Moore Church of God

Moore Church of God - 701 S Eastern Ave - Sunday 9:30am & 6:00pm; Wednesday 7:00pm

Duty vs. Love

Bro. David Chancellor
2/2/2003 11:00 AM

What makes us happy and content? What values matter to us? What is your motivation for doing things? Do you do it out of duty, or out of love?

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

This was written by one called "the preacher" and he explores things about life. He sums up the condition of man - all will stand before the God of judgment. He will look over each life and pass judgment on it. This is a universal thought. In all of man's religion you will find a god that will be answered to. There are some duties and responsibilities that we have before God. All religions teach an accountability to someone. There will be a day of judgment. We will all stand before God and give account. This judgment won't be based on what others saw you as. God will judge even the secret things. He will bring all to judgment. Duty requires that we would keep God's commandments.

John 14:15, 23
If ye love me, keep my commandments. ... Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

What we read in Ecclesiastes is true of all religions. There is a God of judgment that will determine our eternal destiny abased on what has happened to us. Christianity is not built on man doing his duty; it is built on the love of God in the heart of man. If someone loves God, he will keep his words. True Christianity is built on love in the heart, not on just doing our duty or just keeping the commandments. It's because we love him. Someone just doing his duty before God isn't living up to what Christ expects. He came that we might love God and serve him with our hearts.

Luke 17:3-10
Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle wills ay unto him by and by when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow now. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.


Jesus gave them a hard commandment. He told them to forgive regardless of how many times a person hurts you. This is hard because after a while you start to question their sincerity. The disciples asked him to increase their faith. Jesus then tells them this story. The moral of the story is this. If you just do your duty, you haven't really done what God wants. Duty is not a service of love, but doing because you are required to. Just doing our duty is not what pleases God. He wants the love of God in your heart to produce these things in your life. He wants it to be a loving service. The attitude of the scribes and Pharisees was, "Do I have to?" This is not an attitude that pleases God. Seek God to find out what is best. There is a difference between loving service and just doing your duty. If you're going to witness for Christ, do it because you love Christ and want others to know, too. Love, the gospel of Christ, caused Peter to share with exuberance on the day of Pentecost what Christ had come to bring. This is more than just filling the duty of man, but doing gladly those things that would please God.

John 15:12-14; 10:17-18
This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.


"Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life,..." Jesus was commanded to lay down his life for us. He did it not only because God sent him to, but because he loved us and cared about us. He wants that same love in our hearts. We will desire to lay down our desires for our lives in deference to God's desire for our lives. When God delivers us, he removes that which is between us and him, and gives us the desire to keep it that way. When love is there, you don't want to hurt or do damage to or take advantage of the one that you love. The one that would do something detrimental to one that they "love" doesn't love them, but is manipulating them. When God washes us clean, it is our desire to give back to God the life he has given back to us.

2 Corinthians 8:8-12
I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

Paul was speaking to them about their giving to help those in Jerusalem who were suffering. These wanted to help. Paul tells them that being willing is good, but there comes a point where you have to do. Love will produce action. The doing is important. The love in your heart should move you to do. God knows what is accessible and available to each one. The sincerity of our love is shown in our actions. It's done because we want to please God. It's not done because we want to please God. It's not just love in the heart, but love in the life. It's more than an emotion. It will motivate us to do. God gave the command to "love one another." It is a broad commandment. When two people love each other enough to get married, they will seek to find ways to please each other. Must God write out every detail to show us what love will produce in the life? There should be a willingness and a readiness to find out what pleases him. This willingness and readiness will come first. The commandments of God aren't grievous because they are done out of a heart of love. Duty alone is not enough. We need to know what God expects, what he approves of and what he doesn't approve of. Desire to please God and honor him.

2 Corinthians 9:12-15
For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by man thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

As they set about to do what they desired to do, the ones receiving the help would thank God that their needs were met. Life is experimental. When we begin to serve God out of love, it has an influence on the ones involved. A religion based on the love of God works in man. Instead of "doing our duty", it is love lived out. This gift is so unspeakable because of the love behind it. People give for various reasons. A gift that is a true expression of love, no matter how insignificant it is, is a precious gift. Part of what makes God's gift to us so unspeakable is the love behind it. We were so awful, but he gave his son for us that we might be reconciled to him. Our loving service back to God is our small gift to him. It's not just doing a duty or fulfilling a list of requirements, but a loving service. He lovingly took out of the way that which stood between us. Our response is one of love. The Christian life does what is right out of love in the heart. There's a desire to please our Lord, our Master, our Savior, the one that gave his life for us. We do because it's a way to manifest our love toward God. Christianity is love towards God, not just "doing our duty."

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