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A Different Kind of Love (7)

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Love defined

I have preached many sermons about love and one thing remains true, the more I study it, the more I continue to learn. This word love agapao in the Greek is what the church struggles with even today.
Just as faith is an action, so is love. If you say you have faith, yet you never act on it, your faith is dead. If you say you have love yet you never put it into action, your love does not exist. This morning I want to share with you the importance of love and how it truly defines the core of who you are.
I. Love In Action Towards Enemies“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
“Love your enemies” was not what the scribes were teaching the people. They were saying, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy” (). 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
By means of this addition—“and hate your enemy”—the emphasis was shifted away from the real intention of the law.
By means of this addition—“and hate your enemy”—the emphasis was shifted away from the real intention of the law.
What did the Leviticus writer say: 19:18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
The Pharisees and religious leaders were happy to interpret as a right to hate certain people since the Lord said bear a grudge against the sons of your own people. SO we can hate the Roman oppressors and we can hate the heathen. Why they are not our people. This prevailing attitude has gripped our country today. If a person does not look like us, a different race than us, a different background than us we have cause to hate them.
It was in the midst of this intensely narrow-minded, exclusivistic, and intolerant environment that Jesus carried on his ministry. All around him were those walls and fences. He came for the very purpose of bursting those barriers, so that love—pure, warm, divine, infinite—would be able to flow straight down from the heart of God, hence from his own marvelous heart, into the hearts of men. His love overleaped all the boundaries of race, nationality, party, age, sex, etc.
When he said, “Love your enemies,” he must have startled his audience, for he was saying something that probably never before had been said so succinctly, positively, and forcefully.
“The conclusion remains that the first one who has taught mankind to see the neighbor in every human being, and therefore to encounter every human being in love was Jesus;
Jesus shows this in the parable of The Good Samaritan.”(see ).
“And who is my neighbor?” but should prove himself neighbor to the man in need, whoever that might be (see ).
records Jesus explaining to His disciples about love in action. You see, it was not enough to just say you love someone, He actually explained to them that love is an action. During the time that Jesus taught this lesson to His disciples, the Jews were being oppressed by the Romans and therefore they hated them. When Jesus told the people to love their enemies, many could not do it and chose to stop following Him. You see, it is much easier to hate than it is to love. But you must understand, Jesus was not talking about having “affection” for enemies, He was talking about an act of the will.
Baker New Testament Commentary: Luke A. 6:27–38 The Light of Love He Commends

When he said, “Love your enemies,” he must have startled his audience, for he was saying something that probably never before had been said so succinctly, positively, and forcefully. Thorough research of all the relevant sources resulted in the statement: “The conclusion remains that the first one who has taught mankind to see the neighbor in every human being, and therefore to encounter every human being in love was Jesus; see the parable of The Good (literally, the Compassionate) Samaritan.” Without in any way denying that statement one might add, Jesus taught the people that one should not even ask, “And who is my neighbor?” but should prove himself neighbor to the man in need, whoever that might be (see Luke 10:36).

Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Vol. 11, p. 348). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
records Jesus explaining to His disciples about love in action. You see, it was not enough to just say you love someone, He actually explained to them that love is an action. During the time that Jesus taught this lesson to His disciples, the Jews were being oppressed by the Romans and therefore they hated them. When Jesus told the people to love their enemies, many could not do it and chose to stop following Him. You see, it is much easier to hate than it is to love. But you must understand, Jesus was not talking about having “affection” for enemies, He was talking about an act of the will.
records Jesus explaining to His disciples about love in action. You see, it was not enough to just say you love someone, He actually explained to them that love is an action. During the time that Jesus taught this lesson to His disciples, the Jews were being oppressed by the Romans and therefore they hated them. When Jesus told the people to love their enemies, many could not do it and chose to stop following Him. You see, it is much easier to hate than it is to love. But you must understand, Jesus was not talking about having “affection” for enemies, He was talking about an act of the will.
You must Make a Choice to Love
This is what many people fail to understand in their relationships, love is a choice, an act of your will. Just as you can choose to hate, you have to make the choice to love and this is what Jesus was talking about. You can’t “fall into” this kind of love, it takes a conscious effort.
look at these powerful verses: 27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.
This radical but its necessary. This kind of love takes much prayer, much concession, much humbling. It takes efforts! It much easier to hate than love! It means saying I’m sorry. This kind of love brings you peace.
Loving our enemies means acting in their best interest.
Loving our enemies means acting in their best interest.
In the ,  But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
after Jesus tell the disciples to love their enemies, He then explains to them how to do it. In verse 27 He says “do good to those who hate you.” This is the first step and it is a huge one because it goes against everything that we have been taught. We justify our “unwillingness” to do this by saying something like “they won’t receive it anyway….they do not like me or won’t have anything to do with me…”
We need to understand that it is not about the person, but about us. Whether a person chooses to receive the love is not a condition or requirement of us showing it. Making the step to do good to those that hate you becomes a defining moment in the rest of your life. In verse 28 Jesus says “bless those who curse you” and “pray for those who mistreat you”.
The second part we do not have a problem with, but the first part of this verse hinders us. The world says “do unto others as or before they do unto you”.
So by the world’s standard, we find good Christians cussing one another out. Someone said “I’ll go there with you if you want to go there.”
Jesus was teaching that we should choose not to go there regardless of if someone else wants to. Speaking a blessing to someone who curses you is for your benefit but it will have an impact on the other person. You may not see it, but it will burn in their minds. I believe God wants us to open the door so that He can do the rest. If our actions open the door instead of closing them, then God has something to work with when He is dealing with those who are lost.
Michelle Obama said when they go low we go High!
The second part of the verse says to pray. We do not have a problem praying for those who get on our nerves. Oftentimes we pray that God will “give them what they deserve” so that we can get even, but this is not what Jesus was saying. He was saying that we should pray for their good, not for their destruction. Again, this is love in action by choice.
The exhortation, in fact, builds up to a climax: not only must there be love in the heart, love even for “enemies,” plus, in general, good treatment, but even more specifically, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you,” meaning at least this,
“In all sincerity ask the Lord to bless those who curse you; be sure to show kindness to them and to intercede for them at the throne of grace.”
Even more strikingly Jesus adds, 29a. To the one who strikes you on the cheek offer also the other (cheek). What did he mean?
He means our there should be no need for retaliation. That’s easy. Yet self control and restraint will go a long way. When the officer smacked Jesus in John Chapter 20 how did Jesus react? 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” Jesus could have stricken him dead. He was God in the flesh. Yet to show authority he restrained himself.
Once this is understood it becomes clear that “turning the other cheek” means to show in attitude, word, and deed that one is not filled with the spirit of rancor but with the spirit of love.
presents an excellent commentary. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
In other words, Jesus condemns the spirit of lovelessness, hatred, yearning for revenge. He is saying, “Do not resist the evildoer with measures that arise from an unloving, unforgiving, unrelenting, vindictive disposition.”
What, then, did Jesus mean? When his words are read in the light of what immediately precedes in verses 27, 28, and when Matthew’s parallel (5:39 f.) is read in the light of what follows in verses 43–48, it becomes clear that the key passage, identical in both Gospels, is, “Love your enemies” (; ). In other words, Jesus condemns the spirit of lovelessness, hatred, yearning for revenge. He is saying, “Do not resist the evildoer with measures that arise from an unloving, unforgiving, unrelenting, vindictive disposition.” Once this is understood it becomes clear that “turning the other cheek” means to show in attitude, word, and deed that one is not filled with the spirit of rancor but with the spirit of love. presents an excellent commentary.
Jesus goes on in the remaining verses explaining how we should walk in a spirit of forgiveness and generosity. How many of you carry a little black book around with the names, dates and the amount of the loan of people that owe you money?
Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Vol. 11, p. 349). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
Jesus goes on in the remaining verses explaining how we should walk in a spirit of forgiveness and generosity. How many of you carry a little black book around with the names, dates and the amount of the loan of people that owe you money?
What would you say if Jesus asked you to write the debt off, destroy the book and be available to give again without expecting it back in return? That is exactly what He says in verse 30. Now I need you to examine closely what He says in verse 32. He says “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” He says the same thing about doing good to those who do good to you. It is easy to love someone who loves you.
It is very easy to give to someone who is constantly giving to you. The hard part comes when you are doing it for someone who couldn’t care less about you. We have more compassion for those we do not know and cannot see than those we interact with on a daily basis. When the Hurricane Hit Texas, Louisiana we were quick to give. Even money was sent to Puerto Rico. They are faceless people. We are more apt to help faceless people then to help the person we see every day.
The everyday person who is walking among us, who are in need of food, shelter, and love? If they do not look like us or act like us do we help them?
What about those who choose violence as a means for dealing with life – do they need love? It is very easy to love the lovable, but difficult to love someone who has nothing to offer you in return or chooses not to offer you anything although they have everything.
I had to learn to love even the unlovable. Why because Jesus loved me. Song writer said
Amazing Grace shall always be my song of praise For it was grace that bought my liberty I do not know just how He came to love me so He looked beyond my faults and saw my need
In verse 35, Jesus begins His summary of the lesson. What comes through those verses is that love is an action. He points out that one way to put love to work is to take the initiative in meeting specific needs. Again, this is easy to do with people who love us, people whom we trust; but loves means doing this even to those who dislike us or plan to hurt us.
Jesus says in verse 38 “Give and it shall be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” When I read this verse, I think of when I was growing up as a child. On most Sunday mornings my father would go to the store and buy the Sunday paper and cereal for our breakfast. Although there was a variety of cereals that we ate, on some Sundays he would bring home “special cereal” like Frosted Flakes. When I was a child we had specific bowls for cereal and they did not hold a lot and we could not get seconds. So when I poured the first amount in the bowl I would smash it down so I could get more into the bowl. Thank God for the large Tupperware bowls so I no longer have to do this. Anyway, this is the image that I see when I read this verse. I have heard (and read myself) this verse for many years when it is time to take up an offering. The message was that if you gave more to the Church then more would be returned to you – good measure and pressed down. Although I believe that God honors what we give through our tithes and offerings, this particular verse was not pertaining to that type of giving. When you read this verse separate from the others it would give the impression that all you have to do is give and you will receive your return. However, this verse is actually talking about you giving to and “loving” those who have are your enemies and then it would be credited to you. And it was not just talking about giving money, but included giving your time and love in addition to your material things.
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