Loving your neighbor greatest way to build kingdom
This week we get to celebrate Good Friday. Through Jesus’ death, God the Father established a community greater than any that had ever been before. The curtain of the temple was torn in two, opening up the passage between the common man and the Lord (Matthew 27:51, NIV).
Community with God was now available to all; no longer would it be necessary for the priests to come between creator and creation. As Paul would later write in I Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (NAS).
No one stops man from coming to God, “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8, NIV). That is a promise. Anytime, anywhere, God will always be at our side.
The community of the kingdom is not just between God and humans; it is also for human-to-human relationships. Most of us have heard the Christian family compared to the human body before. We all need each other to operate at full potential.
Prior to Jesus’ death in Matthew 27, he is questioned by the Pharisees about what the greatest law is. Jesus replies with the well-known verse, “…and the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself”.
This is the second greatest command? Crazy. The second greatest command given to us is to love each other. Sounds pretty daunting.
How do we love each other? Who are our neighbors? It can be incredibly difficult to love some people.
How should we love each other? Refer to the classic verse about love from I Corinthians 13:4-7 that says love is patient, kind, not envious, not boastful, and not proud; among other attributes (NIV). These are the characteristics that should describe our relationships with our neighbors.
We also get incredible insight into the extent of what our love should be during the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:46-47. “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (NIV). Think about that.
So the challenge is this: put in an extra amount of effort to have a relationship with someone who you would not otherwise be in contact with. This may mean fixing a broken friendship, or establishing a new one.
This is the most effective way to expand the kingdom. A common reason for leaving the church is a lack of feeling accepted and loved. You never know what great relationships you are missing out on until you step out of your comfort zone and make them.