Summary: No subject is more important than the subject of human relationships except perhaps that of our relationship to God.

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I. Introduction

A. The newly-married husband came home from the office to find his young wife in floods of tears. "Darling, whatever is the matter?" he asked. "Sweetheart," she sobbed, "the most terrible thing has happened! I cooked my very first Beef Bourguignon for you, and I got it out of the oven to season it, and the phone rang. When I came back from answering the phone," she sobbed again. "I found that the cat had eaten it!" "Don't worry, darling," said her husband. "Don't cry. We can get a new cat tomorrow."

B. No subject is more important than the subject of human relationships except perhaps that of our relationship to God

C. God is creating a family of believers who are to live together eternally

1. To live together in heaven, that will be glory. To live here below with the people we know, now that’s another story

2. God wants that family to live together as a family, loving each other and loving their neighbors as they should

3. God's family must never allow hate to enter their hearts

4. God's family is to treat no person as an enemy

5. Every person is to be loved as a true neighbor

a. Lets turn to Matthew 5:43

II. Body

A. The law

Matthew 5:43 (NKJV)

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.

1. Turn to Leviticus 19:18

2. The law said,

Leviticus 19:18 (NKJV)

'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.

3. Israel made two fatal mistakes in interpreting this law

a. First, they said "neighbor" meant only the people of their own community, religion, and nation

(1) They did not include anyone else

(2) In fact, they shut out and cut off everyone else

b. Second, they inferred they were to hate their enemies

(1) God said, "Love your neighbor"; therefore, they reasoned and added, "Hate your enemy."

(2) Human reason actually leads a person to think that he should oppose and hate his enemy

(3) But such is just deduced or inferred from depraved human reasoning

(4) It is not God, and it is not what God knows to be the best for the world: love, joy, peace

(a) Turn to Matthew 5:44

4. Many fall into the same mistake as Israel

a. They interpret "neighbors" to be only their friends and those who live close by

b. They never think of enemies nor of the world as a whole as their neighbors

B. The real meaning: be perfect

Matthew 5:44 (NKJV)

"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

1. Turn to Matthew 22:37-40

2. Love your enemies

3. Believers are to love all men, even enemies

Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV)

Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' {38} "This is the first and great commandment. {39} "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' {40} "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

a. Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

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