Love Your Neighbor

March 24, 2020

Hello everyone – we are on day 6 today!

I have been asked to take my notes on these Connection Series and make them available on our church website as devotions. If you go to slbc2u.com and go to our resource page under COVID handout you will now find the devotions from the past six day, including today.

Pause for Prayer:

  • Tyler Mitchell in Oklahoma City
  • Bob Ashmuhs – cancer treatment
  • Tom Spann – cancer treatment
  • Local city officials in Spirit Lake
  • Families with small children
  • New York – 25,000 cases of Coronavirus
  • Direction for our political leaders
  • Provisions for our SLBC families

Our WORD from the LORD today is from Romans 13:9-10 – Love Your Neighbor

   When I use the word NEIGHBOR what comes to your mind right now? Make a comment in the comment section here on Facebook below.

  • Nice
  • Strange
  • Terrible
  • Difficult
  • Great
  • Christians
  • Drunks

   The word “Neighbor” is actually used 153 times in the NKJV.

   Who is your neighbor? According to the parable of the Good Samaritan all people are our neighbors (Luke 10). However, today I want us to talk about our neighbors in light of the community where God has placed us. Your neighbor then might live on your right and left, and across the street. These are the people I want us to specifically consider today. Seek to build relationships with them.

  • God told Israel in the law that they were to love their neighbors.
  • Jesus repeated this command to the rich lawyer when he asked who his neighbor was (Luke 10).

   And today I want to reemphasize the need for all of us to love our neighbors. Dr. Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Love one another is the basic principles of the Christian life. It is the “new commandment” that Christ gave to us (John 13:34). When we practice love, there is no need for any other laws, because love covers it all!”

   What can we learn about love from these verses this morning? We lean first about…

   I. The debt of Love – v. 8

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

We are a people of great debt. And in light of the Coronavirus our government is talking about a two trillion-dollar subsidy package to help with people’s salaries and to stimulate the economy. Is this neighbor helping neighbor? Someone is going to have to pay for those two trillion-dollars – there are no FREE monies.

Paul says that we are to owe no one anything. Do you feel indebted to anyone today? You know I read that more than any people Christians ought to pay their debts – let us be good citizens and pay our debt of love to our neighbors!

The only debt that we are to have is called, the debt of love. We are told to love one another. This is the only debt that is never fully paid, or even repaid. Love is what separates the world from Christians. Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit and because God’s Spirit lives in us we are able to love one another. As a matter of fact the first fruit of the Spirit is LOVE (Galatians 5:22).

Do you remember when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, and He said that it was first, to love God – that’s # 1. And the second was to love your neighbor a yourself. This is why this verse ends with the words, “for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

There are three key thoughts in this single verse:

  1. Owe no one anything
  2. Love one another
  3. Love for others fulfills the law

   There is no need for rules (laws) when people love one another.

   II. The Commandment to love – v. 9

For the commandments, #7 “You shall not commit adultery,” #6 “You shall not murder,” #8 “You shall not steal,” #9 “You shall not bear false witness,” #10 “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.”

   The Ten Commandments are found in Exodus 20, and Deuteronomy 5.

   Are you aware that the 10 Commandments have actually been broken up into two parts? The first four focus on our love towards God, and the next six focus on love towards our fellow man. The first four commandments are vertical. If we get those right, then the next six will fall into place. Our horizonal relationships will be right.

   Notice that the commandments listed here in verse 9 are the second part of the Ten Commandments. They are the horizonal commandments. True love for people never violates these commandments. Look at them as they are listed:

  • You shall not commit adultery, (having sex with someone other than your spouse)
  • You shall not murder, (doing a Cain thing)
  • You shall not steal, (taking what belongs to others, not yours)
  • You shall not bear false witness, (lying about others)
  • You shall not covet, (desiring what others have)

   These are serious commandments. They are cross generational commandment. They weren’t just for the Jews. They are for all those who know God. All those who have come to faith and been saved by Jesus Christ. These are no excuse commandments.

   Listen to what Paul writes at the end of verse 9,

   “and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

   Here is the point: Love never ever does harm to one’s neighbor.

   And that thought brings us to our third point.

   III. The fulfillment of love – v. 10

10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.[1]

   Underline the first part of verse 10 – “Love does no harm to a neighbor;”

  • The KJV translates it as, “worketh no ill to his neighbor.”
  • The ESV translates it, “does no wrong to a neighbor;”
  • The NLT translates it, “Love does no wrong to others,”
  • The LEB (Lexham English Bible) translates it, “Love does not commit evil against a neighbor.”

   Now turn to the last part of this verse. It reads, “therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

   All the teaching of the Old Testament can be summed up (fulfilled) in the truth of NOT doing harm to one’s neighbor. I would encourage you to go and read through Leviticus 19. There we have Moses’ instructions for loving our neighbors.

   Think with me for just a moment. What would it be like to live in a community where you actually knew that those around you really loved you, and that they had a genuine concern about your overall welfare? God help us to be that kind of a neighbor.

   When Jesus finished the parable of the Good Samaritan he responded to the rich lawyer, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37).

   Debbie once taught a children’s Sunday school class, and she taught the lesson of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10). Afterwards she asked her class what she had just taught them. A little boy raised his hand and said, “It was the story of the Good American”. Isn’t that great?

   Now, let us go and be the Good American by loving our neighbors.

[1] The New King James Version. (1982). (Ro 13:8–10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.