SermonGreatest Commandment
An all-creatures Bible Message

Greatest Commandment

A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church

9 February 2020

Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Psalm 112:1-10
Isaiah 58:1-12
Matthew 5:13-20

Greatest commandment is one that obviously would fulfill everything that God desires us to do, which Jesus teaches us is to love God with every aspect of our being.

If we do love God this way then we would naturally love the whole of His creation, which includes every other human being, every animal, and the environment in which we all live, and we would do everything in our power to peacefully protect it.

A vital part of protecting God’s creation is to peacefully stand up to and be against all sources of evil, which usually come from other human beings, and the Lord will help us do this.

So, in order to fulfill this greatest commandment, we need to apply the Lord’s peaceful, loving, compassionate, and empathetic teaching to everything we do, which even includes reading the Bible, because we need to bring it up to date as we apply its messages to our everyday lives.

As we read Psalm 112:1-10 together, let’s think about how we can and should interpret it in accordance with God’s greatest commandment…

1. Praise the LORD!
How blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
Who greatly delights in His commandments.

I believe that a better term than “fear the Lord” is “revere the Lord,” because if perfect love casts out fear, since we are to love the Lord with every part of our being, then “fear” doesn’t fit that relationship.

This is one of the things that we need to think about, because the Bible isn’t always translated in terms of the heavenly will of God and His greatest commandment.

2. His descendants will be mighty on earth;
The generation of the upright will be blessed.

We disagree with this verse for just because someone reverences the Lord doesn’t mean that his or her children will do the same, as Bible history demonstrates.

We agree that the upright in the Lord will be blessed, but I don’t believe that we have ever had a generation in which everyone was living in the heavenly will of God.

3. Wealth and riches are in his house,
And his righteousness endures forever.

A lot of people are pulled away from living in accordance with the greatest commandment by wealth and riches, as was Solomon; wealth and riches seem to be more of a test of our faith than they are a blessing, because relatively few people use their wealth in service of the Lord.

4. Light arises in the darkness for the upright;
He is gracious and compassionate and righteous.

When we are upright in the eyes of God, our eyes are also opened to the evil that is all around us so that we can avoid becoming part of it, and God does bless us when we do so.

5. It is well with the man who is gracious and lends;
He will maintain his cause in judgment.

This is true, but we also need to remember that if we are lending in the heavenly will of God, we are not to charge interest or expect it to be paid back, because we should never take them to court.

From our understanding this is the only way we will maintain our righteousness before the Lord.

6. For he will never be shaken;
The righteous will be remembered forever.

I’m not sure that the righteous will never be shaken, for we seem to always be tested with something; however, if we maintain our righteousness we will always be with the Lord in heaven.

7. He will not fear evil tidings;
His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

This definitely seems to happen with everyone who lives by God’s greatest commandment.

8. His heart is upheld, he will not fear,
Until he looks with satisfaction on his adversaries.

Absolutely, if we are filled with the heavenly love of God, which is perfect love, we will not fear the evilness of the world around us, but we will recognize it and avoid it.

Again, if we look with satisfaction upon anyone who fails in his or her actions against us or the things we believe in, then like them, we have failed to love completely.

9. He has given freely to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever;
His horn will be exalted in honor.

If we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and might, we will also love the whole of God’s creation, and realize that most of the animals in this world are among those who the Lord considers to be in need of help, and we don’t believe that we can neglect any of them whether human or animal.

10. The wicked will see it and be vexed;
He will gnash his teeth and melt away;
The desire of the wicked will perish.

We always hope and pray that the wicked of this world with see the presence of the Lord in us and come to repentance and seek to become children of God, so that only their wickedness would perish.

However, if they don’t repent, they will perish as this psalm tells us, but we are not to gloat, but instead be filled with sadness at their loss.

This brings us to Isaiah 58:1-12, which addresses the evilness of the people in the world around us, because they are not living in accordance with God’s greatest commandment…

1. "Cry loudly, do not hold back;
Raise your voice like a trumpet,
And declare to My people their transgression,
And to the house of Jacob their sins.

The very fact that Isaiah refers to the nation of Israel as Jacob is a strong indication that God is angry with the people, because the name “Jacob” means “one who grasps the heel” or a “deceiver,” and “Israel” is “one who wrestles with God,” which implies repenting of the sins in his or her life.

And this unrepented sinful condition is being announced to the world for all to hear and see, which is why I believe that the Lord mourns today over the horribly corrupt world we live in, even though there are some righteous people living in the land.

2. "Yet they seek Me day by day, and delight to know My ways,
As a nation that has done righteousness,
And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God.
They ask Me for just decisions,
They delight in the nearness of God.

Just as it is today, churches full of people are praying and seeking God and saying that they are living in His heavenly will even though they are still living in the ways of this corrupt world, while still holding on their warring madness and utter disregard for the animals who God lovingly created and charged us to protect and care for.

3. 'Why have we fasted and Thou dost not see?
Why have we humbled ourselves and Thou dost not notice?'
Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire,
And drive hard all your workers.

Why doesn’t God see and accept their religious rituals?

It’s because their religious rituals are being offered without any change of heart that would make them into the peacemaking children that God desires us all to be.

We are supposed to have a contrite and broken heart that feels the pain and suffering of the whole of creation (every human, every animal, and the environment we all live in), and then do something to free whatever part of creation they can free from its corruption back in to the glory of God.

4. "Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist.
You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.

Just like today, the people want God to conform to their ways and bless them, instead of conforming to God’s heavenly will and the peaceful teaching of Jesus, which is the fulfillment of God’s greatest commandment.

5. "Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it for bowing one's head like a reed,
And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?
Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?

In other words, their religious rituals and actions are all hypocritical; they are not following the heavenly will of God, and if we look with the eyes of the Lord, we can see it all around us; just look at the death that is on most people’s plates.

6. "Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free,
And break every yoke?

Think about this in terms of what is happening to animals in the world and the warring madness that is almost continuously on the news; what are we doing to end it?

This is what God is seeking.

7. "Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry,
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

And in the same light, to stop consuming the products of pain, suffering, and death.

And when we do this…

8. "Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
And your righteousness will go before you;
The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

This seems to be describing what happens when we are truly born again and filled with the Holy Spirit and are living in the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven.

This only happens when we turn away from the things and ways of this corrupt and violent world, and repent of our former sins and go forth as the peacemaking children of God, who participate either directly or indirectly in the violence of this world that causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.

9. "Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, 'Here I am.'
If you remove the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

10. And if you give yourself to the hungry,
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness,
And your gloom will become like midday.

This is the way we are supposed to live, and when we do, others will see the light of the Lord in us and hopefully repent of their ungodliness and follow the heavenly will of God.

11. "And the LORD will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

This is what happens when we let go of the corrupt and evil ways of this world, which includes the eating, wearing, and otherwise exploiting of animals, and live in the heavenly will of God where there is no human-caused pain, suffering, or death.

12. "And those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up the age-old foundations;
And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.

I believe that this means that when we turn away from the corrupt ways of the world and follow the Lord, we will help free creation from its present corruption and help rebuild the peaceable kingdom that God originally created.

This is what happens when we live according to the Lord’s greatest commandment.

Let’s close today’s discussion by looking at Matthew 5:13-20 and how he teaches us to live in His greatest commandment.

13. "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

We are the salt of the earth when we live in the heavenly will of God, but if we turn back to live in the corrupt and evil ways of this world, we lose our saltiness (righteousness), and probably our eternal life in heaven.

14. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

15. "Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house.

16. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

This light is the Holy Spirit within us, and God wants us to show it to the whole world around us no matter where we go, in the hopes that it will inspire others to turn away from the violent and corrupt ways of this world.

17. "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.

And He did fulfill it with the greatest commandment of complete and unconditional love for God and the whole of His creation, all humans, all animals, and the environment in which we all live.

18. "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.

Note the clarification “until all is accomplished,” which is when love, compassion, and empathy abolish all violence and hatred in the world and we once again have peace on earth.

19. "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, 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.

We need to live up to this standard.

20. "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.

The righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees was far below the heavenly will of God, but they did follow the letter of the law, which most people in the world aren’t doing; and this is probably why Jesus said that unless our righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, which we can easily fulfill, by extending our love, compassion and empathy to the whole of God’s creation, we shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.

We can and should exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees if we live in the heavenly will of God, and when we do, we become a part of God’s greatest commandment.



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