Summary: No matter how hard we try, we know that there are going to be flaws & blemishes in our life. We know that we are not without sin because the Bible tells us so. So let’s take a look at the subject of love.
If there is one thing the world really needs to know more about, & to put into practice, it is "love." How often Jesus tells us to love one another. In John 15:12 He commanded us to love one another. In fact "love" is so important that Jesus devoted a whole section of the Sermon on the Mount to it.
Let’s listen to what He had to say about "love" in Matthew 5:43-48. READ.
I’m afraid that our very first reaction when we hear these words of Jesus is to think that He is being unrealistic, telling us to do something that we can’t possibly do. But Jesus doesn’t make impossible demands. I believe that what He is asking here is that when people look at us that they see a family resemblance between us & our heavenly Father. When someone looks at us do they see any resemblance of God?
Often we see children who look just like one of their parents—the son who is the "spitting image" of his father. He has his father’s profile. He talks like his father. He walks like his father. And then the day comes when he looks in the mirror and sees his father staring back at him.
Jesus is saying, "When people see you, I want it to be obvious that you are children of your Father in heaven. You know that your Father shows His love to everyone, & I want you to learn to do the same thing."
But before we go any further into that, I want to call your attention again to vs. 48 where Jesus concludes His comments on "love" by saying, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
That word "perfect" there causes us a lot of problems because we think of something "perfect" as being without any flaw or blemish. How many of you are perfect? How many of you think that a person can become perfect while still alive? No one raised their hand. That’s because when we think of perfect as sinlessness—of having no sin. After all, how can we be perfect and still sin?
And no matter how hard we try, we know that there are going to be flaws & blemishes in our life. We know that we are not without sin because the Bible tells us so. But the Greek word that is used here also means "mature, fully equipped, ready & able to do the job that needs to be done." That’s the form of the Greek word used in this passage—meaning to be mature. And I believe that that is what Jesus expects from us in putting into practice God’s love in this world.
So let’s take one more look at the subject of love. And in doing that, there are 3 things that I want you to see: 1. The Magnificence of God’s Love. 2. The Mediocrity of Man’s Love. 3. The Maturity of Christian Love. In that I think we will better understand what Jesus is trying to teach us about love.
I. THE MAGNIFICENCE OF GOD’S LOVE
Now, as we consider the magnificence of God’s love, notice the words of Jesus in vs. 45: He said that God "...causes His sun to rise on the evil & the good, & He sends rain on the righteous & the unrighteous."
First of all, it’s God’s “sun,” & we couldn’t exist in this world without it. It’s the sun that provides light & warmth to the earth. Without it, we would live in perpetual darkness. Nothing would grow in our soil. Life on this planet would be totally impossible if it were not for God’s “sun.”
And yet, God freely shares it with everybody—the good & bad alike. His generosity is not determined by man’s goodness or by our faithfulness to Him. And we can be very thankful that it’s not. If God’s generosity to us was proportional to how good we were, we would starve to death.
God not only shares His sunshine with us, but He also sends His rain on everyone in an unselfish expression of His love.
What if God were to say to us, "I’ll give you some sunshine today if you’ll go to church?" Maybe our attendance would increase. Or what if God were to tell us, "I’ll send you some rain provided you say five prayers next week—or if you read 5 chapters in your Bible." Maybe we would pray a little more or read our Bibles a little more. Maybe that’s what God is waiting for right now. It sure is dry.
God also owns the gold & the silver & the cattle on a thousand hills. The riches & the vastness of this world - they all belong to Him. But somehow, man has concluded that it all belongs to us. And that has caused a lot of our problems in the world today.