Sun, Jul 02, 2017
Teacher: Yale Wall Series: Sermon on the Mount Scripture: Matthew 5:43-6:4
July 2, 2017
Love for Enemies / Giving to the Needy
Matthew 5:43-48, 6:1-4
This week we’re continuing our series on “The Sermon on the Mount.”
A really incredible thing about the Sermon on the Mount is that Jesus didn't save his heavy hitting and culture shifting commands for a private setting, and he didn’t just save it for people whose hearts he had already won over…
Actually, The Sermon on the Mount wasn't even planned, when Jesus was surrounded by people who needed to hear the truth of who He was, He gathered them together on a hill and he shared the truth with them:
And that’s what we’re doing in this series… We’re meeting outside, in the open, unashamed of the truth of who God is - wanting desperately to soak up everything we can about who that man is: A God who isn't ashamed of the truth, who has nothing to hide, and who just wants to draw his people back to him.
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Here’s what a devout Jew would hear this:
God loves people who are evil
Here’s what Jesus is really saying:
God loves people, regardless of how evil they are, and He wants reconciliation with them!
46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
Here he’s saying: showing love to people that you should love, doesn’t show anything different than the world. Even the worst of the worst people do that. Showing love to people you should hate really shows a big difference!
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
When Jesus says this, He’s not saying something that is unreachable. Because through the free gift of salvation, Jesus makes a way for us to be perfected in Heaven. What He’s really doing here, is putting a hunger in us for something greater, something that we won’t be in this life, but we CAN be.
Giving to the Needy
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Jesus starts not just with helping the poor, but the heart behind HOW to help the poor. In that, he challenges the idea of that time that when you give you should announce it to the whole world, so they know that you are a good person, and that the needy have been taken care of.
Are you giving to people to pat yourself on the back, or for the Kingdom of God? If you’re doing it for your own gain, that’s just kind of sad.
But, if you do it to love the people, and you tell them about the Love of God (which is ultimately why we love people) then huge things happen for the Kingdom.
- Our ultimate intention is to share Jesus with them.
- Ask God to guide you in your encounter with them .
- Be wise with who you give to and how you give to them .
- Care about the person long term, not short term.
- It’s good to give to the poor in the context of community.
- I will make a greater effort to love my enemies.
- I will give to people in need with the right heart.
- I will pay close attention to the way people are seeing me, understanding that I represent Jesus.
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