First Baptist Church of Oak Creek

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  "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
 . . .  Colossians 1:10  . . .
Our Relationship With Our Neighbor

Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 12/3/00

Text: Romans 13:8-10

General Outline Overview

I. Our Relationship With Other Believers – Rom. 12:9-16

II. Our Relationship With Our Enemies – Rom. 12:17-21

III. Our Relationship With Our Government – Romans 13:1-7

IV. Our Relationship With Our Neighbor – Romans 13:8-10


In this message our focus will be our relationship with our neighbor. The word neighbor appears twice, in verses 9 & 10, in our text Scripture. As we begin, I believe it is important to clarify the meaning of the word neighbor. The word does not necessarily refer to the people who live next door to you, but rather, to everyone one you come in contact with. The 1828 Webster’s dictionary gives an excellent definition of the word neighbor as used in our context. "One of the human race; any one that needs our help, or to whom we have an opportunity of doing good."

With that clarified, let’s look at…

  • Our Relationship With Our Neighbor

Pay Your Public & Private Debts

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

At one time, after attending a seminar on finances, I believed this verse taught that Christians are not to borrow money. There have been good men who held that position. Two examples are the great missionary J. Hudson Taylor and Charles Spurgeon. However, after looking at the context of the verse and studying other passages in the Bible, I do not think that borrowing money is necessarily wrong, if you can make the payments (Nehemiah 5:1-11). I still do not think the borrowing foolishly is appropriate. We are to be faithful stewards of what God has entrusted us with. It is not wrong to invest for gain (Matthew 25:27; Luke 19:23). What is wrong is delay in paying honest debts, charging exorbitant interest, and robbing others. (Exodus 22:25-27; Proverbs 28:8).

What is in focus here is not a specific admonition against borrowing money but a general admonition to pay your debts. To be sure, this includes public and private debts you have incurred, but, I believe there is another aspect to consider, that is borrowing from our neighbors.

  • 3 Principles of Borrowing

There are at least three principles that come into play when you borrow something from a friend or a neighbor

1. When you borrow something, whether it be a cup of sugar or a tool, be sure you return it. Psalms 37:21 "The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous showeth mercy, and giveth."

2. If you borrow something from a friend or neighbor and it breaks, you are obligated to replace it. Exodus 22:14 "And if a man borrow ought of his neighbour, and it be hurt, or die, the owner thereof being not with it, he shall surely make it good."

3. When you borrow money or anything, you are accountable to the person who loaned it to you. Proverbs 22:7 "The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."

The first guideline for our relationship with our neighbors is that we are to pay our debts. But, having said that, there is a debt that is never paid.

Your Love Debt Is Never Paid

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

It is evident that Paul has in mind the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. When our Lord was asked which was the greatest command, He recited two. He said the first was to love God and the second was to love your neighbor (Mark 12:28-31).

Some have wondered, "How can Christ say there are only two commandments when Exodus 20 says there are 10?" If you will look at the first four commandments, they focus on our responsibilities to God. If you genuinely love God, you will not worship any other gods, make any images of other gods, you will not take his name in vain and you will honor him on the Lord’s day.

Thus follows the second commandment of our Lord -- Matthew 22:39 says, "And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

  • How To Show Your Love For Your Neighbor

Romans 13:9 concisely but graphically indicates how this love is to be shown. If you love your neighbor, you will not commit sexual sin with his spouse. If you love your neighbor you will not kill him, steal from him, lie about him or covet what he has. That exactly what verse 9 is saying -- "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." Romans 13:9

Simply stated, our love for our neighbor is demonstrated by what we do, not what we say. Verse 10 says, "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."

Let’s summerize: 1) We are to pay our debts on time. 2) If we borrow from others we are to repay whatever we borrow and if something breaks that we borrow, we are to replace it. 3) Our love debt is never paid and we are under divine obligation to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

If you have not received Jesus Christ as your Savoir, I would urge you to do that TODAY!

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.


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1 Corinthians 2:9

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First Baptist Church of Oak Creek

10550 S. Howell Ave. - Oak Creek, WI 53154

Phone: 414-762-7575

Pastor: David L. Brown, Ph.D.

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