10 Lessons on the Lutheran Faith

Lesson 4:  Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

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Getting Started
 
 

Make a list of the people who have truly made a difference in your lives.
 
 

In a large part we are the person we are due to the people we relate to in our lives.
 
 

The Bible Teaches
 
 

The summary of the second table of the Law is that we love our neighbors as ourselves.

  • NAB Matthew 22:39 "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'
  • NAB Matthew 5:44 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

So, as we saw illustrated above, we learn that God has created human beings to be creatures in relationship to one another. And the defining aspect of that relationship is love. Ortega Y. Gassett once said "I am myself and my circumstances." In other words, we make our lives together. God desires that we make them together with love.

The Fourth Commandment: A healthy relationship with family and authorities.

The fourth commandment tells us we should honor our father and mother as long as we live.

Luther explains that this commandment means that we should not despise or anger our parents and other authorities but rather honor, serve, obey, love, and cherish them.

So we are not to anger our parents or authorities by disobedience.

  • NAB Proverbs 23:22 Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old.
  • NAB Romans 13:2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
  • NAB Colossians 3:20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.

 
Instead, we should honor our parents and authorities as Godís representatives.
 

  • NAB Ephesians 6:2 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.
  • NAB Romans 13:7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

The Fifth Commandment: Respect for otherís lives

This commandment tells us we should not kill.

This means that we should not hurt or harm our neighbor in any way but rather help him.

  • NAB Matthew 5:21 " You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' 22 "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
  • NAB 1 John 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

 
What about abortion?

Some passages to think about:

  • NAB Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."
  • NAB Psalm 139:16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
  • NAB Luke 1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 "And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44 "For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.

 
What about Euthanasia?

Some passages to think about:

  • NAB Proverbs 6:16 There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood,
  • NAB Proverbs 31:8 Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate.
  • NAB Acts 17:25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;

 
What about suicide?

Some passages to think about?

  • NAB Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
  • NAB Luke 12:22 And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.

 
Can the government take a life as punishment for a crime?

Lawful government, Godís representative, may execute criminals and fight just wars.

  • NAB Romans 13:4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

Instead of becoming angry with others, it is better for our lives if we are merciful, kind, and forgiving of one another. This is the command of God.

  • NAB Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

 
The Sixth Commandment -- Purity in the relationship of marriage

God commands that we do not commit adultery. This means we should lead sexually pure and decent lives and love and honor our spouse.

God gave sexuality as an aspect of human relationships as a gift. It is a gift shared by one man and one woman within the confines of marriage.

  • NAB Mark 10:6 "But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. 7 "FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, 8 AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 "What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
  • NAB Hebrews 13:14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

The world tries to entice people into going beyond these God given boundaries to sexuality. But Godís command is clear.

  • NAB Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
  • NAB Romans 1:26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

 
Sin has corrupted the human nature and much damage is done by sexual sin. Rape, incest, sexual child abuse, obscenity, pornography, unwanted pregnancy, transmission of disease, etc.

This sin, like all sin, before it becomes action, is given birth to in the human heart from our desires.

  • NAB Matthew 5:28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
  • NAB Matthew 15:19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.

God tells us to keep a pure heart so that we have healthy and decent lives.

  • NAB Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
  • NAB Ephesians 5:3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

 
Married people are to honor one another. God forbids divorce except for unfaithfulness in marriage, either adultery or desertion. Rather each is to love and care for one another as Godís gift.

  • NAB Matthew 19:9 "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."
  • NAB 1 Corinthians 7:15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.
  • NAB Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. 22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. &ldots; 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

 
The Seventh Commandment: caring for others regarding their possessions

God commands, you shall not steal. This means we should not try to get othersí money or possession by any dishonest way, but help them to improve them.

  • NAB Leviticus 19:35 'You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weight, or capacity.
  • NAB Ephesians 4:28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.
  • NAB Philippians 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
  • NAB 1 John 3:17 But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

The Eight Commandment: Caring about otherís reputations

God commands that we do not speak falsely against our neighbor. This means we should not tell lies about others, slander them, hurt their reputation, but rather we should defend and speak well of them, explaining everything in the best possible light.

  • NAB Proverbs 19:5 A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape.
  • NAB Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE OF YOU WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.

When someone tells us a secret we should not betray that secret.

  • NAB Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.

Neither should we gather into groups to speak badly of others. God does not want us to hurt others by what we say about them.

  • NAB Matthew 18:15 "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
  • NAB Luke 6:37 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.

God wants us rather to speak up and defend others. Remember, love one another as you love yourself.

  • NAB Proverbs 31:8 Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.
  • NAB 1 Corinthians 13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 
The Ninth and Tenth Commandments: healthy attitudes toward others and what God has blessed them with.

God says we should not covet. Either our neighbors home, wife, servants, animals, or anything which belongs to someone else.

We saw before that before sin becomes action, it starts in the heart. Greed and envy is the cause of much sin that harms others and ourselves.

  • NAB Luke 12:15 Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."

God wants us to understand that coveting is unhealthy. It is an attitude produced by the sinful condition of our heart.

  • NAB James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

 
God would rather that we have good and healthy lives and to keep our thoughts clean.

  • NAB Psalm 119:35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it. 36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies And not to dishonest gain.

 
But I cannot keep all these commandments.

Your right. Because of our sin we cannot keep the commandments.

  • NAB Psalm 14:3 They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.
  • NAB 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Sin is born from the corruption of the human heart that all people are born with because it is inherited from our first parents, Adam and Eve. This corruption gives birth to actual sins.

  • NAB Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
  • NAB Romans 5:19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
  • NAB James 1:15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

Only Jesus has kept the law perfectly. Jesus offered Himself on the cross to die for our sins so that we might be forgiven. The way to heaven is not through keeping the commandments of God perfectly. The way to heaven is through Jesus Christ and His mercy, the salvation He gives us through His death.

  • NAB Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
  • NAB Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
  • NAB Romans 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;

Does that mean we can continue to sin?

  • NAB Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

When Christ gives us forgiveness, He gives us a new life as well. That is a life not dominated by sin which damages us but rather is filled with grace which fills us with love which makes our relationships with God and others what they should have been before the damaging corruption of sin was brought into the world.

God continues to speak His law to us. He has three reasons for doing so.

1. To give guidance to authorities about how to curb the sinfulness of people so as to minimize the damage that sin does in society.

  • NAB 1 Timothy 1:9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers

 
2. To show us the truth about ourselves so that we have no false idea that we might be able to keep the law well enough to make our own way to heaven.

  • NAB Romans 3:20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

 
3. To give the Christian a guide for healthy living now that His relationship with God is restored and the Holy Spirit is working in Him to make His relationship with God and others more healthy and fruitful.

  • NAB Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
  • NAB 1 John 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. &. . . ; 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

 
  copyright Rev. David D. Reedy, 1999-2005