Summary: A sermon on Biblical Neighboring. Your christian home is still one of the best tools for spreading the gospel.
"The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."" Galatians 5:14 (NIV)
Intro: There is a true story about a 28 year old woman…, who had just got off from work. It was a little after 3:00 a.m. in the morning as she drove home to her neighborhood. She parked her car and began to walk down the sidewalk and across the street to her house. About 30 feet from her door she noticed a man standing in the shadows. She paused when he started toward her; she turned and ran in the opposite direction. She fumbled through her purse to find her keys; she tried to reach a phone to call the police…, but did not make it. The man caught her and stabbed her. She started screaming that she’d been stabbed, she was crying out for help. Lights came on in the house across the street. Windows opened. One man called out, "Leave that girl alone!" The attacker heard it and walked away. But the windows closed and lights went out. So he came back and attacked her again. This time she screamed "I’m dying! I’m dying." This time more windows opened and more lights went on. The attacker went to his car and drove off, leaving the young girl to crawl along the street to her home. Somehow, she managed to drag herself inside. But he came back a third time and found her on the floor, and finally he succeeded in killing her. During those three separate attacks that happened over the course of almost an hour, not one of this young girl’s neighbors came outside to try to help. After the third attack someone called the police who arrived there within minutes, but by this time it was too late. Neighbors who were later interviewed were asked why they did nothing to help. The simplest answer was, “I didn’t want to get involved.” (Story adapted from sermon by Greg Nance)
What I am about to say, I know I could not say…, unless, I knew that you loved me as your pastor. You can hear this because you know that I love you as brothers and sisters in Christ. You might be thinking that nothing like that happens around here. You might be thinking that you would have done something. But I am here to tell you that this happens every day in our neighborhood and Jesus calls us to be involved in the lives of our neighbors.
You see in the shadows of our neighborhood is poverty. Poverty lurks in every home where mom’s or dad’s only source of income is a government check. Substance abuse in our neighborhood is one of the highest among the counties in Kentucky. Domestic violence hides behind the doors in homes where children go to bed hungry and mom and dad stay up all night fighting.
According to the latest demographics info there is one church for every 243 people in the Williamsburg area. Imagine 243 people in every church in your neighborhood. How many churches do you have in your neighborhood?
We can look around and see that there are a lot of people who are crying out for help. Just maybe we turn on the lights…, and occasionally we open the windows.
But today I am going to talk to you about true “Biblical Neighboring.” Today I’m going to share with you what Christ tells us to do. We are going to look at how to get more involved in our neighborhood.
I. Take the Commandment Seriously
Matthew 22:36-39 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
The Pharisees had classified the law into over 600 groups. Everything was categorized under one of these laws. The Pharisees were experts at the Law. They were constantly trying to identify the most important laws and keep the most important laws and thereby impress others with their ability to say, “Look, I do not steal. I do not lie. I come to the temple once a week. I fast. I give a tenth of all my income. I am proud that I am better than those sinners because I keep the most important of the laws. Jesus replied: "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
Had Jesus stopped right there…, every Pharisee could have went home…, a son of Abraham, a child of Isaac, the decedent of Jacob…, for there was no question that they loved the Lord God of their ancestors. They kept the Ten Commandments and obeyed the law to the best of their ability. All the way down to performing the Levitical traditions of sacrifice in the Holy Temple. And they would have been justified in their morality.