God made man to lead in the union of marriage, and the wife to follow. In the Law God gave us He married these two commands together. The preeminent Law is that you Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. The Law married to this Adam of laws is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. The God Who made you made both you and your neighbor in His image and after His likeness (Genesis 1:27). If you love God, you will love your neighbor. If you love God you will love the person next to you regardless of race or gender because they are made in the image of God.
I came across a picture of the KKK going into a Church building. Once in the Church building they acsended the stage, where there they sat in front of a sign saying “Jesus saves”. Beloved, this is NOT of God. Christ came to save all. Christ loves all. He loves us all regardless as to our color. If you understand that the Great Commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind” then you will love the one that God tells you to love. You will love your neighbor as yourself. Why? Because my neighbor is made in the image of God.
The Ten Commandments were statutes written to a nation, but Deuteronomy 6:5 is a statute written only to those who belong to God, members of His family. When you keep the command of Deuteronomy 6:5 then you quite naturally keep all the other commandments as well. Jesus said “on these two commandments hang ALL the Law and the Prophets”, that is, all of Scripture.
The Jews wove Deuteronomy 6:4-9 into a daily prayer that they called “The Shema” because they considered this Scripture to be most important to the believer.
What if our neighbor is our enemy? MY ENEMY IS MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE. We are to love even our enemy because God said so … and God is in control.
The Shema Teaches Us Our God Is Always In Control
Deuteronomy 6:4 (KJV) Hear, O Israel:
The LORD our God is one LORD:
Who created Israel? It was God. Who caused Israel to become a mighty nation? It was God. How did God create Israel? He created Israel by controlling events, people, and places. Our God is ONE LORD. He controls all things. We all remember the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. Joseph was the son of Israel, a favorite son. Because Israel spoiled Joseph above all the other children, his brothers cast him into a pit and sold him into slavery. After many years of suffering God caused Joseph to rise up in power to become the right hand man of Pharaoh. Was it an accident? No, it was God is in control. God is always in control. Joseph loved God with all his heart, soul, and mind. Loving God this way he forgave his brothers, telling them:
Genesis 50:19-21 (KJV) … Fear not: for am I in the place of God?  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but GOD MEANT IT UNTO GOOD, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.  Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
The Scripture tell us, dear believers, that “the LORD our God is one LORD”. There is but one God, the God that has saved us and the God that loves us. He is the LORD, the great God Who called Moses from the burning bush. (Exodus 3:14-15).
Our God is the Eternal and Everlasting I AM. He controls all things. God’s hand was on Israel from it’s very beginning. There are no other gods above our God. He alone is LORD. He reigns over all things. This is why the Bible tells the believer to rejoice in trials, for trials are not accidents, but God’s hand on our lives. We are promised troubles in this life for following the LORD. Jesus said:
John 15:19 (KJV) If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
The world may hate us – yet we are to love our neighbor regardless as to what he or she does. How can we do this? Because Jesus said:
John 16:33 (KJV) … In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.
He is the Lord our God. He has overcome the world. Rest in Him. Trust Him. Give all to Him. He is able! Christians are strangers in this world, peculiar people in the midst of darkness (Deuteronomy 14:2; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9). We will be tried as Israel was tried, as Joseph was tried, as Jacob was tried, as Abraham was tried. Yet the Bible tells us in …
James 1:2-4 “brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Our Lord is the Lord of all. He is in control! (Romans 8:28)
Love God With All You Have
Deuteronomy 6:5 .. thou shalt love the LORD thy God
God does not want the leftovers of your life. He demands ALL of your life. After all, He gave ALL of HIS LIFE for you. The Scripture says:
1 John 3:16 (KJV) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
God laid down His life for us. We are to love Him with all that we have. We are not to be PART TIME Christians but FULL TIME Christians. God tells His people …
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (KJV) And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
We are to “walk in love” – to be the same at home as we are during the Church gathering. We are to keep Christ’s commandments at all times. You may look to be a Christian at Church, but do your children know you are Christians? Do your fellow workers know that you are Christians? Your testimony is to be Christlike not just under the preacher’s eyes, but under God’s eyes, eyes that never close. To be obedient to Him (John 14:15). To fall head over heels in love with Jesus.
John 14:21 (KJV) He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
We are to love Jesus more than we hate our enemies (Matthew 5:44-48). We are to love our Lord so much that we do good to those who do bad to us. We are to be clothed in love (Colossians 3:14). In so doing we will make a difference.
Let us be the difference. For Christ’s sake I pray – Amen!