Summary: Jesus has called us to love our neighbour with an extravagant, generous love, acceptance and forgiveness. When we do this, people will recognize that we are children of our Father in Heaven.
TRANSFORMATION #3: LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOUR
OPENING: Video Clip: The Art of Neighbouring
INTRO TO TOPIC: We live in a world where few people know how to connect in deep and meaningful relationships with one another. We need to rediscover the art of neighbouring.
It’s time to disconnect from ‘social’ media, and reconnect face to face! When was the last time you say hello to your neighbour? Do you know any of your neighbours’ names? Not just neighbours – when was the last time you invited someone into your home? I know it takes work and time, but this is something our family loves to do.
THE BIG IDEA: Jesus has called us to love our neighbour with an extravagant, generous love, acceptance and forgiveness. When we do this, people will recognize that we are children of our Father in Heaven.
1. BE EXTRAVAGANTLY GENEROUS:
“38 You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.” (Matthew 5:38-42, NKJV).
• So many people today believe in revenge and retaliation. If you do something wrong to me, I’ll do it back and even worse.
• The principle Jesus teaches here: Instead of revenge, choose forgiveness.
• Go above and beyond in your generosity – be extravagant like God is!
2. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR:
“43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44).
• The Old Testament commanded people to love their neighbor. But some of them thought that meant it was okay to hate their enemies.
• The principle Jesus teaches here: Don’t just love your neighbor, but love everyone – including your enemies!
• How are we to treat our enemies? Love them, bless them, do good to them and pray for them! And don’t just pray, “God, kill them!”
3. BE CHILDREN OF GOD:
“45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:45-48, NKJV).
• The principle here: As we become extravagant in our love, we become more like God.
• God wants us to be perfect. Does that mean we never sin? No. He wants us to become perfected in the love walk. Loving even our enemies, extravagantly generous in our love, acceptance and forgiveness of all people.
CLOSING CHALLENGE: HOW DO WE CHANGE?
How do we begin to love our neighbor with an extravagant, generous love?
“7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God -- for God is love. 9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love has been brought to full expression through us…
19 We love each other as a result of his loving us first. 20 If someone says, "I love God," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen? 21 And God himself has commanded that we must love not only him but our Christian brothers and sisters, too.” (1 John 4:7-12,19-21, NLT).