Sunday Sermon Matthew 5:43-48
Are there any announcements?
Shoe Boxes for Kids
Angel Tree Kids
We have 14 kids this year to buy for, so if you would like to adopt, please see Kathy.
There will be free Bibles to give our kids.
Good morning and welcome to FCC, where we worship God in Spirit and in Truth one verse at a time.
Before we start, I have a few announcements to share.
Our dearest sister Franca wanted me to announce that she will be moving to Queen Creek, Arizona that is an hour outside of Phoenix. She leaves on Tuesday for 3 weeks to visit and will return and sell her house in the spring. Her son Michael and his wife Amanda are going to build a mother-in-law quarters. So please keep her in prayer. She definitely believes that it is God’s will for her during this next season of life.
Thank you for the Pastor appreciation gifts, it was very kind and thoughtful of you all.
Kevin’s Bible Study is being moved to Patti Pointers house from the church. I will change the address on our website. If you would like her address today before you leave see me.
We have come as far as Matthew 5:43, so let us open our Bibles there:
Read Matthew 5:43-48
Read Matthew 5:43-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Gracious Heavenly Father, we have come to worship you in Spirit and in Truth this morning, and we desire to hear from you. Please remove everything in our lives and hearts that could stop us from worshipping you whole-heartedly. Please help us to grasp and apply the truths of our the text we are in this morning. Lord, we long to know the height, the depth, and the width of your love for us. Can you reveal it now? Could you remind us over and over how much you love us and how much you desire to be like Jesus? Thank you Lord for hearing our cry, please meet us in a special way this morning and set the captives free.
In Jesus Name, We Love You!!! Amen and Amen!
In looking back and yet pressing forward, we can see the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus taught on unfold.
We are learning what it means to be aa disciple in His Kingdom and that our profession of Christ, should match our lifestyles.
Last week Jesus taught us that the Pharisee’s again misinterpreted the Word of God to justify their sinful behavior.
And not only to justify, but rather benefit them in the system of self-righteous behaviors that the has created.
But God, who is rich in mercy sent his only begotten Son to turn the tables of their hearts and our hearts and help us to realize that it is not about external performance to the letter of the law, but rather inward obedience to the Spirit of the law.
Jesus has given us 5 illustrations of what Kingdom living is over the last several weeks and today, he will give us the 6th, which is really to me is a summary of all them.
Jesus said taught us to go the extra mile when someone asks us and I understand the difficulty of this statement.
And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
To refresh your memory, the Roman guards could ask anyone at any given time to carry their pack or their load for a mile.
A Roman mile was a little shorter than our mile today.
And guess what Jesus says? Go 2 miles, not 1....
I started here because God is asking us to be compassionate towards those in need, but here it is regards to our enemy.
Because Rome was an enemy to the Jews.
God desire for us is to go the extra mile compassionate with a caring heart, not a grumbling or begrudging spirit.
And I think it is important for us to remember that a lot of time when we are asked to go the extra mile, that it is going to impede on our agendas, or our schedules.
And it is going to take faith to make the extra mile happen especially with regards to our enemy.
Speaking of our enemy, let’s look at our text for today:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
No where in Scripture does it teach for us to hate our enemy church, but quite the opposite.
Here we are at our 6th illustration of what it means to live in God’s Kingdom and we see that Jesus goes right for the juggler vein at how the Rabbinic tradition interpreted God’s law .
The Rabbinic scholars of Jesus day taught that they were to love their neighbors and hate their enemies.
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
And their neighbors were only fellow Jews or Israelites.
They added to God’s law, the hate your enemy part and some scholars believe that they gleaned this from soem of the imprecatory Psalms that talk about destroying your enemy.
This means that they hated the Gentiles, Samaritans, and any foreigner that was not Jewish.
The Pharisee’s elevated hatred toward enemies to a virtue within their culture.
Your not like me, therefore I do not like you!
Abraham Lincoln said, “I don’t like that man, therefore, I must get to know him!”
Sadly, the Essenes that lived at Qumran upheld this in their monastic community.
Qumran is where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in caves.
Once again Jesus corrects the error that had been handed down. He speaks of love as God would have us love.
In Luke 10:25-37, we read about the parable of the Good Samaritan, let’s tur there>
Read Luke 10:25-37
Read Luke 10:25-37
The lawyer was the scholar of the law, who thought he had God’s law figured out and Jesus challenged him with the two great commands of love.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan tells the story of a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, and while on the way he is robbed of everything he had, including his clothing, and is beaten to within an inch of his life.
That road was treacherously winding and was a favorite hideout of robbers and thieves. The next character Jesus introduces into His story is a priest. He spends no time describing the priest and only tells of how he showed no love or compassion for the man by failing to help him and passing on the other side of the road so as not to get involved.
If there was anyone who would have known God’s law of love, it would have been the priest. By nature of his position, he was to be a person of compassion, desiring to help others.
Unfortunately, “love” was not a word for him that required action on the behalf of someone else.
The next person to pass by in the Parable of the Good Samaritan is a Levite, and he does exactly what the priest did: he passes by without showing any compassion. Again, he would have known the law, but he also failed to show the injured man compassion.
The next person to come by is the Samaritan, the one least likely to have shown compassion for the man.
Samaritans were considered a low class of people by the Jews since they had intermarried with non-Jews and did not keep all the law.
Therefore, Jews would have nothing to do with them. We do not know if the injured man was a Jew or Gentile, but it made no difference to the Samaritan; he did not consider the man’s race or religion. The “Good Samaritan” saw only a person in dire need of assistance, and assist him he did, above and beyond the minimum required. He dresses the man’s wounds with wine (to disinfect) and oil (to sooth the pain). He puts the man on his animal and takes him to an inn for a time of healing and pays the innkeeper with his own money.
He then goes beyond common decency and tells the innkeeper to take good care of the man, and he would pay for any extra expenses on his return trip. The Samaritan saw his neighbor as anyone who was in need.
Because the good man was a Samaritan, Jesus is drawing a strong contrast between those who knew the law and those who actually followed the law in their lifestyle and conduct. Jesus now asks the lawyer if he can apply the lesson to his own life with the question “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" (Luke 10:36). Once again, the lawyer’s answer is telling of his personal hardness of heart. He cannot bring himself to say the word “Samaritan”; he refers to the “good man” as “he who showed mercy.” His hate for the Samaritans (his neighbors) was so strong that he couldn’t even refer to them in a proper way. Jesus then tells the lawyer to “go and do likewise,” meaning that he should start living what the law tells him to do. By ending the encounter in this manner, Jesus is telling us to follow the Samaritan’s example in our own conduct; i.e., we are to show compassion and love for those we encounter in our everyday activities. We are to love others (vs. 27) regardless of their race or religion; the criterion is need. If they need and we have the supply, then we are to give generously and freely, without expectation of return. This is an impossible obligation for the lawyer, and for us. We cannot always keep the law because of our human condition; our heart and desires are mostly of self and selfishness. When left to our own, we do the wrong thing, failing to meet the law. We can hope that the lawyer saw this and came to the realization that there was nothing he could do to justify himself, that he needed a personal savior to atone for his lack of ability to save himself from his sins.
Thus, the lessons of the Parable of the Good Samaritan are three-fold: (1) we are to set aside our prejudice and show love and compassion for others. (2) Our neighbor is anyone we encounter; we are all creatures of the creator and we are to love all of mankind as Jesus has taught. (3) Keeping the law in its entirety with the intent to save ourselves is an impossible task; we need a savior, and this is Jesus.
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
Rather than hating our enemies as the oral tradition taught, we are to love them.
If we are to love as God loves, we must be willing to love unconditionally, even showing love to those whom we think are undeserving.
Nothing will bear witness of Christ better than unconditional love.
People can’t refute love, especially when it is perceived as undeserved or unmerited. (Isn’t that how God has shown His love? We certainly did not deserve it and yet He loved us!)
And I think it is crucial for us to understand that the word love here is the word agape or agapeo in the Greek.
The English language only has 1 word for love, while the Greeks have 4.
Eros- we get our word erotic from this, this is a lustful love of attraction.
Phileo- this is a brotherly kind of love. This is where Philadelphia comes from, the city of brotherly love.
Agape- selfless, unconditional, self-sacrificial love.
Love- agapao- (care) v. — to have a great affection or care for or loyalty towards. To have loving concern towards someone. To love unconditional and self-sacrificially.
Jesus helping us understand church, that we are not only to love our neighbors, but our enemies as well.
And we cannot do this apart from the Holy Spirit living in us and working through us.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I can’t, He can, and I need to let Him!!!
If someone plays the victim of lives with a victim mentality, this will not be possible because they will be self-focused and self-absorbed.
People who play the victim all the time, cannot see past or forgive the offense that someone did to them
At some point church, we are all victims, but it is only respond to our offenses in a godly way that we can love our enemies.
And by the way, the love of the world is based on feelings, the love we are talking about here is based on fact and action.
Our feelings will tell us to not love our enemies, while God’s word (Fact) tells us to love them well.
Having this love is of the Father.
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
We must abide in the Lord to share this love church.
Paul says it like this:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
You know what is interesting about this text?
Love is ..... they are all verbs a a verb is an action word, therefore, love moves, love acts, love does something. It is not idle, but serves the unlovable....
We are to love our neighbors and our enemies regardless of how they behave.
Love the sinner church, hate the sin!!!
The inner attitudes of our hearts are the precursors and the catalyst to loving others well.
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.
The bottom line church, over and over in the Word we are called to love God and love our neighbors.
And Jesus is teaching us here that we are to love our enemies.
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Jesus lists three ways we can love our enemies here church:
We are can love our enemies when they curse us, by blessing them. The word curse here means that our enemies wish doom on us and even wish us evil.
We can love our enemies by doing good and not evil to them.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the Lord will reward you.
Coals in the Bible often refer to judgement and purification.
3. We can love our enemies, even when they are using us by praying for them church.
It is important that we hear what Jesus is teaching us here,
We are to bless, do good, and pray for our enemies church!
When we pray for our enemies we will eradicate the:
Unforgiveness in our hearts.
The bitterness will flee.
Look at what the Scripture says:
that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
We are never more like God than when we pray for our enemies and love them well.
For it rains on the just and unjust.
God send the sun to both the evil and the good.
For if he did not we would be able to tell by a person is unjust by their crops.
They could understand this analogy because they were an agrarian community.
The bottom line is loving others both friend and foe is the recipe for a happy life.
You show me someone who plays the victim and I will show you someone who is miserable.
For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?
Jesus was well acquainted with the selfish, superficial love of the Pharisees.
They were known for favoring those who supported their traditions and mandates, and rejecting or condemning those who were deemed unworthy.
There was little compassion shown to those who were viewed outside their circle of influence.
This was not love at all; it was simply a response to those who benefited their goals. Our world is filled with those who possess a selective love or favor, but very few love unconditionally.
If we are to reflect the change that has been made in our lives and the Lord we serve, we must be willing to love all men, regardless of color, creed, denomination, or affiliation.
That does not mean we must love their ways or ideals, but we must love them!
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
This has been a very perplexing problem for many because they have not known the Greek.
How can any Christian be perfect as God in heaven is perfect?
The words “be ye perfect” are a quotation for the Old Testament, from Deuteronomy 18:13.
The Hebrew word translated perfect means whole or complete.
The Greek word here means complete or mature.
God is totally complete and supremely mature in His love towards all. In the same way, Christians are to have a complete and mature love towards all.
POINT: It is not an incomplete and imperfect l love that is, just for friends) but a complete and mature love embraces our enemies.
A. The Bible tells us that God is love and that He loved men when they were yet His enemies. Man naturally is a rebel and alienated from God. But when men were opposed to God, God sent His Son to die on the cross. He loved the unlovely. And we are called to do the same in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Not by strength, nor by power, but by My Spirt says the Lord of Hosts!
How do you love those not like you? How do you love your enemies?
Lord, this is a difficult teaching, one that we cannot do or keep apart from you working in our hearts. Father please forgive us for not loving our neighbors and enemies well. Please show us our hearts Lord in this area and teach us over and over to love and listen well not only to those who love us, but especially to our enemies. God open doors for us to bless our enemies and to do good to those who use us, moment by moment, and day by day.
In Jesus Name, We Love You!!! Amen
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
THE LORD BLESS YOU!
YOUR MISSION STARTS NOW!