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Love Your Enemies

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
September 12, 2021 8:00 am

Love Your Enemies

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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September 12, 2021 8:00 am

An old song tells us what the world needs now is love, sweet love. The world certainly does need love, but just what kind of love does the world really need, and where and how can it be found? Join Dr. James Boice on The Bible Study Hour as he looks at Jesus’ perspective on love and loving our enemies from His Sermon on the Mount.

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There is a popular song today that says what this world needs is love sweet love.

It's right of course. But what kind of love and where to people like you and me find it. Perhaps the pinnacle of Christ's sermon on the Mount is his admonition to love our enemies. It's the climax of everything that came before and everything that will follow. But how can mere man be expected to achieve such a lofty standard to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. How can we love our neighbor when we may not even like him, how can we love those who despitefully use this and what will such compassion, cost, join Dr. Boyce as he examines the love to which Christ calls us and how I can be obtained from Matthew chapter 5 for most people the verses that we are now to study are the heart of the sermon on the Mount. There's a sense in which this is both true and proper. They deal with love Christian love.

As such they contain a highly concentrated expression of the Christian ethic is William Barclay notes in his commentary and they deal with it profoundly. Jesus said, you heard that it hath been said, thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy but I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be the sons of your Father who is in heaven.

For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good and send it to rain on the just and on the unjust free if ye love them who love you, what the reward. Have you not even the tax collectors the same if you greet your brethren only, what do you need more than others, not even the heathen, so these verses are climax to everything that has come before and the sermon, and to some degree everything that follows flows from them. The teaching is positive is comprehensive and what is most important. It carries the core of Christian ethics up to anchor it in the life and character of God.

In brief, the verses teach that the Christian is to love others not as a man loves his friends, but as God loves. I believe that we must put the heart of the teaching in this way because we missed the point of these verses. The most we see that the standard is a log of which only God is capable. This is evident in several ways.

For one thing, verse 45 says that we are to do this in order to be sons of our father who is in heaven. This means that where to do it in order that we might be godlike in our conduct because God's love is without discrimination because it extends to the Justin to the unjust alike.

Our love is also to be without discrimination because it results in action, our love is to express itself in action and we are to love those who are by all human standards are enemies the fact that this is a divine standard and not a human one, is also clear in the word for love that occurs in this passage the Greek language has four distinct words for love whenever one of them occurs as opposed to another. The choice is almost always significant verse word for love is one. The Bible never uses the word air loss and it refers to sexual love from it. We get our words erotic and erogenous. The Bible is aware of this kind of love, of course, but in biblical times, the sexual love of the Greeks had become so perverted and debased the word heiress that suggested it was rejected as something contaminated was interesting that the same thing happened years later when Jerome came to make the Latin translation of the Bible because he chose the Latin word Caritas while rejecting the equally common word more bus in first Corinthians 13. The older authorized version of the Bible speaks of faith, hope and charity not love and does not use the word amorous at all.

The second Greek word for love is store gay, it refers to family love. This is the love that the father and mother have for their children and the children have for their parents. This word is not in the New Testament either, although it could be the third word for love is philia.

It refers to strong affection, and from it we get our words, philanthropy, meaning a love for man Philharmonic love for music. Anglophile, a lover of England and the name of the city of Philadelphia. The city of brotherly love. This was the word Peter used when Christ did ask him if he loved with the highest of loves and Peter conscious of his recent denial replied Gaylord thou knowest that I philia love they it's the highest level which man in himself is capable there's 1/4 word for love. However, end it's divine love.

Agape's word that Christ use the first two times that he put the question to Peter Simon son of Jonah Loveless, thou me. Of course the word that Jesus uses here in the sermon on the Mount. This is a love that loves without variable nests, and even when the object of love is hateful or unlovely might say that it is love without reason or love even when there are ample reasons to discourage it. It is godlike love and the point is that such love, not erotic or family, or even affectionate love is to characterize our lives as God's children. We've not really seen the true extent of this divine love and we go one step further.

It's true that the love to which we are called is God love aga pay that this is an inscrutable love that exists entirely apart from the possibility of being loved back but where do we see this love. If indeed it is God love where is it demonstrated the answer is that we see it only in Jesus Christ and in him preeminently at the cross quite a few years ago when I first began to study the subject of God's love. I made an interesting discovery that is pertinent here. I noticed that there is hardly a verse in the New Testament that speaks of God's love without also speaking in the same context of the cross. This suggests that the biblical writers, gongs, mom was acknowledged to be seen.

There not elsewhere.

Think of the verses is John 316, which everybody knows for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believe within him should not perish but have everlasting life. Galatians 220 says I am crucified with Christ.

Nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. First John 410 herein is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Romans 58 says, but God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. In each case the cross is made, the measure of God's love. Moreover, it's not merely the fact of Christ's suffering that makes God's love so wonderful is also the fact that he suffered for sinners this means for those who were in themselves, naturally reap government to him. Every so often during the summer, we hear a lifeguard who was rescued some person from drowning once in a while. Love one was lost his life while trying to save that person stopped for a moment and imagine yourself in his position. You were the handsome lifeguard and a beautiful girl is drowning.

Would you risk your life for hers. You're probably saying. I'm not sure. Of course, but yes, I think I might, I agree with you. Many persons would do it, or attempt to do it.

But now picture in your mind the most contemptible person you know one who was wronged you or cheated you a pervert a murderer.

Now imagine him drowning. Would you give your life for his it's not easy to answer, but the question begins to show us something of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ for us. This is why the Bible says, for scarcely for a righteous man will one die yet. Peradventure for a good man. Some would even dare to die.

But God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

It was while we were tedious to God as sinners, that he loved us and died for us. That is one more point here that also should be mentioned the same verses that tell us that Christ died for us when we were sinners. Also tell us that he died for us when we were with out strength which is to say, when we were helpless in spiritual terms.

There was no possibility of our ever helping ourselves. Many persons think that there's a good bit that they can achieve for themselves spiritually. But the Bible teaches differently. One thing it says that, apart from God's saving work through Christ we cannot understand Christ's teachings. Thus Jesus spoke even to the religious leaders of his day, saying, why do you not understand my speech and answered because he cannot hear my word.

In other words, the natural man has ears to hear, but he hears not second the cannot receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to his disciples.

I will pray the father and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you forever, even the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive verse teaches that no one can be saved by receiving the spirit as an act of his own will.

Third, the Bible teaches that the unsaved man cannot use his will to submit himself to God's law and fact he's impelled to rebel against it.

Bible says the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be fourth. He cannot understand spiritual things for the natural man receive if not things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness on them. Neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned. That is the unsaved person cannot understand God's truth. Finally, in second Peter 214 we read of the person apart from Christ that having eyes full of adultery. He cannot cease from sin.

If we put all of these teachings together, we see that God's love is to be measured by the fact that while we were sinners and unable to hear his word receive the Holy Spirit submit to his law understand his teaching more cease from sin.

Christ died for us that is the full measure of God's love. God's love is that love, to which we are called as God's children know this point you may well be saying well that is the standard I might as well admit right now that I cannot attain to it. And that's true.

You cannot attain to it, not in yourself that love is only possible to those in whom the Lord Jesus Christ is working and in whom his love dwells. If you are not a Christian, or if you are a Christian, but are far from the Lord, you must begin by drawing near to him by asking him to work out that love in you is possible, however, that you are a Christian and that you are attempting to walk with the Lord and still you find this love remote and unattainable.

If that is your case, you may be helped by a very important distinction. What is the distinction just this loving is not necessarily the same thing as liking like someone is to have a certain emotional feeling toward him, because we can't entirely control our feelings. It's not always possible to like everybody, I'm not even sure that we should, I believe, for instance, that there's a sense in which we can say that God does not really like you and me, the way we are, but he does love us and that is an entirely different thing. You see love is not a matter of the feelings it's a matter of the will and because it is the will and not of the feelings it's something that is always possible, and that may always express itself in good actions. This week can do whether or not we feel like it, moreover, isn't this implied in the commands to love that God gives us. If love depended on our feelings. It would be foolish for Jesus to say love one another or love your enemies, it couldn't be done if love is a matter of the will, and if our wills are surrendered to him will and it can be done and we can love our enemies just as we can also bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us and pray for them that despitefully use us and persecute us. Certainly, Jesus implied.

This is the link these four positive commands together in the saying, I found the late CS Lewis of Cambridge, England, most helpful at this point. Let me share some of his thoughts with you. Lewis writes the rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste your time bothering whether you love your neighbor act as if you did as soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets when you're behaving as if you love someone, you will presently come to love them, you injure someone you dislike you will find yourself disliking him more. You're doing a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less the difference between a Christian and the worldly man is not that the worldly man has only affections or likings in the Christian has only charity or love worldly man treats certain people kindly because he likes them. The Christian trying to treat everyone kindly finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on, including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning. If you are having difficulty with the need to love others trying to suggestion and see if God will not use it to lead you into a fuller experience of his great love and power that was important that we come to this fuller experience of God's love because it's only from such loving conduct that the gospel of Christ is communicated to the unsaved world. Someone is said that God is really given men, five Gospels is the gospel according to Matthew gospel according to Mark the gospel according to Luke gospel according to John in the gospel according to you.

How then do men come to know God. They come to know him through Jesus Christ and how do they come to know Jesus Christ.

They come to know him as they see him in the Scriptures, and in your conduct. You were the closest some men and women will ever get to the gospel and if they do not see his love in you.

They will never see it yet. They can some time ago I read a story. One of the books by Dr. Ajay Ironside that illustrates this graphically once when Ironside was in Ganado, Arizona Presbyterian mission hospital. There he met a poor Navajo woman who would been nursed back to health through the consecrated work of a Christian.

Dr. and the Navajo nurses she'd been cast out by her own people when they thought she was going to die and she been found.

After three or four days of exposure in the desert after nine weeks in the hospital. She recovered enough to begin to wonder about the unexpected care.

She'd received it.

He said one of the nurses I you can't understand why did the doctor do all that for me.

He's a white man and I'm an Indian. I never heard of anything like this before. The Navajo nurse was a Christian, said to her, you know, it's the love of Christ that made him do that. She said who is this Christ, tell me more about them. The nurse called a missionary to explain the gospel and the staff that began to pray. Several weeks passed and then the day came when they were speaking and someone said can't you trust the Savior from the idols you've worshiped and trust him as the son of the living God.

She pondered her answer the door opened and the doctor who happened to be passing by. Justin stepped in the face of the old woman lit up. She said if Jesus is anything like the doctor, I can trust him forever. So she came to the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior. You see what had reached her. It wasn't long but it was not my hands love it was God's love manifested in the land God's love that is what you and I are to show forth to an ungodly and rebellious world. We are to do so as sons of our father in order that many might come to faith in his unique son, the Lord Jesus Christ and our father, we thank you that you are able to pick up sinful ungodly men like ourselves plan your love within them and then send them forth, to love others as you have loved us, teach us to love and make us winsome protagonists for the gospel of your great grace for Jesus sake. Amen. You're listening to the Bible study hours featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce how do you distinguish between truth and error you rely on numbers or percentages to determine what is right. How do you discern the spirit of God. Find the answers to these questions in today's free CD offer entitled the second contrast, love and hate is a message also by Dr. Boyce are free CD offer is just another way we say thanks for listening. Simply call 1-800-488-1888 will be honored to send you a copy of the second contrast, love and hate that number again is 1-800-488-1888. Will you help us spread the love of God to a hurting world.

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Thank you for joining me today. Jesus taught that in order for a man to enter heaven. He needs a righteousness greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees, but just how much in excess of their righteousness, must the same man's righteousness be his God really demand perfection joined Dr. James Boyce as he explores the meaning behind Christ's command to be perfect. That's next year on the Bible study our repair and used to think and act

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