We talked in part 1 about God being the ultimate example of love toward us. He showed us how to love. He didn’t just say He loved us, but He gave us an example of His love in sending His son Jesus Christ. Now let’s look at how we can love our neighbor as our self.
The first question we might as is "Who is our Neighbor?" That is exactly what the lawyer asked in Luke 10:29. Jesus went on to tell Him the story of the Good Samaritan. Let’s take a look at the story of the Good Samaritan.
“But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you. Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?” And he said, ‘The one who showed mercy toward him.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do the same.’" Luke 20:29-37
A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and the robbers ambushed him, beat him and stripped him of his cloths and left him half dead. By chance a priest went down the road and saw the man left for dead and instead of helping him, he went to the other side of the road as far away from him as he could and walked right on past. The same thing happened when a Levite came by. But the third one that came by was a Samaritan. The Jews and the Samaritans didn’t get along real well in fact they hated each other. The Samaritans were people that were half-breeds. They were not fully Jews. The Jews would actually go around Samaria, because they hated the Samaritans so much. This Samaritan despised by the Jews stopped in the heart of Judea to help this man left for dead. He could have said,”He wouldn’t have helped me so why should I help him?” He could have made excuses. But he didn’t. Notice it says he was on a journey. That explains why he is in the heart of Judea. When the Samaritan saw him it says he felt compassion on him. He came to him and took care of his wounds and bandaged him up. He could have just left him there, but he put him on his donkey and took him into Jericho. He could have left him at the gate, but He took him to an inn. Imagine the looks, stares, whispers and thoughts as a Samaritan entered Jericho with a bandaged up Jew riding on his donkey. He took him to an inn and he paid for the man’s care and stay and not only that he told the innkeeper that if there was more money needed for this man, he would pay it when he returned. What amazing love and compassion. Jesus is making the point that our neighbor is not only our friends, but those who may not like us or that we may not like. God gives us the ability to love others because on our own, without the Lord’s example of love for us, we would not be able to love others like He loves us.
Matthew 5:43-44 "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' But I say to you,’ love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,’”
I have thought of an example from my own life where there was no way to love without God’s help. This last year, I was at Montana State University. In my Public speaking class I was able to share the gospel with them. There was this one kid who didn’t like the message so in his written review he gave me a bad score. I thought well I probably won’t see him again so it’s not a big deal. All of this happened first semester. I was going to my Chemistry class the next semester and I sat down, well guess who sits next to me. The kid who gave me a bad review. We really hit it off on a good foot. He started by bugging me and punching me in the leg. Finally I could stand it no more so I thought to myself well what should I do? I prayed about it and suddenly a thought came to me. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a gospel tract and handed it to him and told him to read it. He left me alone for the rest of the period. He took the tract and placed it in his backpack. I was astonished. Over the course of the year he would continue to do things to try to get my goad or to make me angry at him, but the Lord was watching out for me and he helped me love this young man. I could have made him my enemy, but instead the Lord gave me a love for him that I can’t even explain. I should have been angry, but the Lord gave me patience and compassion for this kid. It is nothing I could have done on my own. Over the course of the year I gave him 20 or more tracts and he didn’t reject any until I gave him the one on evolution. Over and over again he would take them back to his friends and they would all read them and make fun of them, but the Lord still used this lost, young man for His glory. This young man has not believed in Jesus Christ, but I hope and pray that he might come to know Him who loves us very soon. The Lord is the one who helps us love. We have been given an example by Him. What amazing love He had for us. Now we are, with His help, to love others, to love our neighbors, to love our enemies.
The ultimate act of love would be to lay down your life for your enemy. You might say that’s crazy, but think about it. We were enemies of Christ (Rom 5:10), but Christ still died for us.
Here is something else to think on. If we love others we will share the gospel with them. If someone is in a burning building you are going to tell them that the building is burning and that they need to get out. You love them enough to warn them of the danger. In the same way you need to tell others of the danger that is coming. That we are sinners and that we deserve to go to hell. You are going to show them to the exit sign, the way out, Jesus Christ. You are going to tell them about His death on the cross for their sins and His resurrection. If you go and tell them here is the exit to the building you should come with me, but you fail to tell them that the building is burning. Many will say. Why should I leave? I am fine right here. I am comfortable. They will not know of the danger to come until it is too late. So if we love others, neighbors, enemies, friends, we will tell them about the danger to come and we will show them the way out. Whether they take the way out or not is up to them, all we can do is tell them about the danger and Jesus Christ and his free gift to mankind. I don’t know about you but, if I was an unbeliever, I would want someone to tell me the gospel. We are to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. With the knowledge of the gospel that you have, would you want to be left alone as an unbeliever or would you want to know the way out.
These are some things to think about. Do we love our neighbors as our self? Are we telling others about the danger to come and about Jesus Christ and the way out? I encourage you friends to try to tell someone about Jesus just once a week or to get some gospel tracts and to give one to someone once a week and after a month of doing that, give it to someone twice a week, then three times a week, then once a day and so on. People want to hear about Jesus Christ. There are many people just waiting for someone to tell them. That doesn’t mean everyone is ready, but some of them are. If you love your neighbors you will tell them about the danger to come and about Jesus Christ and His salvation to all mankind.