Once a lawyer came to test the Lord Jesus and he asked the question, “Which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus’ answer was of incomparable consequence: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and prophets hang on these two commands.”
And thus we know that loving God and loving our neighbor are our two chief duties, around which we organize all our duties toward God and our fellow creatures.
So here is a trick question: which of these two commands are we obeying by coming to worship this morning? Are we here in order to love God or to love our neighbor? Vertical or horizontal? Which is it?
And of course the answer is both. Now I think a lot of Christians only think of worship in the vertical sense – worship is what I do to come and meet with God personally and be blessed by Him. It’s like a hundred private reunions are simultaneously taking place in the same room. Maybe that’s so because we are so self-absorbed and individualistic, or perhaps it’s that we find our fellow men so unlovable. But whatever the case, it is regrettable, not to mention soul-shrinking, if we do not see our assembly together as the people of God as a fulfillment of the second commandment.
Remember that the Lord Jesus said that the second commandment is “like” the first – that is, they go together. They are two-of-a-kind that must never be split apart – because they cannot be split apart.
So that means that we need to find every way possible to see our assembly this morning as an exercise in loving one another. We consider one another in everything we do. We understand the covenantal, corporate aspects of our assembly. We come to worship seeking to build up the body, not simply to receive.
So will you love God and love one another this morning in worship? Let me remind you that that is your duty – and I must add that it is likewise your delight. So delight yourself in loving God and loving His people.
Come, let us worship the Lord our God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.