In this sermon, Youth Director Mike Bittenbender preaches on the first and greatest commandment. Here are some excerpts:
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”
…Throughout the New Testament there are many “one another” phrases. Love one another, bear one another’s burdens, encourage one another, forgive one another. In each of these phrases, we also see that they have a connection with God. God tends to be the source for these actions. He is love, God bears our burdens with us. He is the source of our encouragement, and God forgives us. While the connection with God is evident, that action to those around us are also evident. We have this vertical direction with these phrases, our connection with God, as well as a horizontal axis about our actions with others…
…When one is wondering how we can encourage one another, one simply needs to remember to think. You may recall in my sermon on the 9th commandment I mentioned this little [acrostic based on the word THINK, reminding us about what we say]:
We live in a world where tearing down, name-calling, making fun and embarrassing people is the norm. Perhaps I have my head stuck too far in youth culture, but if the youth are doing it, they learned it from somewhere and as parents know, kids are always watching what adults are doing. If, as Christians, we can change this narrative I believe we will begin to see a change in the people around us. Imagine a world where the normal for all our interactions is to build each other up rather than find the put-down.
Lastly, we have to forgive one another. Ephesians 4:32 says: “Be kind and compassionate toone another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Also, Colossians 3:13 says: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”