In the last article, Jesus had been confronted by the rich young ruler who was looking to receive eternal life through his good deeds. Jesus named many of the Ten Commandments and finally quoted Leviticus 19:18, “…but you shall love your neighbor as yourself…” This was the one commandment which the rich young ruler could not keep. Jesus proved this when he asked the young man to sell all that he had and give the money to the poor. The young man went away sorrowful. If he truly would have loved his neighbor as himself, then he could easily have sold his possessions. This one commandment is the foundation for all the other commandments in the Word of God. If you can keep this ONE, you can fulfill them ALL.
Matthew 19, reads “…but you shall love your neighbor as yourself…” We quote that commandment many times, but I think we miss the impact of what Jesus is saying. Jesus quoted the one commandment this man could not keep. I believe when the young man said, “All these things have I kept from my youth up:” he really was trying to be sincere, he had really tried.
Jesus quoted one commandment that this man couldn’t keep. It is the hinge of every other commandment. Every commandment rests upon this one. If you can keep this one, you can keep them all; but if you have broken this one, you have broken them all.
vs. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
vs. 37 “Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
vs. 38 “This is the first and great commandment.”
vs. 39″ And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
vs. 40 “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
vs. 8 “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
vs. 9 “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.”
vs. 10 “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.”
vs. 14 “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
vs. 8 “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well;”
vs. 9 “but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
The way to fulfill the law is to love your neighbor as yourself.
I have talked to so many people who believe we are still under the law. They think we still have to keep the ten commandments. Jesus made a statement in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”
We have just read through the New Testament in many verses, the way to fulfill the law is to love your neighbor as yourself. In other words, you cannot keep the law by keeping the law. The way to keep the law is to love your neighbor as yourself.
I can’t find anywhere in the Word of God where Jesus ever walked along saying, “Have I kept number three? Yes! What about number four? Yes! Seven? Maybe! Nine?” But you see Jesus did love his neighbor as himself, he was constantly giving love.
I have people tell me, “But it is still in the Bible. We have to keep all ten commandments.” I have a good answer for them, “Can you quote them?” I haven’t found anybody yet that can quote ten. I may not be able to quote them, but I keep them, I walk in love.
Again, the commandment is “love your neighbor as yourself.” This is not a single commandment, itis a two-foldcommandment. Love your neighbor as yourself. This is where we have a problem. A lot of us don’t have trouble loving the other man, but we do have trouble loving ourselves. How many Christians do you know, who are saying, “I’m just a worm of the dust, I’m so unworthy, I don’t think Christians should own anything. I think we should all be poor?” If that is how you love you, I don’t want to be your neighbor! If you love me like you love you, I don’t want to be near you.
I appreciate a person that knows that they are the righteousness of God in Him. He also knows that God will supply all his needs according to His riches in glory. I would like to be the neighbor of a person who knows God wants him to prosper. When I have a need, he has it to give. And if he loves me like he loves hlm•elf there is nothing he has that he wouldn’t give to me. Praise God! It is important for you to learn to love your neighbor, but you also need to learn to love yourself. You are equal with God. You are as righteous as God.
vs. 2 “…fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
vs. 3 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
vs. 4 “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.”
vs. 5 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,”
vs. 6 “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God…”
Isn’t that wonderful? How many times have we read over this and not seen it?
Notice this, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God…” Let this mind be in you! Jesus didn’t think it was robbery to be equal with God… let this mind be in you. Well, glory to God. I’m supposed to think that way. “Well, I wouldn’t say that. That is just pulling God down to my level.” No it’s not! Jesus took me and lifted me up to God’s level. God wasn’t diminished, I was exalted.
Just remember that Jesus made you an heir with God and a joint heir with Himself. Jesus made you equal with the Father and when you finally get that image of yourself on the inside then look at your neighbor and say, “Jesus did the same thing for them. They are as righteous as God, too.”
You are now prepared to love your neighbor. You can truly give because you have something to give. You can give as Jesus gave. Jesus knew that He wasequalwith God but gave himself for us (his neighbor).
vs. 7 “but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”
vs. 8 “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
vs. 9 “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,”
vs. 10 “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
vs. 11 “and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus went through the eye of the needle. He dropped all His treasures in heaven and came to earth and took on the form of a servant and was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. But, praise God, when He came out on the other side of death, He rose victorious and God gave Him back a hundred-fold return. He received a name which is above every name, and a seat exalted to the highest position in the universe. At that name of Jesus every knee is going to bow in heaven, on earth and under the earth.
There is coming a day when Jesus Christ is going to come back through the skies and I’m going to be coming back with Him at His second advent. He is coming back with ten thousands of saints. All the angels, God the Father, the Holy Spirit and all the redeemed saints from ages upon ages are all going to be chorusing, “Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. That verse doesn’t stop there it says ” things on earth.” Russia, China, America and all the nations are going to be on their knees saying, “Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
It doesn’t stop there either. It says “things under, the earth.” All the demons, the fallen angels and satan himself are going to be on their knees saying, “Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” God wants to exalt you, too. Learn to confess your righteousness and position in Him.
This thought of being like-minded, having the mind of Christ, learning that you are equal with God, then loving your neighbor as yourself, ought to be taught in churches nationwide. Growing up, we had such low opinions of ourselves, and we had worse attitudes about everybody else. During my lifetime, I went through many church splits. Every one of them could have been avoided if each one loved their neighbor as themselves. There was jealousy, envy, backbiting and gossiping going on and when the church finally split no one could remember exactly where it started.
What has really cemented churches together today is not only the teaching of faith but it is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Denominational barriers are dropping right and left today as the Holy Spirit is moving in and the love of God is being shed abroad in our hearts. “Presbyterian” or Baptist” doesn’t mean anything when you are a child of God. We are all members of the body of Christ. And the foot doesn’t hate the hand and the ear doesn’t hate the eye. God hasn’t established the body of Christ to have an Assembly of God arm, a Presbyterian foot, and Pentecostal fingers. Divisions are man made, not God made.
God loves you the same as He loves everyone. And He loves you the same as He loves Jesus. God isn’t playing favorites in the body.
1 Corinthians 12
vs. 12 “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.”
vs. 13 “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. “
vs. 14 “For, in fact, the body is not one member but many.”
vs. 15 “If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?”
vs. 16 “And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?”
vs. 17 “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?”
vs. 18 “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.”
vs. 19 “And if they were all one member, where would the body be?”
vs. 20 “But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.”
vs. 21 “And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
vs. 22 “No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. ”
vs. 23 “And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty…”
You see, the problems that faced Corinth were no different than problems that face churches today.
In going back to verse 18, “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.” The verse before that told us that by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body. One day you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. The moment you were born again the Holy Spirit picked you up by the knap of the neck and plunged you into the body of Christ. He didn’t ask you what you would like to be because you would have picked a beautiful part of the body, wouldn’t you? We have been placed in the body as it has pleased the Father. You are not going to be happy until you find out where you belong and begin to function there.
Brother Hagin made a statement one time that has always stuck with me. He said, “If every member of the body of Christ would find out where they are supposed to be and quit trying to get into somebody else’s ministry there is no force on earth that could stop the body of Christ today.” We need to function as a team. But everybody wants to be the quarterback. Nobody wants to block. Everybody needs to find out where they belong in the body of Christ and function there. Your town would be taken for the Lord Jesus Christ.
It takes time of prayer and dedication to the Word and willingness to yield before God to say, “Lord where do I belong?” And you wouldn’t get offended when He said, “I want you to be the janitor in the church.” ” I want you to sweep the floors and do it as unto me.” And when you got to heaven you would get just as much reward as Brother Copeland. Because it is not the quantity of what you do, it is the quality of what you do. He rewards you for what you did with what you had. If you are faithful over the few things, He’ll make you ruler over many.
Divisions in the body are not made by God, but man. Look at verse 23 again. “And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty…” Did it say God thinks they are less honorable? God never thinks you are less honorable or more honorable. God never thinks that you are comely or uncomely. We think we are comely and uncomely. We either get a spiritual superiority complex or we get a spiritual inferiority complex and that didn’t come from God. You manufactured it. You listened to the devil and you created it.
I want you to imagine an uncomely part talking to a comely part. I want you to think of a less honorable part talking to a more honorable part. Verse 15, “If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?” You know if there is one part of you body that could probably complain the loudest it would be the foot. ” I carry the weight all day. This guy doesn’t pay any attention to me. He puts me in a sock, sticks me in a shoe and forgets me.”
Have you ever felt like the foot? Have ever had anyone come up to you and complain that they carry the weight for everyone else? The Bible says to cast all your burden on the Lord. It didn’t say you are supposed to carry everyone else’s burden around. If there is some member of the body that the foot could be jealous of it would probably be the hand.
The foot would say of the hand, “Look at the hand, he takes care of it, cleans the fingernails, washes it, manicures it.” Think of it women, when was the last time you bought a ring for your toes? You just don’t do it. The foot is something that we disregard. The hand gets all the attention. It is displayed all day long. I’m going to ask you a very serious question. Which would you rather lose, your hand or your foot? That’s a rough decision isn’t it? Both of them are necessary aren’t they? So often in the body of Christ, we fail to look at this from God’s viewpoint. We look at it from our, viewpoint and we think we are more honorable or less honorable. God says, “I needyou both the same. Love each other the same.”
There were times I was around Kenneth Hagin when he was in the office of a prophet and I felt like a foot next to the hand. I learned to quit feeling inferior to him. I read that verse one day and I realized that God wouldn’t want to lose the foot anymore than He would the hand. We are both necessary. God loves me the same as He loved Kenneth Hagin.
In verse 16 we read, “And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?” Another part of your body that could probably complain would be the ear. “This guy pulls his hair down over me and forgets me. When was the last time he washed back here?” If there is any part the ear could be jealous of it would be the eye. Look how much attention the eye gets. Women, when was the last time Avon came by and you bought ear makeup? But, they have a lot of eye makeup. You’ll spend 30 minutes fixing your eyes. You’ll spend the time because the eyes are something that you are proud of.
When was the last time your boyfriend or husband looked deep into your ear? There are poems written about the eye but I’ve never read a poem about the ear. The ear is something that we take for granted. The eyes are the windows to the soul. You can tell a person’s emotions by looking in their eyes. You can tell when a person is being honest with you. But you would never pull back their hair and look into theirear to see if they are telling the truth. Ears don’t tell us anything. But I want to ask you a very serious question. Would you rather lose your hearing or would you rather lose your sight? It is a rough decision isn’t it? Both of them are necessary.
We think we are less honorable. If I ever stood by Kenneth Copeland in ministry I would probably feel like the ear standing next to the eye. But I’m not jealous of him. God loves the ear just as much as He loves the eye. And He wouldn’t rather lose me than He would rather lose Kenneth Copeland.
And I’ll tell you what; God loves Oral Roberts as much as He loves you. And He couldn’t do without you anymore than He could do without Billy Graham. Your ministry is just as important. Billy Graham isn’t going to receive anymore rewards when he gets to heaven then you will if you did your job as unto the Lord. It is the quality of work, not quantity.
We read in verse 21, “And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you.” What is that verse saying? We no longer have the foot talking to the hand; we no longer have the ear, talking to the eye. We now have the two predominant members talking to each other. We have the hand talking to the eye. And they are both jealous of each other. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, “I have no need of you.” I know what I’m talking about. There is jealousy in the ministry! It exists!
One person rises up in predominance and looks over at the other one and say, “I don’t need you.” Some men are actually egotistical enough that they think the whole body of Christ rises and falls on their ministry. They think if they ever went under, the whole body of Christ would suffer. We need each other. The eye cannot do the work of the hand. You cannot do someone else’s job. You can only do your own.
The remainder of verse 21 says, “; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” Who is the head? Jesus is the head and cannot say to the feet (the lowest member of the body of Christ) “I have no need of you.” In other words, God wouldn’t want to lose the feet anymore than He would want to lose the head.
He wouldn’t rather lose you than Jesus. He loves you the same as He loves Jesus. He won’t hear the cry of Jesus any quicker than He’ll hear your cry. You have as much access to the throne of God as Jesus Christ does. And when you say, “Father in the name of Jesus,” He stops for you the same as He would for His own son. Glory be to God!
You keep that kind of attitude and there is no way jealousy can creep in. God loves us all the same. God wouldn’t meet the needs of Jesus any faster than He would meet your needs. He loves us both the same.
Love your neighbor that way. See Jesus in them. When a new person walks through the church door, see them as you would see Jesus. They will sit up and take notice. They will say, “That church is full of love.” Here’s how to get your business to prosper. Treat every customer that walks through the door as Jesus Christ. They willbeat a path to come to your place of business.