Summary: Jesus shows us how: 1. Love your enemies (vs. 43-44). 2. Bless those who curse you (vs. 44). 3. Do good to those who hate you (vs. 44-45). 4. Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (vs. 43-48).
How We Should Resemble Our Heavenly Father
The Gospel of Matthew
Sermon by: Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - May 1, 2013
(Revised January 29, 2021)
*Please open your Bibles to Matthew 5:43. When we got to vs. 43-48 last week, we spent our time focused on the last verse where Jesus said, "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
*Remember that the original word for "perfect" here does not necessarily mean sinless perfection, even though our Heavenly Father is perfectly sinless. Ray Scott explained that this word for "perfect" can also mean "full-grown, mature, complete, working well, fully instructed, and reaching your goal." (1)
*God wants all of us to be growing into mature followers of Jesus Christ. He wants us to become more like our Heavenly Father every day. But we will never get there in our own strength. We must have Jesus as our Lord and Savior. He is the only person who has ever lived up to the perfect standards of God.
*Michael Luke described it this way: "Jesus was arrested, roughed up, insulted by the police. The authorities spat on Him, blindfolded Him, and slapped Him in the face. Then the Roman soldiers mocked Jesus by crowning Him with thorns, putting a purple robe on Him, and putting a reed in His hand as a make-believe scepter. They jeered at Him, 'Hail King of the Jews!' Then they scourged Him.
*Jesus had the power to strike them blind, paralyze their hands, choke them on their own spit, and condemn them to hell. But with divine dignity, the Lord held His peace. And when they nailed Him to a cross, Jesus prayed, "Father forgive them." He did not return evil for evil, but turned the other cheek. (2)
*Then Jesus died on the cross for us, so that our sins could be washed away by His blood, and we could be righteous in His sight. Jesus died so that we could live forever in perfection as part of the family of God.
*All of this and much more happens when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. So, the bottom line last week was this: Make sure you belong to the Father's family by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
*Tonight, we will see how being in God's family should affect the way we live. Please think about this as we read Matthew 5:43-48.
*It's funny how people in families resemble one another. My brother was taller than me, and he looked more like my dad. But our voices were so much alike that even our mother couldn't tell which son she was talking to on the phone.
*There will always be some kinds of resemblance in families, and I'm not just talking about our physical appearance. I'm talking about the way we talk, our mannerisms, our quirks, our habits and our attitudes.
*What's true about our earthly families is also true about God's Heavenly family: THERE WILL BE A FAMILY RESEMBLANCE. That's because saved people are born again into God's family by the Holy Spirit.
*The Lord explained this to Nicodemus in John 3:3-6:
3. Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.''
4. Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?''
5. Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
*"You must be born again," Jesus said. The reason why is because physical birth can only give physical life. Horses produce horses. Dogs produce dogs. And mortal people produce mortal people. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh."
*But "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." In other words, "That which is given birth by God's Holy Spirit is spirit. The Holy Spirit produces a new kind of person by a new kind of birth: Spiritual birth that gives us God's eternal life.
*When we are born again, we get a brand new nature, so we can and we should begin to resemble our Heavenly Father. Jesus shows us how.
1. AND FIRST: IT'S BY LOVING OUR ENEMIES.
*In vs. 43-44 Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies . . ."