Matthew 22:35 -- 36
Attributes of holiness – unselfishness
[B.T. Roberts reexamined]
“And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"  And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [Matthew 22:35 – 36]
Introduction: Christians are no better than others, grace makes them different.
“The grand distinction is found in what they are saved from.”
“Dispositions and appetites”
They serve “no good purpose.”
They are a result of the Fall.
I. “Holiness implies deliverance from selfishness.” [B. T. Roberts]
A. “A selfish person cannot be… a holy person.”
1. Selfishness – “is that disposition which prompts us to seek our own interests or our own gratification without due regard to the rights or happiness of others.”
(Bishop Krober once explained that “selfishness” was the core/root idea of sin.)
“There is scarcely a crime which a man commits, or a sin of which he is guilt, which does not originate in selfishness.” [B. T. Roberts]
2. This follows the principle of two contradictory things cannot occupy the same space.
B. Question: “What is the greatest commandment?”
1. Notice it was asked by a lawyer!
a. The Talmud recognized 613 commandments. 248 were positive (do) and 365 were negative (do not).
b. The idea was to figure out which ones were “important” so they did not have to track (and keep) every law.
c. They were divided into “heavy” and “light.” Circumcision and sacrifice were considered to be “heavy.”
2. Jesus plays along: the PRINCIPLE is to love God AND love others.
a. Love is the opposite of selfishness.
b. Notice: this does not mean we are NOT to ignore ourselves.
c. It means we are NOT to be self-centered.
A. “Selfishness looks at present interest, and present gratification.” [B.T. Roberts]
1. Philosophical argument that every human action is essentially selfish or self-serving.
2. Difficult to answer…
B. “Selfishness inclines us to seek our own gratification without regard to the duties which we owe, either to God or to our neighbor.” [B. T. Roberts]
1. Duty requires the “sacrifice of immediate self-interest.” [Wikipedia]
2. Cicero thought that duty came from a person’s own moral expectations. (E.g. The follow up question, “Who is my neighbor?)
C. Selfishness vs “self-love”
1. Roberts contrasts “selfishness” with what he calls “self-love.”
2. Today we would call this “self-love” a healthy “self-esteem” or being mentally healthy.
III. The trouble with selfishness
A. It is corrupt and corrupts everything.
1. Motives are no longer pure.
2. Trust becomes a serious question.
3. Ultimately the fruit is poison.
Test: “Are they poison or not?”
1. Lima beans? (Yes, they contain limarin. If eaten raw they can make a person violently sick.)
2. Cassava (Third most consumed starch in the world. It contains cyanide.)
3. Nutmeg (This is a new drug used by teens to get high because it has a chemical, myristicine, that causes hallucinations, and vomiting, dizziness, headaches, etc…)
4. Kidney beans (Contains the toxin phytohaemagglutinin… a few raw kidney beans will put you in a hospital. They have been known to kill people.)
5. Chocolate (Actually this is poisonous to dogs and cats… not humans.
6. Tomato (Leaves and vines contain a toxin. Green tomatoes have been known to kill humans.)
7. Cherries, apricots, peaches and plums (The pits contain a chemical that creates cyanide.)
8. Rhubarb (Contains oxalic acid salts which cause kidney problems, convulsions, and coma. Five pounds is a lethal dose for humans.)
9. Potatoes (If they turn green or sprout contain solanine when exposed to sun. They cause digestive problems.)
10. Apple (The seeds contain the same chemical found in fruit with pits. They are fatal if enough are consumed.)
B. It is never satisfied.
1. “It grows by what it feeds upon.” [B. T. Roberts]
2. The more it is gratified, the more it wants.
C. “It never dies a natural death.” [B. T. Roberts]
1. It wears people out, grinds us down.
2. It camouflages itself everywhere.
D. Churches sanction and foster it.
1. Selling seats.
2. Fundraisers. (Fairs, Festivals, etc…)