The Inspiring Word at Blue Ridge Church
Dr. Terry Cheek  |  Marion, North Carolina
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The Inspiring Word for March 2016
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2016
Posted by: The Inspiring Word at Blue Ridge Church | more..
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The Inspiring Word

Pastor Terry Cheek Th.D.

I trust you’re ready to experience a challenge and a blessing from Gods word. As we continue to look at Jesus’ sermon on the mount we must remember last month’s article. Matthew 5:38-42 where we renewed our minds on Jesus teaching about retaliation. This month we are going to visit Jesus teaching on its counterpart; restoration through Love. Let’s look at our scripture first; Matthew 5:43-48 tells us “(43) Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. (44) But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (45) That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (46) For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? (47) And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? (48) Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Wrongful application of Matthew 5:38-43 does nothing more than deliberately narrow both the standard of love (by omitting ourselves) and the object of love (our neighbor). This passage has been poorly utilized by most of us. We enjoy treating others the way we are treated by them! It’s just easier to live life that way. True it may be easier but it isn’t correct from the Lords perspective. Notice Jesus is specific in verse 44, “Love your enemies,” He speaks in regard to our relationships with one another. Our neighbors, the folks who need Jesus as Lord and Savior are no different than ourselves. We all fail God, all of us have done so miserably. Jesus isn’t brow beating anyone, He is simply drawing a comparison for you and I to relate to, each other. Remember Jesus parable of the good Samaritan, the Lord illustrates plainly that our neighbor is not necessarily a member of our own race, rank or religion. For that matter he may not have any connection with us at all, he may even be considered our enemy. Understand this, the word “enemy” in God vocabulary includes those who want to ignore, insult, injure, impede or even destroy. Yet they are justified as our neighbor because they are a fellow human being in need, and we are in some position to meet some or all of that need; spiritual, physical, material, etc….

So what is our duty and how do we fulfill it? We must understand that true love is not sentiment, it is service – practical, humble, sacrificial service. As Dostoyevsky put it, “Love in action is much more terrible than love in dreams.’ We should treat our enemies as God has treated us, it was ‘while we were enemies that Christ died for us to reconcile us to God.” Loving our neighbors, good or bad, gives us the opportunity to share Jesus with them.

Now let me backup and clarify something about the personal pronoun ‘your’ enemy. It isn’t grouped with Gods enemies, there is a big difference. Gods hatred is righteous anger and it is free of all spite, rancor and vindictiveness and is fired in the hearts of His people only for Gods honor and glory. We see it expressed through the lives of the apostles and those who were martyred for their witness and the word of God. God hates sin, yet Jesus came to save the sinner not condemn us, why? Because we were already condemned through our fallen nature. Through Jesus we can experience the regeneration that comes only through salvation. “your enemy” is an expression of allowing worldly influence into the life of a Christian and how it will interfere with Christ’s work through the life of a believer.

You may be saying, I can’t do this, I can’t let folks treat me any way. You’re right you can’t, but God can live this out through you. It is an act of submitting our life to a holy and righteous God and allowing Him to have His will in our life. This manner of submission is the only way we see the passage lived out in us. As with everything found in God’s word we must be submissive to Him first. Our witness will develop through submission into one that mirrors others like Paul. Read his testimony in 1 Timothy 1:12-17 and meditate on his words, I believe you will see this passage lived out in them. Until next month may God bless you is my prayer.

Category:  The Inspiring Word

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