Christianity 201

September 19, 2016

What it Looks Like to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Today we’re introducing a new writer to you. Jonathan Parrish writes at Walking With Christ Daily, now in its 5th year. To read this at source and then check out their archives, click the title below.

How we can love our neighbor as yourself?

The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

How are we to love our neighbor as ourselves? Some people have applied this to many things in life as lessons. From not judging others to giving to others, but what is a real way to love our neighbor as our self. I’m going to cover a few points that will help in a way that loving our neighbor as ourselves can have eternal and not just life impacts.

The first point I want to cover is looking out for needs of your neighbors, be it prayer, help during a rough financial patch, or even just talking to them. Neighbors can be more than just a literal neighbor it could be anyone you meet also.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12:13

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

We should be fulfilling needs in our communities, friends, and family. If we truly want to love them as ourselves. And this is a just small way of meeting a physical need for someone. Especially if they don’t know Christ.

My second point is this. If you truly love someone like you love yourself, then guess what you will share the Gospel with them. The Gospel is the demonstration of love. So we should not be afraid to offend or be ashamed of the Gospel, but instead proclaim it to your community proclaim it everyone as you go about your daily life.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”  Romans 1:16

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1st Corinthians 1:18

We need to remember that someone in boldness shared the Gospel with us, know very well that we could reject it because we found it to be crazy or offending. They still did it because we are called to do that, but also because they loved you as much they loved themselves. So if we love someone as much as love ourselves then we won’t worry about our reputations, but instead will worry about the fact that neighbor, friend, family member is condemned to Hell.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

Last, if we love them as ourselves, we will grow and disciple them. We won’t leave them out there to dry. They need to be led and taught. They need to be grown in the likeness of Christ. We start with the basics and we work our way up. We don’t let them catch on in a more mature Sunday class or as they go. We take them one on one and show them how to have a quiet time, teach them what it means to be a Christian and prepare them to go out and share the Gospel with their neighbors.

So when we love each other as Jesus commanded us to, we meet physical needs with our neighbors, we share the Gospel with them, and once they come to salvation we help grow and disciple them into mature Christians. That is how we love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus proved it ultimately at the cross when He died for all of our sins and rose again. So get out there and love somebody this week.

July 25, 2015

Scattering

Parable of the SowerMark 4:1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Last night I attended a Friday night Camp Meeting-style service in which the speaker talked about the idea of scattering. He made it clear that this was a message about quantity, and not about quality.

Often we speak of the latter, requiring people to take evangelism training courses and to have a sufficient knowledge of scriptures and apologetics before they can take their witness to the streets, and to their friends and neighbors. But the speaker emphasized that we’ve thereby overly complicated the evangelism process. Although he didn’t refer to it, the verse that came to mind was,

Matthew 10:8b … Freely you have received; freely give.

Texts he used included

Luke 14:23 “The master said, ‘Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full! (The Message)

and three repeated key verses in trilogy of “lost” parables in Luke 15

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

What I would call an imperative to share the gospel is found in not only an urgency based on a concern for each and every individual who is not yet part of God’s family, but an urgency based on the idea that time is limited.

John 4:35Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

which reminded me of another verse

Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (KJV)
Eph 5:16 Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days. (Phillips)
Eph 5:16 Make the most of your opportunities because these are evil days. (GW)
Eph 5:16 I mean that you should use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times. (ICB)

He also spoke about working cooperatively with other ministries, churches, organizations and individuals, quoting
1 Corinthians 3:8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. (NLT)

That reminds me of a statement I have posted many times

“There is no limit on what can be done for God, as long as it doesn’t matter who is getting the earthly credit.”

In the notes I took, I want to end here with a scripture that he actually used to at the beginning of his message, taking some familiar words from Jesus in Luke 4:18 and then placing the responsibility on us.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on us,
    because he has anointed us
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent us to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

I couldn’t also help but think of Bill Hybels’ guiding principle in the founding of his church:

“Lost people matter to God.”


Unless otherwise marked, texts used were NIV
I didn’t identify the speaker, the “he” in the story was Rev. Brent Cantelon who I can heartily recommend.
The image, inspired from Mark 4, is the logo for the Canadian Bible Society