LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR
When asked to choose the most important and greatest commandment, Jesus pointed towards loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself. He summarized all 613 commandments in the Hebrew Scriptures into these two interconnected ideas. The world is a better place when we decide to love our neighbors.
Work through the following questions and scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
1. What does “loving one another” mean to you? Who have you seen live out love in a way that resembles how Jesus loved people?
2. What stood out/intrigued you from the messages?
3. Read Mark 12:28-34.
a.) Make some observations about this passage (What does the text say):
• Who is talking? What is the circumstance?
- Any repeated phrases?
- What surprised you?
- What stood out to you?
b.) Make some interpretations (What does the passage mean)
- What questions do you have?
- Summarize the passage in 1-3 sentences – what are the main points?
- What do you learn about the nature and character of God as you read this?
- What do you learn about yourself or the world around you?
c.) Now make some applications (what’s my response)
- How do you respond to what you are reading?
- How could this apply to your life today?
- What is the central truth that you could put into practice from this?
- Who could you share this with for the sake of encouragement?
4. Reread Mark 12:29-30. How do you put God first in your life? If you call yourself a Christ-follower and don’t put God first, what is getting in the way?
5. In verse 30 of Mark 12 Jesus tells us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Ask yourself these questions (not for the sake of condemnation over your answers, but to be honest with yourself about where you are right now):
◦ Do my heart/emotions/desires line up with God’s (or do I even know what God’s desires are?)
◦ Is my soul at peace/rest with the one who created me?
◦ Are my thoughts ones that reflect God’s thoughts?
◦ Do I have misplaced efforts trying to earn God’s affection or favor?
6. Read John 13:34-35. Is your life one that is marked by loving others? If so, who are the others – are they just people who are like you, or do you love the neighbors God has put around you at work and home?
7. What holds you back from loving your neighbors with a Christ-like (agape) love? Would you commit to taking 1 step toward loving your neighbors with Christ-like love? If so, what could that look like?
Mark 12:28-34 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
Romans 3:22-24 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
TAKE A NEXT STEP
Who is your neighbor? Look around you. Your neighbor is anyone God has put in your sphere of influence, including family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. This 4th of July weekend we want to challenge everyone at Gateway to BE the church (a representation of God’s love and goodness) to those who are our neighbors. Below is a way to begin to pursue a life of loving and serving others in our life the way Jesus did. The following can help you be intentional with the relationships around you. This takes time. So, be patient and continue to engage intentionally even past connecting with your neighbors over the 4th of July.