Loving Your Neighbours and Why No One Can Tell You How

583245_74851881No expert can tell you how to best love your neighbour…Only the Spirit can guide you into faithful presence, which is the love of Christ. Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens, and Dwight Friesen

I think that this quote is just so – challenging and true. We know as Christians we are called to move out into our neighbourhoods, and love our neighbours. If we aren’t loving our neighbours well, we aren’t following Jesus well. That’s just true.

But the difficulty is in how to do this. We often at least in Christian circles, look to experts to tell us this. And if you don’t believe me, just look at how popular conferences and seminars on “How to Be Missional” are. They are everywhere (and I’ve led some…).

The point though is that no expert can adequately tell you how to love your neighbour. And to love our neighbours well, we don’t need more experts, we need a change in focus. We need to focus on Jesus and his Spirit.

It is only Jesus that can truly lead us into loving our neighbours well. It is only through listening to his Spirit that we can discern the right ways and the right times to show love in practical action. In all honesty what we probably need is less experts in our lives, and more dependence on Jesus. This isn’t a knock against practitioners, experts, and people who are inspiring us to live like Jesus. But that’s just the point, they can only inspire us to live like Jesus. It is only Jesus Christ himself who can direct us to live like him, who can transform us into his likeness.

So loving our neighbours is crucially important. And experts and practitioners are important too. But what is most important is learning to listen and follow Jesus and his Spirit well – because that’s the true first step in learning to love our neighbours well.

Called to Spread and Go #missional

This Sunday I preached on how in Acts 1 Jesus tells his disciples to spread out and be a witness to his new reign or Kingdom of grace, love, and life. He gives them the green light to literally go into new areas and places with the message of the Kingdom.

Jesus is very specific and says go to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. For me I think these are places that not only were the early Christians sent but also we’re sent today.

We’re sent to our Jerusalem’s the places around us where we have natural and established relationships. These can be at work, in your neighborhood, or even in your family. We’re called to be a witness to God’s grace there.

We are also called to move, to expand, to go to our Judea’s. These are nearby places where relationships aren’t difficult, or awkward to start. They are people who are similar to you and can be found at local coffee shops, sports clubs, in a large office, or just people a few doors down. The point is that we aren’t to be comfortable with just blessing (literally to give life) to people we know but are called to expand and grow giving life to new relationships as well.

This then also includes our Samaria’s. These are people different from us, that are difficult to get to know. There are obstacles, and boundaries maybe cultural, religious, or social. The point though is that the Gospel is too beautiful to be stopped by any boundary and is to cross over the boundaries with us as we go to give life and be a blessing.

And lastly God wants to send us to the ends of the earth – places we haven’t been or even dreamed of going. But God has. And his plan to save creation, is to send us, if we are willing.

So for me the question is are we willing to go, and where is God sending us. Who are we to meet, to connect with, to bless? Who is in our Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria that this week we can show love too?

And are you willing to do it?

Discussion Questions from this Week Sermon

  • Adult Questions
  • Where is your Jerusalem? The place you find yourself in often and are comfortable.
  • Where is your Samaria? A place where you meet and mingle with different people who stretch you?
  • Where is your “ends of the earth”? Where might God be sending you?
  • Questions for Young Families
  • Talk to your kids about the idea that God sends us out to make the world a better place. Ask them to think of places that God might send them to make better. Maybe it will be their class through accepting a lonely boy or girl. Maybe it will be at a friends who doesn’t have a lot. Maybe it will be to grandma and grandpa in the nursing home. But start them thinking that they are sent out to make the world a better place. And if they have ideas how make sure to do them.

Weekly Challenge: Go to your Jerusalem and Samaria with the intention to bless…

We Are to Be Sent ~ #missional

This upcoming Sunday we are going to be talking about movement.

Many things are based on movement, and momentum. For example, it’s almost impossible to learn to ride a bike if its not moving. Moving is part of its nature. The same applies to the church. The church is a movement. Part of its very nature is to grow, expand, and move.

So on Sunday we are going to explore the sent nature of the church. How just as God sent his son, he is now sending his church.

The question for us is where is God sending you?

We often think of “where” God is sending us. We focus on maybe going overseas, or on short-term missions, on being sent somewhere else. But we no longer need to go across an ocean to find people who need Jesus in their life. They are all around us. They are our neighbors, our co-workers, our family, and our friends. Now people of each tribe, nation, and religion are coming to live in and with us. So the question then isn’t “where” God is sending us; but to whom.

Who is God sending you to bless? Who is God sending you to give life?

Is it the person across the street, one cubicle over, or that friend at zoomba?

Because the church is meant to be on the move, we are sent to be a blessing. Not only across the sea but also across our street, backyards, and offices.

So who is God sending you to? Because make no mistake he does want to send you…