God's message is consistent throughout the Bible, from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
[Roy Holladay] I think we all understand that God’s given His Word to live by Him. He’s given us the Scriptures as they’re called in the Bible to live by. Too often people focus—and if we’re not careful we can too—almost strictly on the New Testament and fail to realize the importance of the Old Testament. If we don’t use the Old Testament as a foundation, we will lack the depth of understanding that we should have for many of the scriptures in the New Testament.
Let’s go over to 2 Timothy 3:14 2 Timothy 3:14But continue you in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them;
American King James Version×, which sort of summarizes what we’re going to be focusing on here today. Paul is writing here to Timothy, a young evangelist that he had taken with him, trained him and took him around so that Timothy would find out how to pastor, how to look after churches, how to deal with problems, how to meet the public, that type of thing. And verse 14, it says, “You must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you learned them.” And then verse 15, “And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which were able to make you wise for salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus.”
Now notice he knew the Holy Scriptures. Now the only Bible that Timothy had, his mother had, his grandmother had at that time was what we call the Old Testament. The Torah, the prophets, the writings—the three-fold division that we call the Old Testament. And I want you to notice that it says, “you’ve had these Holy Scriptures and they are able to make you wise to salvation.”
You realize if we didn’t have the New Testament, that we would know the plan of salvation from the Old Testament. We would…yeah, it very clearly says that here. And he says obviously through faith in Jesus Christ, verse 16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” I think most of us know that that expression can be translated as God-breathed, that God is one who inspired the Old Testament as well as the New, and that it is profitable. In what way? Well, “for doctrine (that’s teaching), for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (how to be righteous, how to do what is good and right) that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
The word “complete” here actually means to be completely qualified or equipped for every good work. Notice The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament says this, “That the man of God may be competent because he’s been equipped, outfitted, or furnished by God’s Word. God’s Word is that which gives one the necessary skills and tools to be capable of performing every good work.”
So the Old Testament as well as the New points the way to salvation, shows the plan of God, and reveals to us who our Savior is. Now in Luke 24, let’s go over to Luke 24:44 Luke 24:44And he said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
American King James Version×. Might remember the section here when Jesus Christ was giving some final instructions to His disciples right before He ascended into heaven. Luke 24:44 Luke 24:44And he said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
American King James Version×, “Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses (that’s the first five books of the Bible) and in the prophets (books like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Josiah, Joel, Amos, the minor prophets, as well as what we would call some of the historical books) and the Psalms concerning Me,” that’s the writing. Again, the Jews had divided the Bible into three-fold division: the Law—the first five books—the Prophets, and then the Writings. And notice here, “He opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures.”
Now what Scriptures did they have at this point? Only the Old Testament. Hadn’t started writing the gospels yet. Paul hadn’t been called yet. You know, the general epistles had not been written, the book of Revelation wasn’t written yet. So He opened their minds that they might understand. And, brethren, I think that’s a key for all of us to realize that people will not understand the Scriptures unless God opens their understanding so that they can understand them. And as He said here in verse 46, “He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer, to rise from the dead the third day.’” And then He goes on with other instructions.
Well today, I want to show you two principles or two laws. In actuality, we’re only going to have time to cover one since I’ve already given this sermon once this morning. We didn’t get to number two, so we’ll cover one. And without understanding how they’re positioned in the Old Testament and why they’re positioned where they are in the Old Testament, you will not fully grasp their application and their meaning or their possible application, how they apply to us. If you desire greater wisdom, a greater depth of understanding of the Bible and what you read, then you need to fully understand many of these principles as they’re situated. In other words, where are they revealed in the books of the Old Testament and what does God have to say about them? The Old Testament forms the foundation for the New, and the New is built from it.
So let’s take a look at these two principles. We’ll at least cover them here in the New Testament that are articulated, two laws that are mentioned in the New Testament. Matthew 22:34 Matthew 22:34But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
American King James Version×. Matthew 22 and we’ll begin in verse 34, “Then the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees and they gathered together.” Now verse 35, “And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him in saying, ‘Teacher, what is the great commandment that’s in the law? What is the greatest?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Well, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” So the two great laws: love God with all of your being and love your neighbor as yourself. Now, verse 40 is an interesting verse that we normally don’t stop and think. “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” He’s referring to the Old Testament. All of the Old Testament hang on these two commandments; they’re the foundation that the Law and the Prophets are built upon. Notice the ESV translation of verse 40. “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” In what way? Well, the law is based on putting God first, isn’t it? If you love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your might, then you’re putting Him first. And if you love your neighbor, you’re treating him like you’d like to be treated.
So the Law, the first five books of the Bible, show us how to put God first. Obedience to the commandments of God is a test of whether we will put God first in our lives, if He comes first or do we come first? Do our own ideas come first? Do other philosophies come first? Who comes first in our life? Well, if we have God’s law, that should come first.
Now, the Prophets show what happens when you don’t put God first, when you don’t love your neighbor as you love yourself. You go through Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and some of the prophets and you’ll find that God is constantly indicting the peoples of Israel for their lack of love and taking care of the widowed and the orphaned, and stealing and robbing, and injustices taking place. The Prophets show what happened to a nation when they obey God, how they’re prospered, they’re blessed. It also shows when you don’t obey God then you’re cursed and all of the curses that come upon you. So these two great laws form the foundation of the whole Old Testament. Everything is based on that. So verse 40 is a key verse, “On these two commandments hang the Law and the Prophets.”
Now, let’s go over to Mark’s account, parallel account here in Mark 12:28 Mark 12:28And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
American King James Version×and he adds little different slant on this. Mark 12:28 Mark 12:28And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
American King James Version×, says “Then one of the scribes came and, having heard them reasoning together, perceived that He had answered them well and asked Him, ‘What is the first commandment of all?’” Now, you know, before it says “the great,” this says “the first.” “And Jesus answered, ‘The first of all the commandment is, “hear, O Israel, the Lord, our God, the Lord is one.” And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, with all of your mind,’” and then He adds something else, it’s not mentioned in Matthew, “’and with all of your strength. This is the first commandment and the second like it is that you shall love your neighbors yourself.’”
There is no other commandment greater than these. These top them all. It was all of God’s commandments are based upon this, putting God first and then loving your neighbor. “So the scribe said to him, ‘Well said, Teacher,’” patting Him on the back. “’You said quite well. You have spoken the truth for there is one God and there’s no other but He and to love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your soul, with all your strength and to love your neighbor as oneself is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.’ Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, notice, He said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’” And after that no one dared question Him.
But notice, “You’re not far from the kingdom of God.” The scribe understood the values on which the Kingdom of God is founded and that, if you’re going to be in God’s Kingdom, you must put God first and love your neighbor.
So the same thing that was said over in Matthew is said here except in Matthew it says the whole Old Testament is based on these principles. Here it shows that entrance into the Kingdom of God is likewise based upon these. So if you and I want to be in the Kingdom of God, we better pay heed to these principles.
Now the major question is how do you love God? How do you love your neighbor? How do you apply these principles? This is where the Old Testament comes in because it helps to clarify for us these principles. Now the whole Bible actually expounds on it, but the Old Testament does, too. Let’s begin today by taking a look at the second commandment that He mentioned, that you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Now how do you go about loving your neighbor as yourself?
I’m sure if I were to stop here and just open it up and ask you to comment, we’d probably have all kinds of ideas. You could tell me, I could jot them down, we’d probably have dozens and dozens of ways. But let’s go back to where this is mentioned in the Bible, Leviticus 19:18 Leviticus 19:18You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
American King James Version×. Turn back to Leviticus 19:18 Leviticus 19:18You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
American King James Version×. And I want you to look at this from this perspective. Why is this verse where it is in the Law? Now, just to clarify, when this was originally written it wasn’t written in verses. It was not written in chapters. You know, those were added later. It was a scroll and here it is place strategically within that scroll. Now man has come along and divided it here into chapters, but let’s notice here in verse 18. “You shall not take vengeance nor bear any grudge against the children of your people. But you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” Now when Christ quoted this, He didn’t just dream it up, He got it from the Old Testament. You are to love your neighbor as yourself. Why is this first located in this section? Because as we will see, this chapter explains how to love your neighbor. If you want a chapter in the Bible that tells you what to do in a direct way on how to love your neighbor, this is it. It gives you examples. This is a summary statement on how you apply many of these principles dealing with your neighbor. The application of this law is found throughout this whole chapter.
Let’s go back to verse 1 and I’ll show you what I’m talking about here. Leviticus 19:1 Leviticus 19:1And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
American King James Version×, “The Lord spoke to Moses saying, ‘Speak to all of the congregation of the children of Israel and say to them, you shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.’” Now God is holy, He is set apart. He lives by certain standards and so should we. We’ve been set apart by God to live a certain way of life. Notice, beginning in verse 3, “Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.” Now the word “revere” here comes from the Hebrew, it means to fear, to reverence, to be afraid. It is, if you look up the Hebrew verb stem, it comes from the Qal , and it means to fear, be afraid, to stand in awe, to be awe, to fear, to reverence, to honor, to respect. So to begin with, if you are going to love your neighbor as yourself, what is the first neighbor you should love? It’s your parents. You are to honor your parents. You are to respect your parents. To love your neighbor involves honor, respecting and having the proper fear and respect of your father and your mother.
When I grew up, I was a little afraid of my dad. I didn’t walk around terrified, but as a youngster he was much bigger. And when he said, “Roy, get in here and do something,” guess what? I jumped. I got in there and I did it because I knew if I didn’t, I was in trouble. Well, there’s a certain respect, a certain revering, standing in awe of your parents, and you can apply this principle though across the board.
If we are to respect and stand in awe of our parents, what about any authority figure? What about policemen? What about those who have the responsibility and maintaining law and order in our society? You’ll find people going around and they make fun of policemen. They’ll refer to them just as “cops” and they’ll talk down about those who are in authority. But I think this principle is showing that we should respect those who have authority over us. And we may not agree with everything they do, their belief system and so on, but as long as they have authority over us, we must pay the proper respect and honor to them.
Now why does he mention the Sabbath day here? Well, the Sabbath day is a test commandment, is it not? And what does the Bible mean that you’re supposed to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, all your strength?” Well, it means that you do what God tells you. And if God says keep the Sabbath, don’t keep Sunday, don’t keep Friday, don’t keep any other day, observe the Sabbath day. Guess what? If you love God and put Him first, you will do that. You will obey what God tells you to do. So the Sabbath is one of those commandments that shows God that we’re willing to put Him first in our lives.
Now in verse 4, same principle brought out here in verse 4, “Do not turn to idols or make yourselves molten gods, I am the Lord your God.” So worshiping idols would be putting something before the true God and would not be loving God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and your might. So you and I are to put God first. We’re not to follow idols. Now why is the Sabbath and idolatry mentioned? You go back to chapters like Ezekiel 20 and different verses, different Psalms in the Old Testament, and you’ll find the main reason why Israel went into captivity. Number one is idolatry, number two is Sabbath breaking. Those are the main things that God focuses on. And so He’s telling them right off the bat, “Don’t do that. You put Me first.”
Now let’s drop down to verse 9 and we’ll begin to focus a little more here on the second commandment. “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not holy reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyards, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard and you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger. I am the Lord your God.” Okay, if you love your neighbor as yourself, then you’re going to be concerned about the poor and the stranger, the alien who might be among you. Now I want you to notice a valuable principle here, what it’s talking about today? How many farmers do we have today here? Not too many of us are farming today. So how do you apply this principle today? Well, you might say if you were a farmer today and you didn’t apply this, you would take your reaper right up to the corner, back up, go this way, you’d make sure you didn’t leave anything out there in the field, and you get every last grape off the vineyard and sell it or keep it, or juice it or wine it or whatever you might do with it. But God said not to do that back then; you’d round the corners. You’d go over and harvest the grapes, but you’d leave some. If you drop some, you just leave it in the field. Why? So that the stranger and the poor could come and pick it up and harvest it. Now, it didn’t say here that you just turn around and give it to them; they had to come out and work for it. They had to come out in your field, go to the corners, pluck the grain. You drop a sheaf; pick the sheaf up. Go to the vineyards, pluck the grapes off. And so there was some work to it.
Back in the 1990’s here in this country there was a law passed, if you were on welfare you had to be working to receive welfare. Now that’s been nullified or toned down since that time. That was a good principle, same principle here in the Bible, that you work. And okay, you don’t have a job, but you get out and work, or you try and you strive and you’re not able to make ends meet, we’ll help you.
How would you apply this principle today? Well, most of us here…well, none of us here are farmers. Not most of us, none of us here are farmers. So how do you do this? Well, you don’t take every last penny you earn and spend it on yourself. You take some of what you earn and give it to the poor, give it to charity, give it to those who are needy. We have what used to be called the poor fund in the Church. It’s not called that anymore. It’s to help the needy. And when you send your tithes in and your offerings, you might send an extra dollar or two in to help those who are needy. And there are times that we have to help widows or help individuals and a local congregation. So that’s one way. What about a hurricane, tornado, some type of natural disaster, when the Red Cross or another organization is asking for help? You can always contribute to something of that nature, something that where you know that it’s going to be put to proper use and not be taken advantage of.
So, again, here’s a very valid principle on how to show love to your neighbor. Now let’s go on to verse 11, “You shall not steal nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.” So you don’t love your neighbor if you go over and say, “Well, look here, he left his rake out. I think I’ll take his rake. He’ll never miss it. He’ll never know who took his rake.” You got his rake, and so you steal from him. Then it says, “Don’t deal falsely.” Well, the Hebrew verb in the Piel ending means to deceive, to deny falsely, to act deceptively. So you don’t act in a deceitful manner with your neighbor.
Has anyone ever deceived his neighbor? What about a used car? He got this used car. You’re afraid to drive it down the road. A neighbor comes over and says, “Well, you wanna get rid of that?” And you say, “Well, it’s great, brakes are good, you know, it doesn’t burn any oil. You know, I get good mileage. I haven’t had to repair anything on it.” And before it can drive it off your land, it breaks down. Well, you’re deceiving. You go in and you try to buy a used car from a used car salesman, guess what? You’re probably gonna be suckered or deceived about that car and the state of that car. So, we know that used car salesmen and Congress, right down at the bottom of people who are trusted and respected in our society today.
So you don’t deal falsely. He comes over and you say, “Well, the brakes aren’t very good on this car. It burns oil. I’ve had other problems with it. Now, if you wanna buy it under those situations, a couple hundred dollars, it’s yours.” And you’re not being deceitful with them, you’re trying to be honest and above board with him. So that’s what He’s talking about. You don’t steal from him, you don’t take what’s not yours, you don’t deal falsely and you don’t lie to one another.
Do we ever hear politicians lie? Maybe I should rephrase that. Do we ever hear politicians tell the truth? That may be a better way of expressing that. What about all the falsehoods of propaganda? The government seems to lie. There are all kinds of things going on all the time. Can you trust anybody who lies? If you can’t depend upon a person’s word, your neighbor’s word, then who can you trust? So again, here in verse 11, are several ways the Bible shows how to love your neighbor by telling you what not to do.
Now verse 12, “And you shall not swear by My name falsely nor shall you profane the name of the Lord your God. I am the Lord.” You and I are not to swear by God’s name falsely. In the court of law, people put their hands on the Bible, raise their hand. “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help you God?” And people say, “Yes.” And then they proceed to what? To lie.
A lot of times you’ll find witnesses—I’m not talking about people just getting mixed up and saying something wrong, but I’m talking about knowing that what they’re saying is not the truth. “Did you murder Joe Blow?” “Who, me? No, I didn’t do that,” and when there’re 10 witnesses maybe who saw them do that. And people lie all the time and they don’t tell the truth. Do you tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? A little truth, don’t have to tell the whole truth, and so people will lie.
And they’ll use God’s name falsely. How often do you hear people take the name of God in vain? Just by swearing but also, you know… Norma and I like to watch the Home Garden channel and there’ll be a lot of couples on there where maybe a house has been remodeled and they come in, and what’s the first thing in 9 out of 10 out of their mouth? “Oh my…” and I won’t say the rest. You know, they say that over and over again. They’re swearing. Or they’ll use the name of Jesus Christ. A lot of times people use euphemisms, instead of just saying God’s name, they’ll use a euphemism. So God very clearly says here not to swear by His name falsely, “Nor shall you profane the name of God.”
The word “profane” means to use it commonly, to defile it, to violate the honor of it, to treat as common. And when somebody is just using those type of expressions over and over, it doesn’t mean anything. I mean, they don’t even stop to think about it. They profane God’s name. Now why is that important? Well, if you’re going to establish a community, have a community where the people love one another, they’re not going to be taking God’s name in vain.
Verse 13, “You shall not cheat your neighbor,” the Bible says, “nor rob him the wage of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until the morning.” So you don’t cheat your neighbor, you don’t rob him—that’s not showing love to him—and you pay him his wages. You hire a plumber to come in and he plumbs, you pay him. Hire electrician to come in and fix something that’s broken, you pay him. And so it’s talking about that we make good. And you say, “Well I don’t have the money.” Well, you don’t hire him. You get the money, you hire him.
So the Bible is very clear how we pay and that this is showing love. How would you like to go to work, work 40 hours and you’re an employee and you go in to get your check and he said, “Well, we’re not giving checks out this week. We’ll try, we’ll give you one next week. We appreciate you working for us.” Well, that’s not the way the system works. You work, you get paid and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Verse 14, “You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God, I am the Lord.” So you’re not to curse the deaf. The deaf can’t hear you. So you can make fun of them, you can ridicule them, you can curse them and they don’t know what you’re saying if they’re not standing there reading your lips. How often do people in society today make fun of others who are handicapped or have physical ailments or maybe were born with a deformity? Or how often do we hear children making fun of others? “Fatty, fatty” and “two by four” and they make fun of other children or they call them names, and they’re not taught the proper way of dealing with people and loving people who maybe have a problem. So it’s talking about somebody that you’re taking advantage of.
And putting a stumbling block before the blind; that’d be terrible, something for them to trip over. How about our army veterans who come back to this country? Many of them suffering from mental disorders. Many of them suffering, wanting to take their own lives, going through the horrors of war and not being able to get rid of those memories and needing help, and others who take advantage of them or don’t try to help them, don’t try to find work for them, don’t try to work with them. There’s some wonderful programs out there that are trying to help these individuals, but then there are those who take advantage.
The scriptures here constantly reflect on how we should be loving our neighbor. Verse 15 goes on, “You shall do no injustice in judgment. Tou shall not be partial to the poor nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.” So you and I are not to be unjust in judgment. We’re not to be partial. It doesn’t matter if they’re poor or they’re rich. Guess what? Our judgment should be based on what’s right, not on the person of an individual, not feeling sorry for somebody just because they’re poor or he’s rich. “I can sock it to him and he’ll give more.” No, that’s not the way you deal with people. We are to judge in righteousness. That’s having right standards, applying God’s law in a right way. And so it’s very clear that, if you want to love your neighbor, you don’t show partiality. How many scriptures in the New Testament talk about partiality over and over again? Guess what? It’s based upon what’s revealed here in the Old Testament.
So, so much of the New Testament that you read, you’ll find has its roots right back here. Now verse 16, “You shall not go about as a tale-bearer among your people.” That’s a gossip. Somebody’s bearing a tale, people say, “Well, I’m not spreading lies. This is the truth.” Where does it say truth here versus lies? It says, “You shall not go about as a tale-bearer,” or a gossip. Sometimes when we hear bad news, we just have to tell somebody else about the bad news and gossip about an individual. Why should we do that? Why should we tear somebody else’s reputation down and talk about them? It says, “Nor shall you stand against the life of your neighbor.” So we’re not to cherish hatred in our heart and be against our neighbor. This here, literally, we’re not to do anything that would put our neighbor’s life in jeopardy. In fact, quoting here from the, let me see, this is the New American Commentary, has this to say, “The Hebrew literally reads in this expression, ‘Do not stand on the blood of your neighbor.’ And it’s been interpreted in three different ways. One, do not stand by while a neighbor’s life is in danger, that’s one way. Number two, do not conspire against a neighbor. Number three, do not survive by means of or relying on a neighbor.’” So, whichever way—and I’m not here to say which one of those apply, either one of them could—but it’s very clear here that we’re not to go about as tale-bearers and that we’re not to stand against the life of our neighbor.
Verse 17, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart.” So if you hate somebody, despise somebody, bitter against somebody, then you’re wrong. That’s not loving your brother. “You shall surely rebuke your neighbor and not bear sin because of him.” Remember in the New Testament, Matthew 18 beginning in verse 15, “If your brother sins against you,” what are you supposed to do? Blab it to everybody. That’s not what it says, isn’t it? It says you go to him privately. You’re not a tale-bearer. Where do you think Christ came up with that principle? Right here. You don’t go blab it, you’re not a tale-bearer; you go to him alone. What if he doesn’t listen? You take a couple of witnesses. You still haven’t expanded the circle where everybody in the Church knows; you bring it to him. Thirdly, if they won’t…person won’t listen, then you bring it to the Church or the ministry, and then it’s adjudicated. So the Bible is very clear on some of these principles. And so here is a, let’s say, a very clear application of how to love your brother.
Now verse 18, “You shall not take vengeance on your brother nor bear any grudge against the children of your people.” To take vengeance, what does the New Testament say? “’Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” So we’re not to take vengeance; God will. And we’re not to hold grudges or bitterness or dislike, resentment or hatred. We are to do what? Well it goes on to summarize it, “But you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” See how this whole chapter actually expounds on that principle? Finally gets down and He summarizes the gist of what He’s been talking about.
Now notice in Luke 10, let’s go over to the book of Luke. Luke 10:25 Luke 10:25And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
American King James Version×, let’s notice how this scripture is applied in the New Testament. It says, “Behold a certain lawyer stood and tested Him saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? What do I need to do?’ And He said to him, ‘What’s written in the law? What is your reading of it?’ So I answered and said…” notice where He goes, “What’s written in the law?” “He answered and said, ‘Well, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself.’ And He said to him, “You have answered rightly. Do this and you will live.” So, that should have ended it, but notice, “He, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘Who’s my neighbor?’” Okay, I’m supposed to love my neighbor—who’s my neighbor? So he wasn’t willing to accept just what Christ said.
Now we have what’s called the parable of the Good Samaritan. If you remember it, verse 30, “Jesus answered and said, ‘A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, fell among thieves, they stripped him of his clothing, wounded him and left him.’” The party left him for dead. “Along comes a priest, he goes on the other side of the road and walks right by and doesn’t help him. Along comes a Levite, he does the same thing on the other side of the road. Along comes a Samaritan…” Now the Samaritans and the Jews had no dealings with each other, but I want you to notice what he did. Verse 33, “A certain Samaritan as he journeyed came on him, and when he saw him, he had compassion.” Verse 34, “He went to him, bandaged up his wounds, took care of him, brought him to an inn. Said, ‘Take care of him. If he owes some more money, when I come back, I’ll pay it.’” Now in verse 36, “’Which of these do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves? The priest and all of his righteousness and robes or the Levite?’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘he who showed mercy on him’. And Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’”
So sometimes, showing love to your neighbor means you show mercy to him. You extend mercy, you help those who need help. Notice Romans 13:8 Romans 13:8Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law.
American King James Version×; this is mentioned again, Romans 13:8 Romans 13:8Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law.
American King James Version×. “Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandment, ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not covet, if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to his neighbor.’” That’s a principle to always remember. If you love your neighbor, you’re not going to do harm to your neighbor. “Therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” If you love your neighbor, you’re not going to do harm and you will fulfill the law.
Galatians, let’s go to the book of Galatians 5:14 Galatians 5:14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
American King James Version×, Galatians 5:14 Galatians 5:14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
American King James Version×. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” So on, and this is love. “But if you bite and devour one another, beware less you be consumed by one another.” So rather than if we go around biting one another, talking about one another, putting one another down and all of this, then we are not showing love to our neighbor.
James 2, one final scripture here. James 2:1 James 2:1My brothers, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
American King James Version×, “My brothers, brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory with partiality.” So here’s a principle of partiality as we found back in Leviticus 19. “For there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, fine apparel, and there should come in a poor man in filthy clothes. You pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘Sit here in a good place,’ and you say to the poor man, ‘You stand there or sit at my footstool.’” He goes on to say, “Have you not shown partiality? And among yourselves and become a judge with evil thoughts?” Now you’re judging which one is the best, and you’re judging based upon physical accouterments. So showing partiality, favoritism. So God says that we are to love our neighbor as ourself.
Now, I could cite, and you might just want to jot down Deuteronomy 6:1-9 Deuteronomy 6:1-9 1 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you go to possess it:
2 That you might fear the LORD your God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, you, and your son, and your son’s son, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged.
3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with you, and that you may increase mightily, as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you, in the land that flows with milk and honey.
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
6 And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart:
7 And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8 And you shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 And you shall write them on the posts of your house, and on your gates.
American King James Version×for the first commandment to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. You will notice in Deuteronomy 6, the application of this principle starts where? Starts in the home, starts with the parents. Parents are to teach their children to love God with all of their being and then it’s to be passed on to their grandchildren and their great grandchildren. So there is a principle. If you want a society built, want a nation built upon loving God with all of your heart, it starts in the home.
What have we seen this past week or two? A ball player from Australia, come over to this country in Oklahoma City, be killed by three young thugs or teenagers. Why? They were bored. Where were their core values? Where were their families? What had they learned growing up in 15-, 16-year-old children? Just last couple of days an army veteran from World War II was beaten up by a couple of young individuals. Where were their values? You see, it’s not being passed on. We have a culture today that is based upon everybody does for himself. And we do not stop to think about the law of love your neighbor. It is not about the self, it’s about the community, about loving your neighbor and loving God. If it were that way, we would have a different society. Let’s take a look in closing here with some of the statistics that you might not have thought about in a long time.
How many times do the writers in the New Testament quote from the Old Testament? An index in the Jewish New Testament catalogs 695 separate quotations from the books of the Old Testament, 695 quotes. There are many other passages where the Old Testament is referred to, where Christ might have said “in Abraham’s day” or “Joshua did this” or Noah or whatever it might be. They don’t quote a scripture, but they refer to an incident or a situation or a person in the Old Testament. There’s no specific scripture being quoted. Depending on which scholar’s work you examine, the number of quotations and references in the New Testament to the Old may be as high as 4,105. And you can hardly read a verse in the New Testament that doesn’t have some type of reference to the Old. 4,105. I don’t know how many verses there are in the New Testament, but can’t be too many more than that. You compare these figures with other writers—guess what? New Testament quotes four other writers, four. I’ll read quotes from the Old Testament 695 times and people will insist that the New Testament makes the Old obsolete. “You don’t have to read it, study it, think about it, and it’s only valid for that period in time in history.” And yet you’ll find a large portion, I was going to look it up and didn’t actually find it, but I’ve heard it before of the percentage of the New Testament quoted from the Old Testament.
Consider a few other statistics. There’re 27 books and letters forming the New Testament. Twenty-one of them quote from the Old Testament. The only ones that don’t quote from the Old Testament are the six shortest: Titus, Philemon, 1st, 2nd, 3rd John, and Jude. However, Titus, 1st John, 3rd John and Jude do refer to the Old Testament. They don’t quote, but they refer to examples and situations that are mentioned in the Old Testament. Another way of looking at this, the modern Bible today has 39 books in the Old Testament. Of those 39 books, only 9 are not quoted in the New Testament. However, the Jews only had 22 books in the Old Testament. Books like 1st and 2nd Samuel—one book. 1st and 2nd Kings—one book. 1st and 2nd Chronicles—one book. There are all kinds of combinations of books that were put together. Twenty-two books symbolized by the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Now when you look at it that way, there are only five books in the Old Testament that are not quoted in the New. Now some assumed that the five books of Moses—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy—are obsolete, that they focus on the law, and that Jesus Christ came along and He annulled the law. However, the same 5 books are quoted at least 245 times in the New Testament, and referred to many, many more times. Paul who is the apostle to the Gentiles who supposedly came along and did away with the law, quoted from these books between 70 and 110 times just in his writings. More than any other New Testament figure, Jesus Christ Himself quoted from the first 5 books of the Bible 60 times. So He quoted extensively.
So brethren, as we study, let’s not forget the Old Testament. Let’s remember that the greatest laws in the Bible—to love God, love your neighbor—form the basis of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is built upon the foundation of those principles. And the better we understand the Old Testament and comprehend it, the better we will understand the New.