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*"Am I Really Supposed to Love My Enemies?"* by Erik Estep \\ \\ Luke 6:27-6:31 \\ \\ “Am I Really Supposed to Love My Enemies?” \\ Luke 6: 27-31 \\ October 26, 2003 \\ \\ Intro: Today we are concluding our series of messages entitled “Hot Topics in Religion.”
And we’re going to examine the question “Am I Really Supposed to Love My Enemies?”
The answer to the question is YES.
We really are supposed to love our enemies.
\\ -Now I don’t know @ you but that seems impossible.
How in the world can you love someone who doesn’t love you?
How in the world can you love someone who wants to do you harm and tear you down?
It’s much easier for me to love people who already love me.
\\ -I have no trouble at all loving my wife, Emily.
We got married b~/c we love each other.
We enjoy being w~/one another.
Emily is genuinely interested in who I am as a person and, believe it or not, after 11 years of marriage I still want to impress her b~/c what she thinks @ me is important.
\\ -I don’t have any trouble loving my children.
They’re a part of who I am.
I take care of them and have a genuine interest in seeing them grow up to be good, productive citizens.
\\ -Now there are times when we all get on each others nerves.
There are times when we have arguments and fight w~/one another.
But at the end of the day we still love each other.
But Jesus comes along and tosses in this monkey wrench of saying that not only are we to love those who love us but we’re even to love those who don’t love us!
Many of us read that and think, “Are you kidding me?” \\ -Late one summer evening in Broken Bow, Nebraska, a weary truck driver pulled his rig into an all-night truck stop.
The waitress had just served him when three tough looking, leather jacketed motorcyclists - of the Hell’s Angels type - decided to give him a hard time.
Not only did they verbally abuse him, one grabbed the hamburger off his plate, another took a handful of his french fries, and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it.
\\ -How would you respond?
Well, this trucker did not respond as one might expect.
Instead, he calmly rose, picked up his check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the cash register, and went out the door.
The waitress followed him to put the money in the till and stood watching out the door as the big truck drove away into the night.
\\ -When she returned, one of the bikers said to her, "Well, he’s not much of a man, is he?"
She replied, "I don’t know about that, but he sure ain’t much of a truck driver.
He just ran over three motorcycles on his way out of the parking lot." \\ -Sounds like justice, doesn’t it?
When someone wrongs us our first instinct is to get them back!
Our first instinct is to make them hurt as much as they hurt us.
That is the world’s answer to being wronged.
But Jesus gives His followers a different response they’re to have.
He tells us we’re to love our enemies.
\\ \\ Sermon Idea: Today in our passage of Scripture we’re going to see Jesus sharing w~/His followers how they’re to respond to those who are their enemies.
Now some of you might think, “I don’t have to worry @ this b~/c I don’t have any enemies.”
Just to be truthful, if you don’t have any now you’re going to have some pretty soon.
It’s one of the unfortunate things in life that there are some people who are never, ever going to like you no matter what you do.
\\ -So the question becomes “How are you going to respond to people like that?” Jesus answers that question for us today.
\\ \\ TEXT: LUKE 6: 27-31 \\ \\ Bckgrd: This section of Scripture is known as the Sermon on the Mount, which is recognized as the greatest sermon ever preached.
And it’s in this section where Jesus lays out the foundational truths for Xianity.
And one of the foundational truths of the Xian faith is that we are to love our enemies.
\\ -Now I’m going to be honest w~/you.
That’s a bizarre and hard teaching.
So the question we’re going to answer is “How am I to respond to my enemies?”
Jesus shares w~/us 3 responses we’re to have towards our enemies.
And the 1st response you’re to have toward your enemies is: \\ \\ DIV.
27) \\ \\ Exp: I don’t think it’s too hard to imagine this was a teaching that was totally foreign to the society of this day.
It’s even foreign to our society as well.
But even the religious leaders were confused by this teaching of Jesus.
\\ A. The rabbis were teaching at this time, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”
Makes sense to me.
My guess is most of us would be pretty good at following this law.
But you know what?
It doesn’t take any supernatural power to do that.
Jesus said in v. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?
Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.”
\\ 1.
When Jesus calls us to love those who hate us, He’s calling for us to do something that’s totally contrary to our human nature.
Human nature tells us to get revenge!
Human nature tells us when someone messes w~/us we’re going to lay the hammer down on them.
\\ a.
The thought is if we get back at them they’ll know not to mess w~/us anymore.
Plus we think that revenge is sweet; that it’s going to make us feel better.
But guess what.
Hatred is a horrible tool that literally destroys us! \\ b.
It destroys us physically.
Scientific studies have been done to show the damage hatred does.
Anger causes your blood pressure and breathing rate to increase which causes a strain on your heart making you more susceptible to heart attacks and stroke.
It also can trigger headaches and lead to abusive behavior.
It can break down your immune system and cause you to be susceptible to various diseases.
\\ 2. Hatred also can destroy you emotionally.
It wears you out and makes your judgment less effective leading to bad decision making.
Often times the result of hatred is outbursts that can cause us to be embarrassed.
This can lead to feelings of guilt and depression.
Another side effect of always being angry and having intense hatred is not many people will enjoy being around you. \\ a.
Of course, hatred destroys you spiritually.
We’re told throughout the Bible that the essence of God is love.
And if we are harboring hatred in our hearts then we’re living contrary to God’s command to love each other.
The result of that is a disconnect from God. \\ b.
Ps. 66: 18 says, “If I have sin in my heart God will not hear me.”
Folks, there are probably a lot of us who feel disconnected from God, who feel distant from God b~/c we’re harboring things in our lives that aren’t supposed to be there.
\\ B. Have you ever noticed when you’re angry at someone it becomes the focus of your life?
It doesn’t matter what’s going on around you, your thoughts and focus are totally upon the person who’s wronged you and you become trapped in that hatred to where it’s hard to function properly as a person and as a follower of God.
\\ 1.
So how can we gain freedom from being imprisoned by anger?
Jesus said it’s by doing good to those who hate you.
One thing we all have control over is how we’re going to respond.
And if you make the choice to respond to those who hate you, to those who are angry at you by doing good to them, you’re going to diffuse a tense situation.
\\ a.
For one it will totally confuse the one who hates you b~/c they’re expecting you to respond in anger.
It will also diffuse some of the anger they have toward you.
It’s really hard for someone to continue to hate you when you do them good.
Kindness and love change people.
\\ \\ ILLUS: Watchman Nee told a story @ a Chinese Xian man who owned a rice paddy next to his.
The Xian man irrigated his paddy by pumping water out of a canal.
Every day, after the Xian had pumped enough water to fill his paddy, the Communist man would come out, remove the boards that kept the water in his neighbor’s paddy, and allow the water to drain into his paddy so he wouldn’t have to pump the water.
\\ -This continued for some time, until the Xian was just fed up w~/it.
He prayed, “Lord, if this keeps up I’m going to lose all my rice, maybe even my field.
What can I do?”
The Lord responded by putting this thought in his mind.
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