Summary: This passage is a continuation of what we learned last week in the previous passage, on how we learned what we are not supposed to do when we’ve been mistreated by others. That is, we are not to retaliate in like kind. The Biblical principle of an "eye fo
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount Part 10
The Purpose of Loving
Pm service January 4th 2008
No Subject is more important than the subject of human relationships. God is creating a family of believers who are to live together eternally. Therefore, He wants that family to live together as a family, loving each other and loving their neighbors as they should.
We saw that this morning in the very important lessons we learned from the story of the good Samaritan.
This passage is a continuation of what we learned last week in the previous passage, on how we learned what we are not supposed to do when we’ve been mistreated by others.
That is, we are not to retaliate in like kind. The Biblical principle of an "eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth". It is not up to us as individuals to take out our own form of justice. If we did that, before long, we would all be blind and toothless.
Tonight Jesus is going to teach us the purpose in loving.
Read Scriptures: Matthew 5:43-48
I. The great misinterpretation of Love
Vs. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ’Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”
The Law said “Love your neighbor as yourself” Leviticus 19:18. Israel made two fatal mistakes in interpreting the law.
1. They said “neighbor” meant only the people of their own community, religion, and nation. They did not include anyone else. In fact, they shut out and cut off anyone else.
2. They inferred that they were to hate their enemies. God said, “Love your neighbor”; therefore, they reasoned and added, “Hate your enemy.”
Human reasoning actually leads a person to think that they should oppose and hate his enemy.
A lot of people fall into the same mistake as Israel. They interpret “neighbors” to be only their friends and those who live close by. They never think of enemies nor of the world as a whole as their neighbors.
II. The real meaning of the law to Love
Vs. 44 “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
The real meaning of the law to love involves to very practical act.
1. Love your enemies. As believers we are to love all men, even enemies. Loving our enemies is against human nature. The behavior of human nature is to react, strike back, hate, and wish hurt. At best human nature treats an enemy with a cold shoulder and keeps its distance.
2. Pray for those who persecute you. Three things in particular need to be prayed about: (a) for God to forgive the persecutor, (b) for peace between yourself and the persecutor, (c) for the persecutor’s salvation.
Praying for those who persecute you will benefit you, it will keep you from becoming bitter, hostile, or reactionary.
III. The incentive of Love
Vs. 45-47 “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”
The incentive to love everyone as a true neighbor is threefold.
1. Love makes us a child of God. Love is unmistakable the proof that a person loves and truly knows God. A true believer cannot hate another person. If someone says he loves God and hates some person, whether a friend or enemy, he needs to search his heart.
2. Love makes a person like God. God loves His enemies. He causes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on His enemies as well as those who love Him. As a Christian I am to be just like God. When I am loving my enemies and praying for those who persecute me, then I am being more like God than at any other time in my life.
3. Love makes a person distinctive from other people. As believers we most go above what others do. Everyone loves his friends, so doing more and going beyond means that as believers we will love our enemies.
God as done more and gone beyond by sending His Son Jesus into the world. So we are to do more and go beyond. When we do that it makes us distinctive from the rest of the world.
IV. Love Perfected
Vs. 48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The charge here by Jesus is to be perfect. The idea is perfection of purpose. It has to do with an end, an aim, a goal, a purpose. It means fit, mature, fully grown at a particular stage of growth.