Apr6FriApril 6, 2018
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOURS (Vs 9-11)
Love must be sincere. This is to cling to what is good and honourable in our world.
The perfect love that is from God the Father in and through His creation, and given to us who are made in his image, check out 1 Corinthians 13:1-8.
This talks about a love that transcends outward actions or vain conceit. Those shortcomings and worldly ways have no place in our hearts as we love with all we have. (We talked about that last time, being Transformed)
This is also to love God, if God is good; we are to cling to Him and His teaching.
God reveals himself through His word and His creation, and so we need to understand as much of both as we are able to to truly understand God’s love for us.
Secondly, we must love our brothers. That is the Church, and those who are bought by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.
Being devoted to one another’s needs and well being. That is how ‘All men will know that we are Christians, by our love…’ (Matt. 28). We are to serve one another and encourage one another on the path of righteousness.
BE DISCIPLINED (Vs 12-13)
To understand that God works all things in accordance to His perfect and pleasing Will.
This takes a discipline that is beyond our level of comprehension. Sometimes, worship itself is a choice. Practically, that can be in the music on a sunday morning, or where the pulpit is placed.
We need to be disciplined in our approach to a Godly life. Not ‘Hangry’. Is it okay to give up our spiritual discipline because we are being externally influenced by things we don’t like? “I can be a christian until I get mad”...
Practice hospitality. Humans are social creatures and we need comradery with one another to help one another. This takes being able to see the less fortunate as the Lord sees them, not as society sees them.
If we are to help people, what does that actually mean as an applicable action? Is it to take extremes to the approach of people, saying to the one side”
It’s okay the way that you are. You need to be taken care of and accomodated.. Or:
We need to change you to be more like us.
Again, neither are right. The focus is in the verse. We are to share with GOD’S people. God has to be the focus of our actions, otherwise we are dipping into following the desires of our hearts.
BE EXEMPLARY (Vs. 14-21)
Be exemplary of the Love of the Lord.
We are made in the image of God. Just as a painter has things in his paintings or an author has things in his book that indicate who he is, we and all of creation show attributes of the Love of the Lord.
If we remember from ‘The Image of God’ sermon, just like a mirror, we are to reflect the image of God into the world, in Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is love (1 Cor. 13). This means that by our unconditional love for all of God’s people, the people can look at us and see God.
The Love of the Father, the Sacrifice of the Son, and the Guidance of the Spirit.
Evil has to be overcome by good.
Just as darkness is the absence of light, as cold is the absence of heat, Evil is the absence of Good.
This means that to repay evil with evil is simply fueling the evilness. To be angry and revengeful is not to fix the problem in the mindset of humility and grace, it is trying to make ourselves feel better by causing the pain that we have experienced.
To ‘Heap burning coals on his head’ (Vs 20), it is to quickly exemplify the failure of consciousness and goodness.
An old preacher’s quote says “If you defend yourself, then the Lord can’t defend you. Leave it in His hands’. That is a tough pill to swallow, but it is a very practical example of where our faith truly is when we are thrown into conflict. Just like being ‘Hangry’, we can feel the need not to lay down our fight at the throne of Jesus to realize His compassion and Grace instead of our revenge and bitterness.
These aren’t my words, but they are the teachings of Christ. If we are to call ourselves Christians, then we had better understand His teachings when the times are good and when they are being put to the test.
If we don’t allow Christ to be ‘Our Defender’ and ‘Our rock’, we are actually trying to defend ourselves against the work of the Enemy. That is a dangerous spot to be.
So let us live in Harmony with the Will of God and with one another, to love our neighbours.
Let’s also be disciplined in our worship and commitment to Christ’s Growth. So often we can begin to rely on our experiences, our wealth, our families, our abilities; all good in the Eyes of the Lord, but we need to Seek First His kingdom and His righteousness and those things will be added to us as well. (Matt. 6:33)
And finally, let’s pray that our love for our God and our world with be exemplary of God’s love in us, that our friends, colleagues and families will know that we are christians from God’s boundless love in us.