How To Love As God Loves
One of America's most popular T.V. shows over the last few years is, "American Idol." This past years show featured a young lady named Mandisa Hundley...Mandisa is a heavy set woman and Simon had made a sarcastic remark upon seeing her questioning: "Do we have a bigger stage this year?"
When she entered the room to learn the judges' verdict of whether she would go on the next round or be cut, Mandisa looked right at Simon and addressed him:
"Simon, a lot of people want me to say a lot of things to you. But this is what I want to say...yes, you hurt me, and I cried, and it was painful. It really was, but I want you to know that I've forgiven you, and that you don't need someone to apologize in order to forgive somebody. And I figure that if Jesus could die so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven, I can certainly extend that same grace to you. I just wanted you to know that.
Randy said, "Amen." Simon apologized and hugged the singer, and Mandisa discovered she had been selected to advance into the next round.
Somewhere, maybe from a parent, Sunday School teacher, friend, pastor... Mandisa had heard what Jesus Christ has to say about what true love is all about. Our world needs more Mandisa's who'll practice such a Christ-like love in the midst of a persecuting world...
To love as God loves you must allow Jesus Christ to do three awesome works in your life...First, Jesus Christ Must Transform Your Traditions...Second...Jesus Christ Must Widen Your Witness...Third...Jesus Christ Must Perfect Your Purpose...
If you are to love as God loves...you must...
(1) Allow Jesus Christ to Transform Your Traditions
In today's text, Jesus is dealing with people who had a hard time letting the word of God be their number one source of authority for life...especially in the area of how to treat people who were unlike them...
Their problem could be summed up this way...they were changing the word of God to line up with their desires... instead of letting the word of God change them towards God's desires...
Look right here in Matthew 5:43, "You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy."
Jesus is referring here to the teaching of the Pharisees and scribes...their teaching was not in line with the word of God!
What were they doing? They were subtracting from the word of God...and they were adding to the word of God!
The law of God states in Leviticus 19:18, "You shall not take vengeance, not bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord."
They had omitted from their teaching two words... "as yourself."
The Pharisees did not want to love everyone as Jesus commanded...they only wanted to love their own community, their own nation, their own people...for them, to love common, ordinary people...people unlike them...this was out of the question...
Their teachi ...
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