Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 640 · 2 months ago

The Gospel of Luke #27

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Luke 6:27-36

And let us now ask God's blessing and illumination upon his word. And now, our God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we do come to thee this morning. We are but one one congregation among thousands upon thousands that are gathering on this day to give you praise. But Lord, you are present everywhere, and you are especially present in the gathering together of your people. And you are present there to bless, and you are present there to guide and to lead. And Lord, you are present to illuminate your word. And Father, your word is truly a light to our path, that a lamp to our feet. Your word truly is all that we need for life and godliness. And so Lord, we come to you this morning to your word. And though we look at one small portion enough, yet there is an eternity and an infinity of things that are brought forth in this short little passage that you taught us. And so Lord, I pray that as we read it and as I expound it, Lord you would illuminate the word, keep me from error, help me to faithfully expound the word. And Lord me your people be drawn closer to you and closer to each other. If we pray this in Christ name. Amen, we're looking at the Gospel of Luke. I told you I wasn't going to get through the entire gospel, but we got all the way to chapter six, so we did well. And I'm going to be looking, um, actually at a much longer Well, it's not a long passage, but it's I would I would probably normally do this in less or more sermons, and I'm doing it this morning. But Luke chapter six, getting with verse twenty seven and going through verse thirty six, here is God's word. But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, Bless those who curse you, Pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also. And from one who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic. Either, give to everyone who begged from you. And from one who takes away your goods, do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so even to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you, for even sinners to the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend the sinners to get back the same amount. But love your enemies and do good and land expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great. And you will be sons of the most High for his kind, for his kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your father is merciful. That's what And the reading of God's word please be seated. I was. I was asked by the all children if I could come up with a clever, funny title. I made reference in a previous sermon that I had done that one time and nobody got it. So I decided it wasn't a good thing for me to do. UM But I failed. I totally failed at that. I couldn't come up with a clever title for this. The only thing I could think about this morning was that we are we are missing half of our leadership today and I think um, Bill and Ted are off on some excellent adventure today.

That's my attempt. Well, we are moving forward to UH in the Gospel of Luke. And we've looked at the beatitudes and and things like this, And like I say, as we read the Texas morning, I could easily preach uh two or three messages at minimum are these passages. And I had to cut out lots of material in order to make this a sermon I could do in one morning. We do not have Sunday school following this morning and and other things, so of course I can go much much longer today. So I have a little bit of a benefit. Uh, don't get nervous. But anyway, we have a lot of stuff here that Christ tells us about love, and UH, love is I'm gonna talk about, is the foundation of everything and in the Kingdom of God, and so of course there's so much to be said about that. And Christ is going to talk about love peculiarly to the our enemies. But nevertheless, I want us to remember that if Christ uh commands us to love our enemies, how much more ought we to love our brothers and sisters in Christ as well? And so I want to include that idea, And so we'll be looking not only at our love to enemies, but our love to brothers and sisters and also our love to God and God's love to us as well, and by looking at how that is demonstrated in the Gospel. So let's begin by looking at Versus twenty seven to thirty. Let me lay down some fundamental principles about love. That this is the very first time that Luke uses the word love in his gospel. This is the first time we have it. You're probably familiar many of you are, anyway, probably with the fact that there are different words for love in the Greek and the first word that is they have is the word ara us, which is a word for more physical, passionate love and actually is not found anywhere in the Bible and the New Testament, at least that is translated into from Greek. The second word filia is usually referred to as a friendship love and uh that is another kind of love. The third word that most of us are probably familiar with is the Greek word agape, and this is probably the most difficult word for us to define. One thing that seems apparent is is one of those words. There are a few words that Christian writers took a word out of the Greek and kind of put their own spin upon it, and the copy is one of those words. Act lyca might be another one. There are others as well. But this is a word where the Church kind of made it, or Christ or however you want to say, this made it into a whole different kind of meaning uh than than it was in those days. It has been described as a sacrificial kind of love, the kind of love the Godhead and giving his only begotten son into the world, the kind of love the Christ showed and coming into the world world and giving himself as a sacrifice, that kind of love the Holy Spirit shows in giving uh an applying the work of Christ to the hearts of believers. And and so this is one of those words. Romans third Team ten says love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. And there the word in both of its occurrences in that verse is the Greek word a gop a. And so Paul says, the way we fulfill the law of God, just like Jesus says and said in our Law passage this morning, is by showing love to one another and love to God. John MacArthur says, the most foundational mark of a genuine believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is love. We love God, we love other believers in Christ, and we are even commanded here to love our enemies. And in this passage Jesus is giving especially to j he Ism, but...

...to the world itself. He is giving some of the most revolutionary teachings. And we need to understand this. These words are so familiar to us, they just kind of kind of just go off of us without thinking too much about him. But in those days, these words that Jesus taught, they were not being taught. These are revolutionary things what Jesus is going to say, and it starts with the command love your enemies. The teachers of that time we're not teaching this at all. Hendrickson says, when he said love your enemies, he must have startled his audience, for he was saying something that probably never before had been said so succinctly, positively, and forcefully. The old saying that has been repeated many times, originally attributed to Sons, who is keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer. I don't think by close in his saying, he's referring to the closeness of love. But the or Jesus is referring to the closeness of love and speaking of that kind of love to our enemies. Now, after this command, Jesus is going to give a series of instructions on how to do that. Anybody have a guess as to how many instructions? So seven good, Yes, So they did learn one thing right when I was here, So that's that's good. Yes, seven instructions concerning how we are to do that. And again, and the two great commandments that we looked at this morning. The second one is thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, but it doesn't say thou shalt love thy enemy as thyself. But then Jesus gave us a parable later on in Luke concerning a Samaritan. And he gives it in response to a question that was asked of him, who is my neighbor? If we should love our neighbor as myself? Who is our neighbor? And Jesus gave a parable that seemed to indicate at anyone that is in need is our neighbor. And so we say, can our enemy be our neighbor? Or can our neighbor be our enemy? And at least I think we can admit the second is possible. So if anyone can be my neighbor, then I must be willing to show love to anyone at all. And I want to come back to that parable and an illustration of it at the end of the message this morning. So the first command that he gives is do good to those who hate you. Last week we looked at the be attitudes when Jesus said, we are blessed when people hate us and speak evil of us. And I spoke about the fact that there can be various reasons that people hate us that are not actually blessings, that there are own faults, that our own problems, and that that cannot be the case for what Jesus was speaking about here. But no matter why people hate us, Jesus commands us to do good to them, which, at some point out here is a command to actually do unnatural deeds. It isn't natural for us to do good things to our enemies. We don't. We don't. We might do that naturally as believers to to other Christians, but it isn't natural to do it to those who hate us. James Edwards says, the commandments here are non intuitive. In other words, they may not seem reasonable, and they enjoy behaviors that did not come naturally. John MacArthur says, when believers face hatred, there to respond by seeking the welfare of those that hate them, thereby reinforcing their supernatural message with supernatural love. Well, that's difficult to do in I moved to Sacramento, California with my wife and small daughter at the time. We only had one child at the time, and we were going to start a streat ministry and Sacramento, and uh, the the problem was I didn't have a lot...

...of money. So we got our apartment building and not the ideal place or the ideal area of Sacramento to live in, and we lived above a family that basically kept hours completely opposite to our hours. So when we were awake, they were asleep, and when we were asleep, they were awake. And that pointed out or caused many different problems, uh for us, especially with one small child that might have had some difficulty in sleeping and and all of that. And they could be quite noisy during the night. And um, I happened to notice one morning that the kids there was actually some teenagers living with what I think was the grandmother. I guess. I don't know that for sure, but but I would see the kids coming home with car stereos under their arms with the wires kind of ripped off and hanging from them, and I had an idea what they might have been doing, uh in the night during that time. And when I had left North Dakota, which is where it passed her before we came to California, I, um, they're a family in the church had given to me this cassette player. Now, for those of you that are younger, cassette was like our CDs. Uh they were. They were like tape things that ran and got caught up in your tape player and messed all up, and then you had to spend hours trying to straighten it out and put it back in the cassette. Um. So it was a little a little less um usable than the c d M. But anyway, um, it was the best they had at that time. And the Salmon had given us a premier Jensen recorder that played these cassettes like they sounded so much better than anywhere else we we could play them. And one morning, um, I got into my car and noticed that the player was gone, and I had a pretty good idea who had taken that at that time, and remembering the scripture, I told my wife, you know, why don't you bake a tray of brownies and uh, I'll take it down to them and give it to them. And so she did, and I took him down, knocked on the door, and the grandmother, if that's what was answered, the answered the door and I said, I just want to say, my wife has baked you some brownies and we wanted to give again to you as a neighborly gesture. And she grabbed the brownies and she looked over a friend that was with me in the street ministry at that time, at a car that was parked and it was a little bit on the lawn and she was that cars on the lawn and then she closed the door. So it didn't end very good. I can't say that it made that we made a huge impact on their life or anything like that. Um. We never did make a close relationship of that family because we moved out of that neighborhood as soon as we could. UM. But loving enemies can be a hard thing to do. And if we find that we think it's easy, the problem is we probably don't have real enemies. Enemies are those who hate us because of Christ and the life that we live. And that's, like I said, what the real reason people should Hey, if they're gonna hate us, that's why they should hate us, not for other reason. And I want to refer to a book that Philip Rikin refers to in his commentary, but it also has made into a movie. I haven't read the book. I have seen the movie years ago and it's it's a good movie. It's a war movie and it's called To End All Wars. And maybe some of you have seen that uh particular movie. It's based on the memoirs of a pow by the name of Ernest Gordon, and he spent time in the Dreaded prison camp, Japanese prison camp by the River Kwai. Now I know that isn't the only war movie that deals with the River Kuai, but nonetheless, uh in um. In Rkin's book, Uh, he talks about the book by Gordon and he said that during the time they were in this was a dreaded camp. Very few people made it out alive.

And he said, during that time Gordon writes about it. He said he nearly died. He writes this, I was headed for the death house. I was so ill I didn't much care, but I was hardly prepared for what I found there. The death house had been built at one of the lowest points of the camp. The monsoon you're familiar with that was on, and as a result, the floor of the hut was a sea of mud, and there were the smells tropical ulcers eating in the flesh and bone. Latrines overflowed, unwashed man, untended men, sick men, Humanity gone sour, humanity rotting. The last shreds of my numb sensibilities rebelled against my surroundings, against the bedbugs, the life, the stenches, the blood, mucus, excrement stained sleeping platforms, the die and the dead bed mates, the victory of corruption. This was the lowest level of life. But by God's grace, Gordon didn't die. But he and many others in the camp lived and came to know Jesus Christ. But Wryking goes on to say that even though these men learned to love each other, the one thing they couldn't find out how to do was how to love their enemies. Gordon says this is from his words We have learned from the gospels that Jesus had his enemies just as we had ours, but there was a difference. He loved his enemies. He prayed for them, even as the nails were being hammered through his hands and feet. He cried out, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. We hated our enemies. We could see how wonderful it was that Jesus forgave in this way. Yet for us to do the same seemed beyond our attainment. The enemies had been brutal, they had made them suffer the most inhumane treatment. They had real enemies, and it seemed insurmountable for them to overcome that. And maybe we don't have enemies quite like that. But I want to come back to that story at the end of the message. The second way to love our enemies is to bless the ones who curse us. In his first command of how we treat our enemies, Jesus speaks of unnatural deeds, of doing good to those that hate us and those that are enemies. Now he speaks about unnatural words, and he speaks about blessing those who curse us. And normally I expound a lot more on this, but I don't have time. The third way to love our enemies is to pray for those who mistreat us, and again you can fill in the exposition for that this morning. The fourth way is the famous turn the other cheek commands. Jesus said, if someone strikes you on the cheek, and then offer the other one as well. I think that that particular saying has come down to us so often and is so well known that translators don't like the mess with it. But it's important to notice that the word here for cheek is actually the word jawbone, and the word for strike actually means to smite hard, to hit hard. So what we're talking about here is a smack to the jaw. We're not talking about a little hit to the cheek. We're talking about a smack to the jaw. Last week, we saw in our evening message that Samson used a jawbone to kill his enemies. But here we are learning that we should turn our other jaw bone to the enemy. And I want to treat this command that Jesus gives us the same way I'm going to treat the next three commands. So again I want to come back to those in the exposition, because I think it's important before we understand that that we we realize something that's that's to be said here.

The fifth way is if someone takes our cloak, we shouldn't withhold our tunic from them either. The sixth ways were to give to everyone who begs from us, and the seventh is if someone takes our goods from us, we shouldn't ask for them back. Lensky says, the disciple loses less by letting his things be taken wrongfully. Then he would buy with the selfish heart, clamoring to have them returned. The disciple loses less by having the things taken wrongfully. Well, I want to spend most of my time and application, as I've kind of referred to this morning, So let me just quickly go through Versus thirty one to thirty four. Here we have the famous golden rule in verse dirty one, and we have to admit that there are other versions of the same kind of thing that are found in other teachers, teachers both before and after Christ, even Jewish teachers uh that taught here the taught this. But we have to notice one thing that is of ent us, and and I think it does mean something is that all of those teachers taught this in the negative. Christ was the first one who put it into the positive. For example, Socrates said, do not do to others that which angers you when they do it to you. Confucius says, and this is not a joke, now, but Confucius says, never imposed on others which you would not choose for yourself. And there are other versions as well that you can find. But Jesus actually puts it in the positive. He said, we are to Actually he's not saying don't do this, he's saying do this. He's saying, do the things that you would want to be done to you, you do them to them. And and so Luke says, as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Matthew says, so whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the profits. And so in his sense, Jesus is summing up the entire teaching of this section by giving us this particular rule. And and one of the problems that people have, I think as a rule in this teaching and this teaching of love, is sometimes we divorce the second commandment from the first, and we think about our love to our neighbor and all of that, and that's fine, and that's good. But but many people, including some liberal Christians and Heathens, have divorced it so that when they speak about love, they only speak about the second commandment. They only speak about love towards other people, and that's all they speak about. And we see many of these kind of trite sayings and things at different places that we go into in souvenir shops and the like, where where they're all these sayings. And we we have a cup that our Landlord has left for us in our condominion that we've been staying in that says uh. And everything you do, do it in love. And it's all great, but it's it's not referring to the first commandment, which is to love God. And it's easy for people to forget that that is the utmost and most important commandment of all. And then in Versus thirty two through thirty four, Jesus characterizes what should separate Christians from unbelievers, or as Christ refers to them, sinners. Now, that word is used in various contexts in the Gospels, and sometimes it's used about people that are exceeding sinners, people that have done some horrendous things. Uh. It's used for example, of a woman as the prostitute in the Gospels as well. But Jesus is basically referring to all unbelievers and says that even though, but even if we want to take it to the most extreme case, that we want to think about extreme sinners, extreme sinners, they do show love to other extreme sinners. They do do good to those that are other sinners. And and again Jesus said, what benefit if you do that? If you show love to...

...those that show love to you, what benefit? And the word there for benefit is caress, and that is the Greek word that is most overwhelmingly translated in the New Testament as grace. What grace is that to you? You know we talk about people, Oh she has such grace. Well, Jesus is saying, what grace is this to you? None? In Verses thirty five and thirty six, Jesus basically sums up uh and all that he's been saying, and he begins with the statement he made at the beginning, love your enemies, and then he mentions a couple of things he said, do good and lend, expecting nothing in return, And he says, a couple of things then that are the result. He says, our reward will be great, and the reward we can say will certainly be a reward of grace. Hendrickson says, the reward is in proportion to yet always far greater than the sacrifice God is in no man's debt. And then he says, we will be sons of the most High. And he closes it by saying, be merciful, even as your father is merciful. But like I said, I want to spend most of the time this morning an application as we look at all of these commands that Jesus gives us. And this is I think important because I think I could have ended here and I would not be given to you. What is the right thing to say out of this passage? Now? We are people who believe that the word of God should be taken literally. We believe that the miracles that Jesus did were literal miracles. We believe he did literally feed five thousand people with five small loaves and two small fishes. We do believe that he did walk on the water. We do believe that Lazarus did raise from the dead after he had been dead for four days. But we also believe that not all scriptures are to be taken literally, and one way we determine that is by comparing scriptures with other scriptures. So when John and Revelation speaks of the seven spirits of God, we don't take that to mean that there are literally seven holy spirits. We believe indeed, by going back to Ephesians and comparing scriptures that Paul said there is one spirit. So we believe that that is a symbolic interpretation. It refers to perhaps the seven attributes of the spirit that Isaiah gets gives us in chapter eleven. So we compare scripture with scripture. So when Jesus says, when one strikes you on the jawbone and offer the other one also, are we to take that has has been binding on us and absolutely literal? And if so, why did the people in the Bible not do that? In next two we read this and the high Priest and and i as commanded those who stood by Paul to strike him on the mouth. Well, this is the great apostle Paul, right, so we know what he's gonna do. He's gonna turn the other cheek right and say hit me on this side. Also, well, here's what the next verse says. Then Paul said to him, God is gonna strike you, you whitewashed wall. Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck? Wow? That doesn't sound like sermon on the mount stuff, doesn't. Um. It's a little a little confusing perhaps, But let me give you a better example, better than Paul. Yep John. When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with the hand, saying, is that how you answer the High priest? So does Jesus is turned the other cheek verse twenty three. Jesus answered him,...

...if what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong. But if what I said is right, why do you strike me? He doesn't literally turn the other cheek. And when Jesus commands us here that we are to give to everyone who begs of you, does that mean as I'm driving my way down Craycroft that every street corner I gotta stop because someone's asking money of me, and I have to reach in my wallet and pull out a twenty and then go to the next block and there's another person asking of me. So I got to reach in my pocket and pull out another twenty and do that. If I did that, I would be broke. Is that with Jesus literally? Is he literally telling us that everyone who begs of us we must give to them. I would submit to you. It's not possible. We can't do it. So let me give you this application. If we take everything that Jesus says in his passage has absolutely literal, we could never ever follow it. We couldn't do it. We can't give to everyone that asked. If someone shoots us in the back, we don't turn around and say, hey, get me in the stomach too. We just can't do that. Someone robs our house, we don't run out with our car keys and go, hey, I forgot my car. We don't do that. And if a woman comes to me as a pastor and says her husband is physically abusing her again and again and again, I can't just say, oh, well take it. You know, that's the way it is turned the other cheek. No, we can't do that. We have to understand that what Jesus is teaching here cannot be in contradiction to the law of God because Jesus gave that law, so she's not going to contradict that law as well. For example, ex says, if ever you take your neighbor's cloak and pledge you shall return it to him before the sun goes down. In six thirty, Jesus says, from the one who takes away your goods, do not demand them back. But let's take that in context with Exodus seven. If a man gives to his neighbor money or goods to keep safe, and it's stolen from the man's house, if the thief is found, he shall pay double. That seems to be the exact opposite of what is being said here. But what I want to say is the seeming impossibility of us doing this should not keep us from challenging ourselves in the way we live and the way we give. We can't say, well, I can't shift everybody that asked me, so I just won't give anything an illustration in my own life that I just used for illustration. It is not to put any greatness on me. Please understand it. It wasn't that great a deal. But there's a time in my life when not too long ago, actually, when somebody came to an individual I had been working with in jail ministry and they were getting out and trying to make a new start in life, and and they had found an apartment, but they couldn't afford the security deposit, and they asked if I could help them. So I went to my wife and I said, you know, so and so has asked for for money for a security deposit. I said, you know, he says he's going to pay it back, but in all likelihood, we need to know we're never going to see this money again. And so would you be an agreement that we would still give it to him and try to help him to get a good start, And and my wife agreed that we should do it. So we gave him the money for the security deposit. Within about one or two weeks, he had made a stupid move of taking a trip up to Michigan where his car had gotten impounded, and he was put back in jail and we lost the security he lost the security deposit, and uh, we lost what...

...we had put into it. So was that wise, You'd say, no, I don't think that was very wise pastor not at all? And perhaps it wasn't. But on the other hand, we have continued to remain in contact with this individual, and um he has continued to tell me, even though it's been about five years that that he is still planning on paying us back and to do that. And so sometimes we're just challenged to do things that maybe aren't wise, maybe aren't smart, maybe don't work out so great, but sometimes we need to be challenged. I certainly haven't given to every individual who has come to me with the need, and I'm sure you haven't either, but probably in your life you have done something like I just mentioned that I have done. That was giving something out of the ordinary to try to help somebody, and maybe it didn't work out so well for you either. Her. So we walk this line of tension, knowing we can't meet every need, but being willing to be challenged in our giving as well. We keep in mind what the apostle John said in First John four twenty one. If anyone says I love God and hates his brother, he's a liar. For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. In this commandment we have from him whoever loves God must love his brother earlier, he said in chapter three. By this we know love that he laid down his love for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. But if anyone has the world's good and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children? John's favorite term for believers, let us not love in word or talk, but indeed in truth. But let us go back to verse thirty five, which I think helps us properly interpret what Jesus is saying. He says, if we do these things that he's commanding, we're actually imitating God, who is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. And I think we have to admit that is true. Matthew says a little bit more on this and speaks about God sending rain on both the just and the unjust. All of creation, not just believers, enjoy God's creation. You know, I mentioned it before, What beautiful creation things you have here in this area, How many beautiful things to look at, and and glorious structures and formations and rocks and mountains and deserts and all of these things, and you enjoy them, but unbelievers enjoy them as well. But does God give to everyone who asked of him what they asked for? No, he doesn't, not, not even God, who has the ability to answer any prayer, any need, and give to us exactly what we ask for. God doesn't do that. Can any of us sitting in here say that whenever you've asked for something of God, you've always gotten that. Now this was word of faith church this morning, Maybe you'd say yes, But it's not except if you might say to me, well, Pastor, I always pray if it be Thy will, so I always get what I asked for. Well, that's good, that's good. That's how we should pray. But my my point is we don't always get exactly what it is we're wanting when we ask of God. But God is generous and God is bountiful, and so we need to be that way as well. But what prohibits us? I want to give you a couple of problems that I think prohibit us in the church. And here, First of all, understand I'm speaking of something that I can tell you positively a big...

...problem in my own life. If it's not a problem in yours. Fine, just listen, move on. But here is the problem that I have. First of all, I need to say I'm not a political preacher. I don't get up and say this is what you should vote for elections coming up. You know you have enough TV ads to tell you about that. But I'm not here to talk about that. I'm not trying here to tell you what party and this anything like that. I'm not doing that. I'm not criticizing anyone, any pastor who might tell you how to vote. I'm not criticizing them. I'm just saying my own procedure has not been to ever do that. But I do speak out on issues I believe are moral issues. And we all know the political divide in our country right now is probably, i'd say most assuredly greater than it's ever been, at least in my lifetime, the divide between right and left, and the temptation when I hear certain politicians who are not on my side of the aisle get up and say things, I get angry. I get mad, and I want to answer to them, and I want to say something to them. And if I think they're promoting certain things that go against God and what God has commanded. I believe they are the enemy. But this is where my shortcoming comes in. This is where my problem. I can perceive them very easily as the enemy. But can I then go the next step and love my enemy? But but they're speaking curses against the Church? Can I bless them that curse us? The Mediana brow says. If we find that our love is limited to people like us, say, our skin color, our education level, our political party, And if we find ourselves doing good only for those who have done us some favor, then that may only be self love spread over a slightly while wider area can And I pray for those who mistreat believers? Do I view them more as my enemy or my mission field? And that's where I fail. I tend to believe them more is my enemy. But God would say there my mission field, and I am supposed to love. And I realized and I believe that the only way we will see change, if we do see change in our country, it's not gonna be politics. It's going to be God's people praying and doing the commands of Christ. Have come by a change of heart that only God can do. But there's another problem that we have that sometimes hinders us in what Jesus teach us here, there's something within most of us that loves the idea of vengeance. Don't we we love? Don't we love movies about vengeance? You know? We love John Wayne, a Magnificent Seven, Dirty Harry, John Wick. We love all these guys that rise up against their enemies and and dispatch them one by one. And I understand justice, I understand judgment and all that, and it does seem that injustice people should suffer vengeance for what they have done. But that hinders me when I think in that way of showing the kind of love that Christ would have me to show. Please don't misunderstand. I'm not saying to watch those movies. I'm just saying we need to be careful how we look at it. But let me speak about a different kind of vengeance. Let me go back to the story I spoke about earlier about the prisoners of war in the Japanese prison camp on the River Kuai. And I told you at that point that they said that although they learned to love each other, they could never bring themselves to love their enemies. But I want to pick up the story after they made it through the war, and they're taking a long train ride trip back to Britain. This event happens according now from...

...the book To End All Wars, We had found ourselves on the same track with several carloads of Japanese wounded. They were on their own and without medical care, no longer fit for action. They've been packed into railroad trucks which were being returned to Bangkok. Whenever one of them died on route, he was thrown off into the jungle. The ones who survived to reach Bangkok would presumably receive some form of medical treatment there, but they were given none. In the way. They were in a shocking state. I'd never seen men filth here. The uniforms were encrusted with mud, blood and excrement. He then speaks more plainly about their condition, including the magots and infested their wounds, and he said that by watching how the Japanese treated their own, they began to understand why they were treated the way they were treated. He goes on to write, without a word, most to the officers in my section unbuckled their packs, took out the part of their ration and a rag or two, and with water canteens in their hand, went over to the Japanese train to help them. Their own guards sought to prevent them from doing this, but they did it anyway. They gave food and water and said a kind word or two. Quoting again, he says, an allied officer from another section of the train had been taking it all in. What bloody fools you are? All are? He said to me. Don't you realize these are the enemy? Gordon replied by relating the parable of the good Samaritan. The officer replied, but that's different. That's in the Bible. These are the swine who starved us and beat us. They've murdered our comrades. These are our enemies. But in a marvelous work of grace, Gordon and his fellow prisoners had learned to show love to the enemies. So let me close, I saying, ultimately, love is defined by who God is first John four eight. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love first John four sixteen. So we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, And whoever abides and love abides in God, and God abides in him. And God's love is shown. Of course, most brilliantly and clearly in John three s. For God so loved the world he gave his only son that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. In the commentary on Luke written by Kent Hughes, he makes reference to a famous statement made by a long time talk show host by the name of Field Donahue that some of you may be old enough to remember. Donna Hue made this statement, If God the Father is so all love and loving, why didn't he come down and go to Calvary? Then Jesus could have said, this is my father, and whom I am well pleased. How could an all knowing, all loving God allow his son to be murdered on a cross in order that he might redeem my sins. Of course, that question has several problems in it, and there are several answers that can easily be given to that question. It's not that right of a question. Perhaps foremost of the problems in that statement is clearly the man has no comprehension of the trinity and what the Trinity means, and so because that is a difficult doctrine, maybe we can forgive him for not understanding that. But the decision the Christ to come into the world was a trinitarian decision. It was a decision made by the Father's son and Holy Spirit. And in the death of Christ we see the ultimate fulfillment of...

...the command to love our enemies and all the difficult things our Lord asked us to do in regards to our enemies. One thing that he doesn't ask is that we die for them, because only Christ can die for them and their sins, and that is what he did Romans five eight. God shows his love for us. And while we are sinners, Christ died for us when we were enemies, he says in verse ten. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more than that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Christ died for you, and he died for me, not as friends, but his enemies, that he might make us his friends. John says in this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. There's a lot of commands in our section this morning, a lot of things told to do, But our religion is not a religion of just doing. In fact, we're very careful to explain that coming to Christ, that our being regenerate is not a result of any works we have ever done. That we can never be saved by works. We can never do enough works. We believe, as John says in First John in in this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Not a thing that I can do, not one of the I can say. I'm gonna try to fulfill all of these verses. None of that will ever earn me salvation. I must put everything away and simply, in grace come to Christ and recognize that his death is all I Need's I close. Let me quote from an old him. Nothing either great or small, nothing, sinner, No, Jesus did it, did it all long long ago. It is finished, Yes, indeed finished, every jot sinner. This is all you need tell me, is it not? And this very I just love this line. Cast your deadly doing down down at Jesus feet, standing him in him alone, gloriously complete because of his love in dying for us, Can we pray, Our God and Father, we thank you that you gave us commands that are difficult I and you helped us to understand how we can best fulfill those commands. And we understand in our life we can't do everything that you've literally commanded. It would be impossible. But yet you challenge us in our own love towards our brothers and sisters, towards those that are outside the church. Do we show love as we should? Are we willing to show love? And Lord, in doing so, you have shown to us the greatest love of all and sending your son to die for our sins, and Christ in coming and Holy Spirit and applying it. And so Lord, I pray, if nothing else this morning, there might be those who be challenged to cast their deadly doing down and simply embrace Christ as the answer to all of their needs. That there's nothing we can do to earn it, but the Christ on the cross has...

...paid the price. And I asked this in Christ's name. Amen,.

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