North Anderson Baptist Church
The Love of God is Compelling
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  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    Sunday 10:30 AM
Part 1 - Allow God’s Love to Control Your Actions

This is not the first time that we hear Jesus say, “You have heard it was said.” Jesus clearly wants the people He is speaking to, to understand that He will have a different take on the subject. I am sure they were waiting for His interpretation. Sure, the Old testament did say, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” (Exodus 21:24) This particular passage has to do with an injury by another party to a pregnant woman where her child has complications. Accordingly this is called “proportionate punishment rather than a process of escalation violence.” (HCSB Study Bible) Some have said, “Make the punishment fit the crime.” (Life Application New Testament Commentary.) In the Leviticus 24:20 passage it suggests there is an acceptable retaliation through the courts, this was not meant to be a personal, but by giving the courts guidelines for proper punishment against those who have committed crimes against other Jews. (Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament.), This has also “been interpreted, as encouraging bitter and rigorous revenge.” (Deuteronomy 19:21, “Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”) Some commentators think that this concept of “tit for tat” might not always be followed by the court.

When Jesus speaks of the evil person hurting another, He is saying that one does not take vengeance into one’s own hands. There were so many in the Jewish community that used this scripture for personal retaliation and vengeance that Jesus wanted them to know that the law could take care of the problem but it was not to be a personal matter for those who were hurt. “The world advocates getting even, looking out for oneself, and protecting one’s “personal rights.” Jesus’ followers, however, were to hold loosely to their “rights,” preferring to forgo those rights for the sake of bearing witness to the gospel and the Kingdom. Being willing to set aside one’s personal rights, however, does not mean that believers have to sit passively while evil goes unhindered.” (Life Application New Testament Commentary.)

Although this doesn’t mean you can’t defend yourself against or seek justice against someone who threatens you with bodily harm.

Tammie, one our members, confronted a man in one of the offices she was in one day, who was using ugly language around everyone, including women and children and the elderly. She went to him and very frankly told him that the language he was using was unacceptable in that place and asked him to stop and then she would pray for him. He did not like it very much, so he slapped her on the cheek. She stood there watching him and then carefully turned the other cheek. He asked her what she was doing and she told him she was doing what Jesus told her to do, turning the other cheek for him to slap it. He did not but the language changed though.

In regard to having been sued, or a cloak taken from them or even being asked to go a second mile, or even in the concept of borrowing from them, one should put others before oneself according to the Master. Jesus wants us to do whatever is asked of us without complaining and be willing to have a genuine spirit of love and sacrifice when doing more than asked. Our Savior wants each of us to learn the spirit of service without anger or bitterness. The Lord has asked His disciples then and disciples now to entrust themselves to God who will one day set all things right.

Those who were listening to Jesus were deeply offended by His words; they were looking for a military Messiah who would take up for the Jews and even fight back if necessary. To advocate giving in to brutish behavior of the Romans who had conquered them was too much; they wanted retaliation and revenge against them. Jesus was proposing a new, radical response to injustice: “instead of demanding rights, give them up freely! According to Jesus, it is more important to give justice and mercy than to receive it.” No not His way, the Jews wanted revenge against the Romans.

They were like Khan who once said to Captain Kirk when he thought he had the best of him, “Ah Kirk, my old friend. Do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish served cold? It is very cold in space.” (Star Trek, The Wrath of Khan)

Can you see the different attitude that Jesus was expecting of those who followed Him? A righteous man would be characterized by humility and selflessness. That shows the compelling love of Christ as much as anything.
Part 2 - Allow God’s Love to Flow Through You to Everyone

All of us here today are created by God. But so is everyone else in the world and we all have something else in common, God shines the sun down on us and sends the rain for all of us no matter how good or bad we might be or whether we love God our creator or don’t even recognize that He exists. God is not obligated to supply us or anyone else with our needs, but He does and it is because of the great love of God that He cares enough for His creation that He kindly blesses us with all that we need.

With that said, because He loves us we should take heed to what Jesus has said here when He shared it with those who listened to Him some 2000 years ago. He said that those who taught the law and those who were leaders said that, yes, we ought to love our neighbor but we ought also hate our enemies! Jesus once again says, “But I tell you…” He has a different slant on this old thought, “Love your enemies and pray for those who hate you and want to hurt you and persecute you!!!” Boy is that radical or what!!! What is He saying?

“By loving and praying for our enemies, we prove our relationship to our Father, show his love in an unlovely world, and overcome evil with good.” Life Application New Testament Commentary.

Jesus wanted His followers not to do what the Pharisees taught but what God has always demanded of those who followed Him, “love all people and not just those who love you.” The Pharisee taught that their neighbor referred to someone of the same nationality and faith. So, hating everyone else was perfectly okay.

I wonder if that is what the lawyer had in mind when he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor is?” (Luke 10:29) Did he think that Jesus might say the wrong thing for the Pharisees to finally catch Him in some problem with what Moses said? Of course, Jesus would never think that it is acceptable to hate someone but He taught them to love all people even those who are: of a different religion or nationality, those who hurt you or hate you. If you love, then you are like God, He loves us all.

What kind of reward do you want to get from God? He is ready to bless you and reward you for your actions toward others and obedience toward Him and what He teaches. So what is your reward? Do you love those who love you or do you love everyone regardless of whether they love you back? Jesus says that those who were the worst in the society loved those who loved them. He said to those listening to Him, “Are you any different from them?” The way you are different is to be like Jesus and not like the ones who only love those who love them.

Jesus may have even thrown another jab, but a harder one at the end, He said, “Do not even the pagans do that.”

The last verse for today says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

“Interpreter's Bible tells us that Christ gives to us His righteousness. And then begins the slow process of sanctification in which God attempts to conform us to the image of His Son. This, of course, should be the goal of every believer. But seeking to attain perfection by our own efforts is absolutely futile.”

Lynn Harold Hough tells a story of a young girl who was quite sure she could climb a mountain. She danced ahead, confident of her strength. But soon the road became a trail, and soon the trail became frowning rocks. She dragged along now, and after a time sank from exhaustion. Then—her father: with his arm to guide and steady her she reached the summit.

“Be ye... perfect: we were never meant to climb that mountain in our own strength. Failure comes to teach us that life is an affair, not of man alone or of man with man, but of man with God and God with man. The word Father is key to the Sermon on the Mount. There the ethic breaks into faith and comradeship. There we find forgiveness and new power—and life's secret meaning. Thus as your Father which is in heaven is perfect sums up the new law and the new life.” Interpreter's Bible, The - Exposition - The Interpreter's Bible – Volume 7.

“The word translated perfect can also be translated “mature” or “full-grown.” Jesus’ followers can be perfect if their behavior is appropriate for their maturity level—perfect yet with much room to grow. The perfection Jesus required of his followers did not include strict and flawless obedience to minute laws. It called, instead, for an understanding of how the law pointed to the heavenly Father who is himself perfect. Those who loved God and desired to follow him would keep his law as he required. They did this, not because they were already perfect, but because they were striving to be perfect, to reflect their Father’s character.” Life Application New Testament Commentary.
Let me try to summarize what has been said. Our God is perfect, needing nothing in this world or heaven, He is all sufficient unto Himself. We who are human creations of God are flawed with sin. We are not perfect...sorry Lynda! But God has planned for us to come to perfection through a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. How can flawed mankind become perfect in the eyes of a perfect God? If we receive Jesus as our Lord and Master through repentance of our sin and allowing Him to forgive us for our sins, then He will come to live within us and because He is in us and He is perfect, then we too can be perfect in Him. In Christ all is possible. When our lives are fully given to Him and we seek to grow in Christ the more mature we become in Him the more perfected we are. That is why the writer said, “If their behavior is appropriate for their maturity level—perfect yet with much room to grow.” We have a level of maturity and that will determine how much more we have to grow, always having more room because on this side of heaven we can never reach total perfection. How perfect are you? Are you growing in your faith? Are you maturing on a daily basis while walking with Christ?

You see, salvation is not of works, but by faith in Christ. But living the Christian life and being sanctified is by works. As you become more and more obedient to the commands of the Lord and true to the Word of God, you will grow close to Him and more mature each day. Are you growing while you are living, or are you just getting by? God knows and He still seeks for us to be perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect.

There are two decisions to be made.

1. Come to Christ to be SAVED! You are lost and doomed to hell without Jesus. Escaped that death by receiving life NOW!!!
2. Make the decision to be more like Jesus everyday. Seek to be perfect each day, through maturing in your Christian faith. Read your Bible, pray, seek God’s will for your life, worship, be Jesus to others, share with and love all people. Say to Jesus and be serious, what do You desire for my life that I am not presently doing? As a believer make the decision today to be and do more for the Lord Jesus Christ!

Invitation

Dear friend if you are reading this by way of the internet please know that you are loved and cared for. If you have no relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, then I invite you to trust Him by faith and receive Him as your personal Savior. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of everyone in the world that they may have eternal life. All of us have sinned and all are guilty before Almighty God who made us to have fellowship with Him. But sin broke that ability to have a relationship and Jesus has restored the possibility to know God personally through His sacrifice. Please know that if you will seek God and turn from your sin and pray He will respond with His love and give to you a personal relationship through your belief in His Son and the sacrifice He made just for you. He will call for a change in your life too. He wants you to follow Him, not the world, not your own desires, but to follow Jesus. That brings a life change when you turn from sin and self and by faith believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. There is no Savior without Him being Lord of your life. Your willingness to change by following Him daily in your life will be the proof of your faith. When life throws its curves your way and you have found yourself broken by others or by the world let us introduce you to the only One who can help you…Jesus! You can write or call the office and we will follow up by contacting you. Office phone number is 864-225-2575 and the website address is www.northandersonbaptist.com and the physical address is 2308 N. Main St., Anderson, SC 29621. Dear friend if you are a believer and you have been touched by the Lord and you would like to talk to someone at the church just contact us in one of the ways you see above. If you are a believer and would like to talk about the church and your interest in being a part, please call and we can set up an appointment for you and get to know you. It would be a great pleasure to share our Lord’s love with you. This is a loving church and you are important to us, so please let us know what we can do for you in the Lord.
Pastor Bill Rigsby

http://www.northandersonbaptist.com