Summary: This was the standard God gave the Jews a long time ago, but the religious leaders had water it down, so that the Jewish people could help who they wanted to help.
Matthew 5:43-48-“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father 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.
For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
The Jews had a lot of enemies…the Gentile, the half-breed Samaritans, publican’s or tax collector’s and hatred would especially include the Romans.
There was some debate over who was the Jewish neighbor…Remember the lawyer asked Jesus that question, and Jesus told the story about the good Samaritan.
Exodus 23:4-5-“If you find your enemy’s ox or donkey loose, take it back to him.
If you see the donkey of someone who hates you lying helpless under its load, don’t walk off and leave it. Help it up. (TMNT)
This was the standard God gave the Jews a long time ago, but the religious leaders had water it down, so that the Jewish people could help who they wanted to help.
I am sure that this teaching of hating their enemies was a popular message!
I am sure that, that kind of message made the priest popular!
Why not hate those who oppress you, use you, are mean to you, expressly if the priest is saying it is ok!
Why would I want to love my enemies and be good to those who hate me?
1-It shows me that I am being transformed, it shows me that God is working in my life, because I know how I would react to people who hate me, people who curse me, people who use me, or persecute me.
2-It shows me that I am behaving like Jesus would.
1 Peter 2:23-who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; (NKJV)
1 Peter 2:23-They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. (TMNT)
1 Peter 2:23-When he was insulted, he did not retaliate. When he suffered, he did not threaten but made it his habit to commit the matter to the one who judges fairly. (ISV)
That You May Be Sons Of Your Father In Heaven
These acts won’t get you into heaven, but these acts will show who you belong to!!
Remember the old saying…The apple don’t fall far from the tree!
We should be so close to God, that we act like Him, Talk like Him, Think like Him, because we are His children, and we should act like it!
What Reward Have You
Luke 14:12-14-Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
I am seeking a much greater reward than I would have gotten because of the way I was!
Being loving to those who hate me, or use me, or persecute me, curse me, if I love them and are kind to them and they see that, they feel that, then it is testimony to them what God can do thru a person!
And if that kindness wins them over, we become friends instead of enemies, that is a great reward in itself.
But what I am looking for, what I am longing for, what I am waiting for, is this:
To hear from Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Therefore You Shall Be Perfect, Just As Your Father In Heaven Is Perfect.
Ephesians 5:1-2-Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
1 John 2:6-He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
I know what everybody says, “Will never be perfect till we take that last breath!”
But I think that’s a cope out, because they don’t want to try to be perfect!