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The  Second Great Commandment

 August 07, 2011

The second great universal truth is that we love our neighbors as much, and in the same way, that we love ourselves. This is called the second great commandment in God's law. When we follow this commandment, we look after the needs of our neighbors, treating them as we would like to be treated. Who is my neighbor? As Jesus illustrated, it is anyone who needs me. Furthermore, Jesus pointed out that this includes our enemies! Once we truly understand God's charity toward us -- that He loves us even though we do not deserve it -- then we can understand how to behave toward our fellow human beings.

Bernie Parsons 

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The Second Great Commandment:

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

By Bernie Parsons


Presented to Globe church of Christ on 08-07-2011

Presented to Load church of Christ on 08-14-2011



The world has referred to an important Biblical teaching as “The Golden Rule”. It is the concept that Jesus taught, that one should treat others as he or she would want to be treated. This is based upon the Law of Moses teaching found in:


Leviticus 19:18 "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."


Jesus was quoting this scripture when he answered the lawyer’s devious question:


Matthew 22:35 "Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."


This student of the Law of Moses only asked about the greatest commandment, yet Jesus quoted a second one, like unto the first. He described the first answer as the first and great question. This means that the next one was number two in importance, and ranked in the class as the first. Note the said that all of the Law of Moses and the words of the prophets depend upon these two. This denotes the amount of attention that we ought to devote to these two laws.


What about those other laws?


Exodus 20:8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.”


Sanctifying the Sabbath day, or seventh day of the week – Saturday – is a separate issue. It was important for the ancient Israelites, but is not commanded or observed by Jesus and His apostles.


You love and take care of your parents because they loved and took care of you.

You don’t kill your neighbor, and you don’t want your neighbor to kill you.

You don’t commit adultery with your neighbor’s spouse, because you don’t want your neighbor committing adultery with your spouse.

You don’t steal your neighbor’s property, because you don’t want your neighbor to steal yours.

You don’t lie against your neighbor, because you don’t want him to lie against you.

You don’t try to get what belongs to your neighbor, and you don’t want your neighbor trying to take your belongings.


Every one of the above laws falls under that one law of loving your neighbor as yourself. Let’s look at how it is explained in Leviticus.


Leviticus 19:11 "Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.

12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.

13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

14 Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.

15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.

17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.

18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."


Who is my neighbor?


Leviticus 19:33 "And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.

34 But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God."


That is also answered in Luke chapter 10 in the story of the good Samaritan. Our neighbor is whoever needs us, and we are a neighbor to whoever needs us.


Luke 6:31 "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them."


Our neighbor is not just the person who loves us, and will return favors. Our neighbor is who needs us, whether friendly or unfriendly. Keep in mind that doing good does not necessarily mean doing what the other person wants.


Matthew 5:43 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."


Being perfect, or spiritually mature, means that we love everyone, just as God loves everyone and gave His son to take away the sin of the world.


Romans 13:8 "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."


Galatians 5:13 "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."


James 2:8 "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment."


Two great commandments cover pretty much everything that God expects or requires of us.


Love God with all that is in us, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.


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