This week a Jesus power statement of 3 words, 4 syllables containing 16 letters that should affect every person you will ever meet. These words if enacted into our lives constantly and consistently can change the world, bring others to God and make us like Jesus.
Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV) 5 verses –Jesus is being questioned
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
‘Love your neighbor..”
Jesus said that all of the commandments of God can be boiled down to just two - Loving God and Loving your neighbor as yourself.
3 things going on here not 2
It is assumptive that you love yourself, in fact, in order to love your neighbor one has to love themselves first. Loving yourself from God’s perspective is not an egocentric, me first, I am the most important, selfish love. Oh no. Loving yourself is more like this way of thinking:
I’m God’s child, I’m made in God’s image and God doesn’t make junk,
I’m loved by God, I’m valued by God, I have God worth and God esteem,
Therefore I can love myself in that light, I can take care of myself with that kind of love and there a peaceful acceptance of who I am in God, how I look and my personage.
What I need is God worth, God esteem, God love of self. This is a huge problem and many of us don’t love ourselves properly
Start looking at ourselves through God’s eyes and know that God loves me and therefore I can love myself
We can’t love our neighbors until we love ourselves, it circumvents loving our neighbors when we beat ourselves up and put ourselves down.
God loves you, values you as a person, so you can love yourself and so now you can begin to love your neighbor.
Now love your neighbor. Who is my neighbor???? Remember the story of the Good Samaritan, well the answer is everyone you meet, including the person next door.
So I want to share 5 simple ways to love your neighbor as yourself. If you do them you will also discover they can be called 5 ways to make people like you. We can’t control others, but we can do things in our behavior that expresses the love Jesus calls for. And the return on that investment is that most people will like you in time also.
I Become genuinely Interested in Other People (Jesus said Deny Yourself)
You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years trying to get people interested in you (Dale Carnegie)
Jesus is the supreme example. He was called a friend of sinners
A Telephone Company did a study on 500 phone calls the most often used word. 3,900 times is "I"
Philippians 2:4 Revised Standard Version
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks and make you more attractive. How can anyone tell if we have the joy of knowing Jesus if we don’t smile. Our joy must reach our face. Remember you can only truly smile if you have some measure of joy, and some measure of joy comes from being thankful for the good things have and not the things you don’t have. It is the spiritual discipline/practice of thankfulness.
III Remember the Person’s Name
Calling a person by name and remembering their name is an expression of love often over looked, you are acknowledging them. Take the time and energy necessary to concentrate to repeat and fix names indelibly in their minds.
IV Become a Good Listener (encourage others to talk about themselves)
My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry
We have 2 ears and 1 mouth and we should listen twice as much as our talk. Nothing else is so flattering as when a person is really listening to you.
V Talk about what the Other Person is Interested In
Jesus and the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” The Apostle Paul said “Esteem others more important than yourself”
We PERSONALLY / INDIVIDUALLY have to love our neighbors intentionally, on purpose. Everyone one I meet I want to acknowledge them, listen to them, be interested in them, help them, do good to them. That’s love your neighbor. You may need to go out your door to their door, intentionally and meet a neighbor. If God leads you or prompts you to do that then DO IT.
If your neighbors (everyone you meet) don’t like you then they won’t like your Jesus. If your neighbors (everyone you meet) LIKE YOU, they’ll love it when they meet Jesus.
WE CORPORATELY, AS A CHURCH, AS RIVERSIDE CHURCH, need to love our neighbors, those around us, those we meet, those around 1040 Hilliard Street. We’re there next week, and we have to do something about it, in community. So what are we gonna’ do about it? About loving our neighbors as a Church?
I love the idea of a block party,
Like, take the homes on 1 street and invite them to a block party to meet your neighbors but it’s at the church, maybe in the summer time out the back in the parking lot for a BLOCK BBQ. Then take another street and do it all over again. I also love this Messy Church idea, so why not do it more often. And while we’re at it do DVBS in the summer time, that’s loving our neighbor’s kids
We can do it, and loving our neighbors may win some to God.
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. Amen