Friday, January 10, 2020

Love Your Neighbors (Love Where You Live Series)

We know the Bible tells us to love our neighbors, but who are our neighbors?  I grew up in the pre-social media age.  Our neighbors were the people who lived next to us in our neighbors.  It was that simple.  Today, the definition of the word "neighbor" has changed a bit. defines "neighbor" as "a nearby person or thing."  That's a pretty general definition.  In our current "everything is instant" culture, even people are as near as your phone or computer screen.  We can see someone face-to-face almost anytime we want with a few clicks of a few buttons or keys.  Therefore, our neighbors extend beyond the people who live right next to you.  My pastor's first sermon in his new series (Love Where You Live) is titled, "Love Your Neighbors."  Let's learn how to love our neighbors like the Lord tells us to love them.

Image Credit:  Picmonkey

The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon titled Love Your Neighbors.  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

Love Your Neighbors

The past is a nice place to visit, but a terrible place to live.  We need to let go of past grudges and move forward into the future.

See your world with clear vision.  Learn to love the people around you because God has brought them into your path.  He has placed you where you are so you can love the people where you are.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  There is no other commandment greater than these. - Mark 12:30-31
Love the Lord with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself.

Loving God flows into loving others.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:18-20

It is possible to reach even your most difficult neighbors because you have the authority of Christ.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. - Acts 1:8
Start where you are.  Love where you are first.  People like Billy Graham are great and wonderful with huge platforms and God uses them to reach large numbers of people, but God uses people like you and me to reach people face-to-face, one person at a time too.

Who is your neighbor?  Your neighbors are the people who live near you but they are also any people who God places in your path.  

Who lives with you?  Your spouse, kids, a parent, a grandparent?  a dorm roommate?  Someone else?  Do the people who live with you know Jesus?  Do the people who live with you know you know Jesus?  

Don't let difficult people keep you from sharing Jesus with them because according to Acts 1:8, it is not you but the power of the Holy Spirit who reaches them.

2020 Focus:  Love where you live by continuing to bless and and love your family and friends.  Create a "love where you live" culture by discipling your church family to make a gospel impact in the community by using your resources, influence, and voice.

Who lives around you?  Only 10% of people can name one of their neighbors and only 1% has had a meaningful conversation with one.  (The Art of Neighboring)
We have gone from front porches to privacy fences.  We have many connections on social media but we have only shallow relationships and those relationships are growing less and less meaningful.

Our culture has changed but God has not changed.

We can't love our neighbors if we don't know who they are.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. - Romans 12:10-13
This kind of hospitality as described in Romans 12:10-13 is not and option or a spiritual gift.  It is a command that we are all supposed to obey.  

Jesus came to serve and to save.  He was focused on building relationships. 
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. - Luke 19:10

The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, "Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!" - Luke 7:34
A meal is a good way to build a relationship.  People don't care how much you know (about Jesus, the Bible, or God) until they know how much you care (about them).

Our current culture has us somewhat afraid of people we don't know, but if we get to know them, we won't fear them.  

Who lives in you?  This is the most important question because if God lives in you, then you will love your neighbors.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. - Romans 8:11
As we move forward in this new year, we will not go alone.  If we want God to do something new, we need to get to know new people.   


Read all other posts in the Love Where You Live Series here.

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