6 Ways Love Responds to Another’s Cry!

Date August 15, 2012

When we consider the enormity of Jesus command in the Great Commission, we are staggered by it:

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:19–20, NLT)

What would cause the people around us, much less the people around the world, to be that interested in our faith? I’m glad you asked! Jesus told us that we have a “secret weapon!” What is Jesus’ secret weapon?

Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)

What does this love look like when it is deployed to our neighbors? Paul describes this love in detail when he says:

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit.” (1 Corinthians 13:4–8, The Message)

Who wouldn’t be drawn to such love? As Mary Kay said years ago, “Every person you meet has an invisible sign around their neck and it says, “Appreciate Me!”

When love is truly demonstrated to our neighbor, we will live out these words:

Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)

Love Responds To Another’s Cry!

What does love in action look like when it comes in contact with its community? Job gives us a picture of the love of God in action in his community. We discover that the love of God was expressed through Job in at least 6 ways during his lifetime. Over his lifetime he tells us …

I rescued the poor man who cried out for help, and the fatherless child who had no one to support him. (Job 29:12)

  • Love rescues the poor and the fatherless when they cry out for help (Job 29.12)

As a Spiritual First Responder, how can one not see a need and not try to meet it; finding a hurt, not try to heal it? As Job walked through his neighborhood and community, he saw people in need and cared for them. This was more than the spare change to the guy at the off ramp. Because He knew the people he knew when their need was genuine and he set out – because he was compelled by the love of God – to love his neighbor as himself!

At another time in his life he tells us …

The dying man blessed me, and I made the widow’s heart rejoice.

(Job 29:13)

  • Love supports the widow when her husband dies impoverished (Job 29.13)

Consider the couple that struggles to make ends meet and lives check-to-check. And then the unthinkable happens – he is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – Stage 4. There’s no life insurance, there’s no family to help. What will this soon-to-be wife do? Who will she find to help her? Who will care for her when her husband passes? How will she make ends meet? Who will advise her?

Job tells us he took over as a Spiritual First Responder. He was the trusted friend, loyal advisor. He protected her from the ruthless predators. As her husband lay dying, he blessed Job because of Job’s promise to him that all would be all right.

When you love your neighbor, you actually …

Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)

As time went on, such kindnesses were rewarded with greater influence. For Job, that meant a political position where he could make decisions in the community.  He reports …

I clothed myself in righteousness, and it enveloped me; my just decisions were like a robe and a turban. (Job 29:14)

  • Love reconciles the conflicted with justice bringing protection and care (Job 29.14)

We remember that Jesus called us to this role as well when he said,

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.” (Matthew 5:9, The Message)

Peace making is part of loving your neighbor as yourself. As Spiritual 1st responders, its love’s response to bring peace to those in our neighborhood!

Job tells us that …

I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. (Job 29:15)

  • Love assists the physically challenged so their dignity isn’t compromised and their life isn’t lost (Job 29.15)

Job tells us that when the love of God flows from the heart a Spiritual First Responder, it compensates for the challenges of those around it. When a person cannot see, they are still a person who is made in God’s image. If they cannot walk, they still feel, love and care. Both are in need of the love of Jesus and both are to be treated with the dignity of being created in the image of God. Job tells us that we rescue those who have a limitation – here blindness and an inability to walk by offering assistance. They will let us know if / what they need from us. We surely don’t do this with pity. The disabled don’t want our pity, they would appreciate our assistance. Love gives that assistance.

Job also tells us that …

I was a father to the needy, and I examined the case of the stranger.

 (Job 29:16)

  • Love provides for the needy in their time of emergency (Job 29.16)

Into this mix of needy people all around you, the Lord has placed you – put you there where you live to change your neighborhood for the glory of God! Let’s hover over this verse we ended our last message with …

“You didn’t choose to be where you are. God has actually placed you where you are at this point in history and he’s done it for a reason: So that others would perhaps reach out for him and find him, ‘though he is not far away from any one of us,’” (Acts 17:26-27, Runyon)

You see, God has placed you in your neighborhood … your physical address is His doing! He wants you to know that he put you there as a Spiritual First Responder so that you would love your neighbor with this amazing love we talked about earlier in the hopes that they would reach out for him and find him through you!

And Job reminds us that when a Spiritual First Responder truly lives in a community they truly love the people that make up that community. And when the love of God flows through your soul, the Spiritual First Responder gets angry when someone is taken advantage of. And so Job says …

I shattered the fangs of the unjust and snatched the prey from his teeth.

(Job 29:17)

  • Love defends the legally oppressed from the ruthless and unjust (Job 29.17)

When you combine your influence with that of others in your small group, you can rescue those in need with your team – your support group – your small group! You know there are all sorts of predators out there taking advantage of people. Some prey on the defenseless, like the widow and the fatherless. Others target seniors. Still others feast on the sexual temptations of men, women and teens. Another group traps our innocent children for their perverted ways. This list is endless.

For the pragmatic amongst us, who ask, “So what does this get us?” I have a great answer: Influence! Consider how Job started our opening passage today:

When I went out to the city gate and took my seat in the town square, the young men saw me and withdrew, while older men stood to their feet. City officials stopped talking and covered their mouths with their hands. The noblemen’s voices were hushed, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths. When they heard me, they blessed me, and when they saw me, they spoke well of me.  (Job 29:7-11)

If we want to unlock our communities and reach them with the love and leadership of Jesus Christ, we must influence them in a favorable way. Many lament that no one comes to Church anymore. They talk about how people don’t care about the Church. But I submit to you that the problem is ours and ours alone.

People can’t care about something they know nothing about. While we may think the sign on the street should bring people into the sanctuary, that thinking is just untrue. Studies for 3 decades have maintained that 87% of the people within a church were brought by a friend or a relative.

If we want the community to come to worship with us, we will have to make friends with them. We will have to …

Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)

The reality is …

  • The community will care about the Church when the Church cares about the community enough to be Spiritual First Responders to our neighbors.

 

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2 Responses to “6 Ways Love Responds to Another’s Cry!”

  1. Bill Forges said:

    Great teaching! The world is too much in the church, when it’s the church that should be very much in the world.

  2. DrMattPhD said:

    Thanks Bill! Your words are so true and much appreciated!

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