Honoring God by Loving Our Neighbor
One of the ways that we honor God is by loving our neighbors. When Jesus was questioned about the greatest commandment, he said that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with everything you have (Matthew 22:38). He went on to say that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself (22:29). One of the ways that we show that we love God with all that we are, is by loving and caring for our neighbors with all that we have; a sacrificial love.
The Prime Example: Jesus
Jesus demonstrates this self-sacrificing love that he displayed on the cross. Jesus stated that no one takes his life from him, he is the good shepherd who lays down his own life voluntarily for his sheep (John 10:11,14,17-18). When Jesus was crucified he died so quickly that the authorities of the state were astonished to hear that he already died(Mark 14:44). But what we see is that Jesus laid down his life just as he said, John records in his Gospel Jesus’ final words, ““…It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30).
Jesus gave of himself, making the ultimate sacrifice, in order to meet a need that we could not meet ourselves. We lack the holiness required to see God. The writer of Hebrews tells us that without holiness/righteousness no one will see God (Hebrews 12:14). The scriptures tell us that we all have rebelled against the most high God (Romans 3:23). The penalty for our rebellion is death (Romans 6:23a). Therefore we all stand before a holy God, condemned and deserving of God’s wrath. But Jesus took our sins upon himself, and bore the wrath of God for our sins in our place. As Paul writes, ““For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV). Righteousness is available to us because of the sacrifice of Jesus.
We the unrighteous rebels receive the righteousness of Jesus through our trusting in his provision alone for the forgiveness of our sins. Look at what the scriptures tell us:
The gospel and loving our neighbor
One of the ways that we show that we love God with all that we are, is by loving and caring for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
“How do we as the church help people in a way that honors God and loves our neighbor?” The simple answer is by meeting their most pressing needs. For the faithful the needs are physical. We as the church are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus in meeting their physical needs. If there are any faithful among us who are hungry, we should feed them; thirsty, we should give them drink; in need of clothing, provide them with clothes. You get the picture. We are to do what we can to meet the material needs of those that are faithfully devoted to God and have a reputation for good works. However the most pressing need for the unfaithful is spiritual. We then as the church and individuals are to tell them of the only one who can meet their need, Jesus Christ.
Just as Jesus met a need we could not meet, we as Christians are called to meet the material needs of our faithful brothers and sisters in Christ, and the spiritual needs of the unfaithful. By doing this we are fulfilling God’s command the love our neighbor as ourselves, and showing a beautiful picture of what Jesus has done for us.
Taken from Caring For Those in Need-1 Timothy 5:3-16 preached at EBC on November 17, 2019.
Father in Heaven,
Aid us by your Holy Spirit to understand your word.
In the name of your son, Jesus Christ,
“If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.” (1 Timothy 4:6–9, ESV)
So many cares and differences of opinion can distract us from what is most important. The devil doesn't need to make you not loose faith in God. If you are a true child of God, then Satan can never snatch you out of the hand of Jesus. All satan and his angels have to do is distract you. We become distracted when we focus on non-essentials, especially concerning matters of opinion and liberty of conscience.
Paul addresses this distractedness when he tells Timothy to avoid devoting himself to the irreverent and silly myths being taught by false teachers. The irreverent and foolish myths of the false teachers majors on Physical Discipline (i.e. abstinence from strong drink, foods and marriage) as means to earning grace. By seeking to earn grace, the false teachers made shipwrecks of their faith, and the faith of their hearers.
Physical Discipline is not bad in and of itself. As Paul says, "...physical discipline is of some value." However we see that Spiritual Discipline is of value in every way. In contrast to the foolish services of false teachers, faithful service majors on Spiritual Discipline (worship, bible study, prayer, evangelism, discipleship, cultivating and using spiritual gifts).
Godliness takes work. That is why Paul uses the metaphor of physical training. Just as a person would go to the gym and work his body, so must the Christian work his spirit. Are you spiritual couch potato? Has your spirit gotten flabby? We must not let ourselves go spiritually. We must grind everyday. Lifting the weights of scripture, climbing the ladder of prayer, running the marathon of discipleship.
“For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10, ESV)
God is in the business of saving a people for himself. And his ordained means of doing so is by the faithful ministry of his children.
Therefore by faith, “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” (1 Timothy 4:15, ESV)
Friends we must pick up our bibles....talk to God....and help people experience Jesus.
Imagine if we all by God's grace persisted in this, "...by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16, ESV)