Summary: Working through the Gospel of Luke using consecutive expository preaching.
“Love Your Enemies”
A sermon for 5/16/21
Pastor John Bright
Luke 6 “27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”
It’s providential that this passage on the awesome extent of our love for others will fall on Ascension Sunday. I have been studying a new book lately on that part of the Creeds – “He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father.” The name of the book is “The Unseen Real: Life in the Light of the Ascension of Jesus” and it was written by Dr. Stephen Seamands. Let me run something past you – in the Gospel of John, Jesus spoke to his disciples in the Upper Room and explained that they were to be part of him – John 15:5 “5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” If we are not in Christ and Christ is not in us – we do nothing for God – no fruit – no nothing. We want to make sure that does not happen… right?
There is an interesting verse Ephesians chapter 2 that tells us we are seated with Christ this morning – in heaven, no less. I would imagine that everyone here thought you were seated in a church pew or the seat of your car. Let me read a few verses to you – Ephesians 2: “4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” WE HAVE AN AWESOME CONNTECTION WITH THE ASCENDED JESUS – WE ARE PART OF HIM AND HE IS PART OF US – OF ALL BELIEVERS!
That’s a lot to throw at you first thing on a Sunday morning, but I need you to accept this as the truth even if it stills feels like you are sitting here like every other Sunday. That way, I can take you somewhere you may have never been before. How in the world can I do that when you have always heard these verses from Luke 6 (also found Matthew 5) so many times? We know it’s not the same today. They lived in a day without the insults of social media and everyone wanting something from you all the time – even the local church!
Here’s what we don’t understand – the Savior hanging on a cross – executed not for what He had done, but rather for my sin and your sin. (Sit with that.) The Spotless Lamb had every reason to resent what was happening and hate those who were doing it – so what did He say? “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) He’s the one that tells us to LOVE, DO GOOD TO, BLESS and PRAY FOR – the church? No. Our families? No. Our friends? No.
Who then? The haters from last week. The enemies of God’s Word. Those who say terrible things about you and your family. Even the ones who act out of pure spite – the worst of motives – to do harm to you. If we are connected to the Vine – the Ascended Jesus – and if our identity as Believers is with Christ in Heaven – we can love as Jesus loves.