Sermon: Love Your Enemies
Scripture: Matthew 5:43-47
In this week’s lessons, we learn how to love our enemies with the divine love that only God gives us in Christ.
Theme: Dying for Sinners
Moreover, it is not merely the fact of Christ’s suffering that makes God’s love so wonderful. It is also the fact that He suffered for sinners, and this means for those who were in themselves naturally repugnant to Him. Every so often during the summer we hear of a lifeguard who has rescued some person from drowning, and once in a while of one who has lost his life while trying to save that person. Stop a moment and imagine yourself in his position. You are the handsome lifeguard, and a beautiful girl is drowning. Would you risk your life for hers? You are probably saying, “I am not sure, of course; but yes, I think I might.” I agree with you. Many persons would do it, or attempt to do it. But now picture in your mind the most contemptible person you know, one who has wronged you or cheated you, or who is a pervert, or a murderer. And now imagine him drowning. Would you give your life for his? It’s not easy to answer. But the question begins to show us something of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ for you.
This is why the Bible says, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:7-8). It was while we were hideous to God that He loved us and sent His Son to die for us.
There is one more point here that also should be mentioned. The same verses that tell us that Christ died for us when we were sinners also tells us that He died for us when we were without strength, which is to say, helpless. In spiritual terms, there was no possibility of our helping ourselves.
Many persons think that there is a good bit that they can achieve for themselves spiritually, but the Bible teaches differently. For one thing, it says that apart from God’s saving work through Christ we cannot understand Christ’s teachings. Thus, Jesus spoke even to the religious leaders of His day, saying, “Why do you not understand my speech?” He answered, “Because ye cannot hear my word” (John 8:43). In other words, the natural man has ears to hear, but he hears not. Second, he cannot receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to His disciples, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive” (John 14:16-17). The verse teaches that no one can be saved by receiving the Spirit as an act of his own will.
Third, the Bible teaches that the unsaved man cannot use his will to submit himself to God’s law. In fact, he is impelled to rebel against it. The Bible says, “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither, indeed, can be” (Rom. 8:7). Fourth, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). That is, the unsaved person cannot understand God’s truth. Finally, 2 Peter 2:14 says of the person apart from Christ that “having eyes full of adultery they cannot cease from sin.”
If we put all of these teachings together we see that God’s love is to be measured by the fact that while we were sinners and unable to hear His Word, receive the Holy Spirit, submit to His law, understand His teaching, or cease from sin, Christ died for us. That is God’s love. That is the full measure of God’s love. It is that love to which we are called as God’s children.
What else do we learn about Christ’s suffering that adds to the wonder of God’s love?
In addition to being sinners, what other point is brought out about our spiritual condition?
Review the areas in which the love of God can be seen, as well as the passages that teach these truths. What other passages can you find that demonstrate these ideas?
Prayer: Pray for members of your family or friends who are not Christians. Ask the Lord to give them an understanding of the Gospel, that they would repent of their sins and trust in Christ. Pray, too, for opportunities to talk with them about these spiritual matters.