Friday, June 24, 2005

Loving Our Enemies

Loving our enemies
Christians can face many personal attacks as they engage in any
ministry outreach. Let's look at what Jesus said about loving our enemies:

Quote:
Matthew 5:43-42 (NLT)

Teaching about Love for Enemies

43 "You have heard that the law of Moses says, `Love your
neighbor'* and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies!*
Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting
as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. 46 If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to
your friends,* how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans
do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Jesus really challenges us in these verses. He asks, "If you love only those who love you, what good is that?"

Even pagans are kind to their friends, so how does that make us any different from anyone else?I think it shows us that people don't care
how much you know (about Jesus, God and the Bible) until they know how much you care ABOUT THEM. Of course, this can be
misconstrued by others and sometimes there is nothing you can do
about it. Many make a decision about you based on a first impression
or a comment made that may have come across to THEM in a negative way, whereas you were trying to reach them with the Gospel and they were taking offense at this "bad news of sin, Good News of redemption" message you are sharing.

The most difficult thing is that last verse.

Look at it!

Jesus tells us to "be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."What is the underlying message here? Was Jesus telling us
that we CAN be perfect like Him and His Father? Or was he saying this
to get us to strive for it during our lives? I think it means the latter.
Why? Because we can NEVER be perfect this side of heaven.

This is what is meant by, "no one is righteous, no, not one."

It is the reason why Jesus came to be the Perfect sacrifice for our sins
in order to bridge the gap between Holy God and sinful man. We are called to "renew our minds in Christ Jesus" which is another way of saying be involved in sanctification through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But we are still human and will make mistakes. This is a good thing, actually, because it shows our need to humble ourselves and submit to the Lord. This is why we must point towards Christ, not ourselves, for He alone is the Righteous One who covers us.

In Isaiah 64:6, he states: "But we are all as an unclean [thing], and
all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a
leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."

Did you read and understand what was said there? The fact that ALL
of our righteousnesses are as FILTHY RAGS. This just reiterates our need for the Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY One who is "perfect, just as the Father in heaven is perfect." He was perfect unto death, in
our place, for our sins. He willingly "laid down his life for his friends"
and had the power to "take it up again" and proved Who He Is in the power of the Resurrection. In Him, we have the unshakable faith of
hope in the Resurrection to life for eternity with God in His Kingdom.

Isn't it amazing that God has chosen us, his imperfect, fallible, sometimes stumbling children to go out into all the world and share
the message of salvation through Jesus Christ to all nations on the
earth?

Some may think...well THAT doesn't sound logical. Maybe it ISN'T logical. It's faithful! It is why God said that "Abraham's faith was attributed to him as righteousness." Before the cross of Christ, those faithful to God trusted in the future promise of the Messiah. After the cross of Christ, we HAVE the fulfillment of that promise in Jesus
Christ!

It is the agape love of God!

How awesome is this Gospel!!

Christine

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition
and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth
to show Himself strong to those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

2 comments:

destined4blessing said...

Hi Christine,

I'm writing again just to say hi... I tried to find where I'd written before, but couldn't. Hmmm. I'm confused already, and I just started this whole blog thing! I have read some of your blogs, and they're great! You have such a compassionate heart, and I'd love to keep in touch with you. I saw your blog first on Stephen Bennett's blog... and loved what you had to say in there. Well... just wanted to say that I hope you have a great day, and that the graduation went well! My nephew just graduated, and wow - how quickly they grow up! I'm sure you will have needed the tissues you took along. :) Anyway, have a great weekend!

Christinewjc said...

Hi Destined4blessing,

You originally posted in the "Pursue Holiness and Absolute Truth" thread. Just scroll down the board to that post, click on the comments and scroll down to your comment. I did answer your first post there.

Like you, I was confused about a lot of things when I first started blogging, so I hear ya!

The graduation went very well! It was at a huge ampitheatre and the graduates (about 150) from the ILP (Independent Learning Program) marched in with chosen escorts and then were seated up on the stage. My daughter had a group of friends (plus her family, of course)there cheering her as she received her diploma! Then we had food and cake back at the house. Such a fun time and we are all so proud of her!!

The Valedictorian had a great speech. One of his stated goals in life after college is full time pastoral work. He mentioned his faith in Jesus Christ and the audience clapped and cheered!

During the invocation, a faculty member offered up a generic prayer using the term 'Supreme Creator'. But it was truly special to hear this young man lift up the name of Jesus in his speech!

Have a great weekend too!