Main Idea: God calls you and me to reach our neighbors with the gospel.
We’re in Matthew 22 looking at the two great commandments that Jesus gave us.
An expert in the law asked Jesus this question, “Teacher, which commandment in the law in the greatest?” And He said to them, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. All of the law and the prophets depend on these two commands.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
Jesus uses the word “love.” The word in our society is overused and underdefined. We use it casually. I love ice cream. I love my children. I love my grandchildren. I’d never die for a dish of ice cream, but I’d probably die for my children or grandchildren. So we have to identify how we love people, and how we really love God.
There are three words in the Greek used to define love. One is philadelphia, known as brotherly love. That’s a casual love. Aros is another Greek word used for love. It’s pretty simple: erotic love. sexual passions. That love we have between husband and wife. Then the third is agape love. It’s an all-encompassing deep love for your fellow human beings. It goes far beyond any casual friendship. Far beyond any physical relationship. It’s the deepest form of caring love one can have for a person. And that’s how God loves you and I. Unconditionally. Enough to send His Son to die for us.
So when God says He loves us, it’s not like ice cream. It is the real deal.
And then, Jesus turns around and says, “Oh, by the way, you need to love people as much as you love God.”
And how did Jesus love God?
He spend time with the Father everyday. It was His fuel for living.
He was also familiar with God’s word. He loved His Father enough to be familiar with the Scriptures.
You and I have this book we call The Bible. And it is filled with all of God’s word. And all we have to do is read the book. Pretty simple. And yet, how many times do we reach for a novel, or an iPad, or your phone, and we check Facebook instead of God’s word. Or we check the news, or the sports, or whatever your thing is to check.
But Jesus set this example for us that if we’re truly going to love God, we’ve got to spend time with Him.
And when we look at the second commandment of loving people, Jesus lived this out for us, too, in such a fantastic way. He cross social and racial lines. He loved the Samaritan woman at the well. He loved the sick. The lepers who were banished outside the village. They were kicked out of the city for life, because there was no cure. And yet they would approach Jesus, and say, “Master, heal us.” And He accepted them.
You’ve got to love some people who are going to make you uncomfortable.
There’s a lot more to following Christ than just having your butt in a pew. There’s the sharing of our faith.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus says it like this as He gives a commandment to His followers right before He ascends to heaven. He says:
All authority is given to me in heaven and on earth. And you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Our first mission field is in our home, and in the person next door. And He doesn’t let me off the hook. He gives us the authority and power of Christ to do that.
You have enough to share your faith today. You don’t need another class. You don’t need another tract. You don’t need another catchy phrase to open a conversation. Just go and let God take it from there.
Most of us are ready in our hearts to share our faith, but our head talks us out of it. We get uptight and nervous. And we think, “What if they ask me a question that I don’t know the answer to.” But that’s okay. You can say one of two things: 1) “I’ll get back to you,” or 2) “Let’s not let us distract us from the real message. What are you going to do with Jesus?”
If you’re alert, God will send you witnessing opportunities. Do we love lost people enough to persist?