10 Lessons on the Lutheran Faith

Lesson 3:  Love the Lord Your God

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Getting Started

What is love?
 
 

Can you command love?
 
 
 


The Bible Teaches
 
 

The ten commandments are the law of God. When God first created us, HE wrote the law into our hearts, but later wrote them on tablets of stone and made them known through Moses. The commandments can be divided into two tables. The first table tells us how we should live in relation to God and the second table tells us how we should live in relation to our fellow human beings.

The first table contains commandments 1-3. It can be summed up with the command of Jesus to love your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind. The second table, commandments 4-10, is summed up by Jesus as "love your neighbor as yourself". Love is the summary of all the commandments.

The Scripture says that all people are accountable to Godís law.

  • NAB Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;
  • NAB Matthew 5:19 "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The First Commandment

The First Commandment says that we shall have no other gods than the one true God. Luther says this means we should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.
 
 

The true God is the triune God: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is one God in three persons. We express this with the word "Trinity". He is not three gods but one God. He is the one true God in three distinct persons, yet one God.

  • NAB Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
  • NAB 1 Corinthians 8:4 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

In the first commandment God forbids us from having other gods.

We break this commandment when:

  • Worship or regard any creature or thing as god.
     
  • Believe in any god who is not the Triune God.
     
  • We love and trust in another person in place of God.
     
  • We join in worship of a god who is not the one true God.

     

  • NAB John 5:23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
  • NAB Psalm 14:1 {For the choir director. A Psalm of David.} The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.
  • NAB Matthew 10:37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
  • NAB 2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

God requires in this commandment that we revere Him alone as God and honor Him with our lives. We love God when we cling to Him alone as our God and devote our lives to His service. We trust in Him as we cling to Him for our keeping and rely upon Him for our every need.

  • NAB Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
  • NAB Proverbs 8:13 "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate.
  • NAB Psalm 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man.

The Second Commandment

This commandment says we are not to misuse Godís name. God name is His revelation of who He is. His name tells us about Himself and how He relates to us.

  • NAB Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you."'
  • NAB Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
  • NAB Matthew 1:21 "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
  • NAB Exodus 20:7 "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

We misuse Godís name if we curse by His name. This can include

  • Speaking evil of God or mocking Him.
     
  • Using His name to call down evil or punishment upon another person.

     

  • NAB Leviticus 24:15 "You shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'If anyone curses his God, then he will bear his sin.
  • NAB James 3:9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.

We also misuse Godís name when we swear by His name in an inappropriate way.

  • We sin if we take an oath and call upon God to punish us if we lie or break a promise.
     
  • Taking oaths are permitted, even required, when the oath is necessary for the glory of God or the welfare of our neighbor. {for example in court}. But it is forbidden when done falsely, without thought, or for unimportant matters.

     

  • NAB Romans 13:1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
  • NAB Numbers 30:2 "If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.
  • NAB Matthew 5:33 "Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ' YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.' 34 "But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. 36 "Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; anything beyond these is of evil.

Some misuse Godís name by practicing satanic arts. For example:

  • Using Godís name to cast spells.
     
  • Calling up the spirits of the dead
     
  • Trying to predict the future

     

  • NAB Deuteronomy 18:10 "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 "For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.

Lying and deceiving by Godís name includes teaching false doctrine and saying it is Godís revelation. It also includes covering up an unbelieving heart by pretending to be a Christian.

  • NAB Jeremiah 23:21 "I did not send these prophets, But they ran. I did not speak to them, But they prophesied.
  • NAB Matthew 15:8 'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.

God requires of us with the second commandment:

    • To call upon His name when we are in trouble
       
    • To use His name to pray
       
    • To praise Him
       
    • To give Him thanks

       

  • NAB Psalm 50:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me."

Excursus on Prayer

The Lordís Prayer begins with the words "Our Father". Because of Christ's death for us which takes away our sins, we are made to be Godís children. {See John 1:12}

One good way to pray is to pray out of Godís name. Take a name or description of God and focus on what it tells us about Him. Then you could form the following sort of prayer.

  • Confess His name: speak to God what HE has spoken to us. For example His name is Father. So we might pray, "Dear God, you are indeed our Father and we are Your children."
     
  • Make a request based on His name. For example, "please care for me as a father cares for his child."
     
  • Speak to God of the desired result. For example: "so that my physical needs are met."
     
  • End the prayer with thanksgiving and confidence knowing that God shall hear us. "I give you thanks for the care you have given me. Amen".

     

The Third Commandment

This commandment tells us to remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. The Sabbath day is the seventh day which God set aside as a sign to point to Christ. {Saturday} Jesus is our rest, and since He has come, God does not require us to keep Saturday as the Sabbath.

  • NAB Matthew 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
  • NAB Colossians 2:16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day -- 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

God does require that we join together for worship. But He has not specified a certain day. The church worships on Sunday, because this is the day that Jesus rose from the dead.

  • NAB Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
  • NAB Romans 14:5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.

We sin against this commandment when

    • Despise the preaching of Godís Word
       
    • Do not attend worship services
       
    • Do not make use of Godís Word in our daily lives
       
    • Do not partake of the sacraments

       

  • NAB Luke 10:16 "The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me."

We keep this commandment when we hold preaching {in accordance with the truth of Godís Word} and the Word of God sacred so that we gladly hear it, learn it, and meditate upon it for our lives.
 
 

  • NAB Luke 11:28 But He said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it."
  • NAB Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
  • NAB 1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

 
  copyright Rev. David D. Reedy, 1999