Sermon- The First Two Words, Matthew 22:37,39 sermons -- Sunday Sermons preaching resources

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The First Two Words

You must love the Lord your God ... you must love your neighbor as yourself
Exodus 22:20-26; Psalm 18:2-4,47,51; I Thessalonians 1:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40

Sermon Week Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 22:37,39

Back in the late 1980s, a popular television newscaster-1 delivered the commencement address at Duke University. He based the speech on the Ten Commandments. The Dean of the Chapel at Duke said later, "It was the most popular address ever given at a Duke commencement. In a nutshell, the newscaster said that if you look at all the problems we have in the modern world, most of them are attributable to our failure to follow the Ten Commandments. Then he went right down the list. Don't kill! ... Don't steal! ... Don't commit adultery! ... Don't worship false gods! ... Don't bear false witness! If all of us would follow those Commandments, what's wrong with the world and ourselves would be put right. And all the graduates and their parents loved it."

I suppose us preachers could preach that, but the problem is that it can lead to a serious misconception about the Christian Message. If Jesus is coming through to us, we know that it's not enough for us to promise not to lie or cheat or steal. "I have come to uphold those laws," Jesus said. But then He added, "There's more to My ministry than that. I have come to fulfill the Law. I have come to enrich your understanding of the basis of the Law. I have come to demonstrate for you the spirit that underlies the Law, so that you may follow and do likewise. I am the Bread of Life which came down from heaven, to show you the way to eternal life -- to show you the way to live in the Spirit of God's Love."

In today's Gospel, a lawyer, attempting to trip Him up, asks Jesus, "Master, which is the greatest Commandment of the law?"

We all know Jesus' answer to that question. There are two great commandments in the Law. He said, 1) "You shall love the Lord your God" and 2) "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." In Luke's Gospel, the question comes up in the reverse form. Jesus asks the lawyer the question. And the lawyer's answer [...]

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