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Matthew 5; Part Six -The True Nature of Christianity

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"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is 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.For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. - Matthew 5: 43-48 (ESV)

Tough lessons for us all beloved. This goes against so much of modern worldly wisdom. Jesus does not say we are to hate our enemies. That includes our secret hates. Our political hates. That includes Muslims. That includes people whose sin offends us. That includes people who may even want us dead. What does Jesus say here? Are we to sue our enemies? Are we to refuse to interact with them? Are we to mobilize political forces against them? Are we to chastise them, mock them, and use Scripture to malign them? No, no, a hundred times - no! What are we to do with them? Pray for them. Pray? Isn't that just an old Christianism? Hardly:

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, - 2Corinthians 10: 3-5 (ESV)

Beloved hear me very clearly. Do you really think for a second that our true enemies are the people in this world? That our true enemies are the people who pass laws that mock Christianity? That our true enemies are the people who slap our cheek or sue us for our tunic? Dear Lord no. there is but one enemy beloved and he does a masterful job of portraying the very people we are supposed to feel compassion towards as our enemies. And we fall for it over and over again. Our weapons are not of this world. Our weapons are not petitions, lawsuits, and legislation. Our weapons are supernatural and the first weapon we ought to wield is prayer because while we might be powerless, God is always omnipotent! While we are looking at these Scriptures from 2Corinthians realize that the lofty opinions and arguments raised against the knowledge of God are not coming from the world. They are coming from our own deceptive hearts! When we think we ought to slap back the one who slaps us we are entertaining an argument that is raised up against the knowledge of God! When we think we are standing for Christ by refusing to bake a cake for a sinner we are entertaining a lofty opinion against the knowledge of Christ! We have to take captive the thoughts we have against the very people we are supposed to bring the Good News to and make them obedient to Christ! God shows no partiality beloved. He sends the sun and rain upon the just and unjust alike.

He desires everyone come to repentance not just the ones we might get along with. I love the next point Jesus makes here. If you love only those who love you how in the world do you expect credit or recognition for that? Why would you think you would be rewarded for doing exactly what the unregenerate sinner would do? It is easy to love the lovable. I have seen mothers forgive the murders of their children because they know it is what Jesus commanded of them. THAT is what should be celebrated! That is what is rewarded. Not this eye for an eye Christianity that only returns love that is first given. Look who Jesus compares us to! Tax collectors! These were the most despised people in His day. They were viewed as traitors to their own people. They worked for the oppressive Roman regime and gouged their fellow Jews for extra money to line their pockets. Yet no matter how despicable they may have been they too greet their own brothers warmly. They too love those who love them. That is a powerful comparison because it highlights our own hypocrisy and the hypocrisy of worldly love. The type of love the world believes in is wholly conditional. As long as you are loving me, I will love you. As long as I am getting something from this love, I will hold up my end of the love bargain. This is not however the standard of love God uses. If it were - we would all still be going to hell. The standard of love God uses said that even though he does not show me love I will send my only Son to die for his sins.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. - Romans 5: 6-9 (ESV)

Yet despite this we still withhold our love for those who already love us? We return what we get. If they hate us, we hate them right back. Eye for an eye? You betchya. We hold to the standard of tax collectors, while waving a Bible in the face of people who do not understand the Bible. Instead of striving for the perfection of Christ we settle for the standard of this world. It should not be so beloved.

So Matthew 5 comes to an end. The Sermon on the Mount continues however in Chapter Six. Jesus has just begun teaching but what a start He is off to. Confounding the wise with the simple. Raising the bar on the law. Overturning the worldly ways we think and replacing them with the true nature of Christianity. To strive to be Christ-like. From the Beatitudes through the perfection of the Father, we have so much to learn from in this chapter. So much to leverage in our walk to grow closer to God. If we choose to. If we have ears to hear.

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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