Love Somebody You Hate
Title: Loving people you can’t stand
Text: Matt 5:43-48
Introduction: How do I love somebody I can’t stand? This is one of those things that humanly we don’t understand that Jesus has for us to do to get into Kingdom. But Jesus you don’t know my enemies but Jesus you. According to Scripture, we were once enemies once ourselves to God but His love reconciled us back to him. And he is commanding us to do the same. It is not an option. But He has equipped us to get it done!!! Here in our opening text Jesus is further discussing his teaching against what the Pharisees taught and we immediately see a problem that we are challenged with. It all stems from what was heard. Jesus reminds his disciples what was heard concerning how to love. He repeats to them what they were taught from the scribes and Pharisees from the OT (Lev 19:18). But here is the problem with what they heard. The disciples were taught a misquote. What they heard was missing an important phrase, from the original writings “as thy self”. The Pharisees were notorious for misquoting scripture for personal gain. This still goes on today. People abuse scripture to hold people in bondage. This reminds us that we have to properly interpret the Word of God. If we don’t, we will continue to live off of false teaching that does not glorify God and hurt the people of God as well as yourself. But thank God for Jesus who always comes to correct what was wrong. Now Jesus gives them a new paradigm for living in the kingdom in regard to love.
I. He gives you a new principle of love
Jesus tells his disciples to love your enemy. Love my enemy? What do you mean? How do I love somebody I can’t stand? How do I love somebody who has done me wrong? That is not possible because of what they did to me! But I am here today to tell you that it is possible. Nothing is impossible with God. This is a new standard and a command that Jesus gives us as believers and we are to carry this out if we are to carry the name of Christians. So does loving my enemy condone their behavior towards me? Absolutely not. But it does require us to perform a certain actions. In order to understand this we have first look at what is the love we have to have toward our enemies. This type of is love is not the romantic, brotherly or family love. This type of love from the original language is agape love. Agapē does not mean a feeling of the heart, which we cannot help, and which comes unbidden and unsought; it means a determination of the mind and be willing, whereby we achieve this unconquerable goodwill even to those who hurt and injure us. Agapē, someone has said, is the power to love those whom we do not like and who may not like us. In point of fact we can only have agapē when Jesus Christ enables us to conquer our natural tendency to anger and to bitterness, and to achieve this invincible goodwill and unconquerable benevolence to all men. This is the type of love that God showed us when Jesus died on the cross. This means to us that we engage in our enemies lives that we are used by God to reconcile them to Him and to aligned to God’s will. Here is how we engage them. In order to do that…
II. He gives us a new practice
Look at the text. Jesus tells his disciples to bless them that curse you, do good them that hate you, pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you. Jesus wants us to put into practice first, bless them that curse. This means to speak well of those who to talk bad about you. When you hear somebody lying or gossiping about you switched up on them and encourage them and compliment them. Next, do good to them that hate you. This means to do something excellent to them to that really hate you! The next practice sounds so crazy to do pray for them that use (insult) and persecute (drive way) you. Romans 12:20 tell us that if we do this we heap coals on the enemies head! These practices are opposite of what would do naturally. But when we came to Christ, we don’t operate in the natural man anymore. We have to operate supernaturally. God has equipped us with a couple of things so we can to operate on a supernatural level to love our enemies:
1. He gave us a new heart. In order to love our enemies we need a new heart. Our old heart has too much junk inside that hardly enables us to love people we like let alone people we don’t like. Therefore, He gave us a new heart at the new birth. Ezk 11:19 says, “I will take out you stony heart of your flesh.”
2. Not only does God give you a new heart he will equip you with endless love in you heart. Rom 5:5 says that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.
3. And to make that love that seems impossible possible, He gives you power to do thru the Holy Ghost. John 1:12 tells us that he gives us power to become sons of God. That power comes from the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit enables you to give that supernatural love that God requires for us to give to our enemies.
My beloved, this type of love for our enemies can only be done and is only for the Christian. This raises the question, are you being Christian? Or are you a Christian? But if we are loving our enemies the way God wants us to, it puts us in a good position which is our next point.
III. He gives you position in the Kingdom as His child.
The text says that you will become children on your father in heaven. That means that you will become godlike. That is what is meant in Hebrew culture to be a son of God. As in a son or a daughter, what ever is in the parents is in the children. We are to be godlike because we are created in His image therefore have godlike characteristics. The next part of the text shows us a character trait of God that we must emulate. It says that he makes the sun to shine on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on just and the unjust. This tells us that we have to be transcendent (going beyond our limit) and be balanced in grace as Christians. As God is the God of all, Christians are servants of all even those who are against us. This is how we establish the kingdom of God and operate as citizens of the kingdom which is our position. And because our position in the kingdom will we have a holy inheritance as kingdom people. Whatever is in heaven is available to you because you behave a good citizen. You will get the key to the city. Our problem is that we miss our reward because we are not in position and act the same as the world. Look at the text in verse 46. If you love people who love you, that isn’t nothing. The publicans do the same thing. Publicans were the tax collectors who were considered as sinners. As believers, there should be a difference between us and sinners. We are called out of darkness, set apart and holy unto God. There should be a distinct difference between how we act and how non believers acts. But this is the verse that gets Christian in trouble because we don’t love way God is telling us to love let alone act how He tells us how act. That is why we need the Holy Spirit so we can bear fruit! People need to see your Holy Ghost! It is the Holy Ghost that put in you position to love and to rewarded in the Kingdom of God.
IV. He gives us love for your enemies to bring about your purpose
Lastly, in regard on loving our enemies, Jesus tells the disciples in verse 48, “be ye therefore perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect”. The word perfect in the text is teleious which means to be complete or fully mature. It takes Christians maturity to love your enemies. This maturity fulfills our Christian purpose that was planned, designed and made just for you. In fact this fits the exegetical word stem telos which means purpose, goal or aim. Therefore, before can be perfect teleious you have know you purpose telos. Love is you ultimate Christian purpose.
Close: My beloved, make up your mind in regard to your enemy that I am going to love you on purpose because you are apart of my purpose. If it was not for your enemies you would not pray like the way you pray. If it was not for your enemies you wouldn’t worship the way you worship [serve, praise, study, etc.] Your enemies make you better! So every time you encounter a hater, tell them thank you because you are taking me to another level. Thank you! Because you because God is going to bless me. You got to love your enemies because they make you who you are. Let me tell you who are because of your enemies: you are salt and light, branch of the true vine, chosen and appointed, witness of Jesus, God’s coworker, a minister of reconciliation, a worship and prayer warrior, anointed, powerful in Him, walk in truth, and victorious! When you love your enemies you secure your position as a child of the King. And you are the righteousness of God!
Altar Call: Who is your enemy, not flesh and blood…