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Summary: Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek so that we will be "like your Father in heaven" but what about all that Old Testament carnage that He commanded? How does loving our enemies apply to the modern politics of war?

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Dakota Community Church

May 4, 2008

Love & War

Jesus said we are supposed to turn the other cheek when an enemy strikes us, right; but what about all that Old Testament talk about mighty warriors and the armies of God, and how does modern conservative Christian teaching about patriotism and serving God and country tie in? Is there a contradiction here?

I want to begin today by stating that I am not trying to make political statements or to judge anyone or any group. This is a place of grace; we all need it desperately, so I don’t want to inspire division.

I do want to preach and teach on this important aspect of human life and I will not avoid it simply to keep our comfort zones safe and unchallenged.

Joshua 6:20-21

When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

Judges 15:14

The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.

1 Samuel 15:2-3

This is what the LORD Almighty says: ’I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ "

2 Samuel 23:8-10

These are the names of David’s mighty men: Josheb was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter. Next to him was Eleazar ... then the men of Israel retreated, but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.

Matthew 5:38-39

You have heard that it was said, ’Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.‘ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

John 14:8-9

Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."

Jesus answered: "Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.

John 14:11

Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.

So what of this contradiction?

Exodus 15:2-5

The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.

Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea.

1. We are created in the image of a warrior.


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