MISSION IMPOSSIBLE TO MISSION POSSIBLE – February 11, 2018
FOCUSING ON LOVING YOUR ENEMIES
Loving your Enemies – MATTHEW 5:43-48 (NLT)
Teaching about Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect
How can we look at people who have done us wrong and honestly look at them with a heart of love?
It is not easy to love and to overlook sin, BUT JESUS DOES THIS DAILY FOR US!
JESUS TELLS US EXACTLY HOW.
– Let not the enemy steal your blessing – really take a look at how this love is important.
– Look beyond the head knowledge you may have and let’s get into our hearts –, “What is your heart’s condition?
Look deeper into your own life and ask yourself one question:
“Could I really learn to love my enemies?”
# 1 – The Reminder (v43)
Do we really recognize the importance of loving one another?
Think to yourself of someone who just aggravates you to no end – do you love them?
If someone would catch fire in front of you, would you put the fire out?
How about if it came to saving them from the fires of hell – would you tell them how they could be saved?
This is the love Jesus is exemplifying here – and he is reminding us to love one another, so that our love for them MIGHT turns them into CHILDREN of the same God we worship.
# 2 – The Requirement (v44a)
“But I say to you, love your enemies …”
This is another one of those very hard practices, but we see this practiced in the lives of several very important members of the New Testament
Acts 7:51-59 (NIV) 51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”
54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Stephen was a godly man, a man full of the Spirit and willing to testify to the ends of the Earth about the love of God.
In his testifying, He was caught, arrested, and tried before the Sanhedrin in what many would call a show trial.
Let’s look at how he handled his own execution.
We are required to love, no matter the status or situation.
# 3 – The Responsibility (v44b)
We have a responsibility as believers to love – regardless of the circumstances.
We are Called, Discipled, and Delivered to do three things as believers:
- Bless Those Who Curse You
When someone comes upon you to curse you, pour a blessing on them!
Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
- Do Well To Those Who Hate You
Be a blessing in someone’s life, be an encouragement no matter how someone else might feel about you.
If you love, you might change someone’s heart.
If your life exemplified love – you change someone else’s life?
- Pray For Those Who Spitefully Use You
“These words are difficult for us to comprehend, because such a situation – to love one’s enemies – seems unnatural to us.
# 4 – The Example (v46)
Look at the example in Verse 46 ………
The tax collectors do not love, and look at what they receive.
The pagans only relate to one another, and look what they have.
Do we wish to be like them, or to live like Christ?
We are called to be more than that. We have to reach out beyond what we know and beyond what we think is “KIND”. …… “we simply belong to God’s kind”.
Therefore, we are to greet everyone with love – regardless of any differences that may be between us. There will be no separation in Heaven … so the training here is to love all.
# 5 – The Reason (v45)
That you might be like your Father in Heaven!
Our love for someone else makes us like our Father who loves us. When we fail to love, we are not showing other people the Father that we claim to worship; that we claim to love.