Summary: We can love our neighbor as ourself by following the golden rule and the Jesus rule.
Greatest Commandment Series David Owens
Sermon #4: “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself” 10.12.03
Text: Matthew 22:34-40
A. Four Sundays ago I began the sermon with these words: “This is perhaps the most important sermon I will ever preach.”
1. I was serious when I said that.
2. These verses we have been studying are the most important ones as stated by Jesus.
3. Today’s sermon is the final one in this four-part series on the Greatest Commandment.
B. Let’s review for just a minute before we continue in our investigation of this very important subject.
1. In the first sermon we asked ourselves the question: Do we really love God?
a. After all, if loving God is the most important thing of all, then what does it mean to love God?
b. Do we really love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?
c. We talked about some signs that we love God, like: a desire for God, a desire to please God, a love for others, and a heart of gratitude.
d. Next we talked about how to learn to love God more.
e. I suggested that we need to slow down, give ourselves to spiritual things, and engage God in every part of our lives
2. In the second sermon, we came back to these verses on loving God and discussed the fact that loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength means that we love God exclusively, totally, and practically.
3. I know that that part of the command is daunting, but we must not be discouraged by the high calling of loving God with our all.
a. That is our target, and God will help us as we reach toward it.
4. Last week we started to work on the second greatest commandment which is a completion of the first – you must love our neighbor as yourself.
a. I suggested that we cannot fulfill the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself without first being able to love yourself.
b. God does want us to love ourselves.
c. I pointed out that self-love and selfishness are not the same thing.
d. I gave us three reasons to love ourselves: because we are made in God’s image, because God loves us, and because God believes in us.
e. Then, I finished up with a couple of practical suggestions for learning to love yourself.
5. So, then, what is your calling? To love God, love yourself, and then love your neighbor as yourself.
6. Let’s turn our attention to the last part – loving your neighbor as yourself.
C. One of the promising things about this commandment is the fact that it is the perfect guide for fulfilling the law of God.
1. Look at Matthew 22:40, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
2. Romans 13:8-10: “8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
3. Galatians 5:13-14, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
4. James 2:8, “If you keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right.”
5. Don’t you think that is very encouraging? If we can concentrate on getting this command in place, then it will guide us in fulfilling all of God’s other commands.
6. If we will get this one right, then we will be doing right!
How to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
A. I want to give us two handles to try to help us to learn to love others as we love ourselves.
1. Let me tell you what they are, and then let me elaborate on each.
2. The two principles that will guide us are: The Golden Rule and The Jesus Rule.
I. The Golden Rule
A. In the old Soviet Union there were very few laws about factories polluting the water.
1. That was with good reason, because one of the few laws they did have was that any factory which dumped chemicals back into the river had to do so upstream from its own intake pipes.
2. In other words, whatever the factory dumped in the water was going to come right back into it before it went any further down stream.