20 January 2010

He did say it: Luke series #8

“I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” (-Jesus, Luke 4.43)
“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 begs 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 to them." (-Jesus, Luke 6.27–31)
Love your enemies. Three of the most radical words ever spoken by Jesus. To this day, it is nearly impossible to repeat these three words without people demanding qualifications and caveats. Interestingly, Jesus provided none. Why? What do we these three words reveal?
  1. Having enemies is a given. Luke 6:26 reveals that enemies arise when we don't comprise the truth to gain acclaim. It's a bad sign if we don't have enemies. It may mean we have loved the praise of men more then praise from God.

  2. This, then, is not a command for universal passivity. We must stand for Gospel truth and we must actively seek to bless the enemies that arise from that stance.

  3. When it comes to our enemies, Jesus is demanding something at the level of the heart, namely, love, blessing and prayer.

  4. Jesus has the audacity to command something that, on our own, is impossible.

  5. The Good News of the Kingdom is that the Kingdom of God brings a new economy. In the Kingdom, enemies are loved and the cycle of offense and retribution is broken. All this happens as a result of fundamental change in the heart (Ezekiel 36:26 and Titus 2:11-14), not more religious duty.

In this message we investigate 1) what Jesus is demanding here, 2) why we should listen, 3) how we can obey this command and, yes, a few caveats.

Additional Resources
How the Gospel Changes Us - a collection of free messages by Tim Keller
Discussion Questions


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