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Why Love My Neighbor?

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Love Your Neighbor  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:47
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Luke 10:25–28 NIV
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

Why is loving your neighbor essential to eternal life?

Leviticus 19:18 NIV
“ ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
The command to love your neighbor is central to God’s MISSION for his PEOPLE.
Genesis 12:1–3 NIV
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
The MISSION of God’s PEOPLE is to restore his blessing to the world.
Genesis 1:26–28 NIV
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
God’s blessing is the FRUITFUL, HARMONIOUS REIGN of humanity on Earth.
Exodus 19:5–6 NIV
Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
God restores his blessing by sending his people out among the nations to LOVE their NEIGHBORS.
Leviticus 19:33–34 NIV
“ ‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
Jeremiah 29:4–7 NIV
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Matthew 4:17 NIV
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Matthew 5:43–45 NIV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Titus 2:14 NIV
who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Jesus came to create a people capable of FULFILLING this MISSION.

Neighboring in Antioch

Antioch was extremely CROWDED
Antioch was extremely DIVERSE:
Syrians
Greeks
Macedonians
Cretans
Cypriotes
Argives
Heralkeidae
Athenians
Jews
Romans
Gauls
Germans
Antioch was extremely DANGEROUS.
Life expectancy was 30 years
People were constantly immigrating to the city
No one knew each other, so crime was rampant
Ethnic riots were commonplace
Antioch averaged a catastrophic crisis every 15 years
Conquered by enemies 11 times
Plundered and sacked 5 of those 11 times
Besieged two other times
Burned down four times
Six major city-wide riots
Hundreds of earthquakes, 8 of which destroyed the whole city burned
Three killer epidemics that killed at least 25% of the population
Five serious famines
These were the places where Paul preached the Gospel of RECONCILIATION and LOVE.
Ephesians 2:14–18 NIV
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Colossians 3:11–14 NIV
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Romans 12:9–18 NIV
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 13:8–10 NIV
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
By practicing that Gospel, Christians CHANGED the Roman Empire FOREVER.

Loving Your Neighbor

Following Christ is not about OBEYING laws, but pursuing a MISSION.
Our mission is to restore the BLESSINGS of God to the WORLD.
Your part of that mission is to LOVE your NEIGHBOR.

Challenge:

Learn your neighbor’s names.
Consider: what are the ISSUES in our community? How can the Gospel ANSWER them?
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