Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 5:43-45

"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father 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." -Matthew 5:43-45

Who is this command to?

This command is spoken to the multitudes listening to the Sermon on the Mount. The disciples are in the front row.

What does this command require?

Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who spitefully use and persecute you. In short, treat kindly those who don't necessarily deserve it.

What truths do we learn through this command?

How we treat our enemies shows whether or not we are sons of our Father in heaven. God desires that we treat all mankind with the kindness that He shows to all mankind. God brings the sun up every day for the righteous and the unrighteous. God sends rain on the crops of the just and the unjust. So our kindness must be shown to all men without partiality. That includes those who treat us poorly.

A good testimony is invaluable. When you treat even your enemies with love and kindness it shows them the nature of God's love and kindness. You can be a witness to the worst of people by being kind. 

Undoubtedly, this is a difficult command to fulfill. But it is possible. Romans 5:5 tells us, "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." God has given us the tools to show love to the unlovely. This means our responsibility is to use them.

What are the consequences for disobeying this command?

lack of testimony to the unsaved, misuse of the tools God has given, uncertainty of salvation,

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