Summary: "The Love of God calls us to be who God is to the world."
The word ‘Cat’ to my dog Sandy is not a word she wants to hear. It evokes an instant response of revulsion and loathing. ‘Grrr. Let me at it.’ Occasionally we’ll be quietly watching television, snoozing away, and a commercial will come on with a cat noise in it. Instant pandemonium. Vroom. The dog’s heading for the door. The mere sound of a ‘meow’ is enough to arouse intense hostility.
I know some of you are cat lovers. I can assure you that I don’t share my dogs prejudice against the feline species. I promise that if I see one of your cats I will not try and bite it’s tail or chase it up a tree. It’s not my nature to dislike cats. But it is in a dog’s nature.
Late one summer evening in Broken Bow, Nebraska, a weary truck driver pulled his rig into an all-night truck stop. The waitress had just served him when three tough looking, leather jacketed motorcyclists - of the Hell’s Angels type - decided to give him a hard time. Not only did they verbally abuse him, one grabbed the hamburger off his plate, another took a handful of his French fries, and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it. How would you respond? Well, this trucker did not respond as one might expect. Instead, he calmly rose, picked up his check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the cash register, and went out the door. The waitress followed him to put the money in the till and stood watching out the door as the big truck drove away into the night.
When she returned, one of the bikers said to her, "Well, he’s not much of a man, is he?" She replied, "I don’t know about that, but he sure ain’t much of a truck driver. He just ran over three motorcycles on his way out of the parking lot."
It’s easy to hate those who hate you. I would say in our world – if you play by the standards of this world – it’s almost needed. You scratch my back I scratch yours. You do something for me – I do something for you. It’s safety that drives us to play within that comfort zone. It’s safety that causes to us to create in our minds groups of people – “These people don’t like me, so I don’t like them” “These people love me, so I love them.” If that’s how you live your life – you will never give of yourself, you will never grow, and you can’t follow Jesus. “The Love of God calls us to be who God is to the world.”
If you have your Bibles this morning turn with me to Luke 6:27-36 (read)
Jesus has a desire to bring those who are far from God – close to God. He has that same desire for us this morning. He wants us to build what he would call a community – meaning people who are moving forward in their walk with Him, people who are bringing others in, recognizing those who aren’t dedicated, bringing them in and growing together. Jesus had that desire when he walked this earth, and has that desire now for us, his people to take his light and shine it in our world.
As He was speaking to his disciples – so he speaks to us this morning. He gives us three ways to show the world who God is.
I. Love Your Enemies (27-31)
When we love we show the world who Jesus is not only to us, but who he is to those who don’t know him.
a. Go After – Love
I remember playing a trick on my brother in the middle of an Oklahoma summer. He was coming out of the house, and I had the water hose – ready to soak him. Sure enough he came out of the house and I turned the water hose on full blast. He was all wet, and mad. I did have something on my side – I could run fast and I did. We ran all over that farm.
Love means that we are actively engaged with our enemies. Notice he doesn’t use the word “like”, or “tolerate” – He commands us to love. The behavior called for by Jesus is not so much a set of conditions as it is a set of directions for discipleship. 8 different commands in groups of 2.
i. Do good to those who hate you
ii. Bless those who curse you
Proverbs 25:21 – If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
It’s one thing to get along because you have to. It’s one thing to share something, because you are given no other choice. And if you are sharing or getting along simply because you are required to – you miss the point. These actions should be from the heart and not just in an exterior manner.