Week 9: Demands #28-31 – Love Your Enemies

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Demand #28-31: Love Your Enemies
Memory Verse: "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you." Matthew 5:44

 

Think of someone in your life that you have difficulty loving… for whatever the reason.

Maybe you have someone who falls into the category of an enemy – someone who is actively out to do you harm. How do you respond in your heart to such individuals? Do you find that you are actively seeking what is best for them? God holds His children to an incredibly high standard when it comes to loving others.

Hoke: Who knows why someone chooses to be our enemy? And how do you respond to them when they do? Well, the tendency is to strike back. It has been called the "plan and pounce" strategy – the "don’t get even, get ahead" method. But what does this way of retaliating at people for their behavior really produce? Often it produces further animosity and more bad feelings. It makes the hostile person more hostile, and leaves us feeling worse instead of better. Jesus said that there was a better way. As a matter of fact, He gives us a radical solution to this ancient problem. Instead of retaliating against your enemy, you should love him by doing good to him!

SONS OF GOD MANIFEST THEIR GODLY CHARACTER BY LOVING EVEN THEIR ENEMIES = THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE STANDARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

I. (:43) THE SCOPE OF DIVINE LOVE MUST NOT BE LIMITED TO A CERTAIN CLASS OF PEOPLE

  1. Sincere Bible Experts Can be Dead Wrong – Human Tradition
  2. No Double Standard When It Comes to Loving People

II. (:44-45) THE PRACTICE OF CHRISTIAN LOVE MUST PARALLEL THE BREADTH OF COMMON GRACE

  1. Christ’s Teaching Stands in Stark Contrast to that of the Legalists
  2. Extent of Love Unlimited and Undeserved
    1. Unlimited – nobody is out of bounds
    2. Undeserved – in fact they deserve your vengeance
  3. Agape Love is the Test of Divine Sonship
  4. Common Grace is the Pattern for Our Showing Love to All – 2 Illustrations from God’s Common Grace as Displayed in Nature
    1. Sunshine for All
    2. Rain for All

III. (:46-47) TWO CASE STUDIES TO DEMONSTRATE THAT BELIEVERS ARE HELD TO A HIGHER STANDARD WHEN IT COMES TO LOVING OTHERS

  1. (:46) More Than Reciprocal Love – just loving those who love you
  2. (:47) More Than Relational Love – just loving those who are related to you in some special way

IV. (:48) BELIEVERS ARE HELD TO THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE STANDARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

  1. The Impossible Standard
  2. The Divine Pattern