Sermon Link [Why not have a listen to the sermon?]
“There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.” William Cowper
Of all Jesus’ teachings the imperative to “love our enemies” is probably the most famous and the most difficult. Nonetheless in light of the forgiveness we have received we must also forgive. To do that, however, we must try to understand from the text the distinction between Kingdom love and worldly love.
1. Kingdom Love is Spiritual Love
Whilst there is so much more that can be said of the text, “I say to you who hear,” which begins this passage shows us that Kingdom love is spiritual love. Please hear me; I am not saying that it is devoid of any practical application but I am saying that in order to “hear” or understand it, let alone practise it, we must be born-again and must be walking in accordance to God’s Spirit.
Application: Whether you are to forgive whole groups of people, certain individuals or even yourself you must understand that the power to do this rests wholly with God. Read this passage a number of times and ask God for the power to both “hear” and to act. This whole concept that true forgiveness comes from emotion or from an act of the will is destructive, impossible and unbiblical.
2. Worldly Love is Self-Interested Love
Worldly love, however, is a love that is empowered not by God but by man and is merely shared amongst those people whom we like or those people from whom we seek to receive something in return. “For even sinners love those who love them.”
Application: This week why not do something good to those who hold animosity towards you. Please be wise and do not do it in a way to gain the moral high ground but purely because “when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Romans 5:10). Practically, this might mean taking in your neighbour’s rubbish bin, giving due credit to a certain colleague at work, trying to understand things from another persons perspective or being sensitive to someone else’s beliefs (i.e. not eating bacon in front of a seventh day Adventist or not participating in orange marches particularly if they pass through Catholic areas).
3. Kingdom Love is God’s Love
In the ancient world many trades were passed on generationally from father to son. Therefore the love spoken of within this passage is none other than God’s love “for He is kind to the unthankful and (the) evil.” We are seen, therefore, as apprentices and co-labourers in His great work.
Application: Now you might be thinking that the person/s or group that you have in mind are completely undeserving of any good. I would agree but I would also assume that you are not deserving of any good either, and therefore even if the good that you seek to do is not received in a loving spirit, then I would exhort you to share it universally (not just to those who have offended you but to all) and untiringly, so that all might see that you are a son of the most high God.
“Christ’s injunctions are not to be applied mechanically, formally, or in foolish blindness which loses sight of the true purposes of love. Love is to foster no crime in others or to expose our loved ones to disaster or perhaps death…Christ never told me not to restrain the murderer’s hand, not to check the thief and robber, not to oppose the tyrant, or to foster shiftlessness, dishonesty, and greed by my gifts.” Lenski
Therefore let us not be fools; nonetheless let us not also be those that use over-caution as an excuse not to forgive the unforgivable in ourselves and in others.
*Our infinite God has chosen to limit Himself by using finite men therefore the sermon and the study notes should be received in a spirit of humility for that was the spirit in which they have been given. It is therefore our prayer that by the power of the Spirit’s illumination they might be used for the glorification of God and the transformation of your life*
[the audio from the 1st clip and the video from the 2nd where put together and shown before the sermon]