Summary: How should we resemble our Heavenly Father? -- In vs. 44, Jesus shows us 4 ways: 1. Love your enemies. 2. Bless those who curse you. 3. Do good to those who hate you. 4. Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
Live like Our Heavenly Father
Sermon by: Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - May 1, 2013
*When we got to vs. 43-48 last week, we spent our time focused on the last verse, where Jesus said: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
*Remember that this word "perfect" does not mean sinless perfection, even though our Heavenly Father is perfectly sinless. This "perfect" means "full-grown, mature, complete, working well, fully instructed, reaching your goal." But even this standard of perfection is impossibly high for human strength.
*Jesus Christ is the only person who ever reached the standard of perfection. Michael Luke described it this way: "He 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 Him by crowning Him with thorns and putting a purple robe on Him, and a weak 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, to paralyze their hands, to choke them on their own spit, to condemn them to hell. But with divine dignity, He held His peace." (1)
*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. And then He died on the cross for our sins:
-So that our sins could be washed away by His blood.
-So that we could be righteous in His sight.
-And so we could live righteously as part of the family of God.
*All of these things happen when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. 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 go deeper to see how being in God's family should affect the way we live. In order to do that, let's read Matt 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 when we got on the phone.
*There are always 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, quirks, habits and 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 God's 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 (i.e. given birth by God's 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 start to resemble our Heavenly Father. But how should we resemble our Heavenly Father? In vs. 44, Jesus shows us four ways.
1. First: By loving our enemies.
*In vs. 43&44, Jesus said:
43. "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
44. But I say to you, love your enemies."
*Going in, it's important for us to know that the scribes and Pharisees had twisted the Word of God in vs. 43. God never told us to hate our enemies. The command in Leviticus 19:18 was "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
*So the scribes and Pharisees twisted God's Word in two ways. First, they left something out. They should have said, "Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF." Then they added the teaching to "hate your enemy." The scribes and Pharisees twisted the Scripture the same ways cults do today: Adding to, and taking away from the Word of God.