*Power of Neighborliness: Acts 2/Acts 4
*Less value is placed on people today, therefore, on relationships with people.
*technology can either allow us to connect more frequently or hardly at all.
*The warmth with which we meet and greet people says a lot about our faith. (Ppl come to FOL not knowing much about theology, scripture, church protocol, etc.)
*Neighborliness creates space for God to invade human space where people “neighbor" and are “Neighbored”
Prior to The Good Samaritan, what was the litmus test for godliness?
Answer: Legalism, rules, laws, sacrifices, appeasing God with religious fervor
Jesus chose neighborliness ~ using such strong language in order to stretch us beyond mere compliance and niceness. Jesus was convinced:
- It would take the Holy Spirit to see God in each other
- It would take the Holy Spirit to love God in each other
- It would take the Holy Spirit to hold to each other
God is not going to let us mess up Heaven with pettiness, selfishness or disunity.
When neighborliness is established…it doesn’t matter who possesses the most, the newest, the best, etc., because needs will be met.
“Legacy of Love; Who’s Your Neighbor”
*Again, Our love should not be limited to those who are just like us, but rather those who are near us and in need of support.
- The parable of the good neighbor is Jesus’ way of challenging us to our very core. It challenges:
- What we believe about God (no respecter of persons)
- Our so-called trinitarian theology (do we believe in the necessity of unity)
- What we believe about the dignity of humanity (if we are a true reflection of God what does our lack of hospitality; lack of mutual respect; and our morbid obsession with being monolithically comfortable?)
- Every whisper of the Spirit during prayer; every jot and tittle of God’s word during study; every theological and dogmatic insight must be tested against the anvil of unity and unconditional love! If that whisper—that insight—that dogma—does not propel us into the pain of another…emptiness of another…story of another…harms way of another…it is either not of God—other the hearer is NOT a follower of God.
*Power of Neighborliness: Acts 2/Acts 4 (Text & Context)
- Create a visible place for the invisible presence of God to dwell
- Godliness (Proximity and mixture of God & you) breeds Neighborliness (Proximity and mixture of your and others) & Neighborliness breeds Unity e.g. selflessness; collaboration; interdependence; care, compassion; empathy; Presence of God; fruit! (A new creation that beckons the Holy Spirit!); When the Spirit falls…anything can happen!
- God’s presence was in Eden; present in miracles; was not present in angels but referenced by angels; Christ broke into the our world and smuggled in the presence of God…
- Hence, making it possible, feasible even…for God to dwell inside…and among believers!
- Christ’s methodology for changing, healing and saving the world was through relationships.
- God became an Only Begotten Son
- He became a physical son, a brother, a student, an apprentice, a leader
Luke 10:37 (NIV)
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
*What happens to us as we go & emulate God?
You may not be a great evangelist, however, can you be a good neighbor?
Galatians 6:10 (NIV)
10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
*Scripture has taught us that when we’re kind to others, we have touched God.
(Matt 25; Hebrews 13.2 (Angels unknown);
Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)
2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.