Are you Afraid to Love Your Neighbor?
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Mr. Rogers was the nicest guy of all time. Seriously, Has there been anyone any nicer? He got on television and loved on people of all races, abilities, and backgrounds.
Everyone was equal in his neighborhood.
He would always ask, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
What does it mean to be a neighbor?
Who is your neighbor?
Jesus said in Matthew 22 that the whole Bible is boiled down to two things:
Matthew 22:37 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (ESV)
After hearing this thought, a man in Luke 10 asked, “Who is my neighbor?”
The scripture says that he was trying to justify himself.
Luke 10:29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (ESV)
The term that Jesus used here was not an ambiguous or hype spiritual word. It simply meant: those in close proximity. Those who Jesus has put in your path.
Today, we will deal with the FEAR FACTOR of loving our neighbor…
Most people don’t like unexpected knocks at the door. Why? Unwanted solicitation. Unwanted sales calls. Unwanted evangelism knocks. Therefore, when we go to meet our neighbors, there is a negative prejudice before we even knock on the door.
Being nice or giving something for free can seem like a scam.
It’s easy to be suspicious of people we do not know because of the news. They might have ebola.
If we are going to love our neighbors, we must have the courage to wrestle with our fear.
Ask God to lead as you engage your neighborhood!
This clip from The Burbs completely drives this point home. Check it out! (not sure what kind of commercial will show before the clip)
Numbers 13: 27 And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there….
30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”
31 Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” 32 So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. 33 And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” (ESV)
There were many reasons to believe that the task was impossible for them to accomplish. They were given an opportunity to trust God for the power to overcome. They choose to doubt God. Even though they were on the doorstep of their destiny, they were sent to wander in the desert for 40 years. Their fear kept them from what God had laid out for them.
They were supposed to destroy the enemy. We are supposed to love our enemy. What a drastic difference, yet we are look to those around us and feel the same fear and trepidation. We are scared to Love our Neighbor.
40 years later when the Israelites spoke with Rahab who lived in the land of giants, they learned something very interesting.
Joshua 2: 9 “I know the lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. 10 For we have heard how the lord made a dry path for you through the Red Seawhen you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. 11No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below. (NLT)
We are trusting in a God that is in total control of your neighborhood or apartment complex. We believe that Jesus Christ is Lord over all the dormitories of Texas State. You are a missionary in what might look like a dark place, but never fear! Jesus Christ is in charge. He has the power to make the difference.
Pray to him. Trust in Him. Put your life into his hands as you go forth. As you cross the hall, as you walk the hike and bike trail,
If he has called you to follow him, he will give you the tools and the supernatural power needed to accomplish the task! He is not expecting you to accomplish it based on your charisma, likability, common ground, or ability to yak it up. He wants you to be YOU. Be yourself.
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.
1 Peter 3:13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.
There is a part of fear that is not justified. (people are really not that scary)
There is a part of fear that could be based on something valid. (some people are scary or different)
Following Jesus is not necessarily designed to be safe. Safety is a natural desire but it can keep us from being like Jesus in the midst of an unsafe world.
Next Steps this week:
- Add a Neighbor Name or Neighbor detail to your top 8 list.
- Pray for your list.
- BREAK the ICE. Combat Isolationism. Go out of your way. Make a move: turn off the electronics, go outside in this gorgeous weather, plan something on Halloween night at your house, make your yard the most exciting loving yard on Halloween. Hang out in the community area of your complex or dorm.
Posted on October 22, 2014, in Sermon Notes, theology and tagged 1 peter 3:13, beautiful day in the neighborhood, burbs, mr rogers sermon series, sermon series notes, the burbs movie sermon, tom hanks sermon, won't you be my neighbor. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.