Hymn # 407 Lord, Like the Publican I Stand
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
Hymn # 402 Amazing Grace
Scripture: Matthew 5:38-48
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is 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. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Sermon: Be Perfect II – Love your Enemies
One of the easiest things for us to do it is love those who love us. It is much harder to love those who treat us poorly.
It is easy for us to want to seek revenge.
Jesus calls us out of that tendency.
Teachers of the law where teaching the people this. Love your neighbour.
This comes from a law that says don't take vengeance. Love your neighbour as yourself.
What they left out was the defining of what that love was. They also added something....hate your enemies.
This limits who your neighbour is and changes what God said. It makes it a much easier law to follow as it is so limited.
The modern way to limit the love we are to have is to say that if you don't love yourself you don't need to love others. The older method was to challenge just who our neighbor is. To put limits on who a neighbour could be.
But God tells the people in other places that they are to treat strangers as themself. Treat others as you would wish to be treated. God repeatedly states how if you treat your neighbour one way....treat your enemy the same. It is clear that you are not to hate your enemies.
But what then of those psalms calling for the destruction of Israel's enemies? They are not personal enemies. They are God's enemies.
We are to act in a loving manner. Do good to them. Pray for them.
All the prayers about destroying ones enemies is for their good. That God will enact his righteous judgment on them if they persist in fighting him. God does good to both the righteous and the unrighteous. God gives good to all.
So we need to do the same. We need to be better than even our neighbours. The worst of society will love the loving. So we need to love all, just as God does.
It is only because of God's action in our lives that we can even do this.
Look at how God took us from being enemies to taking us to being reconciled with him.
God took us from rebellion to repentance.
This love God shown us is the love we are to show our enemies. Knowing they are where we once were. So do good to them.
This is how you overcome evil. You do it by doing good to them. Overcome evil...do good.
Parallel passage in Luke.
Seek to love as God loved you.
- Hymn # 244 Spirit, Strength of all the Week
- Hymn # 316 Saviour, again to Thy Dear Name we Raise
- Hymn # 89–4 To the Great One in Three