Loved People Love People

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Have you ever read some of the stuff Jesus says and thought to yourself, “That’s just insane! There’s no possible way that’s happening!”

Matthew 5:48 is one of those passages! It feels overwhelming and impossible, to say the least.

I mean, anybody here think you have the slightest chance at perfection? Anybody?

That’s why I love the way this verse in The Message.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” —Matthew 5:48 MSG

This is the Big Idea I want to walk out: loved people love people.

Jesus told an incredible story in Luke 10 that demonstrates what it looks like when we begin to live out Matthew 5:48. Some people call it the “parable of the Good Samaritan.”

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?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” — Luke 10:25-26 NLT

Jesus was like, “What do you think? You’re the expert.”

The expert in religious law responds by quoting something called “the Shema,” a little section from Deuteronomy 6:5 that devout Jewish people recited daily and he even adds a passage from Leviticus 19:8. The combination of these two passages was known as “the great commandment.”

The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength (energy – TPT / muscle – MSG), and all your mind (every thought – TPT, intelligence – MSG).’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” —Luke 10:27-28 NLT

Jesus responded, “Right on! You nailed it! It all boils down to this: Love God and love people! If you do that, you will LIVE!”

But Verse 29 is crucial to understanding the story…

The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” —Luke 10:29 NLT

The Message reads, “Looking for a loophole…”

According to one scholar, there is an ancient book of Jewish wisdom, and Sirach 12:1-4 tells its readers not to help a sinner. “Looking for a loophole…” This expert in law is attempting to create a list… He’s attempting to draw a line or create a list and put some people on the list who qualify as “neighbors,” and cross other people off the list who don’t qualify as a “neighbor.”

The idea that some people are “not our neighbors…” The suggestion that we should cross some people off of our “love your neighbor” list is the idea that Jesus is responds to.

And, like he was known for doing, Jesus completely turned the tables on this so-called “expert in law” and on every person who calls him or her self a follower of Jesus.

The question was, “What do I have to do to inherit eternal life?” In Verse 27, the expert gives an answer Jesus affirmed! Jesus basically said, “Ding! Ding! Ding! You nailed it! You got that right… It all boils down to this…”

“‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Jesus himself gave the same answer when he was asked the same question in Matthew 22:34-40. Jesus understood this principle: loved people love people!

When we love God passionately and purposefully, we end up discovering that God loves us! And it’s out of that awareness and the incredible security that comes from knowing that we are deeply and unconditionally loved by God that we are able to love other people!

Two principles that are absolutely essential if we’re to live out this big idea and the second part of “the great commandment.” It’s the very two things this expert in religious law was missing… It’s two things that we sometimes miss…

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1.     Learn to see as Jesus sees.

The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” —Luke 10:29 NLT

Again, it’s likely this expert wanted to create his own “exceptions list” and “neighbors list.” “These are the people that I’ve got to love, and these are the people I can take a pass on:

“The neighbor that ticks me off… I know they can’t be on the ‘neighbor list.’ They’ve got to be an exception.”

“That black guy who looked at my funny a few days ago. That dude can’t make my neighbor list… After all, I think he’s really, really liberal… God doesn’t expect me to love a Democrat…”

“Oh, yeah… That Muslim family that just moved in down the block… I know God doesn’t want me to put them on my ‘neighbor list...’ That would be so dangerous…”

“That girl I work with who is so ‘out there…’ Nose piercing, tattoos, weird clothes…  She even smokes… She’s got to go on the exceptions list!

“That Redneck who is riding ‘the Trump Train…’ There is no way he makes my ‘neighbor list…’

“That LGBT couple that lives next door… They’ve got to go on the exceptions list…

“Wow! My list is getting really, really short… This is going to be easy-peasy…”

Anne Lamott once wrote:

“You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

2.     Respond as Jesus leads.

He stooped down and gave him first aid, pouring olive oil on his wounds, disinfecting them with wine, and bandaging them to stop the bleeding. Lifting him up, he placed him on his own donkey and brought him to an inn. Then he took him from his donkey and carried him to a room for the night. —Luke 10:34 TPT

Look at how the Samaritan responded! This is the model for how LOVED PEOPLE LOVE PEOPLE.  That’s a picture of loved people loving people! It’s what we’re supposed to do.  When we see as Jesus sees we will respond as Jesus leads.

This Samaritan demonstrates three ways God wants us to love people… three ways loved people love people.

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1.     Get down and dirty.

He stooped down and gave him first aid, pouring olive oil on his wounds, disinfecting them with wine, and bandaging them to stop the bleeding. Lifting him up, he placed him on his own donkey and brought him to an inn. Then he took him from his donkey and carried him to a room for the night. —Luke 10:34 TPT

God has called everyone to get down and dirty when it comes to the way we love people. And what I mean by, “get down,” is that real ministry will require us to stop what we are doing, “stoop down” and get involved in the dirt and grime of people’s ordinary and real lives.

Henri Nouwen calls this “the ministry of interruptions.” He once wrote: “My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered the interruptions were my work.”

2.     Lift them up and lead them to healing and wholeness.

This story is so beautiful! The Samaritan went to this wounded man and applied two things to this guy’s wounds. He applied “oil and wine.”

Both were agents of healing in the first century, but in the Bible, oil is almost always a symbol of the Holy Spirit; and wine, which is used in Holy Communion, is a symbol of the blood of Jesus or the finished work of the cross.

Have you ever wondered, “What do I have to offer this world?” The answer is right there! It’s simple!

If you’ve been an object of God’s extravagant love and amazing grace what you have to offer the world is exactly what the world desperately needs! Because you can offer this world the healing and wholeness that is made possible through the cross, and, the freedom, grace and power that comes through the Holy Spirit!

3.     Live generously and graciously!  Become a partner with what God is doing in your church and world.

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.’ — Luke 10:35 NLT

Loved people loving people will always cost you something!

Here’s the definition for love we’ve been using:

Love is the willing self-sacrifice for the good of another person that doesn’t depend on the person deserving it or ever repaying it.

Love will always cost you something…

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It will cost you time…

It will cost you money…

It will cost you energy and effort…

It will cost you blood and sweat…

It will cost you your pride, status and position…

It might even cost you your reputation…

It will almost always cost you your comfort…

Jesus wraps up the story like this:

So, now, tell me, which one of the three men who saw the wounded man proved to be the true neighbor?” The religious scholar responded, “The one who demonstrated kindness and mercy.”

Jesus said, “You must go and do the same as he.” —Luke 10:36-38 TPT

In other words, “Go and be like the person nobody thought God could use. Go and demonstrate kindness and mercy.”