Luke 6:27-36, Choose A Surprising Kind Of Love

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from Luke on Sunday, January 15, 2023 using the New Living Translation (NLT).

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This morning as we look at Luke Chapter Six, I've titled the Message, Choose a surprising kind of love, choose a surprising kind of love as you read through this passage and this teaching of Jesus, I think this love being described as surprising is no surprise. To us, because the things that Jesus outlines here are not normal and natural. They're not our typical response to treatment and behavior from the world around us. The way that God is calling us to love is, well, you might say, supernatural. Well, it's beyond what is ordinary. It's extraordinary. It is something unique and different than what is normal or typical for us. Now there's different kinds of love and we use of course the English word love in a variety of ways, and I'm sure you've heard the different forms of. The Greek words for love. Loves for love. You have story Gate which can speak of that natural affection that family love. You're connected by blood and so there is that kind of built in love for one another. There's arrows which would speak of that physical or romantic love. There's Feleo which would speak of the love between friends and the the friendship and. And affection that has developed in that. But then, of course, we have agape love, which can be described in a variety of ways. Today I choose to share it with you. This way it's chosen love. It's not love that is earned. It's not love that is deserved. It's love that loves because the lover chooses to love and that's the way that God loves us, right? We don't earn God's love, we don't deserve God's love but God chooses to love us. And that's why we are loved by God because of his choice, not because of our efforts, not because of our genetics or you know anything like that. It's that God has chosen to love us and and so we are loved by God and what God is calling us to do. Is to receive that love from the Lord that love expressed by the Lord Jesus to us, and then to turn around and deliver that love to others around us. Commentator John Neeson puts it this way. Love is not simply brotherly love, romantic love or even natural affection. But rather the kind of love that God practices, namely choosing to love, even though the ones who are loved. Are unworthy of.

Right?

It is the deliberate choice to serve the very best interests of others. And that is a really good picture of love or description of love. Love is that deliberate choice to serve the very best interests of others. Love is doing what is best for other people. When we love people, the true expression of the kind of love that God offers to us. Is that love that has? The good of others in mind and in heart. Love that God offers and love that God calls us to also offer to others is not. Just make people happy, fulfill you, know some of their desires. Put a smile on their face, make them feel good and warm. But love sometimes includes also discipline. Just as the author of Hebrews tells us that he disciplines those that he loves and it's an expression of his love to correct us because it is in our best interest to be corrected by the Lord, and so we need to understand that love is quite deep in the way that it is expressed, that there's not. Just one simple expression of it. It's not just you know helping someone to feel good or smile, or know that they are loved in in those kind of more positive ways. But there's also those ways that correction and discipline and those kinds of things are needed, and sometimes we can feel very unloved by the Lord when he is actually expressing ultimate. Towards us, and so we can't base our feelings or base our receiving of God's love on our feelings. We we base it on faith and what God has said. He's proven once and for all his love for us. At the cross. And so, how much more will he give us? Everything else that is needed, and so God continues to love us unconditionally because he chooses to. It's a surprising kind of love when you understand the love that God has for you. But now in Luke Chapter 6, Jesus takes it beyond thinking about God's love for you and he says, OK. If you want to follow me, you also need to demonstrate this kind of love and it's not going to be necessarily something you feel all the time. It's not going to be necessarily something that you are always happy about and excited about. It is a choice that you have to make to love in a way that is. Surprising that is unnatural. That is atypical for you and for. The world around you, and in doing so, you accurately represent God to the people around you. And so there's four points we're going to walk through, and this idea of choosing a surprising kind of love. I want to encourage you to make that choice to let the Lord instruct you and teach you. To love others. And so a couple things. Four points to work through here. Point number one in verses 27 and 20. Right? Choose to love surprising people and thinking about love and the surprising Ness of it the the how surprising it is the. Way that God. Loves us. It is also understood it's surprising the people that he chooses to love and so the Lord says also. Do the same thing. Surprise everyone with who you choose to love. Look at verse 27 and 28, it says, but to you who are willing to listen, I say love your enemies do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Jesus starts out here in verse 27. Giving us the opportunity to make a choice, but you who are willing to listen. And so the first thing you need to really resolve in your heart this morning is are you willing to listen to Jesus. Are you willing to let Jesus direct your life and tell you what you ought to do and how you ought to behave? And the course that you ought to take in your relationship with other people around you. Are you willing to listen to Jesus? Now you might have an idea in your mind of what the right answer is, and so that might be the answer. You're tempted to just give off the top of your head. You know what's right, and so you want to give that right answer, but it really is important that you don't just give the answer that you think is expected. But that you really go before the Lord with this question honestly and genuinely, are you really willing to listen to Jesus and to say, OK, Lord, whatever you say about my relationships with the people around me? Whatever you say about that, I'm going to listen to you and put into practice what you instruct me. To do. Because this topic of love and as Jesus will go on here to say in. Verse 27 love your enemies. This is a challenging subject is a challenging call that Jesus is calling us to. You could say this separates the Christians from the churchgoers this. Separates those who are willing to listen to Jesus and those who are not. And there are some who will read through this. There are some who will walk through this teaching of the Lord. And say I'm not willing to listen to Jesus in. That's too hard. That's too radical. That's too challenging. That is not pleasant to me. I don't like this idea and so I am not willing to listen to Jesus. But you got to resolve that in your heart. Are you willing? To hear what the Lord has to say, and to let that impact the way that you relate to others around you, and the way that you live your life. Jesus says in verse 27 I say. Are you willing to listen? Jesus says. Here's what I say. Love your enemies. So the first question we have to ask is, are we willing to? Listen to Jesus. The second question you need to ask yourself is do I have enemies? And maybe part of you says wait a minute. Do I have enemies? Like do I live in a cartoon like? What do you mean we're adults? Here what do we don't have enemies this? Isn't high school anymore? It's surprising how much the rest of life is like high school, actually right? There there are those enemies that are around us in life. The word enemy means one who is hateful and it can be passive or active. When when it? Is hating you from afar or one who is throwing stuff at you and shouting at you because? They hate you. There is this hatred that exists. From a distance or right up in your face. Although we would understand they should not be counted as enemies on our part. But on their part they look at us and they say that's my enemy. I hate them. I want. Evil to take place. In their life Jesus will. Go on in these verses here. To talk about those who hate you, those who curse you. And those who hurt you. And so maybe instead of saying, do you have enemies? I could ask it this way. Do you have people in? Your life who hurt you? Intentionally as well as unintentionally, do you have people in your life who hurt you? This is who Jesus is talking about in this passage. Do you have people in your life who curse you who wish you harm? Who want to see you fail? Those are the kind of people that Jesus is addressing in this passage. When he says love your enemies, he's saying you know, those people who hurt you. You know how you were all worked up last week because they said this and there was this pain that happened within and you were, you know, talking to these other people about it because it hurts so badly when they told you this. That's the person we're talking about here. Love your enemy. Love that person who hurts you. Love that person who curses you. Love that person who hates you, who wishes you harm and wants to see you fail. Do you have enemies? Do you have people who hurt you who hate you? Who curse you? We may not always have this kind of enemy at every point in our lives, but we will all experience this kind of enemy in our lives where for whatever reason. Hopefully it's not because of some hurt that we have brought upon someone else, but sometimes that happens and we have created an enemy. Sometimes we have enemies because as followers of Christ. There are those who find it displeasing to be in the presence of those who love the Lord. As Paul said, we're a sweet smelling aroma to others who follow Jesus, but all we're a foul odor to those who reject the Lord. And so just our very presence and our our love of the Lord can cause people to treat us in a way that. Well, they consider us enemies and so they hate us. They curse us. They hurt us. It is part of our experience as disciples of Jesus as followers of Jesus. There are going to be those. Who would look at you and count you as? An enemy, even if they. Don't use that word or say that word you understand. They're considering you an enemy because they hurt you. They hate you, they curse you. That is their approach. To you now, if you're still struggling having a hard time picturing why do I have any enemies? Let me brought in the scope a little bit and give a little bit of. Application that the Lord gives in Matthew chapter 10. Jesus said, don't imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth. I came not to bring peace but a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household. And thinking through this passage and praying through what the Lord is saying here, it's important that you consider this not just in the, you know, general sense of the world, not just in the general sense of people with other political ideals, not just in the workplace or in the community in some way but. You need to understand that the Lord is perhaps speaking this to you about members. Of your own family members of your own household now. Again, not saying that you should count any members of your house as enemies, but. But there are those within your own family. Who hate you? Who hurt you? Who curse you and wish you harm? That is part of the relationships that we have in this life. People who don't know us and hate us, and people who have known us our. Whole lives. And can be very cruel and hurtful and harmful towards us. Here's what Jesus says to those kinds of people. Love your enemies. Choose to love those who treat you this way. Again, this kind of love is not love that someone must earn in order for you to give it. It's not that they must deserve it. It's not that they must be, you know, willing recipients of it. You have full control in this relationship. To love in this way because you get to choose regardless of them or their behavior or their disposition towards you. You get to choose whether or not you will listen to Jesus on this. He says if you will listen to me, here's what I say. Love, choose. To look out for the best interests of those who treat you this way. Of those who hate you, curse you. Or hurt you. I say love your enemies.

The Lord says.

And and just to. Walk us through it. He helps us understand a little bit like what does that mean? Does that just mean that we just generally have to be able to say, well, I love everybody you know, is it? Is it that that is required here? Is that that what the Lord is saying here? He says no in verse 27 do good to those. Who hate you? And so we understand here the idea is not just saying words, I love you. Not just trying to have a heart that you know doesn't have a a bitterness towards someone, not just you know, withholding. Retribution, that is. But it's the active. Doing of good. To those who hate you. Jesus makes it clear to love your enemies. Doesn't just don't. Doesn't mean does you know don't smack them back when they smack you don't hurt them back when they hurt you, but actively do good to those who hate you. The word hate it means to detest. To persecute. When people detest you, persecute you. Express a lack of love towards you, Jesus says. Actively do good, take action, go out of your way and do good to those people. And and it's in the present tense tense, which encourages us or tells us it's a ongoing attitude of our hearts that that we are looking to continually do good. Not just a one time alright, one time I did something good for that person who hated me. I did that one time but but it's that ongoing in your relationship with that person. Continue to do good to those who hate you. To take it further, he goes on in verse 28, bless those who curse you. The idea of curse there is to wish someone evil or ruin. They're rooting for you to fail. That's the idea of cursing. And the opposite of that is to bless, and we often think of blessings in the kind of the material sense you know. Like we're blessed, you know from the Lord with the things that we have or the the the good things that are happening in our lives. But but the word bless really means to speak well of. And so we understand blessing from the Lord in that way that God speaking well of us, as demonstrated by these good things, happening and manifested here in my life, right when we bless the Lord, we speak well of the Lord. We exalt him, we praise his name. That's the idea here. And so when he says, bless those who curse you, he's saying do the opposite as they are, wishing you evil, speak well of them. Don't slander them, don't. Reciprocate in kind and wish them evil. Wish them well. Don't talk them down or tear them down or talk bad about. Them, but speak well of them. Bless those who curse you and then pray for those who hurt you. Some translations put it to pray for those who spitefully use you. There is this idea of Greek disrespect shown here. Pray for those who disrespect you. Who treat you? Abusively to accuse falsely pray for those who threaten you who insult you. Who hurt you. Some quite challenging exhortation here from the Lord. To love, it's not just. To say I love everybody. But to love is to do good to bless and to pray it. It is active, deliberate action on our part that we must choose to do, choose to love surprising. People now it's not surprising. If we choose to do good. To those that are good to us. It's not surprising if we bless those who bless us, and it's not surprising if we pray for those who pray. For us What's surprising about this whole thing is the Lord says. Just love in a way that is reciprocal, that that somebody else is loving you, and so you love them. He'll deal with that more in the coming verses. He's saying your enemies, those who treat you the opposite of the way that I'm describing of the. Way of love. You are to love them to do good and to bless and to pray for them. You have someone in your life that hates you. Do good to them. Figure out ways to take action to express the goodness of God unto them. You have those in your life who curse you, who who want you to fail. Again, this could be. In your family, it could be in the workplace. You know they want you to fail so they can have your job. They're talking bad about you trying to get you know your career trajectory to fall down so that they can jump in there. And take that place. Or maybe it's just. They were hurt a long time ago. And they just want to see you hurt in the way that they were hurt. Those who curse you, those who want to see you fall or fail, or be harmed, bless them, speak well of them, speak kindly towards them. Those who hurt you pray. For them. Commentator RC Sproul says in our culture we think of love in passive terms. Love is something over which we have no control. Love is something that happens to us spontaneously in New Testament categories. However, love is not something primarily that happens to us. Love Rather is a duty. A requirement. Love has more to. Do with activity than it has to do with feeling. The question here is not do you feel love for this person? The question is, are you willing to listen to Jesus about this person? The question is not do you feel like behaving this way or acting this way, or treating them this way? The question is, are you willing to listen to Jesus? Are you willing to let the Lord set the parameters for how you relate to other people in your life? And if you're willing to let Jesus have that role in your life, then you will choose to love surprising people everybody knew. The Old Testament taught love your neighbor. The Jewish people in Jesus's Day knew that, and there was lots of discussion. About loving your neighbor. And of course there were some challenges to that, and that religious leaders sought to bring precise definition to everything. And so, in seeking to precisely define define your neighbor, they defined it in a way that. Give them the opportunity to not love their enemies. They give them an excuse they could religiously. Think that they were doing God's work by treating their enemies poorly, hating those who hated them, cursing those who cursed them. And they felt justified and right before God, because they defined their neighbor in. Such a way? That gave them this religious loophole. And that's why Jesus walked through the parable of the Good Samaritan and Luke chapter 10. We'll get to that. In a couple of days in our reading. The Good Samaritan. Answering the question well, who is my neighbor? Because if the greatest commandment is to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and then the second greatest commandment is to love my neighbor as myself. Well, who's my neighbor so I can know how to? Will be that command. And so Jesus walks through this parable of the Good Samaritan. To make the point, the people that you come in contact with are your neighbors. And so it doesn't mean, hey, you're 2 doors down from my house. I can hate you. I get to hate you because you're not my just right next door neighbor. 2 doors down, gloves are off. Let's go. We can battle it out. I can hate you and no problem. No, that's not what the Lord is saying, the. Lord is saying. The people that you come in contact with in your life. Those are your neighbors. To love them. Choose to love people. And let it be a surprise. Let it be different than the way everybody else around you loves. Let it be different than what even the people receiving this love expects because. This is the kind of love that God demonstrates towards us. We are called. To love like Jesus has loved us, we haven't earned his love. We could never deserve his love. We were at enmity with God and when he that was when he expressed his greatest. Demonstration of love Romans Chapter 5 talks about that. Choose to love surprising people. Those who hate you, those who curse you, those who hurt you. If you are willing to listen to Jesus, those are the people that you will choose to love and it will be quite surprising. But moving on to verses 29 through 31, we get point #2 and that is choose to show love in surprising ways. Choose to show love in surprising ways. Verses 29 through 31 says. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek. Also, if someone demands your coats, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks and when things are taken away from you, don't try to get them back. Due to others as you would like them to do. To you. Jesus goes on to say not only are you to love people, that is quite a surprise that is shocking. That you would love that someone who treats you so poorly. But to the extent that you love, and in the way that you express love. Jesus says if you're willing to listen to me if you're going to follow me in my example, then you are going to love in surprising ways. And he gives a few examples here, and it's important to understand that Jesus is giving some examples here. Here he is not giving laws. Here laws are different than examples. And if you look at these as laws and people have throughout the years you, you can take these things that Jesus is saying here to absurd extremes. And and you would do that, maybe for a couple of reasons, because you want to say well, look, this is absurd. This command of Jesus, so I don't. Have to obey it. But you don't have to go to the crazy extremes of what this might mean for this kind of love to be surprising, some people take the things that Jesus is saying here to say you should never defend yourself. That Jesus never wants you to defend yourself, that if you are being violently attacked that you should just take it and let them beat you up even more. That is, that is not what the Lord is declaring here. It's important to understand that when Jesus is teaching, he is often using illustrations. He's often using examples and many times he's also using hyperbole. He's using some exaggeration to help make the point. Now the exaggeration is not to the to make the point that, well, this is never true. It's just that even in some cases. This kind of love will demonstrate to this extent. In the examples that he gives here. Also, it's important to note that what we have recorded here in the Gospels is a condensed version of what Jesus taught, and so they're also was more context that if you just read through Luke Chapter 6, the Sermon on the plane was longer than just the reading through. Of these verses that there was some context also that the Lord was giving in that, but you would understand in Matthew Chapter 5 when Jesus says if your hand even your stronger hand, your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. That we read that and we what we believe to approach the scriptures in a literal way. But also there is a way to be too literal and to not account for hyperbole. Exaggeration example, for the sake of making the point. OK, but but then we also need to be careful because then we can say OK. Well then it's just hyperbole. I don't actually have to do that, and that's not the point of what Jesus is saying either, and so so we have to be careful as we look at this to to take in what the Lord is saying. Verse 29. If someone slaps you on one. Meek offer the other cheek also. If someone slaps you. On one cheek. Offer the other cheek also. There's a little bit of discussion about. What precisely, the Lord is referring to here? Because, well. One way to view this one perspective to take is that this is merely talking about an insult. To strike the cheek in Matthew Chapter 5 in the parallel to this on the sermon on the Mount, it talks about the striking the cheek with the right hand, the right cheek with the right hand, which would mean it would. It would be a backhanded strike which in their culture for them. I think in any culture. Probably would be, you know. An expression of an insult, an expression of contempt for somebody. But then others would take it and say, well, no, this is actually talking about some type of violence. Strike violent attack. If someone seeks to harm you, hurt you, then the idea is offer the other cheek also. And and there's some things you can wrestle. With on that but. What the Lord is not trying to do here is trying to provide a standard by which you can measure everybody else's activities and what they're undergoing. This is a tool. This command. Here is an instruction for us to. Evaluate our own hearts. And so if someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. Is under this umbrella of love, your enemies, and we we understand that love here is the overarching principle. It's the guiding principle, and so you can think about it this way. If what is best for the person who is approaching you in this way, if what is best for them? Is to have another cheek presented? Offer the other cheek also. Now that's never going to be our natural response. It's never going to be our automatic response, whether it be an insult or an actual physical attack. But there are cases where. Presenting the other cheek. Will be the best expression of love that can be offered in that moment. So be willing. To evaluate your situation in context, even to that degree. The Lord again is not making a law here that every time this happens you must present the other cheek. In John Chapter 18, when Jesus is on trial, he actually gets struck across the cheek in that way. And it doesn't tell us that Jesus, obeying his own command, turned the other cheek and said he challenged the strike and and said, hey, if I've done wrong, well then. Tell me what the wrong is, but if I'm speaking the truth, why are you treating me this way so we can understand in the context of the the teachings of the Lord. This is not a law you must never defend yourself. That's not what Jesus is saying. But he is also saying you must give the opportunity. To allow love. To dictate how you respond, and sometimes the best response is going to be. Turning the other cheek, sometimes the best way to love the person who has just struck you is. To turn the other cheek, to give them another opportunity. To present yourself to them in that way. In Luke Chapter 22, Jesus. Talking to his disciples, preparing them for his departure. Reminded them of how he had sent them out previously. They went out with no food, no provisions, no defenses, nothing. Jesus said that was appropriate for that time, but now he says take your money and the traveller's bag, and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Guys, there's going to be some need to defend yourself to stand your ground on some things, and so now for this season. Here's some new instruction now. Be prepared to defend yourself if you don't have a sword by a sword. That's how the Lord instructs his disciples, and so we can understand in the bigger picture. This is not. A complete forbidding of self-defense ever. But it's also not nothing. You can't use. The extreme you know case of it to say, OK, well, it doesn't mean anything. I can just ignore this command. No, no, no. The the whole. Point of the instruction here is to. Maintain a heart of love. In the midst of insults and injuries. And to never let those things take you out of that perspective. I don't know if you have a lot of experience hanging around. By the two year old. But they called them the terrible twos for a reason. If you're not familiar, learning to become more familiar, right? You know a 2 year old is very limited in their ability. To express things. They're experiencing emotions and developing things and and they don't know how to do it, and so sometimes the expression of that comes in. I'm going to hit you. And so you as. The responsible mature adult said. Well then I'm going to. Hit you back. We would not expect. The right thing to do to be to respond in kind to a 2 year old who is lashing out because they are in the midst of a tantrum and don't know how to control themselves or don't know how. To behave right. But we would understand also sometimes when you get hit by a 2 year old even it hurts and there is that like oww you know that hurts and there maybe is a flash of a thought of returning in kind but no no no no you're. You're a child. I think this is an appropriate way to think about our interactions with unbelievers around us. We need to keep the perspective and never let their behavior take you out of that perspective. That eternity is at stake here. There's so much bigger things involved and and and happening than what is happening right in our face, but so many times it's hard to see beyond what's happening right. In front of our face. And we can't let those unbelieving 2 year olds listen. They're not mature, they don't know the Lord. They don't have that developed sense of right and wrong. They don't have the leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit. Of course, they're going to behave poorly and hate you and curse you and hurt you. Yes, of course. That that's to be expected. They're the terrible 2 unbelievers. That is how the world is going to behave. Leave, don't let that behavior cause you to. Go down into immaturity and fight back with them. Like 2 year olds. You be a responsible adult and maintain a heart of love. In the midst of insults and injuries. Love is the governing key here so. Giving another example. Something that people experience. Abusive relationships. This verse has often been used to bind someone into an abusive relationship. You must stay and just turn the other cheek and keep receiving that abuse. And that is not at all what the Lord is. Intending to say. But but we need to think about this with the lens of the love of God. Sometimes the most loving thing. For a person to do in that situation of abuse. Is to leave. And sometimes the most loving thing to do in that situation is to stay. This isn't a law, it's not always the case. This is let us discern from the Lord what is the best. Expression of goodness. What is in the best interests of the people involved? What's important here? What the Lord is getting at. Is the motive. Now if I leave because I'm saying I want to hurt you and I hate you, well that's different then I'm leaving because I love you and I want. What's best for you? And if I stay because, well. I'm supposed to stay and I can't leave. But it's not out of. This expression of love. Not in line with the love of God for us. And for the other person. Then then it's not following what the Lord is saying here, but sometimes out of love a person might be prompted by the Lord to stay in a relationship that everybody else around them says. Why on Earth are you in that? And sometimes love would say leave and maybe even everybody else around you saying. You can't leave. Why would you ever leave? But the end result is not whether or not the bottom line is not. You know what everybody else says. Again, it's this is not a tool for evaluating other people's circumstances. This is a tool for evaluating your heart before the Lord. What is the right thing? For this person. Sometimes leaving is the best thing. Sometimes staying is the best thing. Jesus says. If someone slaps you on one cheek. Offer the other cheek also that is a good example. Of what you might need to do. In your expression of love. And you're listening to Jesus for the people around you. Verse 29 goes on. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Now again, there's lots of discussion about this, because, well, there's this. What is happening here in Matthew Chapter 5? The Sermon on the Mount Jesus presents this kind of situation as a situation in court that you're being sued in court and your shirt is taken from you because you lost. So give your coat. Also is the idea that Jesus teaches there in Matthew Chapter 5 verse 40? And so understanding it from that lens, if it is determined I have injured you. And so you've won your court case. Well then I should own up to that injury and do more than just the bare minimum to make amends. I should go out of. My way to. Express my sorrow and say, oh man. I didn't see it that way. I didn't think I had injured you. Now a third party has confirmed I really did injure you. I'm so sorry. Here's my shirt also, not just my cloak that that I'm going to go above and beyond to make amends. And to repair our relationship and seek to reconcile. And so that's a possible perspective, and it is what the Lord is describing Matthew chapter five. Others look at this and say it's robbery someone you. Points a knife at you and says give me your coat. They demand your coat and say, well, OK, you can have my shirt also. Possibly that is a potential. Again, it's not a law you always have to do that in every circumstance. That's not what the Lord is trying to establish here, but he's saying look even sometimes to this degree. Sometimes yes, someone will seek to rob you and. The most loving thing you can do in this situation. Is to give them more than. What they're asking for. Like when on Earth would that make sense well? There's always a work that. God is doing and can do in the midst of that. And sometimes it is those astonishing acts of love. That can create some incredible opportunities that have eternal value. We could. An abundance of examples of missionaries you know throughout history and all of the things that God has done, through demonstrations like that. But we need to move on verse 30, give to anyone who asks, and when things are taken away from you, don't try to get them back. So this kind of goes hand in hand with that someone asks, Jesus says give to them. And when things are taken away. Don't try to get them back. The idea here again is love. The overarching principle when someone is in need and there is a request. Don't let your love for your things. Override your love for that person. Give to the person who has the need you. Have the supplies. To meet the need and there is a person there in need. Choose to show love. Even if it's a surprising way, even if it's a way that nobody else around. You would show love. Give to those who ask. And when things are taken. Don't try to get them back. Again, it's not a law, but but the principle carries through in First Corinthians chapter 6, the apostle Paul is addressing the issue of lawsuits between believers. And and he makes the point there. One of the issues is believers going to court against each other in front of unbelievers in an unbelieving court and how embarrassing to the name of the Lord. That is how that misrepresents the Lord. But but he makes the point in First Corinthians chapter 6. He says, why not? Let yourself be cheated. Why wouldn't you rather be cheated and maintain the honor of the Lord's name and preserve the witness before the community? Why wouldn't you rather let yourself be cheated to preserve? The Lord's name. And instead you're doing the cheating you're disrespecting the Lord, misrepresenting the Lord and behaving in this way. This is the idea here. Sometimes the best expression of the Lord to people is hey, you took that from me. It's OK, you can keep it. I don't need it. Middler bless you. Verse 31. He says due to others as you would like them to do to you. The golden rule, right? Jesus is saying here. Put yourself in their. Shoes, how would you want to be treated? And again, here's where I say we need to understand the position of. Unbelievers apart from the Lord, apart from the working of the Holy Spirit apart. From the development of character and maturity that God does in us as we. Walk with him. Maybe putting yourself in their. Shoes looks something like this, OK? If I was a lost and miserable person. Who did not know the gospel? How would I want to be treated? If I was lashing out at people, cutting them off on the freeway because I was hurting and. Didn't know how to handle the emotion and the pain that I was experiencing. How would I want to be treated if my life was empty and without meaning? How would I want to be treated that that our perspective on others around us needs to factor in their experience with the Lord and so due to others as you would like them to do to you. We need to understand and have some compassion for the people around us to have some sense of. Where their hearts are at and what they're going through. And then we can. Seek to discern what is. The best expression of love. Then what is best for this person who is in this condition? But help me to see through your eyes that I would understand their position and sure it's not right what they did to me. But but look at where they're at and look at what they're going through. And the Lord's answering that injury, answering that insult. Doesn't help resolve their situation. Lord, how can I help them? And overcome and be victorious and find life in you. But understand that love. Is not always withholding of that response. Again, if you think about it in the context of those unbelievers are like 2 year olds sometimes maybe an appropriate verse for us to consider as proverbs 13. Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them. This is consistent with the way that God relates to us. He disciplines us. He corrects us, sometimes the. The best expression of love. Sometimes doing unto others as you would want them to do to you includes. Listen one of the best things that ever happened to me was being in that position where I had to. Stand before a judge. I mean that it resonates in my mind. I will never forget the guy in front of me. Just before my case. He was coming to court to deal with outstanding DUI's. He was an old man. The judge said, why are you trying to deal with this now and he says I'm just trying to make things. Right in my. Life, he says OK, good bailiff and the bailiff pulls out the handcuffs and it's clean, clean, clean hitting the desk. Every Ching Ching Ching Ching Ching like. I don't know that sound just. Like echoes in my mind. Terrifying I'm up. I'm called next and I'm like Oh no. Does he have more handcuffs in that drawer? I don't know. I just. Not ready for that. If you're concerned I had, you know, outstanding failures to appear for traffic tickets and moving violations. It was all you know, car related stuff, but. But that was a significant turning point in my life. It's one of the best things that ever happened to me. So do unto others as you would like them to do to you. You know, sometimes. That is the right thing to do. There has been situations. Throughout our history as a church. Where there have been instances where people have stolen from the church. And you know, every time that happens, it's bound to happen because we have people here. I mean, if we kept everybody away, we. Would never have. The issue, but but it's bound to happen. We have people here. There's things that are accessible. Things are within reach and. Happens and every time it's. An evaluation of OK. What is best? Sometimes forgiving the debt is the best thing to do. It's the most loving thing. To do sometimes holding someone accountable. For the things that were taken, that's. The best thing to do, the most loving thing to do. Was a few weeks back we had the Spanish house over here broken into someone threw a brick through the glass door. Dealing with the situation here with the police, they're searching everything out. We checking everything out. I'm used to this happens every time the police doing a report ask the question do you wish to press charges? If we're able to find the person who did this, you wish to press charges. I have no hesitation. When I'm asked that question. I say yes. But not out of a wish for revenge. I want them to suffer because they brought you know, damage to the property or things like that. No, I I reflect back to my time standing before the judge and say, you know. That was the best thing that ever happened. In my life for. Me not the best. Thing that ever happened. Little exaggeration there. Sorry babe. That was one of the. Best things that ever happened. But you know the best expression of love might be holding them accountable, letting them face the music. Walk through that process. To deal with what needs to be dealt with in their heart. But sometimes. Even greater more expensive things. It might be to just forgive. And say now don't worry about it. May the Lord bless you. It's not a law. It's a tool to check your heart. And to help you seek the Lord for discernment, how to show love in the situations that you face. It's love that sets the limits, its love that guides the principles here. It's love now. Love your family. Also, as a part of this, so don't give away all of your grocery money so that you cannot provide for your family. That's not what the Lord saying. Well, unless God tells you to you, well then do that, but. Understand it's not like you have to follow this legalistically. You have to. Consider love what's best for everybody involved. What's the best outcome, not drop down to a level of immaturity, but be willing to listen to Jesus. He says if you're willing to listen to Jesus, love your enemies, do what's best for them. Look out for their best interests. Moving on to verses 32 through 35, we get point #3 and that is choose a love that earns eternal reward. Verse 32 if you only love those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them. Here the Lord is acknowledging there is. A different kind of love that is able to be expressed by those who do not know the Lord and he walks through it in three different ways. So loving those who love you. Verse 33. He says, if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit, even sinners do that and then. Verse 34 if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners? Sinners will lend to other sinners for a full reward. So and loving. And doing good and then lending money, he says, look unbelievers are able to do this. They're capable of behaving this way towards one another when they're able to get the same back. And so no matter where you go throughout history or on the Earth, whether you are looking at the worst of the worst criminals. That have ever. Existed you will find there this kind of love. And what's not surprising there to find that? Kind of love. Yeah, the hardened criminal can still love a spouse or love other people around them can still do good for them who are doing good for them. Can still lend money and help someone out who is in need. Yes, someone can be murdering someone one day and lending money to their friend the next day. That's not surprising to find. And unbelievers. So if you only love that way. That's the only kind of good you know how to do. If that's the only opportunity that you give to lending money. The Lord is saying there's no reward for that. You don't get. Credit for that there's not something special or unique. This isn't the love of God being demonstrated. The Lord is using this to challenge our hearts. We need to check our hearts and realize sometimes we, you know are giving ourselves lots of credit and patting ourselves on the back for how generous we were to those who can be generous to us and what is saying that's not generosity that's. Not love that's. That's something else you know. There's this mentality and. Kind of a popular culture right now of paying it forward, right? And so you. Pay for the person behind you at the drive through line. You get their Starbucks right. And and the whole mentality. The whole idea is well, it'll come back around one day and someone else will pay for me. And so we just pay it forward, not pay it back. But I'm going to pay it in advance and I'm going to trust that you know, one day I'm going to. Get some reward for that as well. Pay it forward. Is not the love of God, that's not. Agape love. That's unsurprising, worldly love. But the guy who ran into your car and then you buy them Starbucks. That's surprising love, right? Like that's a whole different thing. This is to be different than what the world is practicing and evil to do. Choose a love that earns eternal reward, not just the regular reward, but. He says in verse 35, love your enemies, do good to them, lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great. You'll have great reward. When you love. With God's kind of love towards people around you. If your waiter gives you terrible service and so you tip poorly. Don't count it. Love that you tipped at all. That's not love. Your waiter gives you terrible service and then you tip generously. Maybe that's an expression of love, maybe, maybe not. Maybe the best thing for them is for you to tip poorly so they understand the service that they provided. But but let love. Be the governing principle there. How can you best represent the Lord and demonstrate the character and nature of God? And that's really the point. That's point, #4, choose to mimic the surprising love of God. Verse 35 and 36 again love your enemies. Do good to them lend without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great and. You will truly be acting as children of the most high. For he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your father is compassionate. God's love is surprising. Why does he love me? If you knew me, like God knows me. You would be surprised that God loves me. If I knew you. Well, I don't even have to know you like God knows you. I can just know you and be surprised that God loves you, right? God's love is surprising. It's unnatural, it's not normal. God truly does want what's best for us. And when you do that. When you mimic. The love of God. You are truly acting like his child. He is kind to those who are unthankful. He is kind to the wicked, not to the point that everybody gets away with everything. No, he will bring justice, but. But in his love he is continually reaching out and impatient with patience and mercy. Seeking to bring reconciliation and repentance. He's compassionate. And so you be compassionate, feel what they feel. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Try to understand where they're coming from. Try to get a sense of the hurt and the pain that they're dealing with and within that might be part of the reason why they're treating you. In that way. Their and thankfulness their wickedness. Don't let that dictate and govern how you love. Let it be your choice. Are you willing to listen to Jesus? To make a deliberate choice to say in spite of how you're behaving in spite of how. You're treating me. I'm going to choose to look out for what's best for you because that's what God does for me. And as his child. I want to do that for you. Because ultimately our goal. Is for those who hate us and treat us poorly. Our goal is for their redemption. And the best way to achieve that is not returning hate for hate, hurt for hurt, cursing for cursing. But returning love. Not letting them dictate how we treat them. But letting the Lord say. This is how I'm to treat you. This is the love that God has for you. Really tough call. Really tough, challenging instruction from the Lord. Are you willing? To listen to Jesus. Is a national holiday. To celebrate one. Who followed the? Instruction of Jesus and I encourage you to. Kind of check into that a little bit. Reflect on that as. We walk through the day tomorrow, but. Let's pray, Lord, we thank you for your surprising love towards us. And I pray God that you. Would help us. First of all, to receive it to accept it or to understanding we're not deserving. We're so unworthy. But Lord, as you. Have loved us to this degree. I pray that. You would give us great maturity and wisdom. That we might. Love others the way that you love us. Or give us wisdom and discernment to know Lord, to identify and be able to see what is best for the people that we're interacting with. Lord, that our heart would be for their good, that our heart would be for their eternity. And learn that we would do our part. To help them. Be reconciled to you. We we do our part to help them be healed and made whole. And be given fullness of life. Like you've given to us. I pray Lord, that you would help us to maintain that perspective, to never lose sight of the eternal. That we might love. Just like you love us. I pray this in Jesus name Amen.