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Summary: Jesus calls us to love those who are hard for US to love

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INTRODUCTION

• VIDEO CLIP PC

• SLIDE #1

• It is not always easy to love others. We picture love as something that is feeling based or emotional based.

• For most people, it is easy to love people close to them. We can love our children, our spouses, our family and friends. We can love people who are good to us, or people who do things for us.

• In this part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is going to give us one of the most difficult things for us to do, love our enemies, love people who are mean to us or who persecute us for doing the right thing.

• Why would Jesus expect such a thing out of us? How many of you want to love someone who is mean to you? There has to more to love than just a feeling if Jesus is commanding us to love?

• I hope that after today’s message that if you are struggling with loving people you may not like, or if you are having trouble loving a spouse, child or someone who used to be close to you, that this message will help you.

• For everyone else, we all need some help and encouragement loving people who have wronged us or who are not too nice to us.

• Let us begin with verse 43

• SLIDE #2

Matthew 5:43 ( ESV ) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

• Let’s begin by looking at how things were.

• SLIDE #3

SERMON

I. Love the LOVEABLE (verse 43)

• This is the sixth way that our righteousness is to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, the way that we choose to love.

• Jesus is quoting in part Leviticus 19:18 which says,

• SLIDE #4

Leviticus 19:18 ( ESV ) 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.

• You will notice in verse 43 that there are a couple of differences between what Jesus says and what Leviticus says. Notice two things. First, there is no reference to hating anyone and notice that God told the people that they were to love their neighbors as they loved themselves.

• What Jesus has done in this instance is He has combined the scripture with the commonly taught practice of the day.

• In the context of Leviticus 19 and other Old Testament passages, the Jews understood their neighbor being fellow Jews. They were under the false impression that they did not have to love those who were not Jews.

• The part about hating an enemy came from an inference that the Jews made from the Old Testament.

• When the Israelites were taking possession of the Promised Land, God told them to kill EVERYONE and not to make treaties with any of the inhabitants of the Promised Land (Ex 34:11-16 as an example).

• They drew the inference that God hated these people and therefore the Jews were to hate them as enemies.

• The Jews considered all the Gentiles to be their enemies.

• The truth of the matter was not that God hated these people, but they along with their false religions would drag the Israelites away from God.

• In the Jewish writings there were all kinds of disparaging things said about the gentiles. The Jews felt that they could hate these people and that they did not have to save one of them if they were dying.

• They people had an utter contempt for the gentiles. This is one of the reasons that the story of the Good Samaritan had such a stinging message for the religious leaders.

• The Jews of Jesus day were bent of revenge and justice for anyone who wronged them. Remember the context of last week’s sermon on going the extra mile.

• God never intended for His people to be a people of hate, they were to be an example to the rest of the world as to how God’s people were to conduct themselves, much like the church is today.

• Jesus is going to tell us that there is a better way for those who belong to His kingdom. (ISN’T IT EASY TO HATE PEOPLE?) Life is short.

• The natural way for us the deal with people is to basically treat them the way that they treat us; Jesus will tell us that His people will act in a different manner.

• Let’s look at verses 44-45

• SLIDE #5

Matthew 5:44-45 ( ESV ) But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

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