Loving the Unlovable
[00:00:00] As we begin Lord.
[00:00:02] You tell us that whenever your word goes out that it does not return to you void and Lord and all that Jesus taught here and the Sermon on the Mount he thought for a reason and not only did he teach the people there but you have recorded them in your word so that we might know how we are to live. Lord I pray that you would allow us to take the truth that Jesus shares here and be serious about obeying them so that in our lives you might be glorified.
[00:00:39] We pray this in Jesus name Amen.
[00:00:46] In his second inaugural address in 1865 a little over a month before he would be assassinated Abraham Lincoln uttered these immortal words with malice toward none with charity for all with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right let us strive on to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation’s wounds to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan to do all which may achieve and Ceri a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
[00:01:38] Abraham Lincoln spoke these words at the end of a time in our nation’s history when America almost did to herself what no one else was able to do.
[00:01:52] Destroy her.
[00:01:55] Though the war was over the battle was not bitterness and anger and hatred was still at a fever pitch in this country. But Abraham Lincoln knew something which Jesus teaches us today. In the Sermon on the Mount that the only savve. That can heal the wound of bitterness between enemies.
[00:02:23] Is the savve of love.
[00:02:26] More than just ordinary love. It’s a supernatural.
[00:02:32] A Divine Love that comes from God that He imparts to his children and to love others with to love the unloveable.
[00:02:43] It’s one thing to love a friend. Another thing to love a relative. But it’s different. When you love your enemy and it’s not always easy probably never.
[00:03:01] Easy to love the unloveable. How many of us really.
[00:03:06] Today. How many of us have enemies. I would dare guess that for the most part.
[00:03:16] We do not really have enemies. Those who revile us.
[00:03:22] Those who persecute us those who hate us. Some may have enemies truly. But for the most part what we have are those people that we don’t like. Because they irritate us because they treat us bad because they have sinned against us. Talked about us cheated stole from us.
[00:03:49] And then there are many many more reasons that we might this like somebody but to classify or to declare and even believe that they are a true enemy. Many of us might say I really. Don’t have enemies but I but I ask you do you.
[00:04:10] Have someone in your life that is really really hard to love. You have anybody in your life that you might classify as being. An loveable. Who are those people.
[00:04:29] Or maybe who is that person. Some of you here. May win when I just brought this up and asked you these questions. You may have had one person or even more than one immediately pop into your mind.
[00:04:46] You may even have had an enemy that does persecute to harass you. Maybe they’re at work. Maybe there are family member.
[00:04:58] But whoever it is that’s lovable in your life.
[00:05:02] I want you to remember that Per’s I want you to stick that person right up here in your mind. OK so here is is that there are they there would be need. If you know why you don’t have anyone that is great.
[00:05:18] But if you do I want you to remember who that person is. And.
[00:05:23] My question is how do you love them. How do you love an enemy. How do you love somebody that is unlovable. Well. I heard of a story. Of a woman who had some chickens. In her yard and her chickens would get out of her yard and into her next door neighbor’s yard which is in fear aided.
[00:05:50] Her neighbor. This woman she said was a Godly Christian woman but her neighbor. A very ungodly man and she had witnessed the.
[00:06:01] Numbers of times with no success.
[00:06:04] And this man he despised her. He despised Jesus. He despised the church. He hated the Bible.
[00:06:16] And he hated her chickens. And one day one of her chickens got through the fence. The man was out there you got so angry and he picked it up and he swung it around he wrung its neck.
[00:06:32] And he threw it back in her yard and she happened to be in her yard and and it kind of fell at her feet. That evening she went and knocked at his door and when he opened it. There was this big ball. Of piping hot.
[00:06:53] Chicken and dumplings soup which was her signature dish. And she gave it to him and she said you know. It occurred to me in all the years that I have lived here.
[00:07:06] That I have never prepared for you a meal and I just wanted to give this to you and and hope that you enjoy it.
[00:07:15] It just smote the man’s heart and broke it. And he invited her in with the soup. And she led him to the Lord.
[00:07:27] See. She. Turned. An enemy truly. She turned an enemy.
[00:07:36] Into a friend. How.
[00:07:38] By loving them.
[00:07:39] And that’s exactly what Jesus talks about in the portion of the sermon of the Mount we’re on today. If you want to open your Bibles to Matthew chapter 5.
[00:07:50] Verses 43 to 48.
[00:07:54] Where Jesus says you have heard that it was said You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. So that you may be the sons or you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good. And sends rain on the just.
[00:08:24] And on the unjust.
[00:08:26] For if you love those who love you what reward do you have. You’re
[00:08:32] not even the tax collectors do the same. And if you greet only your brothers what more are you doing than others do not even the Gentiles. Do the same. You therefore must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.
[00:08:51] So. So once again we see Jesus here and speaking to the people and what we thought of the Sermon on the mouth. We see Jesus mean exposing how the Pharisees have distorted what the Bible has to say. What.
[00:09:11] The Bible really says about whom we should lie and how we should love them.
[00:09:19] First of all they added something to the law that the law did not teach.
[00:09:24] It’s true the old testament did teach that you shall love your neighbor in fact as you know Jesus taught himself that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. But the Pharisees added. For words. And hate.
[00:09:45] Your Enemy. Yet that is not found anywhere.
[00:09:50] In the Bible Old Testament or New.
[00:09:54] But in addition to that the Pharisees back then had gone beyond just adding words.
[00:10:01] They agreed that you should love your neighbor but then they started to narrowly define who a neighbor was. To them.
[00:10:10] Gentiles were not neighbors. A saint of the Pharisees was found. And this is what is said.
[00:10:20] If a Jew sees a gentile fall into the sea let him by no means lift him out for it is written Thou shalt not rise up against the blood of thy neighbor. But this man is not thy neighbor.
[00:10:39] That’s what they were teaching back then.
[00:10:41] Because he is a Gentile he is not your neighbor in other words. The Pharisees taught it’s OK to be bigoted.
[00:10:50] It’s OK to be prejudiced if a person was not Jewish if they did not have the same color of skin. It did not speak the same language if they came from another country if they didn’t use the same type of accent. They were not your neighbor.
[00:11:12] That sounds familiar to you today. Here anyone going about today making statements like that. If they aren’t from. The United States.
[00:11:27] If they don’t speak the same language as us. If they don’t have the same skin color as us.
[00:11:37] Don’t love them. See that. Is what Jesus. Was addressing. That is the hypocrisy of religion. The religious leaders that Jesus was attacking.
[00:11:57] Jesus defined who your neighbor is. When a question was asked of him well who is my neighbor. And he replied with the counter’s the story of the Good Samaritan. I’m sure you’re familiar with that story but let me remind you of a very important point in that account. You know the story is of a man a Jewish man.
[00:12:28] Who is going down the road and he was attacked by robbers.
[00:12:34] And they beat him and nearly to death. And first here is the line over in the street side of history and the first person who come by who came by was a priest. A Jewish priest and he saw him.
[00:12:58] And he passed on the other side. I could just envision that you’re walking down the street.
[00:13:06] You know because they had all these dirt roads probably small they didn’t have to be wide because they didn’t have any cars back then. So these are walking paths and it is approaching he there he is walking up and he probably sees something out there in front of me probably. What is that.
[00:13:24] As he gets closer. He sees a man who’s been beaten and bloody. And he goes and he goes way around and you know.
[00:13:38] He is far away. He says he passed by.
[00:13:43] On the other side. And then a Levi. From the crime Levi he came by. And he passed him. On the other side. But then.
[00:13:58] There came a Samaritan who came to where he was in and when he saw him it says. Jesus said he had compassion. And he went and he bound up his wounds and he poured oil and wine on him. He sent them on his own animal and brought him into an inn. He started taking care of them and then the next day when he had to go on about his business he gave the innkeeper to denarii I.
[00:14:28] He says here. And he gave it to him saying take care of him and and whatever you spend I will repay you when I come back through again. And the point that Jesus was making here.
[00:14:45] Is that even though the Samaritans and the Jews hated each other I mean they hated each other.
[00:14:55] They just like I just kind of don’t like the guy they hated each other. Matter of fact when if you’re down in Judah down around Jerusalem and you know Jesus went to Galilee a lot that’s where he ministered to him one time he he said we must go through Samaria and his disciples are saying why.
[00:15:18] Why do we have to go through that place because you see the Samaritans hated them and they hated the Samaritans. And if they needed to go through the area of Galilee from from Jerusalem from Judah they would go to to the Jordan River.
[00:15:33] They cross over the Jordan River and they would go north path where Ameria was and then they would cross back over into Galilee.
[00:15:43] That’s how much they hate the Samaritans and the Samaritans hated them.
[00:15:49] But the point that Jesus it this was not wasted on the Jews. Matter of fact it was Keralite in your face.
[00:15:59] A priest walked by and didn’t care a Levi walked by and didn’t care. But a Samaritan. A Samaritan. When he came by. He had compassion. And Jesus asked the question. Who of those three.
[00:16:23] Was this man’s neighbor. And it was a Samaritan. So Jesus. Pointed out.
[00:16:36] He was a Samaritan who had compassion on the man. A foreigner loved a Jew as his neighbor.
[00:16:43] But Jesus goes beyond here and the Sermon on the Mount goes beyond saying Love your neighbor. That goes on and says But I tell you. You are to love your enemies.
[00:17:00] You see love involves two things. Two characteristics one is doing.
[00:17:08] And the other you may say is enduring. Real love is when you do good to a person that you are enduring evil from at the same time.
[00:17:23] So the very people who are persecuting you and your enduring under persecution. Real love is loving those enemies. Jesus goes on to say in verse 44 says Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven for he makes his sun to rise on the moon and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the end. So so when he says here that we must love our enemies so that way we may be sons of our fathers in heaven. He’s not saying that by loving your enemies. That this somehow makes you a child of God.
[00:18:08] That somehow you you are.
[00:18:10] This is what gets you into the family of God. That’s not what he’s saying. And in those days the Jews didn’t use adjectives like we use them so much.
[00:18:20] You describe something for instance. If we are to say that such and such as a peaceful man a Jew may say he is a son of peace or if we would say she’s a kind woman.
[00:18:36] A Jew may say she is the daughter of kindness. So what Jesus really is saying here what he meant by the statement that you may be father like and when you love even those who do not love you back. Perhaps they even hate you.
[00:18:55] Then you’re just like your father in heaven. You’re not like God in heaven because you love somebody else but you love other people because you are like.
[00:19:06] Your father in heaven. Then we might say it’s because you have the characteristics.
[00:19:13] Of the Sonnets. We might say you are being conformed into the image of Jesus is.
[00:19:21] Because Jesus loved those who hated him. Jesus loved those who were his enemies. Jesus prayed for those who persecuted him. When he was on the cross the curin. Your and my salvation. As he was hanging there.
[00:19:45] Why did he cry out and pray to God. Forgive them. For they do not know what they do. In the midst.
[00:19:59] Of being persecuted. He was praying for those. Who was persecuting him.
[00:20:13] In verse 46. Jesus goes on and says. If you love those who love you.
[00:20:23] What reward do you have. Do you not even the tax collectors do the same. If you greet only your brothers.
[00:20:34] What more are you doing than other people.
[00:20:37] You’re not even the Gentiles not the pagans do the very same thing.
[00:20:43] If you only love people who love you back. You’re only. The only kind of people who are kind to you if you only treat people the way they treat you. You’re no better off than a pagan and unbeliever Jesus the same.
[00:20:59] Mitzy understand this no matter no matter how good you try to be to others.
[00:21:06] People are going to abuse you.
[00:21:10] They’re going to hate you Mary. Jesus said you could love them you can serve them.
[00:21:18] And because of that they are going to hate you. Why. Because they hated me first.
[00:21:27] And you are my followers and you were following what I tell you to do and they can’t handle that. They hated me at first and they’re going to hate you today also. Somewhere somebody.
[00:21:44] Somewhere at some time is going to do you wrong. The Bible says it’s inevitable that stumbling block would be coming your way. And when they do.
[00:21:59] You can. There is at least three attitudes that you might have. You can say well if. He hurts me.
[00:22:09] I’m going or hurt him more back. Now that’s vindictive vengeance or.
[00:22:15] Or maybe you might be saying if if if they hurt me I’m going to hurt them exactly the same. And Jesus already addressed that. That’s an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. We might call that retribution but. You can say. If somebody hurts me.
[00:22:37] I’m going to love him.
[00:22:40] I’m going to serve them. That’s what Jesus did.
[00:22:46] It see that’s what Jesus commands us to do. And Jesus sums it all up here.
[00:22:52] You know the simple statement the laugh the is he says you therefore must be perfect.
[00:22:59] As your heavenly Father is perfect not now the word here perfect is is not. It’s not the same as is our word in English perfect as we know it. The word perfect here in the original language means.
[00:23:14] Mature. It means to reach the end of which you’re intending. For example an oak tree is the mature perfection of an acorn an acorn is intended to mature into a mighty oak tree.
[00:23:32] So we are to have a love that is so mature and so strong in the Lord Jesus Christ that through him you can love even your worst enemy. In Jesus modeled that for us he was our example. Throughout his life he was being persecuted hated on the Pharisees the scribes the religious leaders.
[00:24:03] To the point where they had him crucified. If invited the example. For us. When Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you. There may be some there may be some that say. That’s impossible.
[00:24:24] You know who you know. Remember the persons in your head.
[00:24:29] Remember them back there. I said put them in your head.
[00:24:33] You know how bad they are.
[00:24:38] Do you know what they have done to me. Do you know what they have said about me. Don’t tell me. That it is impossible to love them because Scripture says. It’s not.
[00:24:59] Whatever God commands us to do. God empowers us. To do.
[00:25:08] It. Earlier I also said that that the only kind of love that we can love our enemies with is is a divine love.
[00:25:17] To let God love them through me. Well guess what.
[00:25:23] Scripture tells us that when you become a true child of God you have that love. Romans 5 verse 5 this is what he said and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts.
[00:25:45] Through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. God’s love God’s love divine love super natural love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit so don’t tell me that you cannot love your enemy.
[00:26:05] Because you have in your heart right now the love of God which has flooded your heart through your Holy Spirit. We have the power we have the capacity.
[00:26:23] Because of God to love the unloveable. And that’s exactly what Jesus is telling us to do.
[00:26:33] To love those who are hard to love.
[00:26:39] Remember the person I just talked about so you should remember the person up here right.
[00:26:45] One is you at the beginning thought. Yeah.
[00:26:50] They’re really hard to love. What do you do with them. You just kind of keep your grudge bitterness.
[00:27:03] Anger. You know I’m guessing there’s probably not one person sitting here that will disagree with me that Jesus says.
[00:27:15] To love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
[00:27:19] The reason is I just read to you from scripture that’s exactly what Jesus told you so I doubt that any of you are going to disagree with that.
[00:27:29] But the sad thing is it doesn’t matter to some people what Jesus tells us to do. We will do or not do what we want. It doesn’t matter whether we obey Jesus.
[00:27:47] Because you see I kind of feel good sitting in this little pity party.
[00:27:53] It feels good to hate people and to be angry and bitter. Just something in our sin that just makes it feel good because they deserve it.
[00:28:05] And there may be some who just go back home today still hating those who hate us. Still taking vengeance on those who malign us.
[00:28:17] Refusing to forgive those who mistreat us. Failing to pray for those who persecute us and will just go on with life. Being a hurt. Bitter. Angry person. You. See. I don’t think we really understand.
[00:28:44] That when we forgive someone of what they have done against us. That the forgiveness benefits us not the person. Forgiving someone who has sinned against us. Frees us up. We are the beneficiaries. Of.
[00:29:05] Forgiving someone. Let me close with.
[00:29:12] Four steps on how to love the unlovable in your life and then a story. The first way. First step on how to love the unlovable.
[00:29:23] Is to pray unceasingly. I think that’s why Jesus says to pray for those who persecute us to two people to pray for here. I think the first person to pray for is to pray for yourself ask God to soften your heart towards this person.
[00:29:48] Pray asking asking Jesus to to put this anger off and hatred and to work a a work of grace in your life to put on meat this kindness pray for yourself to understand this person’s struggles.
[00:30:07] Pray ask God let me see them through your eyes because the person I see is a hateful vengeful person. But through your eyes God. Jesus died for them. So pray. Pray first for yourself.
[00:30:31] And then pray for the person who is persecuting you. Pray for them. Ask.
[00:30:37] God to be a work in their hearts if they’re an unbeliever pray that God would draw them to himself. And if they are a believer pray that God would sanctify them can become more like Jesus. You know it’s hard sometimes.
[00:30:57] When we really sear our conscience which the Bible says we do.
[00:31:03] The more you pray for someone the harder it is to hate them i think. There may be someone maybe the person up here.
[00:31:14] That you need to be praying for every single day. And you need to be praying for yourself.
[00:31:24] That you might be God’s instrument of love.
[00:31:29] To love them so first step pray second step forgive them and. And it’s very difficult.
[00:31:38] To forgive people who have hurt us. But you really don’t want to live. With anger and bitterness and resentment. As Christians we are commanded to forgive.
[00:31:55] Those who sin against us in the same way as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven us. You know sometimes I think we forget how bad a sinner we were one day. That that Jesus came down and God came down in the midst of our sin.
[00:32:16] And demonstrated his love for us. Forgive them.
[00:32:23] And forgiving a person does not mean you condone their actions. That’s not what it means. Forget When you forgive somebody what you are doing is you are turning them over to God. You are releasing them.
[00:32:43] When we hold bitterness and anger and wrath against the person that has sinned against us.
[00:32:53] It’s like we put them in our own little prison and hold them there. So that we can Debbie and divvy up the punishment and somehow we think that our anger and hurt and bitterness against them hurts them.
[00:33:12] That we ever seen how happy of a life some of these people live that that’s so hurt us and sin against us.
[00:33:21] We’re so angry and hurt and bitter and we look at them and they’re having a gayo time we think. Doesn’t my bitterness and hurt affect you. No it doesn’t. My bitterness my hurt affects me.
[00:33:38] And when I forgive someone I’m giving them over to God. I’m not condoning their actions because there is a lot of sin against you that is not right that that you just give God. Maybe they need to be maybe God will take them into the court of justice and they they’ll be tried or whatever. But but in terms of personal vengeance you need to release them and give them to God. So step two we need to forgive them let God do his job. Because forgiveness changes our heart.
[00:34:16] And our attitudes. Third step we need to love unconditionally in this sense is love sometimes it is defined as a noun in Scripture in this sense we’re talking about a verb an action. Jesus
[00:34:35] shows us how to love the unloveable. Throughout his ministry here on earth you saw him doing it and it’s just not to tolerate somebody or just just not make fun of them or not to pretend you love them. Instead we need to we need to do something we need to serve them.
[00:34:56] And Jesus provided that example numerous times.
[00:35:00] Did you see serving a person gives us an easy way to see how we should love.
[00:35:07] It’s just not some emotion that we have. It’s a love that is in action.
[00:35:15] Serving someone who has a way of changing the way we see them if you’re continuingly looking at how you can serve somebody it’s very hard to be seen them as being worthless.
[00:35:34] It’s very hard to stay mad at them. Serve them.
[00:35:38] Serve them you say are you crazy. I can’t even stay in the same room with them. What do you mean serve them.
[00:35:50] That’s what Jesus says. You remember that. And I go through the account. The. Disciples were arguing about who of them was the greatest and why did. The Son of God do. He got down on his knees.
[00:36:08] And washed their stinking feet. And Jesus said You see what I just did. I just gave you an example. Of how to treat each other. And fourthly. We need to find specific ways. To bless and to encourage those who hate us and persecute us.
[00:36:35] Tangible ways.
[00:36:38] A note of appreciation. Telling them you’re praying for them. Making them chicken and dumplings soup. What can you do if someone you know I there’s a lot of people who tell me about their other employees they have to work with.
[00:37:02] Them I cannot tell you.
[00:37:05] I work with great people here. But I hear the story you guys tell me and you you have several rascals out there.
[00:37:15] Those are good words that I’m using to describe those you have to work with. And so what what is Visa’s here telling you to do. Serve them. Think of some creative way. To serve on.
[00:37:37] One. Let me end with this. This story. Sergeant Jacob disabler he was Obama’s ear for general do little Jimmy Doolittle squadron during World War 2. And while bombing Japan. One time his. Aircraft was hit by an aircraft. Fire and he bailed out of the plane and he was captured and he was put in a five foot. Cell.
[00:38:10] Prison Camp. He was beaten whipped spat upon tortured forced to undergo some of the most gross. Indignities you could imagine. And he developed an intense hatred for his guards. And all he wanted to do. Was to be able to get out of that cell and put his hands around the throat of one of his guards and just choke. The. Life.
[00:38:42] Out of that guard. They continued to torture him and.
[00:38:47] Every day his his hatred would grow and grow and grow until it was one day a gigantic mountain.
[00:38:57] He only had one reason for living and that was to one day get revenge on these guards. Well one day a Bible was brought. Into the prison camp and started making its way around to the prisoners and was passed around a fame. It finally came to the Taser and he began to read it and he came across the words that Jesus said.
[00:39:23] And began to read it. And Jesus says.
[00:39:27] Love your enemies. All instantly the love of Jesus melted. This mountain of hatred inside of him and he was. Filled. With the joy of Jesus Christ.
[00:39:44] From that point on now did they. They did not stop beating him but from that point on. Every time he was tortured. Beaten whipped harassed. He would simply say. Jesus. Help me love.
[00:40:01] My enemies.
[00:40:03] And when the war was over he returned home. And he determined that God wanted him to go back to Japan. Not to seek revenge.
[00:40:16] But as a missionary to tell them about the love of Jesus.
[00:40:23] Now the story of Jacob the taser conversion and his return to Japan as a missionary was printed in a little gospel Prak. And one day a Japanese man who was disheartened broke broken dejected suicidal. Was given that track by an American stranger. And he read it.
[00:40:50] And his heart was touched. He began reading the Bible for himself and he gave his life.
[00:40:58] To Jesus Christ. His name was Captain. Mizuho.
[00:41:05] Fujita Fujita.
[00:41:08] He was a Japanese officer who spearheaded the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. He too. Began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. All over Japan. Because of these three words. Love.
[00:41:29] Your enemies.
[00:41:33] That’s where we’re at today. That’s the decision.
[00:41:39] That you have to make. Because many here may have enemies. Certainly. We all may have. Those who are not easy to love and some. From our perspective and lovable. But it’s those very people that Cheese’s.
[00:42:02] Is addressing you about. These are the ones. That we are to love. And we are to pray for. This pray.
[00:42:14] Lord God. This is something that I cannot do in my humanness in my flesh. But Lord because of your Holy Spirit indwelling me.
[00:42:27] Because of your empowering of me because you have poured out your love into my life. That I am able to let you love the unlovable through me. And Lord one step may be the first step is for me to take that step. And to go out and to serve those who are unlovable.
[00:42:52] Do something for their benefit. Pray for your blessing on their lives. And Lord you tell me. That in doing so you will change my life. You will change my attitude. And my heart. So Lord I ask you to do this work in us. I ask that you use us as your instruments of love to change you to show the world. That we are your children and by it. You get the glory. And we pray this in jesus name.