21st July 2023
Read - Mark 12:28-34
Message Alan Burke
Today we come to the ‘Golden Rule’, what is often seen to be one of the most important commandments for a believer and how they are to live but without knowing and understanding the ‘Greatest Commandment’ of how "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” we will fail to know what it is to love our neighbour. What often happens though is that the so called golden rule has been detached from the context, it has been removed from its source and has become a platitude just like many others that without the context that it is spoken removes much of its meaning.
When we try to love our neighbour removed from loving God then we will fail. Remove God, remove his law, which is what the culture that we live in is trying to do, then morality that which distinguishes between right and wrong and ethics those principles that govern our behaviour are void, the true and inescapable conclusion is that when we remove God from our thinking the only alternative is that we base everything on pure emotion, emotion that can unravel, emotion that today say one thing and tomorrow another. Take away God from ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ and you will not be loving, the only way that we know how to love, what is loving is because of our God who first loved us.
Let’s think about that for a moment, there are people today who think that loving your neighbour is telling them that what is sinful is good, that they can harm their bodies in their preferred desire for the same sex and sure as long as they are two consenting adults what does it matter, or that you can mutilate your body by taking chemicals that will have an irreversible impact and have parts of it removed and be celebrated as being brave, the pure contradiction in our society is clear, we are so afraid of our children seeing an advert for a pizza or a packet of crisps that we ban them before 9pm so our kids don’t get fat but the sectary of state has pushed abortion lessons in schools and things that would make your granny blush to be taught and behaviours that will damage their bodies if they choose them, but as long as they don’t see the advert for a pizza or a packet of crisps then all will be fine.
When you remove God from the equation, when you try to understanding loving your neighbour as yourself without God you will fail, and you will not show love for you do not know how to. In Luke’s gospel where Jesus taught about the greatest commandment and loving your neighbour as yourselves he told a parable after. The parable was of the good Samaritan, Samaritans were enemies of the Jews and the Samaritan had mercy, in the end Jesus said go and do likewise. For the believer our enemies are our neighbours, that’s something that many of us could do with understanding, there is no one who is not our neighbour.
For while we are unable to to love the Lord our God with all out hearts and our neighbours as ourself, it should not lead us to despair of that inability, instead it should drive us to the law giver, and to look to his Son, who was the only one who has kept the law perfectly, he has done it for us his people, as we repent and believe then his righteousness is given to us. The scribe was so close to the kingdom of God, all he needed to do was to trust in the beloved Son who was going to die for the sin of many.
Q104 What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
In the fourth petition, (which is, Give us this day our daily bread, (Matt. 6:11)) we pray, That of God’ s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them. (Prov. 30:8–9, Gen. 28:20, 1 Tim. 4:4–5)