Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Look to Your Neighbor! Neighbor! Oh, Neighbor!

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and it is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”Ephesians 2:8-9
In black church tradition, preachers often tell their congregations to "look to their neighbor." Looking to your neighbor is immediately followed by saying something to them. Sometimes preachers tell you what to say and sometimes they don't. Sometimes those moments can be awkward, especially if you don't know what to say or how to respond to something someone says to you! So, here are a few things to say, based on my review of Ephesians Chapter two, the next time the preacher says "look to your neighbor."
 
Neighbor! Oh, Neighbor! Look to your neighbor and say, "LOVE." Ephesians 2:4-5 states, “But because of his great love for us,...""Love" means "LORD OF VIRTUE EVERLASTING." Jesus Christ is Lord of virtue, and the greatest of these is love (1Corinthians 3:13). Ephesians two tells me I was once an object of God’s wrath (v3), but now I am an object of God's love.It is Jesus’ love that saved me from the wages of sin. Look to your neighbor and say, "God loves you!" Look to your neighbor and say, "LOVE!"
 
Look to your neighbor and say,"GRACE!" Ephesians 2:5-8, reminds me I am saved by grace. I am a “GRACE” case. “Grace” means G – God’s R – Riches A – At C-Christ’s E – Expense. God's grace is "incomparable" (v.7), My salvation came at Christ's expense! So, should I keep on sinning that grace my abound? No! I was saved by GRACE!
 
Look to your neighbor and say "FAITH!" Faith means "FORSAKING ALL I TRUST HIM!" Ephesians 2: 8-9 states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and it is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast."I have faith to trust God. It was not faith in my faith that saved me, but rather faith in God's ability to save me that did. And that faith I didn't get on my own. God gave it to me out of His vast treasury of grace. I was saved by FAITH through grace!
Look to your neighbor and say "HOPE!" Hope means "Having Only Positive Expectations" Ephesians 2:10 states, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
 
I have hope because I know who I am and whose I am. I am God's workmanship. I have hope because I know where I am. I am in Christ, seated with Him in heavenly places (v6). My future is bright because I have been called to do good works, not to get saved but because I am saved. I have HOPE!
 
Neighbor! Oh, Neighbor! Look to your neighbor and tell your neigbhor you have "faith", "hope," "Love," and "grace" in Jesus Christ!  Jesus saves!

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