Love, Love, Love: Part 3 - 'Who is my Neighbour?"
This Sunday, Simon Lace brings us the talk in the latest of our EBC Online services. Once you have watched the video, we encourage you to reflect on the bible text and join us in the prayer that follows below.
To listen to the talk click here.
Romans chapter 13 verses 8 - 10 (New Living Translation)
8 Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbour, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
Luke chapter 10 verses 25 - 37 (New Living Translation)
25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”
28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”
29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. 31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. 33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbour to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
Prayer & Reflection
Heavenly Father. Thank you for your surpassing love for us. Thank you that when we are utterly sinful and far from you, you offer us love and forgiveness instead of the punishment we deserve. Lord, forgive us in our pride and help us not to be judgemental but aware of our own broken-ness and our ongoing need for your grace, your love and your forgiveness. We receive those things afresh today Lord, with joyful and repentant hearts.
We ask that by the power of your Holy Spirit, which we desperately need, you would help us, O God, to genuinely love people who are not like us and that you would stop us from standing between you and them.
O Lord our God, you made us, you made the heavens and the earth and you gave us dominion over it. Lord we long to humbly express our love and our gratitude to you for that and for accepting us despite our sinful nature. Help us to be obedient to your commands to love you, to love one another as the body of Christ, and to love other people as ourselves.
In the name of Jesus, and for your glory we pray this.
Questions to Consider
1. Think of some people you really like – how do you express your love for them?
2. Now think of some people that are really not like you – people you find irritating or distasteful, or whose lifestyle you frown upon (even for good reason). How might you begin to show love towards them?
3. Try and think of a group of people that you distrust, dislike or don’t agree with. Who are you imagining? What would you say if they came to church one morning?
4. How do you think Jesus would deal with them – would He ignore them, hope they went away and didn’t come back? Or would He do something different?
In recent months there have been lots of headlines about “Black Lives Matter” and about issues of Sexuality. Maybe you’ve been in sharp disagreement with some of the views expressed. How do you personally reconcile your feelings and beliefs with the deeply challenging command to “love your neighbour as yourself”?
5. In areas you may regard as sinful, what is the Holy Spirit saying to you about your own areas of sin? Are you willing to repent (literally “change your mind”) so that you are in line with God’s will and the primary commands to love God and love people?
6. Read the passage from Luke (above) again and reflect on what it means to fulfil the requirements of God’s Law by loving our neighbour.
7. Keeping in mind those people you find difficult, distasteful or sinful… are you fulfilling the requirements of God’s Law by loving your neighbour? Would “your neighbour” agree with your assessment? Would Jesus agree?