12 Feb 2017

Examination in love

Senior pastor of “Philadelphia” church in Izhevsk Pavel Zhelnovakov was preaching about an examination in love. An expert in the law (these were the people who dedicated themselves to studying and interpreting the Jewish Law) came up to Jesus to test Him and asked: “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus replied to him: “What is written in the Law?” The expert answered telling the words from the five books of Moses: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18). And Jesus replied: “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live”. These words of Jesus disproved all the conjectures that Jesus had rejected the Law or had changed it by His teaching. Another time Jesus would say of the Law and the Prophets the following: “I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). When He says “to fulfill” it means that He came to make sense of the Law, to revivify it, and to give it a new meaning.

The pastor emphasized the four aspects that the expert of the law mentioned:  all heart, all soul, all strength, all mind. The heart and the soul are the entire essence of people; mind is their ability to think, make decisions, and come to conclusions; strength is a characteristic of quality. And still, how can we pass this examination? “How can we love?” – one may ask. And the fact that God answered this question and left us His answer is not just fortune but His providence. “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me” – Jesus says, and then makes another conclusion, - “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching” (John 14:21, 23). At the end of the sermon pastor Pavel pointed out the words of the Apostle Paul (who comes to the same conclusion in his speculations: “love is the fulfillment of the law”): “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 13:8-10)

Egor Gvozdikov


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