Love Your Neighbor

by: Bill Bratt

Email: info@icogsfg.org


We are commanded to Love our Neighbor. Matthew 22:35-46 says: "Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him (Jesus) a question, testing Him, and saying, {36} "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" {37} Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' {38} "This is the first and great commandment. {39} "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' {40} "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

The Golden Rule says: "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12). Quoting James 2:8 "If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well."

What is Love?

John wrote in 1 John 4:7-11 "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. {8} He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. {9} In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. {10} In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. {11} Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."

Letís continue in verse 18: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. {19} We love Him because He first loved us."

Perfect love comes from God because God loves us very much. We are all familiar with John 3:16 which says: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

Notice how the apostle Paul said we need to Love our Neighbor in Romans 13:8-10 "Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. {9} For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." {10} Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

Did you notice that we are to owe no one anything except love?

Have you ever thought of Godís Ten Commandments as being a law of love?

How do we love our neighbor?

We love our neighbor by keeping Godís Ten Commandments. The first four of the ten commandments tells us how to love God and the last six commandments tells us how to love our neighbor.

Exodus 20:12-17 ""Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. {13} "You shall not murder. {14} "You shall not commit adultery. {15} "You shall not steal. {16}"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. {17} "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.""

Who is my neighbor?

Luke 10:29-37 says that a certain lawyer "wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" {30} Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. {31} "Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. {32} "Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. {33} "But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. {34} "So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. {35} "On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.' {36} "So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" {37} And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise.""

Who is my neighbor? Websterís Dictionary defines the word neighbor as: "A human being like oneself; a fellow man."

Our neighbor is our fellow man, which includes our family, mates, children, parents, our co-workers and friends and the people who live next door. All of humanity are our neighbors.

How much love should we have for our neighbors?

Jesus said: ""Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13).

Love and provide for your Family

Letís notice what the apostle Paul said to Timothy: "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." (1 Timothy 5:8).

Paul told those in the Church in Ephesus: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Ephesians 5:25). He continued Ephesians 6:1-4 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. {2} "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: {3} "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." {4} And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord."

Is your enemy your neighbor?

Jesus said in Matthew 5:38-48 ""You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' {39} "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. {40} "If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. {41} "And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. {42} "Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. {43} "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' {44} "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, {45} "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. {46} "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? {47} "And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? {48} "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."

Be Tolerant of your neighbors

It is human nature to hold grudges. Many people like to dig up dirt on other people and gossip about the other personís sins. We are admonished to forgive and forget. Letís notice the following verses in Matthew 7:1-5 ""Judge not, that you be not judged. {2} "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. {3} "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? {4} "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? {5} "Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

""Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven" (Luke 6:37).

Peter said: "And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."" (1 Peter 4:8).

Letís notice the following in Proverbs 11:9 "The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered."

In the Love Chapter Paul states: "And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:2).

In Conclusion: What did Jesus tell us to do to love our neighbor? "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12).