I apologize for this title. There are wonderful churches filled with faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who are getting the things Jesus said; I don’t mean to imply otherwise. But that does not negate the fact that untold thousands of churches still exist primarily for themselves, have no vision outside their doors and no compassion for anyone knocking on those doors.
If none of this fits you or your congregation, give thanks. If it does, you are hereby assigned to take the lead in reversing matters. (However, do not miss our notes at the conclusion.)
10 BIG Things Jesus Said That We Often Forget
1. We keep forgetting the Second Commandment is a command.
We want our religion to be private, just “me and the Lord.” Jesus refuses to play that game. He said, “And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). This is a command, not an option, an opinion, a wish, a Facebook “like” or a good idea. To love one’s neighbor strongly is a key component of the kind of witness Jesus envisioned His people extending to the world.
So, among the things Jesus said, why don’t we obey it? We have found it inconvenient, difficult and demanding. When we love people—truly care for them to the point that they know it—they might need us, and that would interfere with our schedule. It’s much easier to love the lovely, to care for the appreciative and to reach out to those who need little or nothing.
2. We keep forgetting TWO things about His command to feed the hungry, clothe the needy, and visit the sick in Matthew 25.
First, we forget that this is a command and is not optional, something the Lord hopes we might find time to do along life’s way while attending to more important matters. Jesus honestly expects His people to do this. Among the things Jesus said,I’m happy to report many churches are taking this seriously, and are involving their people in strong ministries to the down and out, the voiceless, the forgotten.
Secondly, when we do these things “unto the least of these my brethren,” He takes it personally. We are to do good to everyone, but brothers and sisters in Christ have dibs on our assistance. Paul said, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
A side note: Nowhere—underscore that—nowhere!—does the Bible tell the church to take care of all the poor of the world. It gets tiresome hearing people say that the government would not have to get involved in welfare if the church did its duty. (It’s almost ludicrous to imagine Jesus telling the handful of disciples in Jerusalem that they were to go into all the world and meet the physical needs of the billions. He did not do this. Let us give thanks.)
3. We forget that loving people and loving the Lord is all about action, not emotion.
Among the things Jesus said, when our Lord told us to “love your enemies” in Luke 6:27ff, He immediately explained that what He’s calling for is action: do good, bless, pray, give, etc. Throughout the Upper Room discourse (John 13-16), Jesus emphasized that whoever loves Him keeps His commands. Words are important, of course, and emotions can be, too. But nothing packs more punch than actions, the works we do. The Lord said, “Whoever hears these words of mine and does them is like one who builds his house on a rock” (Matthew 7:24).
No one can command his own emotions—fear, anger, love, hate, etc.—to the point of being able to turn them on or off at will. So, if love is merely a feeling, in calling on us to love anyone (God, neighbor, family, disciples, enemies) the Lord is asking for what cannot be given. Fortunately, what He is calling for is far more manageable and doable. We can give, pray, bless and/or help others. To do so—regardless of how we feel about it!—is to do a loving thing.