Love Where You Live

March 21-25


Love Where You Live

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:35-40 (ESV)

Melvin Maughmer, Jr. writes, When I was in the U.S. Army, I remember we had to pull guard duty many times. The purpose of guard duty was to ensure that other soldiers, equipment, or areas were protected from the enemy. I can recall that in basic training, or boot camp, we had to memorize three general orders and the first one was, “I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.”

When we were properly relieved, there was a password that was spoken between the person on guard duty and the one that was relieving them. If the improper password was given, you were not properly relieved. The safety of all that was being guarded depended upon you, the person on guard duty. If something went wrong or the enemy was able to get access into that which you were responsible for guarding, then you were held accountable and punishment was inevitable.

( Melvin Maughmer, Jr., Guard Duty)

A good soldier obeys the commands he’s been given because ultimately something important is at stake. A good Christian obeys Jesus’ commands because they love Jesus and something important is also at stake. When Jesus was asked about the most important commandment, He responded by saying the greatest commandment was to love and everything else would be covered. The motivation for obeying God is primarily a love for God. However, there are also costly consequences to sin and disobedience.


Pastor Jim began a series called “Loving Where You Live.” Are you a good soldier when it comes to obeying God’s command to love Him and love others? Are there any areas of disobedience in your walk with Jesus? How is that disobedience tied to your love for Jesus?


Thank God for the protection that obedience brings. Ask Him to help you lovingly obey His commands.


Love God

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  – Matthew 22:37-38 (ESV)

Dr. Henrietta Mears was born in 1890 in Fargo, North Dakota, and when the doctors told her that her worsening eyesight would have her blind by 30, she didn’t listen to them, and instead went to college. A couple of years into college, she fell in love with a man who did not share her faith in Christ. She wanted to be married and have children, but ended up breaking her engagement when she surrendered her desires to serve the Lord. She taught high school chemistry for a few years, and then in 1928 became Director of Christian Education at Hollywood Presbyterian Church. In her first three years, Sunday School attendance went from 400 to 4,000. She took over teaching the College group and began training and discipling Christian leaders.

Through her direct influence, more than 400 young men and women went into full-time Christian service, including Bill Bright (Campus Crusade for Christ), Richard Halverson (former Chaplain to the Senate), and Dr. Paul Carlson (martyred missionary in Africa). She founded the Gospel Light Curriculum company to publish her Bible Studies and started a retreat center in the mountains, Forest Home. It was Henrietta Mears who helped a young Billy Graham at a Forest Home retreat. At a crisis point in his faith, she encouraged him to trust in the Lord and believe in the Bible. Henrietta Mears chose to spend her life doing what Jesus said was most important and that was Loving God and Loving People.

When Jesus was asked about the most important commandment of all, he quoted the Shema. So important is this passage, it is the first a Jewish child will memorize. So treasured are the words, they are written on small scrolls, rolled up, and inserted into a small container called a mezuzah, which marks the doorways of Jewish homes. The question of the most important commandment had long been settled among God’s people: Love the Lord God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and might. And all of Israel knew that truth. Knowing the truth was the easy part. Pulling it off was the difficult part.


What makes it so difficult to simply love God on a consistent basis? How would our community look different if people started with loving God first?


Thank God for the simplicity of what He asks of you. Thank Jesus for loving you first.


Love with Your All

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  – Matthew 22:37-38 (ESV)

An old man, one day taking a child on his knee, entreated him to seek God now — to pray to him, and to love him; when the child, looking up at him, asked, “But why do not you seek God?” The old man, deeply affected, answered, “I would, child; but my heart is hard — my heart is hard.” (Arvine’s Anecdotes)

A hard heart is a sad thing. Hebrews 3:8 warns us about developing a hard heart toward God. Jesus taught that loving Him with our hearts was of first importance. We should learn from the biblical stories how to avoid the sins of those who lived before us and a hard heart was one of those sins. In Exodus 17, Israel had just come out of Egypt through God’s mighty deliverance. Exodus 16 tells how God provided manna to feed Israel each day. But then you come to Exodus 17 when again they came to a place where there was no water. Rather than asking God to provide, the people argue with Moses, rebel against God, and put God to the test. All as a result of having a hard heart. Jesus also added our soul, mind, and strength to the list of things we should use to love Him.


Give one example of each for loving God with your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength. Which part of you struggles the most with loving God: your heart, your soul, your mind, or your strength?


Ask Him to keep your heart tender towards Him. Ask God to show you how He wants to use all of you in loving Him.


Love Your Neighbor

And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.   On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:39-40 (ESV)

Historians tell us that two plagues swept through the Roman Empire while Christians were being horribly persecuted. The Antonine Plague was the first, a little more than a century past the life of Jesus. The Plague of Cyprian came along a century after that. One document says that in Rome, where a million people lived, as many as 5,000 died per day. The epidemic filled the people with terror. It was so devastating that when the first symptoms appeared some villages simply emptied out, leaving the sick behind. So they left sick family members in their beds and ran for their lives.

But Christians didn’t run. They stayed and brought water to the sick. They fed them. They changed their bandages. They spoke kindly to them. They loved and encouraged them. And they got sick in the process. There’s no telling how many people were saved because Christians served, and there’s no telling how many Christians lost their lives because they stayed behind. This is why the Roman Empire changed so dramatically. People could not ignore the actions of people who loved God so passionately that they would be willing to give up their lives in His service to God.

Jesus modeled sacrificial love when He died for our sins on the cross. Most of us won’t be called upon to give up our lives for others. But most of us will be called upon to make simple sacrifices in order to show love toward others. Jesus taught that if we get loving God and loving people right, we will get everything else right.


If everyone in our Second family loved our neighbors, how would our neighborhoods and community look different? Can you think of a tangible need one of your neighbors has currently that you might be able to meet?


Thank God for the Christians who have loved you like Jesus. Ask God to show you who needs to be loved today.


Love Yourself

And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:39-40 (ESV)

Dr. Evan Kane was the head of Summit hospital in New York, in the 1920s. At that time, when they operated they used general anesthesia. Dr. Kane felt local anesthesia was enough, would help patients do better, and recovery would be quicker. His theory seemed true, but no one was willing to go for surgery without general anesthesia. He finally found a willing patient who wanted an appendectomy done. Dr. Kane had done over 4,000 appendix removals. So he went through the procedure, everything without the general anesthesia. And the patient, as predicted, got up and walked out the next day himself. This was amazing. In those days, people had to stay in hospital for about a week or so after an appendectomy. What was extraordinary was that Dr. Kane performed the surgery on himself.

Today we are going to do a little heart surgery on ourselves. The question we are asking ourselves is “Do we love ourselves?” It is difficult for some of us to love ourselves because of our past failures and imperfections. And if we don’t love ourselves well we most likely won’t love others well. The cliche is true, “hurt people hurt people.” Some of us feel unworthy to be loved.

Romans 5:8 teaches, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus loves you even though you are imperfect. Your performance isn’t what makes you worthy. What makes you worthy is that you were made in His image and he died to redeem you.


None of us will ever match the perfect agape type of love that Jesus has for us. It’s only by God’s grace that we can love Him at all. And it’s also by His grace that we can love ourselves well so we may love others well.


Thank God for loving you even though you are imperfect. Ask God to help you love yourself and others well.