It is too bad that we have defined the infilling of the Holy Spirit according to Acts 2:4, that is, with speaking in tongues. Instead of according to Galatians 5:22. Despite what some will teach you Jesus never said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you speak in tongues.” Although I speak in tongues, the world will know of my discipleship by my demonstration of love and compassion.
Jesus said that he had a new command. What was the old one? Well, Jesus spelled it out in Luke 10:27-37: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
As Ortiz taught, this is the first degree of love. It is what I call the “Old Testament type of love,” and it never applied to the Church. It is a universal commandment. It is part of God’s moral law and applies to everyone–believer and non-believer. Those of you that are not part of God’s family, this one is for you!
Essentially this command requires that we have to desire for our neighbor the same thing we desire for ourselves. Not only that, we must make the same effort to get for our neighbor what we get for ourselves.
The implications of this are astounding. If I have a plate of food and my neighbor doesn’t, to love him is to make the same effort to get food for him that I did for myself. If I can’t, then I should give him half of what I have. If I have two suits and he has none, I must make the same effort to get him two suits that I did to get mine. If my children are well-dressed and fed and going to school, and his aren’t, I must make the same effort for his children that I make for my own.
You can argue with me if you want, but this is what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. Obviously, most of us, myself included, are not even fulfilling that within our churches.
The obvious question that would follow then is, Who is my neighbor? Well, it certainly isn’t a Christian, they are your brothers, or sisters aren’t they? Well someone asked Jesus that very question, and he answered with the parable of the “good” Samaritan (Luke 10).
Preachers try to spiritualize that story by saying that Jerusalem was the church; Jericho was the world. The man descending was the believer leaving the church and going to the world. The thieves were Satan and his demons, and the Samaritan was the brother who brought him back to the church.
Or maybe Jerusalem was the Garden of Eden, and Jericho was the fall of man, and Jesus was the Samaritan, who came along . . . and there are tons of other ways we come up with to escape our responsibilities.
Now much to our embarrassment, when Jesus finished telling the story he said, “Go and do the same” (Luke 10:37). Meaning that if we see a person in need, we must meet that need. It is very plain. There is no need to spiritualize the story.
Instead, we pass people who are suffering every day, only to go home and talk about it. “Oh, I saw a terrible sight today—poor soul, I feel so sorry for him.” However, we never did anything to resolve their suffering.
The Samaritan was nobody special. We have labeled him the good Samaritan, but Jesus simply said, “a certain Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him . . .” (Luke 10:33). He was simply obeying the old commandment. He left some money to pay for the man’s care, and then went on to do his own business. Now, don’t you think our God would be pleased if all of us became like that certain Samaritan?
Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). What is the light? Is it your knowledge of the Bible? What is it that produces such good works? Love!
Often when we read the Bible it ends up being like sewing without first making a knot at the end of the thread. We end up sewing and sewing, but things stay the same as they were before. We need to stop and come up with very practical ways to implement these truths into our lives. We need to take specific steps to conserve our gains. So let’s try to apply this to a common day in your life.
Our God never said to, “Love your neighbors (plural)” There is no way we can love the whole world. He says, “Love your neighbor (singular)” So, take one person, one family in your neighborhood or where you work. Start to pray for that family. Start to look for their problems. Find what their needs are. Whether their needs are spiritual, material, psychological, whatever they are.
Don’t go to them with a tract; you will look like a salesman. Go sell yourself. Go give yourself to them. If they are elderly or laid-up, mow their lawn or shovel their sidewalk. Let them know that you love them, and give your service to them. The amazing thing to understand is that this should not need to be thought out or planned. This lifestyle should be a part of your being, a normal characteristic of who and what you are.
I knew one lady who, as she put it, “could never win a soul to Jesus.” She had been in church for many years, but one day the Lord showed her this type of love. She realized that God did not send a tract from heaven; He sent His Son, who came and lived with us and healed people. He helped us and shared with us.
So she decided she could do the same thing.
In front of where she lived was a house for rent. As soon as the new people arrived, she was prepared. She went over with coffee and donuts and said, “I’m bringing you something to eat because I know you have just moved in, and you don’t have things ready for cooking yet. I will come back later to get the dishes—don’t bother to wash them, because I know you’re busy.
“And, by the way, if you want to know about the grocery store, it is at such-and-such a corner . . .” She never put a tract under the donuts. She just brought the food and gave them help.
After awhile she came back to get the dishes. She said, “If you need something else, I am here. If you want anything, I will be glad to help you.”
Whenever she could, she “reached” out to them in simple ways. She got her family involved, and her son volunteered to mow their lawn during the summer, and shoveled their sidewalk during the winter. She never preached about Christ. Nevertheless, later the whole family was baptized because of the light she had brought them.
As I said, Jesus did not say, “Let your mouth so speak before men in such a way that they may hear your nice words and glorify your Father.” He said, “Let your light shine”—your love!
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.