Love your NEIGHBOR

While challenging Jesus, a certain lawyer seeking to justify himself, asked, “who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered with the parable of the good Samaritan to make him and us consider the answer to that question. (Luke 10:25-37)

Who is my neighbor?

What a great question! Seeing that the second great command is to love thy neighbor as thyself, we ought to ask it of ourselves today. (Matt 22:39; cf Lev 19:18)

It reminds me of NAAMAN’S stolen little maid (2King 5:1-14). Who was her neighbor?

It was the one that STOLE HER!!

From the parable and the story of the little maid we learn that EVERYONE we come in contact with is our neighbor, and let’s not forget about our online neighbor.

Do we have the love to INVITE our neighbor to the healing power of Jesus? Another question, would they accept or decline the invitation based on our GOOD works or lack thereof? “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” (Titus 1:16). The story of the healing of Naaman hinges on an invitation from the stolen little maid. What does Naaman’s acceptance of her word speak about her good behavior?

Jesus speaks of love for, rather than HATRED of our enemies. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt 5:43-44). It makes me think of the server that had wronged a Christian. After he exacted his pound of flesh through a verbal assault, I wonder if the server would be open to an invitation to a home bible study with that Christian? (Ouch, that hurt.)

What about our BORDER neighbors, the ones with whom we share a fence line? If history is indicative of future possibilities, what would their answer be to our invitation to worship after our current land dispute? Let alone the Proverbs wisdom about being friendly with our property neighbors. “Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.” (Prov 27:10; cf. Prov 3:29)

It can be difficult to be at peace with everyone, but we OUGHT to try. “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.” (Rom 15:2) “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rom 12:18) We OUGHT to pursue peace with our neighbor if for no other reason than it interferes with both of us going to heaven. (cf. Mark 9:50; Rom 14:19; Heb 12:14) “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1Tim 2:3-4).

Lastly, let’s also think of our less fortunate neighbors without showing RESPECT of persons. Jesus said, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.” (Luke 14:12; cf. James 2:1-13). After disregarding our poor neighbors, or those different from us, could we invite them to worship and would they accept?

Who is our neighbor? Great question. The take away for me is to live in such a way as to not make enemies. This doesn’t mean to ignore nor to whitewash the truth of the gospel. Rather it’s about avoiding situations where we might create lifelong enemies that will hinder the spreading of the gospel. “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1Cor 9:22)

—spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help you know more of God’s word.

What’s LOVE got to do with it?

Love does not…

EVERYTHING!!

Love is the first & great commandment.

Paul calls love, “a more excellent way” [1Cor 12:31; 13:13].

“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” [Mark 12:29-31]

The best commentary on Love is found in the Scriptures. Let’s see love from four perspectives.

  1. God’s Love for us
    1. God is Love – 1Jo 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. Titus 3:4-6
    1. God Gave His son – 1Jo 4:9, 10 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, John 3:16, 17; Rom 5:8; Eph 2:4,5
    1. God blesses His children – 1Jo 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: Eph 1:3 every spiritual blessings
    1. Every good thing – James 1:17 – comes from above; Acts 17:28
    1. God sends sun & rain – Mt 5:45 for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
  • Christ’s Love for us
    • Passes knowledge– Eph 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
    • As Father loved Him – Joh 15:9, 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
    • He gave Himself – Joh 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.; Eph 5:2; 1Joh 3:16; Rev 1:5
    • His own– Joh 13:1, 34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
    • Those who obey – Joh 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
  • Man’s love for God & Christ
    • Great command– 1Jo 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us. Mark 12:28-30; Mt 22:36-40
    • Good thing for those that do – Ro 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, 1Corinthians 2:9 ings which God hath prepared for them that love him.
    • Crown of life / Kingdom – Jas 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? [1:12]
    • Love displayed through obedience – 1Jo 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments:
      • 2Joh 6; John 14:15, 21, 23
    • Love for truth – 2Th 2:10-12 because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
  • Man’s love for others
    • Brethren – 1Th 4:9; 1Th 3:12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
      • John 13:34; 15:12; 1Pe 1:22; 2:17;
      • 1Jo 2:10, 3:11, 14, 23; 4:11, 12
      • 2Pe 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
    • Husbands & Wives – Eph 5:25, 28, 33; Col 3:19; Tit 2:3,4
    • Neighbor – Ro 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
      • [Mr 12:31; James 2:8]
    • Enemies – Lu 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest:
      • Mt 5:43, 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;