“All the church wants is my money!” Living in a post-Christian culture has unique challenges. Loving neighbors in a society that, in many ways, is a reaction against Christianity is even more difficult. In this message you will be equipped and encouraged to love your neighbors in a way that may be more in line with Jesus’ approach than he approaches some of His followers (including us) have used in the recent past.
Jesus invites each of His followers to join Him in his mission of love to help those who are far from God find a restored relationship with their Maker. Yet, most of us disciples struggle to know how to best serve those who don’t believe or behave like us. Fortunately, Jesus models an intentional approach for loving those outside His church. In this Sunday’s message and service we discover His way and receive His help to love our neighbors well.
We all have a way we interpret and react to the suffering of ourselves and others. We must recognize and resist any temptations to resolve it for others. The truth is, only God knows why He allows the suffering of the innocent; our role as listeners is to point those who are suffering to God, Who is with the broken-hearted. Through us mourning with them and encouraging them to be emotionally authentic with God, our friends are most likely to meet the challenge, be refined, and develop a greater love of God for who He is, and not merely what He does for us. In so doing they become more like Jesus Himself, who is God’s ultimate answer for suffering.
Who did you vote for? How do you reconcile Genesis 1 and science? Should we baptize infants? Should children have cell phones? People have disagreements and genuine followers of Jesus have disagreements too. When these disagreements exist within the church should we ignore them, fight over them or seek to compromise in them? What if the way of Jesus was applied to disagreements among his followers? What if we showed the younger generation and the watching world that it is possible to love God and love others by humbly listening even in the midst of our differences?
Our world is full of hurting people waiting to be heard. Jesus’ solution is laborers—laborers who listen. What does it mean to be slow to speak? And what does it look like to be God’s laborer who truly listens?
When we have an opportunity to walk along someone else in their journey with God (i.e. mentor them / disciple them / guide them) what should we do? Rather than quickly grabbing a book to read together or making a list of topics to address, what if we followed the way of Jesus? After His resurrection, Jesus walked alongside two followers and modeled a beautiful, loving, freeing and life transforming approach for discipleship. In this passage we discover that loving listening precedes helping others grow in their relationship with God.
When we are discipled by listening directly to Jesus’ voice in Scripture, we can trust His wisdom as being inerrant because He perfectly embodied all the spiritual disciplines we aspire to have. In contrast, when we are discipled by listening to others, we should discern which particular spiritual disciplines God has empowered each one of them to have. Because, as fallen people, even as devout followers of Jesus, none of us embody them all.
Have you ever walked away from a conversation thinking, “Why did I talk so much? Why didn’t I ask at least one question? Do you think they noticed?” How many questions did Jesus ask? Can you recall some of His best ones? What do you think is Jesus’ most famous question? What if we really followed Jesus? What if we sat with people, listened to people and asked them questions? Can you imagine how surprised and grateful our family, friends, classmates and coworkers would be
During His time on earth Jesus taught, healed, recruited, launched a worldwide movement and listened to people. Today we begin observing the Gospel writers portrayal of Jesus as a listening King who humbled Himself, sacrificed His time and gave people His love by sitting down to listen to them. Can you imagine the world’s astonishment if His followers did the same?
When we listen to a child we love a child, when we listen to our neighbor we love our neighbor. Similarly, Jesus said when we listen to Him we love Him. Is there an area of life that is He asking you to listen to Him so that with His Spirit’s help you can walk accordingly in a way that will reveal that you love Him?