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Summary: The final message in a 7-Part Series, Shift - A New Way of Thinking. In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus challenges His disciples to follow His example and love their enemies.

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God Is Love • Matthew 5:43-48 • Easter Weekend

INTRODUCTION: God is not focused on MODIFYING BEHAVIOR by His laws. He wants to TRANSFORM LIVES by His love. This is the power of the resurrection!

I. God loves without DISCRIMINATION. (v. 43-45a)

Many read Jesus’ words here and conclude that it is simply impossible and therefore Jesus cannot really mean what He says about our enemies… so we can ignore this one.

I encourage you to search the pages of Scripture and if you do you will discover that nowhere does the Bible instruct us to hate our enemy even though hatred for the enemy has often been taken for granted as normal (as they were thinking here).

ILLUSTRATION: Preselect those we will love and hate… (Racism in Memphis growing up)

God loves without discrimination. Why?

Good News: I am His CREATION!

You and I have been created in the image of God. We are His craftsmanship… Problem is simply that all of us have sinned… Romans 3:23.

Devil has a great trick… he has you convinced that you are the worst person here… James 4:4… friendship with the world… enemy of God… BUT God demonstrates His love…

He doesn’t discriminate… because His love extends to the just and the unjust alike… you are His child… His creation… when we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute we are a true reflection of His love…

II. God loves regardless of our SITUATION. (v 45b)

Tendency is to view God’s love through the lens of our circumstances… once more we compare… they aren’t having to endure this and I am = God must love them more… God, I keep praying and praying and every time I pray things get worse…

And then the enemy pushes a step further… God if you were so loving and you cared so much then why is my life in such a mess?

And over time as that grows within us we begin to simply trust ourselves and do it our way because God is not paying attention anyway…

READ V 45B… who is in control here?

Good News: I am not FORGOTTEN!

God brings affliction into our lives for two reasons

1) to make us aware of our need for a Savior (2 Peter 3:8-9)

2) to refine us for His glory (Isaiah 48:9-11)

ILLUSTRATION: Darryl in Alabama…

III. God loves without RESTRICTION.

Jesus now identifies several groups who were not thought of as neighbors… if there were any questions… none here..

Tax folks have a bad reputation today but it’s nothing like it was in 1st Century Palestine… Romans used tax-farming system… Gov decided how much was to be collected from a certain area and appoint a man to collect it. These appointed men would then appoint several men under him, etc… Every appointee had to obtain a certain quota and whatever else he received he could keep. In that system, as you can imagine, bribery and corruption was everywhere. So when Jesus was accused of eating with tax collectors… it was not a compliment…

Jesus says my love knows no restrictions… and my love working through those who are my disciples must know no restrictions.

Matthew 27:50f (Heb. 9:2f) - The curtain between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place was an elaborately woven fabric of 72 twisted plaits of 24 threads each. It was 60 feet (18 m) high and 30 feet (9.1 m) wide. No one was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place behind the curtain except the high priest, and he only once a year, on the Day of Atonement (Heb. 9:2–7). Torn in two signifies the removal of the separation between God and the people. An extended commentary on this event, and the heavenly reality that it symbolized, is found in Heb. 9:11–10:22; see especially Heb. 9:12, 24; 10:19–20.

Good News: I do not have to EARN His love! The CROSS is the measure of His love

READ Passages...

John 3:16

For God So Loved the World

16 “For h God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives u in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

1 John 4:10

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Romans 5:8

but l God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

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