Sermons

Summary: a study of the word "neighbor"

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Introduction

1. Mr. Rogers is a fixture in most people’s hearts with fond memories from Childhood...

The PBS Television show, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood ran for 4 decades and spoke to millions of viewers...

Mr Rogers would open the show with a song that he wrote...

Sing it with me:

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

by Fred Rogers

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,

A beautiful day for a neighbor.

Would you be mine?

Could you be mine?...

It’s a neighborly day in this beauty wood,

A neighborly day for a beauty.

Would you be mine?

Could you be mine?...

I’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.

I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So, let’s make the most of this beautiful day.

Since we’re together we might as well say:

Would you be mine?

Could you be mine?

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Won’t you please,

Won’t you please?

Please won’t you be my neighbor?

2. Mr. Rogers passed away in 2003 of stomach cancer...

But Fred McFeeley Rogers, an Ordained Minister in the Prebyterian Church...

Understood the Biblical ideal of a neighbor...

As we continue our study of the ABCs and XYZs of the Bible...

We come to the letter N...

N is for Neighbor...

The word neighbor is found 145 times in the Bible...

it is found as early as Exodus...

and as the book of James...

3. The idea for most people is that a neighbor is someone who lives nearby to us...

Our next-door neighbor...

our neighbor across the street...

However, Scripture takes the idea of a neighbor several steps farther...

“The Bible’s major concern is how we treat our neighbor”1.

Read Text: Leviticus 19:18

1. Old Testament

A. The OT law states that you are to love your neighbor.

In the Old Testament...

the idea of our neighbor is similar to what most people believe today...

Our text refers to our neighbor as “one of your people”

In other words, your neighbor was someone who live near you...

who believed like you did...

it didn’t include someone who believed differently from you...

B. However, both the Old Testament and the New Testament were very concerned with how we treated our neighbor...

In Deuteronomy 19:14...we are not to mess with our neighbor’s boundary stones...

in other words, we are not supposed to try to cheat our neighbor out of their rightful property...

Exodus 20:16, the 10 Commandments state that you are not to give false testimony against your neighbor...

Exodus 20:17 says, “"You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

In the popular sense of neighbor today...

and the idea of neighbor in the Old Testament...

since we live nearby our neighbor...

it would be easy to become jealous of our neighbor...

their home...their property...

In the OT, it was his ox and donkey...

today, we would say his car and his boat...

C. God, in giving the Old Testament Law...

was very thorough in speaking about proper behavior between neighbors...

Obviously, God knew that people living in close contact would need some close guidelines in order to live together in peace...

And that need hasn’t changed...

I know of neighbors who live within 1/2 mile of this church who hate each other...

One has threatened to kill the other...

The police have been called on several occasions...

The same person punctured all 4 tires on his neighbor’s truck...

and they just generally hate each other.

Is it no wonder that God goes to great lengths to give us rules and guidelines for living together?...

If He didn’t...

we would probably be killing each other more than we do already!

In Psalm 12:2, David laments that “Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception.”

D. There are several places in Scripture where the problems between neighbors caused judgment from God upon the nation...

Isaiah 3:5 says, “People will oppress each other-- man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old, the base against the honorable.”

Read Jeremiah 9:4-9

2. Neighbor in the New Testament

A. By Jesus’ day, the rabbis had further restricted the definition of neighbor.

For them a neighbor was a Jew who strictly observed the Law.

Other people were hated as enemies

In Matthew 5:43, Jesus paints the prevalent view of the day when He says, “You have heard that it was said, ’Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”

Instead of trying to restrict the definition of neighbor...

Jesus tried to expand it...

Neighbors were not only people who lived nearby...

they were not just your own people...

neighbors included your enemies.

And, if we were to truly desire to honor God and serve Him...

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