Topical - Love Your Enemiew (Part 2)
I. The Real Meaning of Human Relationships, 5:43-48
A. (5:43) — The Tradition of the Jews
1. Love and hate.
a) You have heard that it was said…
(1) This does not refer to the Old Testament Teaching
(2) Does refer to what the Rabbis & teachers had taught them about their tradition
b) Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.
(1) This is based on (Leviticus 19:17-18)
(a) They omitted “Love your neighbor as yourself”
(b) They added “hate your enemies”
(a) to justify their hate & accommodate their evil hearts
(b) because on the inside they were filled with hate
(c) many today fall into the same mistake as Israel. They interpret “neighbors” to be only their friends and those who live close by.
B. (5:44) — The Truth of Jesus
The Real meaning of the law “to love” involves four practical acts.
1. Love your enemies
· Believers are to love all men, even enemies.
· They are to respect and honor all men (1 Peter 2:17).
· Every human being has something that is commendable, even if it is nothing but the fact that he is a fellow human being with a soul to be reached for God.
a) Enemy is encompassed in the term “neighbor”
(1) The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
(a) Your neighbor is “anybody”in your path, friend or foe who has a need.
Note Three Facts.
a) Loving our enemies is against human nature
(1) Our reaction is to strike back, hate, and wish hurt.
(2) The root of human reaction against enemies is self and bitterness.
b) There is one thing can have for his enemy: mercy or compassion
(1) If a believer does not have compassion for those who hate him, he has gained nothing of the spirit of Christ (Luke 6:36).
c) It is God-like to love your enemies
(1) We were enemies to God, but God demonstrated His love by dying for us (Romans 5:10, 8)
2. Bless those who curse you
a) “To bless” means that a person has to speak.
(1) Christ is saying to speak softly to the curser (Proverbs 15:1). Use kind, friendly words.
(2) When face to face, be courteous; when behind his back, commend his strengths.
(3) Do not render “railing for railing,” that is, do not condemn or attack him in bitter or abusive language (1 Peter 3:9).
(4) If we react with sharp, harsh words, it will only stir up more anger and hate in the curser.
b) Cursing is a Serious Sin to God – Three Types of Swearing
(1) Habitual swearing—Unworthy of serious attention.
(a) The unrighteous are said to have “mouths full of cursing and bitterness”—Romans 3:10-14
(2) Hypocritical swearing
(a) There are those who “bless God” in one breath and turn around and “curse men” the next breath.
But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. (James 3:8-10 NKJV)
(3) Silent wearing
(a) This is secretly cursing others “within your heart.”
For many times, also, your own heart has known That even you have cursed others. (Ecclesiastes 7:22)
c) The Curser has two major Problems
(1) He has a weak self-image—he has to play the big boy or big man to come across as being strong.
(2) He either does not know the Lord or is very immature and weak in the Lord. Therefore, he desperately needs the blessing and help of the believer.
3. Do good to those who hate you
a) “Doing good” goes beyond words.
(1) It does things for the person who hates.
· It reaches out to him through his family or friends, employment or business.
· It searches for ways to do good to him, realizing that he needs to be reached for God.
· If no immediate way is found, then the Christian patiently waits for the day when he will face one of the crises that comes to every human being (for example, sickness, accident, death). And then the believer goes and does good, ministering to him as Christ Himself ministered.
(2) The greatest proof of love is “doing good to those who hate you.”
"But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, "bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. (Luke 6:27-28)
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." (Romans 12:20)
“See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all” (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
"If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden, and you would refrain from helping it, you shall surely help him with it” (Exodus 23:5)
4. Pray for your persecutors
“Agape love” can take a criminal who has robbed me & threatened my life & by God’s grace this love can take this person who has treated me the worst & make them the object of my prayers
a) Three things that need to be prayed about:
(1) For God to forgive the persecutor (Luke 23:34 cf. Acts 7:60)
(a) Jesus could physically no longer walk around touching the blind eyes, touching the deaf ears, because His hands are now held fast to that cross.
(b) Though He cannot minister in an active way, walking around their villages any more, still there's one avenue of ministry left. And He exercises it; the ministry of prayer. And He prays for them. And the prayer of Jesus was answered (Acts 2:14-41)
(c) Acts 7:60 – Stephen’s last act was to kneel in prayer and to plead for his persecutors and murderers. He possessed the very spirit of Christ Himself, who had prayed the same prayer (Luke 23:34).
(2) For Peace Between One’s Self and the Persecutor
(3) For the Persecutors Salvation
b) Prayer for the persecutor will greatly benefit the believer.
(1) It will keep the believer from becoming bitter, hostile, or to react in a wrong manner.
C. (v.45-47) – The Incentive to Love Your Neighbor is Three Fold.
1. Makes you a child of God (v.45a)
a) Love is unmistakable proof that a person truly loves and truly knows God.
(1) A believer cannot hate another person—not a true believer.
(a) If a person says he loves God and hates some person, he needs to search his heart.
(b) He lacks the genuineness demanded by God (1 John 4:19-21; 1 John 3:23; cp. John 13:33-34).
(c) When we love as God loves, in the eyes of everyone it becomes clear who we belong to.
(2) God sent His Son to die in our place in order that we might become His Sons
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" (Galatians 4:4-6)
(3) To not do righteousness & to not love your brother, manifest that you are a child of the devil.
In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:10)
2. Make’s you like God (v.45b)
a) God loves His enemies.
(1) God does not hold back His goodness from His enemies (common grace)
(a) He causes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on His enemies as well as on those who love Him. The Christian is to be just like God:
(a) In loving his enemies, the Christian becomes more and more like God. He becomes godly.
(2) Man was created in the image of God, therefore mans very purpose for being is to glorify God and to be like God (Matthew 5:48).
(3) No man can look at God’s nature and learn hatred
(a) God’s sunshine and rain bless all.
(a) There is no indication of favoritism in the sunshine and the rain.
(b) We would be selective on whom the sun would shine if we were in control
The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Psalms 145:15-16)
(c) Therefore, the learning of reaction and hatred does not come from without man, but from within man (Mark 7:21; cp. Matthew 12:34-35; Luke 6:45).
3. Makes a person distinctive from other men (v.46-47)
We must exceed our fellow man
a) A believer must do more than others. He must go beyond what others do.
(1) Thought 1— Motives have to be watched.
(a) Our motive must be to reach out to the unfriendly, even the enemies of Christ.
(b) We must not seek to be nice out of self-interest (Luke 6:35)
(2) Thought 2—If we love only those who love us, think of how divided the world would be.
(3) Thought 3—It is the task of the believer to do more and go beyond.
(4) Thought 4—God has done more and gone beyond by sending His Son into the world John 3:16
(a) The believer knows this; therefore, it is his calling to do more and go beyond
· 2Cor.5:18-20—we have the ministry of reconciliation… ambassadors for Christ
· Matthew 5:42—give to those who would ask and do not turn away
· Romans 12:13—be given to hospitality
· Galatians 6:10—as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men
D. (5:48)—The charge: Be perfect
The idea is perfection of purpose. It has to do with an end, an aim, a goal, a purpose. It means fit, mature, fully grown at a particular stage of growth.
It does not mean perfection of character, without sin. It is fitness, maturity for task and purpose. It is full development, maturity of godliness ( Ephes. 4:12-16; cp. Phil. 3:12-16; 1 John 1:8-10.)
The Bible reveals three stages of perfection.
1. Saving Perfection (Heb.10:14)
2. Progressive Perfection
a) The believer is experiencing “the perfecting of the saints”
(1) The Lord does His perfecting in us in different ways.
(a) By pastors and teachers us (Eph.4:11-12)
(b) By brothers who labor in prayer (Col.4:12)
(c) By His Word (2Tim.3:16-17)
(d) By warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom (Col.1:28
(e) By trials (James 1:4)
(f) By Him doing the work in us (Heb 13:21 cf. Phil.2:13)
3. Redemptive Perfection (Phil.3:11-12) – This is the believers purpose and aim!
The Lord’s point is this:
The mature believer will do good and show kindness to all men, both good and bad men. He is mature in heart when he shows love to his enemies as well as to his friends.
God Himself is the believer’s example in this ( John 13:33-35).
Think about the challenge: The true Christian...
...has his enemies, yet he is to love them.
...has his cursers, yet he is to bless them.
...has his haters, yet he is to do good to them.
...has his spiters, yet he is to pray for them.
...has his persecutors, yet he is to pray for them.