LOVE IN ACTION

Sermon March 10, 2019 – PastorBryon


Introduction

An Armenian nurse had been held captive along with her brother by the Turks. Her brother was slain by a Turkish soldier before her eyes. Somehow she escaped and later became a nurse in a military hospital. One day she was stunned to find that the same man who had killed her brother had been captured and brought wounded to the hospital where she worked. Something within her cried out “Vengeance.” But a stronger voice called for her to love. She nursed the man back to health. Finally, the recuperating soldier asked her, “Why didn’t you let me die?” Her answer was, “I am a follower of Him who said, ‘Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you’ ” (Luke 6:27). Impressed with her answer, the young soldier replied, “I never heard such words before. Tell me more. I want this kind of religion.”

1 Corinthians 13:7 says that Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

Proverbs 10:12 – Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.

As we finish up our 40 days of love I hope we all have a better understanding of what it means to love like Jesus loves. As a new Church it’s so important to build a strong foundation and that foundation has to be one of love. We have to understand what our purpose is for ourselves, for those in this church and in our community. For the last five weeks we have focused on what it looks like to love like Jesus but also what it doesn’t look like. We discussed things that we need to remove from our lives like pride, selfishness, hypocrisy and criticism. Today’s sermon title is Love in Action and we’ll examine what it looks like live, work and minister in Christ’s love. To be the Church Christ intends us to be.

Luke 6:27-36

27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36. Therefore be merciful just as your father also is merciful.

About The Book of Luke

Just like the other three Gospels this book is derived from the author’s name. According to tradition Luke was a gentile. He is in fact the only gentile to write any books of scripture. Along with the Book of Luke he also wrote Acts.

There isn’t a lot know about Luke such as where he came from, how and when he was converted. We know he was a friend of Paul’s and frequently traveled with him. Paul refers to Luke as a physician and Luke’s interest in medical phenomenon is evident in the priority he gives to Jesus’ healing ministry.

Love your neighbor like Christ loves you

Today we are taking another lesson out of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. He begins by saying “To you who will hear”. He knows what he is about to say is difficult to receive and he also knows not everyone listening will accept what he’s about to say because it goes against human nature.

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you”. The Old Testament teaches us that we are to love our neighbors however; this loving our enemies isn’t what we have in mind when we think of our neighbors is it? Most often when we think of loving our neighbors we see this as a call to be nicer to the people in our lives whom we like. We’ll even stretch it to that guy who really annoys us at work but to say we should love our enemies isn’t something they hadn’t even considered.

He doesn’t stop there, Jesus compounds the command by teaching that we should “bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.”

How can that be fair? How can Jesus ask us to do something so ridiculous? You see Jesus is qualifying the command to love people. Jesus is teaching exactly to what extent He expects us to love because it’s how He loves. If you want to be a disciple of Jesus you need to immolate him in your own life. What would Jesus DO? He loves his enemies.

Jesus then throws in a bit of wisdom that they can understand. The way you want people to treat you, even your enemies, this is how you should treat them. Oh, I get that, yes that makes since but what if they don’t respond in a positive way? What if they continue to be mean or cruel towards me? This command isn’t conditional on how they act or how they respond.

In verse 32 Jesus begins to reason with his audience; “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.

Jesus is saying, anyone can respond to good with good but we have been called to be different, to be set apart.

Jesus finishes up this lesson by saying, “Therefore be merciful just as your father also is merciful”. Mercy isn’t something that comes natural to us. In fact it goes completely against our worldview. We are more use to do unto others before they do unto us.

So what can we take away as the actions of love?
  1. We can’t qualify people to be worthy or unworthy of love

Matthew 25:40  – I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!

  1. Give without an expectation for anything in return
  2. Our actions are not dependent on others

In our Bible study this week we learned that there are three ways God builds love in our hearts.

  1. 1 Build Strong Relationships
  2. Give Yourself Away
  3. Practice Self-Denial

~ So the question to all of us is this, How will you build strong relationships, give yourself away and practice self denial?

John 13:35 teaches us that the world will know we are Christ’s disciples if we have love for one another.

 

 

 

 

 

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