Christian Universe ™
The Power of Two
September 07, 2007
God has not required too much of us. In fact, He only requires two things. He gives two main commandments. Christians obey two main instructions. We are reborn by two elements. Two elements put us into Christ.
The Power of Two
by Bernie Parsons
Presented to the Blockhouse Bottom church of Christ 09-07-2007
Two Basic Requirements
If we stop and think honestly about it, God has always only required two basic things of us.
(1) Hear (fear) God.
(2) Keep His commandments.
Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”
Deuteronomy 5:3: “The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.
4: The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire,
5: (I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the work of the LORD: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying,
6: I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
7: Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
8: Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:
9: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,
10: And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.”
Deuteronomy 6:1: “Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:
2: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.
3: Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
4: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6: And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8: And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9: And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”
From these scriptures, we see that from the earliest times, God had these two requirements: Fear (hear) Him, and keep His commandments. To fear God is to hear Him, to take Him seriously. Once we have directed our hearts toward Him, that is, once we are listening, then all that remains is to keep His commandments.
Two Great Commandments
We see this concept clarified in the teachings of Jesus Christ. There are two great commandments:
(1) Love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.
(2) Love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
Mark 12:28: “And 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?
29: And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31: And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
32: And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
33: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
We see that if we love God, we will hear Him, and fear Him—that is, respect His power. If we truly hear Him, we will keep His commandments. What are the two great commandments? Love Him, and love our neighbor like our own flesh. This is a circular movement--if we hear and fear Him, He commands us to love Him. In turn, if we love Him, we will fear and hear Him!
This simplifies what God expects of us. All that we are to do are wrapped up in those two great commandments. How can we hear God?
Romans 10:14: “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
Two To Whom We Listen
And who was the greatest preacher of all?
Mark 1:9: “And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
10: And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
11: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Mark 9:7: “And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.”
Hebrews 1:1: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2: Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3: Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
4: Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5: For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
6: And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”
Matthew 11:27: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”
Jesus testified that His message was from God, His heavenly Father.
John 15:15: “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
There are two to whom we must listen: God, the Father of us all; and Jesus, His only begotten Son.
By loving God, we listen to Him, and to His Son, Jesus, whom He chose to represent Him. What do these two tell us to do? Love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves. By loving God, we trust Him and His son, Jesus.
John 14:11: “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.”
Two Instructions To Follow
By loving God, we turn our hearts to Him, which is the act known as repentance.
Matthew 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
By loving God, we hear His Son when he says:
Mark 16:15: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
That baptism in water puts us into the cleansing blood of Jesus, who gave His blood for us.
Galatians 3:26: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Romans 6:1: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2: God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3: Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4: Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5: For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7: For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8: Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10: For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11: Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12: Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13: Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”
Two Elements Involved In Rebirth
As Jesus told Nicodemus, we are reborn of water and of spirit, two elements.
John 3:3: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4: Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5: Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6: That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Born again of the two elements, water and spirit, one becomes a spiritual newborn in the kingdom of God. We are cleansed by the two elements, the water of baptism and the blood of Jesus.
We Are Saved By Two Elements
1 John 5:6: “This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
1 John 1:7: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
We walk in the light when we listen to, and obey, Jesus. He tells us to love one another.
John 13:34: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35: By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
If we love our neighbor, we will not sin against him or her. We will not steal, we will not lie, we will not deceive, nor cheat, nor rob, nor rape, nor commit adultery, nor strike, nor rail against, nor quarrel with, nor hate, nor murder—for these are all acts of inequity and hatred. If we love our neighbor, we will not do any of these things against him.
So, the power of two is evidenced in this study: God requires two main things—that we hear Him, and keep His commandments. He gives two main commandments—to love Him with all of our being, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. There are two to whom we listen—the Father and the Son. There are two elements that cause our rebirth, the water and the spirit. There are two elements that save us, the water of baptism, and the blood of Jesus Christ.
If you are here tonight and not a Christian, I urge you to become one. If you are already a Christian, I urge you to follow the two great commandments.