Discipleship is a radical change. You do things you would never have done before for people you would never have noticed before. You now do things for others you would only have done for yourself or your immediate family. This change of focus is what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. Such love is almost always inconvenient, costly, and may even at times be dangerous. But there is no character quality more fundamental to a disciple. In fact a person without it cannot claim to love God, for selfless love forms the very center of His nature, and all who are born-again have this love automatically placed inside them as the Holy Spirit comes to live within (1Jn 4:7-12, 16, 20, 21). This is not to say that a person becomes born-again by doing acts of kindness, but rather it means born-again people dont have to be told to love their neighbor, they just need to be shown how. The desire is already there.
So our focus today as we listen to the Lords commandment is not on the fact that we should love our neighbor, but on how He wants us to do this. There are some very important questions that need to be answered if our obedience is to be effective.
What is Love?
1. Mt 7:12 (Golden Rule) In everything therefore treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
2. Do for someone else in need what youd want done for you.
3. Php 2:3, 4 with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
4. To so value a person or persons that you place their needs ahead of your own.
5. God is our model: Jn 3:16
6. Action vs. affection
- What if I dont feel love?
- when you behave as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him. (Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, p. 116)
Who is my neighbor?
1. Lk 10:25-37
- (v 30) a person in genuine need
- (vs 31, 32) a person neglected by others
- (v 33) a need God places across my path
- (v 33) a need that the prejudice in me wants to ignore
- (v 33) a need for which the Holy Spirit moves my heart with compassion
2. Lk 14:1-6 Jesus models loving your neighbor.
3. Lk 14:12-14 He asks us to see people with eyes of faith. We are to look past peoples worldly circumstances and see them as children for whom the Father longs.
- We can recognize the image of God in even the most broken.
- Imagine what theyll look like at the resurrection of the righteous.
4. Lk 14:15-24 In fact were it not for the poor, crippled, blind and lame there would be very few at the marriage supper of the Lamb because rich, successful people usually arent interested.
Organic Church, Neil Cole, pp. 72-73
What should I/we do?
1. (Watch) Open our eyes and watch for those God has placed across our path.
2. (Stop) Be willing to be inconvenienced.
3. (Serve) Get our hands dirty (dont expect other Christians to do all the work of serving. A check isnt enough.)
4. (Give) Give financially what you can.
5. (Endure) Dont abandon the situation or person before the healing is complete.
What are we doing?
1. Above and Beyond fund (PNG, video, radio)
2. The Christmas Post
3. Thanksgiving food drive
4. Christmas gift drive
6. Sports Ministry
7. Food Pantry
Why do we do these acts of love?
1. Because were His disciples and Hes commanded us to (Mt 5:16 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)
2. To help fill Gods house and thereby bless our heavenly Fathers heart.
3. To increase our own joy by sharing eternity with more brothers and sisters.
- Hebrews 12:2 for the joy set before Him
- To feel the joy of seeing the bridegroom receive His bride.
- Jn 3:29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegrooms voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. (John the Baptist)
- Moravians: To win for the Lamb that was slain the rewards of His suffering