Love Thy Neighbour Rom 13:9-10 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
When Jesus Christ gave his disciples a new commandment to love one another as Christ loved us [Jn 13:34-35] he didn’t abolish the second commandment, which is to love thy neighbour. Sometimes, we get the idea that we are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ but that we have no obligation to love our neighbors. But, at least twice in the New Testament, not including the gospels, we find the second commandment quoted. Therefore, we ought to be good neighbors.
In this generation, we notice that more and more people stay to themselves in their homes and neighborhoods. When I was a child neighbors were much friendlier and more neighborly. And in generations before that, neighbors were even dependent upon each other. Not so much today.
Nevertheless, as Christians, we should make it a point to love our neighbors. Your neighbors are the number one mission field in your “sphere of influence.” You have much more frequent opportunities to visit with them and to sow the seed of the word of God with them. But you must love thy neighbour to have be an effective witness. So, what should you do to demonstrate that you love thy neighbour? When you love your neighbors you will:
Get to know them – introduce yourself and listen as they introduce themselves to you – then every time you see them greet them by name – inquire about their families, occupations and hobbies [people like to talk about themselves; they like an interested audience] – if they introduce you to their pets, remember their names, as well – some people love their pets as much as or more than their own children.
Pray for them – pray diligently – the Lord must arrange divine appointments with them – and prayer is the key to seeing these doors open – when I walk in my neighborhood, I pray for our neighbors as I pass their houses and it has been amazing to see the Lord make the way for our friendships with them to grow.
Visit with them – when you see them don’t just say “Hi” and keep going; stop and chat – be friendly – a man that hath friends must show himself friendly.
Make a favorite dessert for them – a missionary friend of mine got to know his neighbors by taking them a dessert – in time he was able to lead them to the Lord – they were staunchly entrenched in their religion but his love for them opened the way for him to preach the gospel to them and they are both in heaven today.
Invite them to supper – prepare one of you really good meals for them and treat them like an honored guests – we did this for our neighbors in Beeville – the trouble is that the first meal was a flop – yet, in spite of that, they appreciated the gesture and returned on our next invitation – in time we were able to lead the husband to the Lord.
Help them out – there is nothing quite like lending your hand to a neighbor in need – generally, they won’t ask for your help – you must offer – they will really appreciate your help and you will become a very good friend of theirs – there are any numbers of things you can do – you can feed their pets and bring in the mail when they travel – you can help with a project in the yard – or you can offer to do anything you’re good at.
Witness to them – ultimately, the opportunity to witness to your neighbor will present itself – you should always be concerned for their souls and always pray for their salvation – you should listen carefully in conversations for openings to witness and quote scripture – there’s no need to be in a rush – just take every opportunity that presents itself to say something about the Lord – it took years to lead one of my neighbors to the Lord – and we visited numerous times about the Lord before he finally got saved.
Invite them to church – at an appropriate time or on a special occasion invite your neighbors to church with you – you’d be surprised who will come with you – be sure to invite them on a day when you know the gospel is going to be preached – this is a great way for them to hear about Jesus.
Conclusion: well, there is more that can be said about loving your neighbors, but this should give you some good ideas – don’t be shy and don’t neglect them – they need the Lord Jesus Christ and the best person to tell them about him is a neighbor who knows Jesus and loves them.