Friday, March 30, 2018

Matthew - Love Your Enemies

In today's study, we look at Matthew 5:33-48 to see that in order for us to be like our Father in Heaven, we must love our enemies.

vv.33-37 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:  (34)  But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:  (35)  Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.  (36)  Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.  (37)  But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. According to the law, they were not to forswear themselves. To forswear means to swear falsely to perjure onseself.

Why not by Heaven?  It’s God’s throne! Why not by earth?  It’s God’s footstool! Why not by Jerusalem?  It’s the city of the Great King! Why not by your own head?  God made it, not you!

Conclusion of the Admonition 
The bottom line is that swearing shouldn’t be necessary if your “yea” is “yea” and your “nay” is “nay.” No expletives or oaths should be necessary to confirm or strengthen what you say. Just be a person of your word and you will not have to swear!

vv.38-42 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:  (39)  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.  (40)  And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.  (41)  And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.  (42)   Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. These verses speak of retribution. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” was a judicial retribution against harmful actions.

So, the Lord told his disciples to go beyond just the judicial demands of the law. He told them to give more than what the law demanded:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, 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; This was not a command for them or us to become passive doormats to be abused by others. Instead, it was a command to view their enemies with the same compassion that Jesus had for them. Yes, Jesus loved even his and our enemies so much that he died for them.

Children of the Father
v.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. That is to say to the Jews, that by doing good to others, the world will know that you are My children. That same applies to us as Christians.

Love Your Enemies
vv.46-47 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? It was not enough to just love and salute those that love and salute you. The word salute refers to a gesture of respect, homage, or polite recognition of another. Anybody can do that.  The heathen can say “hello”! In order to be like our our Father in heaven, we must love our enemies. After all, Jesus loved us when we were His enemies.

Rom 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Thus, leaving us an example of how we should love others who don’t love us.

1Pe 2:19-24  For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.  20  For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.  21  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:  22  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:  23  Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:  24  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. Jesus loved us when we were his enemies and he expects us to do the same for ours!

v.48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. If a man could live the way Jesus has told us to in this chapter, he would truly be perfect. He would never hate, slander or speak evil of another person. He would never lust in his heart or mind, and not covet anything. He would never make a false oath, and always be completely truthful. He would let God defend his personal rights, and not take it upon himself to defend those rights. He would always love his neighbors, and even his enemies. No, we will probably not reach that kind of perfection in this life, but it is no excuse for not trying!

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