The religious leader asked Jesus: ” What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus answered with two commandments instead of one. Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. He went on to say that all the law hinged on these two commandments. God has put His light in us to light the world and dispel darkness. The way we let our light shine is to obey these two commandments. We must spend time with Jesus to get to know Him better so we can love Him better, Then, by loving our neighbors, we demonstrate the love of God in our lives. When we accepted Jesus, we became aliens to this world and citizens of heaven. As ambassadors of heaven, we represent Jesus. It is our duty to reconcile others to Christ by giving them the Good News. We want to wait for some big thing to do, but we shouldn’t wait for grand opportunities. Start by doing a good deed today and you will give life and light to someone. As the old song says:
Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do, Do not wait to shed your light afar, To the many duties ever near you now be true, Brighten the corner where you are.
Ina D. Ogdon, 1913“
The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Knowing the coming events, Jesus was starting to prepare His disciples for HIs departure from them. Jesus tells them that He won’t be with them much longer and they cannot follow Him where He is going. Jesus stresses to them the importance of showing love for each other. We are told by the experts that boys join gangs because they feel like a part of the “family”. We have something much better to offer them. So, why are they attracted to the gangs and not to the Church? The important questions for us to consider are these::
Do we show enough love for each other to attract the attention of the lost? When they look at us do they see anything that would make them want to be a part of our group? If not, why not? What about ourselves or the church as a group do we need to change to attract them to Jesus?
Perfect Love!! That is our goal, this is what the Holy Spirit is wanting to teach us each day. If we could achieve perfect love, we would have no fear. Instead of looking forward to tomorrow with fears and worries, we would rest in Jesus, knowing that He is in control and everything is going to be okay. Over 365 times in the Scriptures, in one form or the other, we are told not to fear. Yet, we fear so many things in our lives and the sad part is that very few of those things are under our control anyway. There is no way we can change another person, so we fear their rejection. We worry about our health, our finances, our families, etc. All these worries and fears are from satan. Fear is the opposite of faith and is therefore sin. If we spent more of our time loving and thanking God, we would find our worries and fears disappearing. “God inhabits the praises of His people”. If we want to feel God close to us, then let’s spend time in praising Him.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. As we study God’s Word and pray each day, our faith should continually grow stronger. God has given each of us a spiritual gift to glorify Him and edify our Christian brothers and sisters. As we use those gifts in His service, it should cause our faith to grow stronger. God does not want us to walk around afraid to speak about all the marvelous things He has done for us. He tells us over and over “Do not fear”, “do not be afraid”, “be courageous”. We can speak out because we have His power and love abiding in us in the form of His Holy Spirit. He gives us strength to endure any situation, He has told us that He would never allow us to be tempted above our ability to resist and that with the temptation, He would always provide a way out.
Before we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were ruled by our own fleshly desires. Flesh does not want to love others or help them in any way. Flesh is a “selfie”, it is all about me, me, me. After we accepted Jesus, God’s Spirit came to abide in us. Now, we are walking after the Spirit and not the flesh. God’s Spirit teaches us to love one another. As we mature in our walk with God, we should be learning to love more and more. As we love others more, we learn to first look at our faults and the areas we need to improve. If we do this in light of the Scriptures, we find that we have less time to meddle and gossip. This leads to a more peaceful life. We need to stay focused on Jesus and what He has called us to do, so that outsiders see the love we display and they will be drawn to Jesus.
God is the Creator of all things. Therefore, they are His to give as He desires. His resources, like His love, are unlimited. Our tiny human minds cannot begin to imagine the depth. length, width, and height of God’s love. There is only one force that is powerful enough to cause a Creator to create a creature knowing that He would someday have to die on a cross to redeem His creation from eternal death. It is a love that certainly is too great for us to understand. Now, we can only try to imagine that kind of love, but one day we will know the fullness of God’s love. Today, we see in a glass darkly, but one day, we will see clearly. His love is the power in us that causes us to want to love our friends and our enemies. There are three great motivators for humans: greed, fear, and love. Greed only lasts till the money runs out, fear is only effective as long as the boss is around, but love is endless and loyal at all times.
So give love graciously and abundantly, there is no end to the supply of love.
34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” — John 13:34-35 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
If we have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, we will always show the love that we have for others. We must always put Jesus first, then others next. The only way the world will know that we love Jesus is if we show that love to them and to each other. Jesus loved us to the point of laying down His life for us, even while we were still sinners. How much of your life are you willing to lay down to witness to your neighbors? Laying down our lives for others is about more than just taking time to talk to them, it is also about living a Holy life before them. Jesus has commanded us and He has also given us the power to speak words of life to those that He puts in our paths. But they won’t listen to us, if our walk doesn’t reflect our talk. As the saying goes, people don’t care what we know until they know that we care. Let each of us show how much we care by showing compassion in every situation.
We have been commanded to “love our neighbors”. How do we do that? Let’s consider this fact: If you are a Christian, you have a free gift that your neighbor needs. If you love your neighbor, why don’t you talk to them and offer them that gift. After all, as an anonymous person once said: “The Gospel has come to you because it is on its way to someone else.” Since that is true, we need to keep it going until it circles the globe. Since it is free to you and to them, this should be an easy task. The reason it is sometimes so awkward is that our neighbors don’t know that we care about them. And as it has been said, many times, “They don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” So, let them know you care and share a free gift with them, the Good News of Jesus Christ and His love for them. And, as Paul told Timothy: “go, whether, it is an opportune time or not”. In simpler terms, make time to care and the returns on your time will be worth much more than anything else you could have done.
17 “Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance.18 But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah—that he must suffer these things.19 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.20 Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. — Acts 3:17-20 NLT Acts 3:1-20
Except for Jesus, all humans were born with a sinful nature. We, including Jesus, were brought into a sinful world. Before the death and resurrection of Jesus, most of the people could use the excuse of ignorarnce of that fact as a reason not to accept His story. Even in today’s world of high tech and instant communications, there are still some who can legitmately say that they have never heard the name of Jesus. Although the Gospel has been preached in every country, it is believed that there are more than 6550 people groups that have never heard the gospel. There are even more groups who have heard the Gospel but don’t have established Christian organizations to witness to each and every one of the people. Even in our own country and in a lot of our own neighborhoods, there are those who may have heard the name of Jesus but have little or no idea of His story of eternal life. In 2014, the Pew Research Center survey determined that at least 37% of Americans are not “absolutely sure” that God exists. If you are not absolutely sure that God exists, it would be hard to say that you are a Christian. Could one of these 37% be our neighbor? There is a 1 in 3 chance that we have a neighbor who doesn’t know Jesus.
The fields are white with harvest! Pray that the Lord will send laborers into the fields.
11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? — James 4:11, 12 NIV
If there is an area in the life of a Christian where we sin daily, and shall I dare say it, deliberately, it is in our thoughts and our words. It is hard to look at someone and not immediately form some sort of opinion of that person before we even get to know them. We are told over and over how important first impressions are in this world. As Chritsians, we need to pray for discernment and patience before forming opinions of others. We need to predetermine that we are going to love the people we meet every day. When we love someone, we usually give them the advantage of any doubts we have about their goodness. We need to assume that they are good and show them the same respect we want them to show to us. We should look at every person, regardless of their station or situation, with the assumption that they are innocent until proven guilty. We should assume everyone is worthy of our love and affection until they prove by their words and actions that they are not. We need to pray that we will see others with the eyes of Jesus, hear their words with the ears of Jesus and above all, filter every thought through the love of Jesus.
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: — Phil. 2:3, 4 NIV
What a wonderful world it could be, if each of us, each day, strived to have the same attitude toward others that Jesus has for us.