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Love Your Enemies (16 of 26)
Series: Kingdom Life
''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'' (vv. 43-44).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that we who profess to be his followers are to be different. In 5:43-48, he tells us that we are to be different in how we treat our enemies: ''Love your enemies'' (v. 44).
[Read Matthew 5:43-48.]
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO LOVE OUR ENEMIES?
In the English language, ''love'' has many meanings. John 3:16 helps us understand the biblical meaning of love: ''For God so [in this way] loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.'' To love as God loves means to give of ourselves for the benefit of others.
An enemy is someone who hates you (e.g., someone who ''revile[s] you and persecute[s] you,'' Matt. 5:11). An example of someone in Scripture who loved his enemies was Stephen, who prayed while he was being stoned to death: ''Falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them''' (Acts 7:60). How is it possible for us to love our enemies?
We will never be able to love our enemies unless WE SEE GOD'S GRACE AS AMAZING.
The apostle Paul writes, ''God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us'' (Rom. 5:8). Later, he says, ''While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son'' (Rom. 5:10). God sent Jesus to this earth to die for his enemies.
MY ENEMY IS MY NEIGHBOUR
Jesus says, ''You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy''' (v. 43). ''You shall love your neighbor'' is from Leviticus 19:18, but nowhere does the law say, Hate your enemy.'' According to Exodus 23:4-5, people were to help their enemies: ''If you meet your enemy's ox ...
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