Uncharted – Loving Your Neighbor

What responsibility does the church have to its community? To pose another question, if the church ceased to exist what would not get done in the community; would it even be missed? Unfortunately, many churches have become so inward focused they forget the world around them. Christians have created their own private world that is without interaction with its surrounding culture and community. Rather than being a light to the world and reaching out the church has too often become preoccupied with itself (its own routines, facilities, needs and people). If the world is to be reached for Jesus Christ and healthy transformation (education, poverty, along with physical/emotional and spiritual health) is to happen in our communities then the church must shift its focus outward.

Luke 10:25-37
Loving others displays your love for God.
As a lawyer came to Jesus asking the requirements for eternal life, Jesus responded that a person should love God and love others. Loving others is a tangible display of our love for God. The Bible is filled with passages describing how the people of God should care and provide for those in need around them.

James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” [see also faith without deeds 2:14-26]

1 John 3:17-18 “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

Why should we love Baltimore?
Baltimore is a city in desperate need. It ranks 12th as
most dangerous, having the highest homicide rate of all US cities, nearly 7 times the national rate. It is one of America’s most sinful cities. Addiction, crime, poverty and lack of education are all part of Baltimore’s reputation. These characteristics show the opportunity and need for transformation.
Uncharted has the potential to impact hundreds of lives for the good of the city of Baltimore and beyond. This is not because Uncharted is such a cool conference with just the right musicians, artists or platform guests. It is because students & leaders have the opportunity to take the gospel of Jesus Christ that they have received in their life and explode it incarnationally throughout a city. I cannot tell you how excited I am that our youth ministry has this opportunity. Pray not only that we can impact Baltimore with the gospel but that we catch God’s passion for our own community too.

Loving others displays God’s love for you.
This is the most important principle of the two. Jesus commands believers to love others as a sign of our love for him, but it is also a sign of his love for us. Acts of mercy on earth point to the ultimate act of mercy in the Father sacrificing the Son to forgive the sin of the world.

The Pharisee and Levite chose to walk past the man in need. They were more concerned with external religious practices (Pharisees could not touch a corpse due to impurities – even crossing the shadow was thought to make them unclean) rather than displaying the reality of a heart radically transformed by the grace of God. Believers are ones who truly understand that they too were dead in sin yet God made them alive in Christ; therefore we cannot help but share what God has done in our own life.

• Does the church/Christians have a responsibility to its community? If so, what?
• What is the reputation of your church in your community? Is it thankful, annoyed, or ignorant of the church’s existence?
• Should Christians seek to serve more inside or outside the church walls?
• Read & Describe how the following verses may relate to this lesson: Matthew 5:13-16, Luke 6:31-35, Acts 20:35, Romans 12:20-21, Galatians 6:9-10, Ephesians 2:10, 2 Thessalonians 3:13, 1 Timothy 6:17-19, Titus 2:11-14, Titus 3:8, Hebrews 10:24, James 1:27, James 2:14-26, 1 Peter 3:13, 1 John 3:17-18

Sources:
The Church of Irresistible Influence by Robert Lewis
“Should Evangelical Churches Be Involved In Community Ministry and if so, Why?” By JD Greear found at http://www.theresurgence.com/jd_greear_2008-01-31_evangelical_churches_in_community_ministry
Bob Roberts – “Glocal Church Ministry” found at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/july/30.42.html and “We Aren’t About Weekends” found at http://www.christianvisionproject.com/2007/01/we_arent_about_weekends.html

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