Love Your Enemies

Seventh Sunday After Epiphany | February 24, 2019

Genesis 45:3-11, 15 • Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40 • 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50 • Luke 6:27-38

27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Luke 6:27-38 New Living Translation (NLT)

We continue our journey through the Gospel of Luke. This week’s passage picks up where we left off last week. Jesus is teaching to the crowd. In last week’s text, we looked at Luke’s version of the Beatitudes, and this week we pick up on a similar teaching. For us, these words cause us to gulp a little. Jesus is teaching on the Kingdom, but this teaching is not at all what we are used to – Jesus talks about going the extra mile – with our enemies – with those we don’t like.

Yesterday we were watching a video from The Gathering – which was a gathering of Wesleyan pastors in Orlando. John Maxwell was one of the speakers and I had forgotten about this set of lines: (I don’t have them exactly right)

  • God loves you
  • God loves me
  • God everybody
  • God love people we don’t like! (ouch)

And it’s so true isn’t it. Jesus says that we are to love our enemies. He is our example – he did it for us.

For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 

Romans 5:10

We were enemies of Jesus before we were saved – and Christ died to save us from death. Like I said, Jesus’ words go down tough – they are a tough piece of meat to chew on and yet, this is how we are to respond to those who have something against us. It’s not easy. Ultimately Jesus says, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”

Jesus goes on to say that it is easy to love those who already love you. Why should you get credit for that. Sinners can do that. But to be a believer – to be a Christ-follower requires so much more. Jesus goes on to say that we should lend without expecting repayment. It’s not easy to give and not expect something in return – after all our whole economic system is set up that way.

Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

Luke 6:35-36

Wow! that is some tough teaching and then as if all that wasn’t enough Jesus adds these words. “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give and you will receive.” I’m really not sure I can add anything to what Jesus has taught us in this passage. As I heard one of my professors say, “We are educated well beyond the level of our obedience.” My challenged is simply to put Jesus’ words in to practice. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Let’s walk in the footsteps of Jesus.


Makes No Sense

I’ve been listening to the Neal Morse Band lately. This song is part of the Similitude of a Dream project, which was inspired by “A Pilgrim’s Progress.” The song is Makes No Sense to Me and was appropriate during my run this morning.

Sunday Night Thoughts

This afternoon about 4 o’clock it started snowing. I wrote on Facebook that it’s snowing, therefore it must be 4 o’clock. That is the trend this year. The snow starts falling just about the time that we need to take kids home from school. I realize that it’s Sunday, but as if on cue it started snowing at the usual time.

It’s been an interesting week weather-wise. On Tuesday we had a weird mix of ice, sleet, freezing rain, and snow. It made for a heavy mix that was difficult to get rid of until it warmed up on Thursday.

  • Speaking of Tuesday, I was called for jury duty and ended up serving on the jury. I really was fascinated by the whole process.
  • This week one of the bus runs I do was on mid-winter break so it was a different kind of week.
  • Friday night, we went out for pizza with another Wesleyan pastor family and had a great time.
  • Last night we had something called a Christian Love Banquet and had about 19 people show up. It was a wonderful time of fellowship. One of the men in our congregation cooked the food and did an awesome job.

We had a great service at McCrae Brook this morning. God’s Spirit was evident as I preached and I challenged our congregation to share the Gospel in word and deed.

This week we return to a more normal week, although everyone is off tomorrow because of President’s Day. That’s about all I have this week. Have a great one!

Prayer for the Week

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Crowds Follow Jesus

Sixth Sunday After Epiphany | January 17, 2019

Jeremiah 17:5-10 • Psalm 1 • 1 Corinthians 15:12-20 • Luke 6:17-26

17 When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those troubled by evil spirits were healed. 19 Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.

20 Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said,

“God blesses you who are poor,
    for the Kingdom of God is yours.
21 God blesses you who are hungry now,
    for you will be satisfied.
God blesses you who weep now,
    for in due time you will laugh.

22 What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man.23 When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.

24 “What sorrow awaits you who are rich,
    for you have your only happiness now.
25 What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now,
    for a time of awful hunger awaits you.
What sorrow awaits you who laugh now,
    for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow.
26 What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds,
    for their ancestors also praised false prophets.

Luke 6:17-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

As the season of Epiphany progresses, we continue walking through the Gospel of Luke. Just before this week’s passage, Luke records how Jesus gathered his disciple and appointed 12 of them to be apostles.

After they are selected they traverse down the mountain and are greeted by a crowd of people. They have come to hear Jesus speak – and to be healed – healed of diseases, from evil spirits. We are told that everyone tried to touch him because if they did, they would be healed. Remember, Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit went ahead of Jesus.

In the next paragraph, Luke gives us a different account of the Beatitudes. He reminds us that blessings await those who are mocked and hated on account of the gospel. People will exclude us – that is part of what happens as purveyors of the gospel. Then in typical upside down fashion, Jesus tells us to leap for joy when that happens. Leap for joy when we are persecuted for the sake of the gospel? Yes, because our reward is not here but in heaven. The gospel song says, “This world is not my home…I’m just a passing through.” This life is only temporary and we are to preach the news of the Kingdom as much as we are able. Many were seeking Jesus for the healings – for what he could do for them. He desires that we seek Him so that the Kingdom is increased.

As we conclude this section, Jesus warns his disciples of prosperity. Those who are rich – without seeking the Kingdom first – only have happiness now – that richness will not follow into the Kingdom of God. A sign of prosperity would be those who have much food to eat and Jesus talks about the fat because there will be a time that they will starve because they only seek for physical food and not spiritual food. For those who laugh now – your laughing will turn to sorrow. If you are praised by the crowd – that is also cause for alarm because the false prophets were praised.

Jesus warns his disciples of prosperity, because it can take our eyes off the Kingdom of God. We get more concerned about what I can get out out of the Kingdom, rather than working for the Kingdom. Many in the crowds were simply there to see what they could get out of Jesus – but the disciples – they were there for the long haul and Jesus warned them of the cost they would need to pay.