Love Your Enemies

Date: PM
Text: Matthew 5:43-48
Psalters: 292, 392, 305, 271
  1. God’s law and Jesus’ command.
    1. The Jewish rabbis restricted “neighbor” to those of the same nation and especially to those of their religious party.
      1. In verse 38 Jesus began a treatment of how we must conduct ourselves toward others.
      2. In our text Jesus shows that they were they were wrong to think that they were commanded to hate their personal enemies.
    2. God’s law identified the “neighbor” as anyone God puts in our path.
      1. God identified Egyptians as neighbors (Ex. 11:2) and commands them not to vex the stranger in the land (Lev. 19:33,34).
      2. Our “neighbor” is all-embracing, and includes especially personal enemies.
    3. Jesus calls us to love those who hate us, and He does not give us the right to hate them.
      1. This love is vastly superior to the natural affection of human compassion the publicans (ungodly) have (46,47).
      2. This love has to be an holy and spiritual affection which expresses itself in good and kind acts.
  2. The reason for such high conduct.
    1. The righteousness of the citizens of Christ’s kingdom exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees (20).
      1. Our love is to be superior to the natural love which the ungodly have for their brothers (46,47).
      2. What God and Jesus requires and commands is so much greater than the natural.
    2. And especially the attitude of God’s children must resemble that of their heavenly Father (48).
      1. The activity of God’s providence is to be our example.
      2. We must strive toward God’s perfection, even if we never realize it in this life (as Phil. 3:12).
      3. The motivation for our loving conduct toward our personal enemies is God’s love for us.