Leviticus 19 - The Golden Rule: Seeing People as God Sees Them

amen we're going to be talking today

about love and the calling to be a

community of love you know if there's

one thing I hope we get right as a

church and especially as an English

expression of line of Judah I hope it's

this that when people come to this

church that they can breathe in the love

of God the people might feel like they

don't fit anywhere else can come here

and know that even though everyone here

is different from everyone else somehow

this place is a refuge it's a place

where there is love and there's

unconditional acceptance in the name of

Jesus and that we can feel at home in

this place and the New Testament has a

lot to say about that the beginning

first Corinthians 13 it says some

beautiful things doesn't it says if I

speak in the tongues of men and of

angels but have not love I'm a

resounding gong or a clanging cymbal if

I have the gift of prophecy and can

fathom all mysteries and knowledge but

have not love I am nothing if I give all

I possess to the poor and do all kinds

of good works and even sacrifice my body

to the flames but have not love I gain

nothing if there's one thing God wants

us to get right as a community in a

horizontal sense this that we would love

each other at one point there was a

teacher of the law in Luke chapter 10

who stood up on one occasion an expert

of the law he stood up to test Jesus how

about that to test Jesus see if he could

I don't know trickum see if jesus knew

as much as he did I don't know teacher

he asked what must I do to inherit

eternal life now jesus knows that he's

the teacher you know where the students

see he'll he'll ask the questions here

right so he says well what is written in

the law he replied how do you read it

the man answered love the Lord your God

with all your heart and with all your

soul and with all your strength and with

all your mind and love your neighbor as

yourself you have answered correctly

jesus replied do this and you will live

verse 29 but he wanted to justify

himself so he asked Jesus and who is my

neighbor verse 30 in reply Jesus said

well a man was going down from Jerusalem

to Jericho when he was attacked by

robbers they stripped him of his clothes

beat him and went away leaving him half

dead a priest happened to be going down

the same road and when he saw the man he

passed by on the other side so too a

Levite when he came to the place and saw

him passed by on the other side but a

Samaritan as he traveled came where the

man was and when he saw him he took pity

on him he went to him and bandaged his

wounds pouring on oil and wine then he

put the man on his own donkey brought

him to an inn and took care of him the

next day he took out to dinner I and

gave them to the innkeeper look after

him he said and when I return I will

reimburse you for any extra expense you

may have which of these three do you

think was a neighbor to the man who fell

into the hands of robbers the expert in

the law replied the one who had mercy on

him Jesus told him go and do likewise

and this really impacts me because we've

been studying the Old Testament a lot

and here in the New Testament we read

for the first time when Jesus says you

shall love your neighbor as yourself

finally for the first time in the Bible

we see yes excuse me Robson can I can I

help you with something what are you

talking about Rob said I don't know what

you mean I'm trying to preach here and

I'm saying that in the New Testament it

says love thy neighbor as thyself what

do you have to say to me hear you trying

to correct make me look bad

here here why don't you read this

Leviticus chapter 19 verse 18 reads do

not seek revenge or bear grudge against

anyone among you your people but love

your neighbor as yourself i am the lord

so so you mean that's in the Book of

Leviticus that's in the Old Testament

Leviticus that well we're studying

Leviticus what a crazy coincidence let's

well I think I feel God would want us to

look at Leviticus chapter 19 then

wouldn't he ok let's open up our Bibles

to Leviticus chapter 19 I stand

corrected and you know God may be so God

is the God of love right I think the

Bible says something about him being the

same yesterday today and forever god is

love he always was loved he always will

be loved and that's why we need to love

one another because love is from God

whoever loves has been born of God and

knows God anyone who does not love does

not know God because God is love and

that is not new in the New Testament I

have now learned from my brother Robson

I'm not very good at putting on shows

but we'll try Leviticus 19 I was never a

good actor ok Leviticus 19 and let's

pray before we get into this father I

thank you Lord that your heart is to

love our neighbor as ourselves Lord God

to love radically to love scandalously

to love in ways that crosses barriers

and presents a prophetic testimony to a

broken and divided world and I pray

Jesus that you would speak out of your

word today and that this would be

prophetic that we would be what we're

talking about that we wouldn't be people

just talk about things but people who

talk about it and do it by the power of

the Holy Spirit Lord so God speak to us

today let your word give life in Jesus

name

thou shalt love the Lord your God with

all your heart mind soul and strength

and love your neighbor as yourself those

two Commandments sum up everything you

need to know you know sometimes as

Christians we try to make an awful lot

of rules we make a lot of rules about

what you can and can't do this and that

the other thing I don't know if you've

ever been in churches like that were

you're trying to figure out what am i

laughing what am I allowed to wear what

am I allowed to do in my life to the you

know and it gets a little bit neurotic

sometimes and Jesus said you know it all

sums up in two commands love God with

everything you have and love your

neighbor as yourself if you do that then

you'll get it right God will guide us

into all truth so Leviticus 19 begins

with the vertical with loving God so

look at the beginning of this in

Leviticus 19 the Lord said to Moses

speak to the entire assembly of Israel

and say to them be holy because I the

Lord your God am holy we're going to let

see how being holy and being loving go

together it's often not that way you

ever heard the phrase someone who is

holier than thou someone who is

self-righteous usually we think of holy

we think of strict we think of

judgmental we're going to see in this

case the holiest people are the most

generous caring loving people you will

ever meet and that's what I want to be

holy like God is holy now it starts with

respect for human authority in verse 3

each of you must respect your mother and

father and you must observe my Sabbath's

i am the lord do not turn to idols or

make metal gods for yourselves i am the

lord your god what we're talking about

here is authentic Christianity not

man-made Christianity not making gods of

wood or not making gods of metal there's

a lot of gods of metal around today

whether it be a very fancy car or fancy

metal money or maybe paper money there's

all kinds of idols that we make to

replace the true God and God is saying

if you have true worship it's going to

express itself in this way then it goes

on to talk about in verse 5

the the sacrifice of the fellowship

offering which were the offerings in the

tabernacle that the whole family shared

together they would make the offering

and then they would sit down at a table

and they would eat it with the priests

and the family so they would be having a

meal with God and a meal together so the

vertical becomes horizontal and then

we're going to see how God applies love

to the people of Israel in their

holiness and verse 9 look with me at

verse 9 says when you reap the harvest

of your land do not reap to the very

edges of your field or gather the

gleanings of your harvest I'm going to

stop right there does anyone here do an

annual harvest where you go out to your

farm and you harvest your olives and

your grapes and your no we grow we have

a little patch about one square foot of

strawberries in the backyard right and

we leave the gleanings and the squirrels

get them but that's pretty much all

we've got alright so we're going to see

though that the law is here that we're

going to read that speak to the

Israelites in their context are going to

speak to us in our context because laws

from God are not bad laws provide a

window into the heart of the lawgiver

when we see the laws that God gives his

people we see what he values and we see

what is important to him and those

values apply to us in our context to so

some of this we're going to read might

seem arcane I'm not a farmer okay but

this is going to apply to me too so

let's start again verse 9 when you reap

the harvest of your land do not reap to

the very edges of your field or gather

the gleanings of your harvest do not go

over your vineyard a second time or pick

up the grapes that have fallen leave

them for the poor and the foreigner i am

the lord your god verse 11 do not steal

do not lie do not deceive one another do

not swear falsely by my name and so

profane the name of your God i am the

lord verse 13 do not defraud

or Rob your neighbor do not hold back

the wages of a hired worker overnight do

not curse the deaf or put a stumbling

block in front of the blind but fear

your God i am the lord do not pervert

justice do not show partiality to the

poor or favoritism to the great but

judge your neighbor fairly do not go

about spreading slander among your

people do not do anything that in

dangers your neighbors life i am the

lord verse 17 do not hate a fellow

Israelite in your heart rebuke your

neighbor frankly so you will not share

in their guilt do not seek revenge or

bear a grudge against anyone among your

people but love your neighbor as

yourself i am the lord wow awesome you

hear the refrain i am the lord

everything i do with people should take

into account that god is real and that

god is watching and who God is should

influence how I treat people not just on

Sunday in church but the other six days

of the week now we heard the question

asked right who is my neighbor the

teacher of the law who is testing Jesus

wanted to tight up create some wiggle

room now who exactly is my neighbor my

neighbor is certainly not the guy who

lives next to me that I hate his guts

well how about him okay maybe him but

how about the guy who lives two doors

down from me is he my neighbor how would

the person who lives in the next town

over is that person my neighbor now what

if I live far away from the city and I

come to church everyone's here in church

together but none of these people are my

neighbors so I am off the hook right

we're all looking for ways to get off

the hook and God here in Leviticus 19

provides some special glasses for us to

see our neighbor because before we can

love our neighbor we've got to see our

neighbor as our neighbor that's where it

starts now look at the first one in

verse 9 we're just going to work through

this

talks about a farmer when you were in

the people of Israel who initially came

owned everyone owned a plot of land says

when you reap the harvest of your land

do not reap to the very edges of your

field or gather the gleanings of your

harvest with us talking about let's say

you've got your growing grapes or olives

you're going over the harvest you pick

it and God is saying don't pick it clean

leave a little bit on the branches

because see after you're done in the

Twilight the poor people who maybe don't

own any land the foreigner who doesn't

own land is going to come and look for

the gleanings and they were permitted to

do so by the law that wasn't theft

because they were picking the gleanings

the leftovers from your harvest and God

is saying now you can tell your workers

I want you to pick every last grape I

want to maximize the bottom line and God

is saying there is something more

important than maximizing profits

there's something more important than

maximizing the bottom line I want you to

leave extra just just go over lightly

and leave extra on the branches so that

when people come talk to gleaned harvest

to take it that they're going to find a

lot there now I imagine when they're

thinking about their neighbor they're

thinking the guy who owns the plot of

land next to you but these people who

came to glean came after you were done

working maybe you didn't even see them

maybe they came later in the day when

you had moved on and God is saying right

away your neighbor might be invisible to

you at times but they exist they are

real and there are people who are

invisible to us and we touch their lives

in ways we might not even know and to

love our neighbor as ourselves means

getting a pair of special 3d goggles to

begin to see the invisible people to

begin to see the people that you just go

by every day the people that you walk by

you don't even see them they're like a

part of the scenery they don't have a

name people don't even treat

them is human but God knows their name

and God loves them and God calls us to

see them as a human being you know I was

um I was you know on a particular street

corner that we all know and I bumped

into someone there on a regular basis

and I asked her name she said her name

was Lori and I think that's the same as

my sister's name you got to be kidding

me that's my sister's name that means

honor it's from the laurel leaf right it

means honor and she got a big smile and

we got to know each other we formed a

friendship I didn't have any cash to

give something that didn't happen there

but there was a relationship there's

forum there was a humanizing that

happened there do we see the daughter or

the son of honor that we walk by that we

interact with every day the invisible

people when we see people as people we

honor the people the God who made that

person the proverbs 1431 says whoever

oppresses a poor man insults his maker

but he who is generous to the needy

honors him proverbs 17 5 whoever mocks

the poor insults his maker see God has

made each human being in His image and

likeness that means each person

Christian or not is made to reflect the

image of the creator of the maker sort

of like a frame for a painting of God

and God's likeness shines out of that

person in a unique and special way in

that person's personality and that

person's gender and that person's

ethnicity and who that person is made to

be they were called to shine God and

represent him on earth in a special way

every single human being is meant to do

that and when we dishonor a human being

and I love this illustration I use it

all the time forgive me if you've heard

it 10 times it's like going up to a

painting of God and vandalizing that

painting and spray-painting it instead

of taking time to admire the image of

the Creator in

that frame when we see people as

creations of God as image bearers of God

then we value their dignity and their

destiny and when we treat them as such

we're honoring the one who made them

proverbs 1719 whoever's generous to the

poor lends to the Lord and He will repay

consider it alone because God pays very

well know now we we talk a lot about

sowing and reaping that you give and God

gives back to you now that can be a

little bit of a problem if we do that

with a weird attitude right okay i'm

going to give ten bucks god today and

I'm expecting 20 back next week because

you promised if I so you're going to I'm

going to reap I'm going to side and it

gets kind of weird right and then

pastors preachers are great at using

that one just so give me money and then

God will give you double right you know

it we're really good at using that right

but it is true that when we give

generously especially to the poor it's

like we're loaning to the Lord and he is

able to repay honor the Lord with your

wealth with the first fruits of all your

crops and your barns will be filled to

overflowing and your VAT so brim over

with new wine generous people tend to be

blessed and prosperous and that is a

good thing because thank God gives more

to them and then they give more away and

then God gives more and it just becomes

this awesome cycle of giving and love

and generosity and blessing and that's

what we want to be amen so that's a good

thing loving God and Jesus said when

you've done it unto the least of these

you've done it unto me before I could

love my neighbor I need to see my

neighbor it's about the eyes if you'd

skip with me up to Matthew chapter 6

let's go back to the New Testament

Matthew chapter 6 there's a text that

had been confusing to me that I think

I'm just starting to figure out in some

ways that I want to share Matthew 6

verse 19 in the Sermon on the Mount

Jesus said do not store up for

yourselves treasures on earth

where moths and vermin destroy and where

thieves break in and steal but store up

for yourselves treasures in heaven where

moths and vermin do not destroy and

where thieves do not break in and steal

for where your treasure is there your

heart will be also verse 22 the eye is

the lamp of the body if your eyes are

healthy your whole body will be full of

light but if your eyes are unhealthy or

bad first it says if your eyes are good

your whole body will be full of light

but if your eyes are bad your whole body

will be full of darkness if then the

light within you is darkness how great

is that darkness no one can serve two

masters either you will hate the one and

love the other or you'll be devoted to

the one and despise the other you cannot

serve both God and money now I had

always wondered this text starts by

talking about having treasures in heaven

then it talks about having a good eye so

that my body is full of light then it

talks about not serving money and God at

the same time and I thought what's going

on with that why is it talking about

eyes in the middle of this and I've been

wondering that question for 30 years

I've been wondering I don't get it every

time I read it why is this and I just

discovered this amazing proverb proverb

22 verse 9 you can look it up if you

want or I can just read it to you it

says whoever has a good I will be

blessed for he shares his bread with the

poor I think Jesus was referring to this

proverb saying that if we have a good

eye that we can see it's how we see

people it's how we see the world I see

that this person has eternal value and

this money is something God has given us

to use on earth but we have eyes for

eternity eyes to see people eyes to give

and be generous and there's light that

floods in it's almost like God gives us

a special pair of glasses to see the

matrix of the universe that is truly

designed around love we see people for

who they are and who they're meant to be

we see that we're surrounded by

neighbors we begin to see people as God

sees them we talk about the Golden Rule

No do

to others as you would have them do unto

you we need a pair of golden goggles to

see that people have value and that when

I give to them I'm giving to the Lord

you know I had an interesting experience

about six years ago there was a

particular friend of mine that I got to

know really well in the church and she

is no longer with us she's with the Lord

and she died loving Jesus and very happy

and it was good but when I knew her six

years ago her life was a mess I'll never

forget in and out of jail on the streets

and and I would go and I would see her

on the streets and I'd interact with her

out there and extreme psychological

problems extreme alcoholism extreme

addiction and and she was just it was

awful it was so degree it was so sad to

see what she was like and and and what

the devil had done to debase this image

bearer of God and one night I was

tucking in around this time is about six

years ago my daughter was a baby I was

tucking her in and I had one of those

one of those dad moments right tucking

in a baby these are the moments that

help you get through the dirty diapers

right and the getting up in the middle

of the night I'm tucking her in and you

know the night lights on the soft light

shining on her enormous cheeks right

there she's laying there in bed and and

there's there's a lullaby music playing

and it was one of those sentimental

moments where I'm looking at her it's

like god I just never knew I could love

something this much you know this is

amazing with this love is absolutely

miraculous I'm looking at her just

feeling that and I feel the Lord tell me

that's how I see and I'll call her a

call her Mary that's how I see Mary

she's my daughter and I love her more

than you could ever imagine and don't

you ever forget it and just tears came

to my eyes and I thought God that's the

way you feel about her I was giving you

a little taste of it the little the love

you're feeling for your daughter is a

tiny fraction of the love that I feel

for Mary day in and day out 24 7 how do

you feel how does she feel she is your

neighbor

and as we begin to see people for who

they are we see how precious they are in

God's eyes is a beautiful verse where

God is speaking the people of Israel and

he says the one who touches you touches

the apple of my eye the apple of my eye

because God is protecting the people he

loves back to Leviticus 19 if you could

go back with me to Leviticus 19 we'll

work our way through it Leviticus 19 we

see we begin to see our neighbor we see

them before we can love them Leviticus

19 and verse 11 it says you shall not

steal you shall not deal falsely and you

shall not lie to one another you shall

not swear by my name falsely and so

profane the name of your God I am the

Lord and unspoken there and I'm watching

when we steal from people when we deal

falsely when we lie things have a way of

escalating when we don't love our

neighbor for who they're meant to be

think about how it goes in this verse in

verse 11 19 verse 11 it says it starts

with stealing do not steal okay you

steal something what's the next step it

says do not lie because you're

challenged by it and what do you do well

you got to start the cover-up gotta lie

about it do not deceive one another do

not because one lie then leads to a

whole web of lies right isn't that

William Shakespeare said that in the

book of first Shakespeare you know oh

what a tangled web we weave when at

first we practice to deceive is that it

oh what a tangled web all right

Shakespeare right in the Bible right now

just kidding he's dead we tangle a web

one lie leads to another lie leads to

another lie and then the next thing you

know you're trying to remember what was

my first lie again I trying to remember

I forgot did I lie this or did I lie

that you can't even keep up with it gets

to be such a mess next thing you know

you end up in court and what do you do

in court do

you swear to tell the truth the whole

truth about the truth then let's leave

out that last part so help me God

because then you've stolen you've acted

deceitfully next thing you know you're

in court and what are you doing you're

taking an oath and lying under oath

you're not just lying to people you're

lying to God not loving our neighbor

escalates into actual blasphemy when we

don't love our neighbor we don't love

God and that is a case where we should

seize the escalation of it God is

watching God is defending and then look

what it says it says in verse 13 do not

defraud or Rob your neighbor do not hold

back the wages of a hired worker

overnight maybe you've got an

employer-employee and you want to just

hold the money an extra couple days to

earn a little interest on it and that

guy needed to buy his food that night

don't defraud your neighbor because God

he might be defenseless in society but

he has a defender who is strong and when

you touch him you touch the apple of my

eye when we mess with people we mess

with the God who made those people and

God is watching out for people look at

this next verse fascinating verse verse

14 of Leviticus 19 do not curse the deaf

or put a stumbling block in front of the

blind what's up with that what kind of

person goes up to a deaf person and

curses them why would somebody want to

do that right why would somebody what

would possess a person to curse a deaf

person right they can't hear you yeah

you could just say whatever you want

they can't hear you yeah they didn't get

to be fun right or putting a stumbling

block in front of the blind what kind of

sicko they're blind let's put a

stumbling block and trip them won't that

be funny right why would God include

that very few people are sick enough to

do these things right you got to be

really you gotta have a lot of time on

your hands to cook up this kind of

my valise right you got it really but

then look what it says but instead of

these things fear your God i am the lord

get it get it the deaf person can hear

what you're saying the blind person

can't see what you're doing but i am

watching says the Lord in Proverbs says

the eyes of the Lord are all around the

earth keeping watch over the evil and

the good every act of violence God has

seen every act of injustice and

oppression in the most hidden corner of

the world it might seem like nobody sees

it but God is watching and he loves that

person and he cares about what's

happened and he is the god of justice

and loving our neighbor means living

with the constant awareness that God is

watching and fearing God isn't doesn't

just mean I'm going to be careful what I

do because God is watching but also

means I'm going to do that which is good

because God is watching to bless me when

I do and he feels it when I bless him

and touch other people God is watching

and God is looking over his people do

not rob the poor because he is poor

crush the afflicted at the gate for the

Lord will plead their cause and robbed

of life those who robbed them love your

enemy I love your end did I say that do

I just say love your enemy I meant to

say your neighbor but does it happen

sometimes that may be your neighbor is

your it you don't have to raise your

hand anyone hate their neighbor anyone

you have to raise your hand please do

anyone annoyed by your neighbor no I

have a neighborhoods pretty annoyed with

us at one point they lived right right

downstairs and we had noisy babies that

dropped Legos and jumped around and I

think I caused him to stumble

you know they say my brother-in-law

works in the insurance business he says

the most nasty claim battles and court

battles happen in condo associations

those are the nasty ones any one part of

a condo association is it one big happy

family not sometimes it might be there

might be one out there but the majority

people just it gets nasty people you

they go to court and it's personal and

it gets ugly and the more people in the

association the Messier it gets because

very often our neighbor becomes our

enemy and the Bible says don't just love

your neighbor as yourself love thy enemy

as thyself Jesus wasn't the first one to

say that and so it was like that in the

old testament to you see the people of

Israel would handle their court disputes

in local courts so you take a

neighborhood and there would be a court

in that neighborhood to handle the

disputes and all the condo association

baggage would go to that court and so

God speaks to the court situation look

what he says about it in verse 15 cases

working through it says do not pervert

justice do not show partiality to the

poor it's important thing loving the

poor doesn't mean breaking justice do

being unjust in favor no do not show

partiality to the poor or favoritism to

the grey well it's so and so he can

afford good lawyers deserve to get off

right or partial or favoritism to the

great but judge your neighbor fairly do

not go about spreading slander among

your people when somebody when there's

something bad to say about somebody just

because there's something bad to say

about them doesn't mean we have to say

it right you can just think it but then

God starts dealing with that part too

but let's start there let's start by

just putting that editor that delay

button right you know and on the radio

every now and then they're talking

talking then there's just a silence and

then they click in and the commentator

is saying I can't believe you just said

that on the

it's like I hope they got that one and

they did they bleeped it out because

there's a delay on what gets said on the

radio and what comes through to your

radio we need to have a delay button

between our mind and our mouth amen all

too often it just zips right out and

there is a do not pass go it just just

flows from the mine right now so it says

do not spread slander among your people

do not do anything that in dangers your

neighbors life in other words your

neighbor is the person who might come

along and be in danger by something I

just did there needs to be an awareness

I need to go the extra mile and think

about how what I do influences those

around me now verse 17 look at this it

says you shall not verse 17 or says do

not hate a fellow Israelite in your

heart how about that God does care about

the heart have you ever hated someone in

your heart right I think if we're honest

we all need to nod right the Bible says

it's okay to be angry but in your anger

don't sin and don't let the Sun go down

on your anger because if you do then it

says don't give the devil a foothold

it's one thing to be angry when someone

hurts you that's normal and appropriate

it's another thing to harbor that anger

overnight and to the next week and from

one week to another and it becomes a

resentment and a hatred the Bible says

that that becomes a window window

through which demons can enter our lives

I know people that when they bring in

the medicine and they forgive people

who've hurt them demons leave literally

I've seen that happen literally to

people who get free when they forgive

jesus said that in the old days you

heard it say do not commit murder but

jesus said I tell you if you have hated

your brother in your heart you've

already committed murder in your heart

if you just say you fool to someone

you're in danger of the fires of hell

jesus said

that God sees the heart it's not just

about our actions so how can i cleanse

that anger and that hatred out of my

heart there's a beautiful medicine that

medicine is called the forgiveness of

God first we receive it we love because

he first loved us God forgives me so I

can forgive him or I can forgive her

forgiving doesn't mean saying it's okay

that they did it it's not okay they did

it probably forgiving doesn't mean that

you don't press charges because

sometimes a person needs to be

responsible for what they did in society

forgiving doesn't mean enabling someone

to continue doing something evil

forgiving doesn't mean continuing to be

abused and let a person continue to walk

all over you that's not forgiveness

that's weakness forgiveness means I'm

not going to let you do evil to me or

anyone else but I will not hold hatred

in my heart towards you I let it go

before the Lord I'm not going to hold it

as a fist but I'm going to open it as a

hand and say the Lord bless you the Lord

heal you the Lord forgive you and deal

with you now that person still got a

debt to pay they got to pay a debt to

god but God says it's mine to avenge

it's mine to repay God says let me take

care of it because I'll deal with it

okay and they might have a debt to

society to pay they might need to do a

little prison ministry for a while if

they did certain things okay forgiving

doesn't mean stopping that from

happening forgiving means whatever else

happens I'm not going to hold it against

you in my heart I will be free with when

we hold resentment that person just

keeps on hurting you over and over again

and they don't care they're not sorry

but we're holding it on God says come

before me and just say the word say God

I forgive him in Jesus name and keep

saying it until it becomes a heart bless

them don't curse them God says in the

Old Testament in the Old Testament do

not hold a grudge do not hate your your

neighbor in your heart and it goes on to

say but it doesn't mean

you just put it under the carpet either

what is the same verse 17 rebuke your

neighbor frankly so you do not share in

their guilt some things have got to get

talked about sometimes we need to bring

a problem to a person loving my neighbor

doesn't mean that I'm going to take the

bad thing my neighbors done and just

sweep it under the carpet loving them

might mean having to talk about it now

there's some there's a time to talk and

there's a time not to talk okay there's

a time to just let it go and you move on

with your life and they move on with

their life and that's good i love you

from over here right but then there's a

time when it's somebody that you deal

with regularly somebody in your life

where you come to them and say let's

talk about what happened let's work this

out tell me what's going on tell me your

side of it because i want to tell you

how I'm feeling and you listen and you

empathize with them and you recognize

that you might have had something to do

with it too and you'll be willing to say

sorry for your part and you be willing

to forgive them for their part that

Jesus said that if your brother sins

against you what do you do go tell

everyone you know about it posted on

Facebook and get that person a lot of

trouble amen not what Jesus said if your

brother sins against you go directly to

that person one-on-one do I do let's

just keep this between us and say hey

this is what happened and I want to talk

about it i'm feeling this way and i

don't want to feel this way you don't

attack because if you attack the person

what are they going to do they're going

to get defensive right and they going to

attack back you give them a chance to

explain what they're what's going on

with them and let's talk about this just

the two of us if they don't listen then

bring in some other people to help

mediate it and work it out and if even

then the person doesn't listen okay then

let's get the pastor involved ok but

please I'm a last resort okay it should

be between people individually let's

work this out and that is an old

testament concept that Jesus then

applied in the new it finally it says

thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself

love your neighbor as yourself beautiful

stuff no revenge no grudges a clean

heart your neighbor is the person you

would rather weren't your neighbor your

neighbor is the person you don't even

see your neighbor is the person who

needs a neighbor at any given moment

now skip with me down to the end here

we're going to skip ahead to Leviticus

19 verse 33 says when a foreigner

resides among you in your land do not

mistreat them the foreigner residing

among you must be treated as your

native-born love them as yourself God

neither he repeats it love them as

yourself for you were foreigners in

Egypt I am the Lord your God your

neighbor is not necessarily the person

from your own country you know what

that's a good thing because almost no

two people in this room are from the

same country right I think pretty you

know we pretty we've got like 30

different nations represented we've got

every ethnicity you could imagine we got

every variety of socio-economic

background there virtually no two people

alike so loving your neighbor means

loving the people who are different from

you and that's a good thing especially

the foreigner especially the outsider

the person who isn't part of your family

the one who might be left out the one

who's sitting alone the one who feels

excluded from society that's the one

you're to love as yourself remember

where you've come from now for the

Israelites they need to remember that

back in Egypt they had been slaves they

remember how dehumanizing it was but

once they have been blessed and their

lives have been put together again it'd

be very easy to forget where you came

from God saying remember where you came

from you were once you were once left

out you were one to reject it so now

your job is to be on a mission to look

for those who are hurting and alone and

left out and rejected and to get out of

your comfort zone to reach out and be a

neighbor to them what a beautiful

mission what a beautiful mission now we

need to we need to live that we need to

live that as as a church and in our

society right now in the immigration

debate that is becoming increasingly

hostile and polarized and you'll see

that in this church I i I'm not going to

get political until you vote for this

person don't vote for that person we're

not going to go there but there is a lot

of talk of

with the immigration situation and it's

a complex issue it's an issue where

there's many sides to it but we need to

add in the midst of all of this say well

politicians are going to do with

politicians are going to do and we need

to have a voice in society but we also

need to love love the foreigner love the

immigrant you know I have a friend who

does a lot of missions with with Muslims

in the in the Middle East and he has

friends in Europe do we realize that

right now at this time hundreds of

thousands of Muslims from Syria are

foreigners in a strange land are

displaced who have nothing and there are

Christians in Europe that are putting

these verses into practice and taking

advantage of one of the greatest

evangelistic window windows provided in

the history of the church if the book of

acts were being written right now it

would focus on things like that hundreds

of thousands of people in need and Jesus

is saying I was a stranger and you

invited me it now I need to be very

careful here because this is a complex

issue governments have a right to keep

their people safe I don't fault

governments for that and for being very

careful about vetting people and trying

to protect people from terrorism in the

society we live in and we need to

recognize that but in the midst of that

as Christians our hearts are basically

welcoming hearts amen so I hope I

haven't offended just some of you I

probably offended most so that's okay

love the foreigner as yourself well

let's make it a little bit worse here

let's get even a little worse you know

who else your neighbor is your neighbor

is the person you're going to see at

work tomorrow morning that's your

neighbor love well look at look at what

it says look down in verse 35 this is

this is the Bible here verse 35 the

vinick's 1935 do not use dishonest

standards when measuring length weight

or quantity use honest scales and honest

weights and honest Aoife and an honest

him i am the Lord your God who brought

you up out of Egypt what's that talking

about

see in the old days you're selling grain

right so you go to the market you get

out a scale right you ever seen those

scales right get out of scale and

there's a weight that you put here that

says this is a two-pound weight and you

put it there and you put two pounds of

grain on the other side and when it

balances you know you're selling the

person two pounds of grain right well

guess what some people did their

two-pound weight weighed maybe just a

little bit less than two pounds so it

would say a pound and a half so what

seemed to be two pounds of grain was

really just a pound and a half they were

in in modern parlance they were ripping

people off they were ancient scam

artists and God is saying let your two

pound weight be two pounds tell the

truth love thy customer as thyself love

thy boss as thy self it's not easy at

work because right business is business

gotta do what you gotta do I know I'm on

the clock but hey who's going to know

the difference you know love thy boss as

thyself you're paid to work not cruise

the web right well maybe you're getting

it done anyway but fit charge a fair

price don't waste time fill out an

honest tax return do a good job if you

are if your job is to fix cars then you

fix that car as if it were for your own

mother would you overcharge your mom

would you rip off and find fair and what

maybe some people but something would

rip off their you even rip off mama but

but you usually shouldn't write you

usually shouldn't write do it as fer i

get i had someone tell me this once when

i was a little bit younger he was doing

a job he's a brother from church he said

greg i'm gonna do this as if it were for

my own son and that feeling like i'm

going to do this in spanish there's a

beautiful custom where sometimes and

it's more in some cultures than others

but every person who's younger than them

they'll call me or Michael yeah hola

mija which is my son or my daughter and

there's something when a person does

that appropriately it just feeds your

soul you know or if they see a very

older person they'll call them abuela

you know I've way la vuelo it's just

fear which is grandfather grandmother

they got to be careful this person who's

significantly older right or maybe

that's not a compliment but that whole

idea that this person anyone who's

younger than me is like my son or my

daughter anyone who's older than me is

going to be like my father my mother

anyone who's much older is like my my

grandmother my grandfather anyone who's

my peer like my brother and my sister if

I have those goggles to see people as if

they were family then I don't need to

ask who is my neighbor you see jesus

said that you got the question all wrong

you shouldn't be trying to wonder who

exactly is my neighbor at the end of the

story of the Good Samaritan the question

was which of the three people was a

neighbor to the person in need the

question shouldn't be who is my neighbor

the question should be to whom can I be

a neighbor I'm not looking for neighbor

as much as I'm looking to be a neighbor

to anyone who needs one today and then

God gives me those golden goggles where

I'm looking around and God helps me see

people through eyes of love as brothers

and sisters sons and daughters mothers

and fathers and God provides good work

to every day for me to be a neighbor to

someone who needs one that is a

beautiful thing to show mercy for people

you know we need new eyes there's a

beautiful miracle and I'm kind of

bringing it home with this a beautiful

miracle that Jesus did with a blind man

this man couldn't see anything and Jesus

took mud and smeared it on the guys I

spat in his eyes and wiped him out don't

ask me why it was really weird don't try

this at home okay the guy opened his

eyes and Jesus said okay what do you see

and he looks around wiping the mud and

saliva out of his eyes looks around and

says I see people but they look like

trees walking around you know they're

fuzzy and then Jesus like okay let's try

this again here you know he's doing this

thing now by the way I think he could

have done it the first time he was

teaching a lesson about progressive

revelation and all of that but then he

opens his eyes the second time and he

saw people clearly I think many of us

need a second touch we still see peep

as trees as objects around us maybe

threats to be protected from or objects

to be used or just people were part of

the scenery God says I want you to see

people the creations of the Living God

people that I love and I have made for

you to love we are surrounded by

neighbors your neighbor is right in

front of your nose can you see him can

you see her and you have a mission today

to love that person as yourself amen

let's stand up and I pray that we as a

church be a church that lives this out

that when people come here nobody feels

like a stranger not just because we want

to be seeker friendly now it's not about

good marketing okay it's about good

gospel it's saying that if you come here

you're a neighbor you are part of the

family you are a human being who has a

name who's to be valued I'd encourage

you during the the reception time today

and there's a reception in the basement

find someone whose name you don't know

and learn their name and try to memorize

it okay now maybe it's going to be

embarrassing because maybe you've known

them for three years and like you know

I've never quite got that Natan okay

right do you have to admit it do you

find out people's names learn then get

to know them as find out find new people

every day you come to church you're on a

mission who's the person God wants to

put there for you to reach out to and

show love to that anyone who comes here

would well I'm a neighbor i'm a member

of gods family and the love of christ

will win them to the kingdom so let's

let's pray together dear god I thank you

that you are the same God yesterday

today and forever you are the Alpha and

the Omega god I thank you that you were

not an angry vengeful God in the Old

Testament and a loving merciful God in

the new I thank you that you have always

been a God of love and mercy and

kindness and righteousness I pray God

that we as your people would reflect

your heart god I pray in Jesus name that

you would orchestrate for us divine

appointments every day

to love our neighbor as ourselves Lord

God I pray that life would be a daily

adventure of looking to be a neighbor to

people who need one and father I thank

you that this is not beyond us God if we

have a heart we can do this if we have

eyes we can see people and Lord you're

going to give us opportunities Lord and

I pray God that we as a church Lord

Jesus would be a place of genuine

authentic love and mercy God I pray it

wouldn't be a love that sweeps things

under the carpet and and doesn't call

evil what it is that doesn't resolve

conflict but God that it would be a

place of authentic and genuine love and

mercy got a place where people can be

healed in this in the light of that love

then Jesus we know that when we do it

unto the least of these we do it unto

you in Jesus name