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July 24, 2016 - We Demonstrate Our Understanding of God by How We Treat Our Neighbors - Exodus 20:16-17

posted Jul 26, 2016, 10:34 AM by Grant Garber
  • We know about expediency. Like Pilate, we too, have learned to do what it takes to get where we are. 
  • We also know about competing ideologies. The dominant ideology of our day that can trump all others is the fulfillment of the individual.
  • The church believes that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. This isn’t truth in the form of religious laws and moralisms, which quickly digress into more ideology. Rather, it is truth as a person.
  • Jesus claimed that this truth has little to do with expediency for saving yourself or with ideological commitments that only divide us. But the truth has everything to do with the witness you make about your neighbor. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
  • The neighborhood of God is never established by similarity. It is only established when mercy is offered.
  • To avoid being merciful just because it isn’t expedient, or convenient, or because the person in need offends our ideology or morality, is to divide the neighborhood of God. It is to say he or she doesn’t belong. And that is to bear false witness against your neighbor.
  • When we say that God gives us grace, we aren’t saying God gives us what we want. Grace means that God gives us what we need. Sometimes what we need is freedom from the things we want. And that leads us to the last commandment: “You shall not covet…anything that is your neighbor’s.”
  • There is no better way to lose your life than to keep measuring it by the standards of the neighbor.
  • The real problem with coveting is that it reduces those you envy to their possessions. But the person you envy is a living soul who needs mercy as much as you. And that person belongs to you, as a neighbor, by this common need.
Pastor Jim Spon | Exodus 20:16-17 (NKJV)