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Why Should I Love my Non-Christian Neighbour?

We are called to love all human beings indiscriminately whether they love us, or they hate us. The simple fact is this: if they need our help, then God has so ordered providence that we are aware of it. If you are in a better place than your neighbour, God has commanded you to reach out to them in love.

This conclusion is the logical outworking of Christ’s statement in Matthew 22:37-40: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Let me explain some more.

Christianity is Intellectually Satisfying

Christianity does not start with reason, it begins with revelation. God reveals to us who he is in his ways, his laws, his method of salvation. It is a given faith. However, although Christianity begins with revelation, it is in itself very reasonable. When you begin to understand what God has revealed it satisfies your capacity to reason. That’s one reason why you find that mature Christians are individuals with a growing capacity to reason – and also show wisdom in life.

When you begin to understand what God has revealed it satisfies your capacity to reason

The Bible tells us that if the people of this world had listened to God’s wisdom, they would not have crucified the King of glory. They simply wouldn’t have done so! Yet, because they were beginning with worldly wisdom, they thought that taking Jesus to the cross was an opportunity to get rid of an enemy. But they did not know they were playing into God’s hands. Everything happened according to his plan.

3 Logical Reasons to Love Our Non-Christian Neighbour

Today you and I are studying the cross and what took place at calvary. It is the most mentally satisfying truth when you realise that what God was doing there was substitution. The innocent for the guilty; the righteous for the unrighteous; the living taking the place of the dying that we might be able to live. And so, the Christian message is intellectually satisfying. We can apply this reasoning to the injunction to love, as well.

1. God Commands Us to Love Others

First of all, we are to love our non-Christian neighbours because the Lord God has commanded us to. We see this from the way in which the Lord Jesus Christ answered the Pharisees in Matthew 22:34-40. We love our non-Christian neighbours because the Lord God has commanded us to do so.

2. We Know What They Are Going Through

Secondly, we love our non-Christian neighbours because we have so much in common with them. We are all made in God’s image and that’s what enables us to have sympathy. All human beings are under the same condemnation that was put upon Adam. We all experience disease and death. We all experience pain and suffering, and thistles and toil.

Because we are in this together, we should seek to help others who are suffering – especially those who are suffering more than we are. Our hearts reach out, cry out, as we see them behind us in need. And we say, ‘That’s me, but for the grace of God.”

3. Everyone Needs Love

Thirdly, we love our non-Christian neighbours because all men, good and bad, need this love. In God’s providence he brings us every so often into contact with needy individuals. When you respond, you’re being a neighbour, just like the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). It’s got nothing to do with proximity or physical distance, it’s got nothing to do with human kinship – that we are from the same tribe. It’s the fact that God in his providence has brought you into contact with each other.

The Samaritan put aside the enmity between him and the injured Jew. He put it aside completely, because there was a person who was in need. It’s not primarily about my relationship with someone, it is about that person’s need. And therefore, out of love, I do something about it.

Christian, Grow Up!

Here Conrad Mbewe continues his series in 2 Peter 1, Christian, Grow Up! The focus is on a string of imperatives for spiritual growth that Peter delivers to all Christians. Of course the first step is to have faith. But on this foundation we must build with quality materials in order to mature as Christians. Peter commands us to add virtue to faith. Then to add knowledge to our virtue and temper our knowledge with self control. Peter calls us to add steadfastness and resolve as we journey with Christ. Next we were told to add godliness to all these qualities and to add love for the saints (or brotherly affection) to all of this.

The last command is to show love. At each stage we are growing and developing – all the better to serve our heavenly Father and persevere in our walk with Christ. The previous sermon was dedicated to defining what Peter means by the word love. In this sermon Dr Mbewe digs into 3 logical reasons why we must love our non-Christian neighbour.

Text: 2 Peter 1:3-6

Date preached: 9 February 2020

Location: Kabwata Baptist Church, Lusaka, Zambia

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