“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not the things I tell you” (Luke 6:46).
“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17).
I apologize for the title. There are wonderful churches filled with faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who are getting these things right; 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.
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, 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.