Summary: Discussion of the second greatest commandment.
Loving Your Neighbor as Yourself
October 5, 2008
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Me: I recently discovered the website, “Classmates.com.”
It’s actually been around a while, and most of you have maybe seen their advertisements on the web.
I’m not sure why I finally went there, but saw that membership was free and I joined up a week or so ago.
I was surprised to see that a number of people I went to high school with are there, and so I tried to contact them.
That’s when I found out that to interact with these folks, you have to buy a membership for a modest price.
I’m probably going to do that, because quite honestly, I need to mend some fences.
When I was in high school, I was a rather selfish and self-centered person. I hurt people.
To be quite honest, I didn’t know I was selfish. I didn’t know I had hurt people until someone told me about some of it in college. And by that time I had lost touch with those folks.
It wasn’t until I had been a Christian for a few years that I really started seeing how things I had done in the past had caused others to be hurt.
I was not a very loving person, at least as it concerned certain people in my life.
And so I’m hoping that when I get into contact with some of these people, they’ll see that I’ve grown up a bit over the last 20+ years since high school. Even if I haven’t grown any taller since then…
We: All of us can think of people in our lives that have hurt us.
And if you think hard enough, I’m guessing that most, if not all of us here today can think of those that we have hurt.
Maybe it was unintentional. Maybe it was totally intentional. But you hurt someone, and as you look back on it, you feel the regret for that. Or at least I hope you do.
So what can we do to avoid hurting others like that in the future? What does the Bible say about treating others the way we should?
What are some practical actions we can take to show others that they are important to God and to us?
What can we do to honor the family of God in how we treat other family members and therefore, honor God Himself?
God: The passage of Scripture that forms the base of what I want to discuss with you today is found in Matthew 22:34-40 (p. 699) –
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
37 Jesus replied: "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Two weeks ago we talked about the first commandment and how that is most important relationship we can have and maintain.
It’s the vertical relationship.
Today we’re talking about the horizontal relationships around us. The people in our lives. Your neighbor isn’t just the person living closest to you on your block. Your neighbor is really anyone you come into contact with.
The main lesson of this passage is that we are to love God with everything in us and love those around us as we’d want to be loved.
If you love God the way you should, then loving your neighbor the way you should becomes easier.
Loving God the way you should helps you become the best husband/wife, father/mother, boss, employee, friend, relative, pastor, board member, boyfriend/girlfriend, business owner, or whatever else you can think of that involves your interactions with other people.
But to help us get a handle on just how that needs to be lived out in our lives, I want us to look at some other passages of Scripture that clue us in just what it means to love our neighbor as ourselves.
You: If I were to sum up everything I was going to say today in one sentence about loving your neighbor as yourself it would be this:
Remember the Golden Rule.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Ask yourself: “Is this the way I would want to be treated?”
If the answer is “yes,” then chances are good that it would be a blessing to someone else as well.