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January 29, 2022 3:00 am
Some people are other people well but can present quite a challenge.
But Jesus calls us to love our enemies. That's totally unnatural, but today will find out how it's possible this is true for life weekend with Alistair Begg in part one of a message titled the law of love. Alister's teaching from Luke chapter 6 were in verses 27 through 36. Last time we noted that Jesus said that there was a blessing which attended the poor, hungry, sad, and hated that he pronounced a wall on those who were rich, well fed, happy popular we asked the question which would you rather be rich, well fed, happy, and popular or poor, hungry, sad, and hated before you answer.
What if your eternal destiny hinged on the correct answer to that question and before you answer, please know that it does.
I was distinctly uncomfortable. I came last week saying I don't remember the last time I studied such an uncomfortable passage that was last week.
This is this week. This week is much harder than last week. This week is dreadful in its implications generally feel that your new menu, not a Christian at all when you need the Bible describes Christianity you look at that you love yourself you reflect upon the previous week on previous daily leaders are whatever it is you read what it says you love yourself and say you know what I want a fun person at all. And when you have that experience. Don't be too quick to go in the flyleaf of your Bible and plan some little baptismal certificate. Don't be too quick to go somewhere and remember that on 3 February on a cold evening in 1947 when the pastor said you want to raise your hand that you raise your hand.
I'm glad of what's in your Bible. I'm glad of what happened in 1947, but that may not be the issue of you ever consider that the very things that we are tempted then to hang onto when it comes to our saying yes I'm a true believer may be the kind of things that the New Testament nowhere encourages us to have gone to Indy may actually be things never ever appeared in the New Testament shall not, this is distinctly uncomfortable where you're going with this. Well I hope I'm going the same place that Jesus is going by going to the Bible and seeing what he is what it is that he said because the fact of the matter is that when John provides for the believers evidences of genuine Christian assurance. He does not take them to events in the past, but he asks them to look for characteristics in the presence not that there are no events in the past, but that events in the past have relevance provided those past events are evidenced by present characteristics that is not to say that the ground of our salvation is to be found in our ability to manifest these characteristics ground of a person.
Salvation is and what Christ has achieved upon the cross and that it is by grace alone through faith alone that we trust in Christ. What, however, as the reformers pointed out, it is grace alone that saves, but the grace that saves is not alone.
And so when we come in. For example, do a challenging passage of Scripture like this. Let us not be too quick to set aside the insistent nagging unsettling uncomfortable question which says to you, Alister, in relationship to what you are reading what you are teaching. When I sometimes it makes me feel a Christian pastors that are not supposed to say this because people run out the door going to know what the pastor's been doubting his salvation.
He's come from a week of dumb to know we must pray for no I haven't come from week of doubt come from a week of studying my Bible and when I see what Jesus says here and when I see what I'm like, I'm just say there is a major gap and since I'm not as weird as you think, and there may be a few more like me, you may get the same feeling so is comfortable as you can for a moment or two because that's about as comfortable as you are going to be because just when we might anticipate that Jesus teaching could not get any more challenging could not become any more convicting. He actually turns the temperature up at a given these words expressly to his disciples, he now addresses those who are hearing him but you I tell the ones using love.
The enemies of you asked to translate the Greek literally Jesus spoken in Aramaic. I tell you who hear me said those of your listening with all the years of your heart. Love your enemies, can you just imagine somebody in a crowd.
Sanders friend to Jesus to see what I did he say what I think he said Jesus to say you're supposed to actually love your enemies, and the procedures that should split a minute, you're missing the rest of it he states in more good to those who hate you, bless those who persecute, pray for those who ill reach.
I'm trying summarize this whole paragraph in a sentence or two, so that we can then fly over it as it were 33,000 feet and will descendent various points, but not very often because want to come by due to more detail later.
What does this paragraph say what is Jesus teaching here. He is teaching you will notice that his followers are not simply to do what is right, but they are to do what is good is something to do what is right, but to do what is good and they are to act in this way not only towards those who deserve it, but towards those who don't deserve it says Jesus.
This kind of love.
This is way down in 35 or so.
This kind of love will not go unrewarded by the essence of this kind of love is that that must never be the motive for practicing. In other words, while we will be rewarded for this kind of selfless love. The reason that we engage in this love is not because of a reward that comes about because it is an expression of the character of God is our father, and kids want to be my God that indeed it is completely incongruous if not impossible, for those of us who declare ourselves to be the father's children, not to manifest the mercy of a merciful God and not to display a love for our enemies which is akin to the approach of Jesus, who, when he was reviled not revile in return but committed his cause to him who judges justly first Peter chapter 2. So the issue then is a lot first of all law course everyone has something to say about love. Poets and songwriters. It's not unusual to hear people say is platitudinous explanation of the predicaments we face will all you need is love.
You know, as is the great books as recently as bro. People say that now, of course, it was on the gradebook.
It was Lennon and McCartney said that all you need is love and be love said it again and again will say well I agree with that entirely.
You know there's a sense which is true and we certainly love more than we need hate only see what hate is done to our world what it is doing in various parts of the Muslim world what it is doing and race relationships in our own country. We certainly need love rather than hate is one thing to sing it.
Another thing to understand what Jesus is saying and it is yet another thing to actually put into practice the command of Jesus here now I think will be help by doing a little refresher course on love their the word we find in our Bibles in the New Testament for love is a translation of one of three Greek words for love. There are actually four Greek words for love that are translated by our English word love significance of this is to be found in the fact that is always simply translated love and we have no way of knowing. Apart from the understanding of the original text exactly what word is being used here. So for example there is the word store again store again, which is the Greek word for natural affection, the kind of affection that should exist between two sisters and a family.
There is a natural dimension to it. They love each other is a store gave kind of love that is the word either office, which is a romantic or sensual love love between a man and a woman that provides for as our English words.
Then there is Philly filet all which is the word that provides part of the name of Philadelphia. The city of brotherly love.
And this doesn't have to do with the natural affection of people within the same family, but it has to do with a sense of brotherly nests and camaraderie in the way that guys on a sports team or in an exercise club may have an affection for one another.
None of those words used the word which is used here is the word I got pay AGA PE if you want to write it down and this is radically different because, unlike these other words for love. This is a love which is not drawn out by the attractiveness or the marriage of the one we love. So Jesus is calling for a love for people. That is in no way related to the love ability. If you like. Of those whom we are to love is not a will look at them and go all this is a lovely person. I must show some natural affection towards them know it is not on account of their attractiveness on account of their merit are the reason we know that this is the love of God in Christ is because that is exactly how God is love does not because we cleaned up our act, not because we were perfect, not because we merited his attention, not because we were predisposed towards him.
None of these things contributed to the love of God for God's with a self engendered love for those who well his enemies never says in Ephesians 2 we are by nature of the objects of his Roth. We are dead in our trespasses and in our sins. And yet God has come to those who are his enemies and loved us with an everlasting love note. This helps us stay away from the mistaken notion that what Jesus is calling for here is far simply to hang with people that we like to manifest towards them, a kind of human infection hopefully to have some warm feelings towards him. Jesus is not saying here that the anger pay love of the Christian is blind as a kind of woozy that sort of law, you know, sort of like knives.
Love you I love you. You know that Kenneth Pat Fichte initiative sequentially and love it said it's not that tall love is blind, human, affectionate, blind, likability is blind. It overlooks things, but the pay.
Love is not blind. Jesus is not saying here that the reason we were able to exercise his love for our enemies is because we are blind to their offenses against us, or because somehow or another love takes over. We don't see them as they really are is not saying that at all the same we see them exactly as they are in all of their ugliness and all their spiteful list and on the cursing and their hatred, and in all of their unwillingness to pay us for the OS and to pay their debts and to do whatever it is seeing all of that says Jesus I want you to love your enemies so there you have this love is intelligent. It is a love that is marked by comprehension and it is a love that is purposeful in its application. Lenski, the commentator puts it like this.
This love may see nothing attractive in the one love, nor is this love called out by anything that is attractive its inner motive be the object worthy or not is to restore these blessings upon the one love, and to do him the highest possible so here Jesus goes again and he takes conventional human wisdom, and he turns it completely on its head and fight in Matthew. He records the fact that Jesus actually establishes the antithesis by saying to the people you have Herod that it was said, you should love your neighbor and hate your enemy. That's the standard approach.
Everybody understands that you like people we are supposed to like and you hate people you're allowed to hate you get the enemies you can hate then you get the neighbors you can love them, Jesus says you've heard that that's what's been said but I want to tell you something you got to love your enemies, let me says turn this completely the other way of Jesus in making that statement is not contradicting the Old Testament Scriptures as I sometimes hear people mistakenly say, of course, Jesus corrected the Old Testament because in the Old Testament is that you can love your neighbors and and hate your enemy is not zero. In the Old Testament. All that was them was the nonsense of the Pharisees made him let me show you where it comes from. In Leviticus 19 in verse 18 God's word through his servant Moses to his people do not seek revenge or banner garage is enough right there is.
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge loved ones. Some of us have gotten grudges that don't just go back months they go back years and we carried him around in our briefcase we nurture, as if somehow or another they were comfortable little toys to be taken on business trips with warehouse happy to have them and stroke them and could draw them and it's nice every so often to bring it back out so we can re-examine make you wonder sometimes if you are Christian, do not seek revenge or banner garage against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I the Lord. So what does it say anything about heating your enemies know I get hate your enemies. Love your neighbors let me show you the truth, that little phrase one of your people, and he elevated the phrase one of your people and into the notion of comprehensive love and they shrunk it and as a result, they managed to create a situation whereby it came became commonly accepted practice to determine whom one of my people is and as long as you were one of my people that I love you but if you're not one of my people whom I'm supposed to be paying attention to frankly am I just hate. So Jesus says is been going around that you can love your neighbor and hate your enemies. I want you to understand that you have to love your enemies, and do good to those who hate do you think that on average a person in the United States of America would regard conservative evangelical Christianity as being at the forefront of this principle or hearing. It is distinctly possible that people have the perspective that conservative Christianity is directly related to a political view which, if endorsed, you may be loved and have set aside. You may be disregarded.
The conservative Christianity bears a certain kind of face that it has a sort of inner circle. And if you're in the inner circle, then you may be embraced in love and care for, but if you're outside the circle of your sexuality is up the creek.
If you don't happen to fit the same color bar and color code. If you don't have the same background. If you don't have whatever it is you think there's at least a possibility that the average student on a university campus may have to conclude that conservative Christianity is completely missed this point.
Be honest now.
There's no question there is no question we got our heads so far underneath one of our arms. That is not even funny when it comes to this people are not flocking to the people of God, on account of the fact that they have come to wrestle with the implications of this.
And they're taking it seriously. We are as guilty as the individual. A few chapters later who interrupted Jesus came to them with a question in Luke chapter 10 I'm just go forward to Luke 10 on one occasion and exported the law stood up to test Jesus. Luke 1025 stood up to test Jesus. He was there to ask a question he was there just a test in and asked what must I do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replies with an ad hominem argument. What is written in the law. He says how do you read it the man's as well. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.
You answer correctly. Jesus replied are you glad to do this and you will live as a man if he being smart would acquit. At that point, but he wasn't smart and were told by Luke that he wanted to justify himself.
In other words he wanted to know who was in the circle. Tell me who my neighbor is tell me how limited the circle is so that I can just love the people that are in the circle who is my neighbor Jesus. Well let me answer that question for you 90s is a certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves who stripped him of his raiment, and departed, leaving him half day you remember how these three individuals come down you can see the people with her ears flapping in the breeze as they listen to Jesus. A priest happened to be going down the road and he went by on the other side. The people are listening on the weather stories going Jesus is and then a Levite. He came how do we look at him and then he was off as well and there was to be say to one another. I know who is going to be. Jesus is going against the reestablishment of religion and he's going to go for, but carpenter or a plumber came along. He's going for the laity were gonna look good in this. And they're waiting for exec but it was not Levite and it wasn't breezy just one and he says some cervical shamanic accidents.
Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers expert in the law replied the one who had mercy on him.
Jesus said exactly are you going to exact same thing and you will see that is exactly how he finishes here in verse 36 be merciful, just as your father is merciful. Well at least would able to say this, are we not, but the love of which Jesus speaks here redefines the boundaries does not allow the follower of Jesus to determine who is going to love does not allow us to do the odds for no more shut the door trick we can do that not of where the followers of Christ. We cannot simply isolate the little group of people that fits within our comfort zone and say no regular love these people but anybody was fixed without the circle. We don't have to really worry about a mental note Jesus as you can do that. Let me tell you what you need to do.
You need to love your enemies, and do good to those who hate you less. Those who curse you and pray for those who will treat you. So the distinctions of race, nationality, political affiliation, age, sex, background, etc. are blown away. In the words of Jesus's followers of Jesus doing what's right isn't enough were also called to do what's good even to our enemies. That's Alastair big with the challenging and convicting message listing to Truth for Life weekend. If you been listening to Truth for Life for a while, you know, we don't shy away from the tougher passages in Scripture like the message we've heard today. Our commitment is to teach the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible every single day.
We strive to make each and every message clear and relevant to daily life so that unbelievers will be converted. Believers will be established in their faith in local churches and pastors will be encouraged and built up.
That's our mission the Truth for Life and that's why were always looking for new ways to make solid Bible teaching available to make it more convenient for as many people as possible. In addition to listing on our website or through the radio through our mobile app on your phone you can watch Alistair's most recent sermons listen to the daily program by streaming through your Roku or your Amazon fire TV to find out more, visit Truth for Life.org/TV and if there's a message you'd like to listen to again or to share with a friend or your study group you can download any message from Alistair's extensive teaching archive for firstname.lastname@example.org search by topic by Scripture passage by books of the Bible you can download a single message or an entire series. There are thousands from which to choose. And this is the last week and will be offering the book spiritual disciplines for the Christian life. This is a classic book. It's been helping Christians grow in godliness for 30 years. This new 30th anniversary edition has been updated to include discussion on Bible study and prayer. Find out more about the book, spiritual disciplines for the Christian life. When you visit our website at Truth for Life.Bob Lapine thanks for listing. Hope you can join us again next week and for part two of today's message will find out what we need to be able to love selflessly is not just a matter of gritting her teeth and pressing on the Bible teaching of Alastair big is furnished by Truth for Life for the wording for living