Love your enemies… And be like your Father in heaven. But, how do I do this? And why? | Part 2

We spoke of seeing and treating people as Jesus sees and treats me. As we read the Gospels we see Jesus’ love expressed to those He encountered - with patience, mercy, grace, and love. We need to learn to see ourselves in the person Jesus is encountering - how Jesus is with them, He is with “me”. As such, having received His love by mercy and grace, patience and forbearing, we are then equipped to see and treat in the same way those we encounter. (i.e. Luke 5; 14; John 3; 4; 8)

Having been loved while an enemy, I can now love my enemy...

Rom 5:1-11 speaks of being loved as an enemy, Luke 6:27-36 loving your enemies, being good to those who mistreat you, to pray for those who mistreat you, blessing those who curse you. First, let us be reminded that Jesus never commands us to do anything that He Himself was not willing to do - and to love our enemies is chief among the list. Why? Because it is what most profoundly tests the reality, the validity of the life born in us, and our corresponding capacity to love. (See Luke 7:36-50)

It is in the great context of having been loved while an enemy, a sinner, that provokes the depth of love in one who humbly recognizes that they are one forgiven, much...

Luke 7:36 “...therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little…”

We are Jesus’ ambassadors… and this, by His choice!?

According to Matthew’s recording of this epic teaching (Matthew 5-7), IF we are the “salt of the earth”, IF we are the “light to the world” THEN the evidence of these being true, of our having Jesus' life in us and our now being Jesus’ representatives IS our growing capacity for and ability to love - and especially to love those who do not love us in return, or maybe more especially, love those who hate us - and to love them just as we have been loved.

(Not just being here in His stead, not just knowing and adhering to the TRUTH, but also growing in this life, His LIFE in us, by how we live it, the manner with which we adhere to the Truth, by the WAY we live as one who not only is here in His stead, but living as He lived, thus also representing Jesus with respect to His Way of life, living and loving. As Jesus declared “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…” (John 1:4,14, 17; 8:32; 10:7,9; 11:25; Heb 10:20; 1John 5:20).

Are you kidding me?!

Very often we see a command like this and we wonder “How in the world do I love my enemy?” “How do I actually look at the one who hates me, who is my enemy, and wants my destruction; this one who curses me or takes things from me - and we are to love them, pray for them, bless them, give to them without expecting anything in return?” (Matt 5; Luke 6)

This seems incredibly daunting and emotionally impossible...

Well, in our flesh that is true (Mark 14:38; Rom 7; Gal 5:13-26). Our flesh is weak and someone who is weak and wounded does not have the strength to be gentle, kind, patient, hospitable and generous. It is in fact when we are weak, wounded, and lacking, that we tend to strike out at those who hurt us, those who threaten us, those who wound us, those who offend us (even if they did not mean it - and that’s because in that state, we trouble discerning the intentions of others).

So, we have a couple admonitions that we need to cling to.

1. Jesus does not command us to anything that…

a. He Himself did not do

b. He has not equipped me/us to do

c. He has not enabled me/us to do

d. He has not empowered me/us to do

...Jesus does not set us up for failure… we may fail, but His grace then covers us, He forgives us, He is patient, forbearing and kind, and re-engages, heals, strengthens and redeploys us when we’re ready (not necessarily when we think we’re ready… that time would never come ;) but, when He knows we’re ready - ‘cause He knows.

2. It is important for us to recognize that Jesus came as a human being, too - He was as much man as he was God, and in so, had to work just as hard as we do to respond lovingly to who or what opposed him. (Gen 3:15; Isa 53; Hosea 13:14 (1Cor 15:55); John 1:14; 4:6; 19:28; Mark 6:3; Luke 2:52; 1Tim 2:5; Gal 4:4; Phil 2:7; Heb 2:1-18; 4:15; 10:5, 10; 1John 4:2)

Heb 2:18 “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Heb 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin.”

Heb 5:8 “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered”

We must also realize that Jesus, in His humanity, set the standard. Jesus showed us that despite our fleshly weakness, (with) the Spirit that He promised to send and that is now in us, and with our cooperation (Gal 5:16-18, 24-26), that Spirit is capable of enabling and empowering and producing in us, by the “truth, the life, and way” the power to do things we ourselves could never imagine doing. (John 14:12; Gal 5:22-23)

“...it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

3. Next, seeing that it was “the Father living” in Jesus “doing His work”, and that, we too have the Holy Spirit (really, that same Spirit!). The problem is that we tend to underestimate the Holy Spirit’s ability to guide, protect, empower, and enable. Or, maybe, more accurately, we underestimate our ability to hear, listen, and follow the Holy Spirit. We must remember that God did not leave us as orphans, but gave us Himself by the Spirit – the very power that raised Jesus from the dead is now at work in us - and this for a purpose. And we must trust that all of this is true! (John 13-14; Eph 1:14; 2:8-10; 2Tim 1:7; Gal 5; 6; Rom 15:13; 1Peter 4:14)

(if I may…) isn’t it funny that so often we think that we are the one person in all of God’s kingdom that the Holy Spirit can’t use…? We are goofy!

4. Instead of seeing and knowing, trusting and relying on the truth of the Spirit in us, we tend to focus on the weakness of our flesh, our emotions, and our feelings - and often, this is because we tend to think that we are our body or our flesh - but, we are not, we are the soul and spirit within us, enlivened by His Spirit! So, because our focus is often on the wrong set of “muscles” we often fall back on our own strength and understanding, and use human logic and the human definition of “justice” which is actually for us to avenge, when in God’s economy, for the children of God, our taking vengeance is not “justice”. That is actually a sign of a lack of trusting faith and immaturity and weakness. Instead, we are to love (Turn to Romans 12:9-21)


Holding on to this human mindset keeps us immature[1] . We do have a natural inclination, a way our flesh, or our old self, sees and approaches people and things. Though we have been saved and given the Holy Spirit, there is a process we must go through to realize, or live out, the truth of our holiness and righteousness of Jesus’ life in us, in the everyday - that is the process of sanctification - or - our being (continually) transformed by the renewing of our minds while being conformed to His image and likeness (Rom 8:29)

The question here might be “immature?!” How do I mature? How do I know it is God’s Spirit speaking to me? How do I know what God wants from me?

5. So, we misunderstand or misinterpret, or, just don’t believe that when the scripture says “in my weakness I am strong” or “I can do all things through Christ…” whose life is in me “...who strengthens me” by His Spirit - this IS a new mindset, a transformed view accomplished by the renewal of the mind - (that we might have the mind of Christ - 1Cor 2:10-16)

a. We don’t believe

b. We don’t trust - as we don’t trust God, but grow in trust through life’s circumstances

c. So cannot entrust - me, this moment, my welfare to God and His truth and Spirit - and rest in Him, learning to trust that:

i. He has been there, too, before me

ii. He will be there, with me, and strengthen me

iii. He will work everything out for the good, for me

iv. He does have a plan and a purpose and will accomplish it regardless of what the world does around me or to me

d. This going and going through life’s circumstances is what enables to entrust…

Certainly…

Morally and ethically we can see that we have been loved and ought to love in the same way… that we should - as grateful and appreciative recipients of this kind of love, we ought to do the same.

But, it is the realization of that love - which is Jesus’ life in us - that will bring us to be compelled to love this way and to be held (rightly, justly) accountable if we do not - BECAUSE - not only have we been loved this way, we have been made (born again, (re)created) and empowered and equipped and enabled to love this way - we are truly “new creatures in Christ” (John 3:3; - so to not then love is to take all of this for granted and hold in contempt God’s kindness toward us)

And really, here’s where our hope lies, that spiritually, not only have we been loved this way, but we have the life of Christ, by His Spirit, Who is in us to love this way - that it is the Spirit (of the Father and the Son) in us to do the work of their, our, kingdom

Phil 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

2Cor 12:9-10 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Jeremiah 29:11-14 “11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14I will be found by you...”

Judges 7-8 Gideon and God’s power


So what is our hope? How do I grow beyond this? We must be “transformed by the renewing of our mind” (or, mindset, attitude, perception). This transforming by renewing changes the way we see and perceive, interpret and understand our world - this process works to change our view of the world and our circumstances from a “worldly” point of view to a “Spiritual” point of view, or, from our’s to God’s (2Cor 5; 1Cor 2:14). In joining God in this process we begin to grow in (God’s) wisdom and develop the ability to gain insight and discernment and be able to see and approve of God’s will - “...His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom 12:2; James 1:2-5; Prov 2)

How can this be? We need to trust that God was being totally real when He said that His word is “alive and active… sharper than a double-edged sword... even dividing soul and spirit…” (Heb 4:12; Isa 49:2), that His word “does not return to Him” without having accomplished what He sent it to do (Isa 55:10-11), that His word “washes” or “cleanses” us or makes us “clean” (Eph 5:26-27; John 3:5; 15:3; 17:17; 1Cor 6:11; Col 3:16). And that He HAS placed in us the Spirit of Truth - who teaches and reminds us of all things Jesus. (John 15:26; 16:13; 1John 3:24; 5:6-8)




Love your enemies… And be like your Father in heaven. But, how do I do this? And why?

1Peter 3:(8-12), 13-18; Luke 6:27-36; Matt 5:38-48; Rom 12:9-21

We spoke of seeing, treating people as Jesus sees and treats me.

Rom 5:1-11 speaks of being loved as an enemy, Luke 6:27-36 loving your enemies, being good to those who mistreat you, praying for those who mistreat you, blessing those who curse you.

Very often we see something like this, and we wonder “how in the world would I do this?” “How do I actually look at the one who hates me, who is my enemy, and wants my destruction; this one who curses me or takes things from me - and we are to love them, pray for them, bless them, give to them without expecting anything in return?”

This seems incredibly daunting and emotionally impossible.

Well, in our flesh that is true (Mark 14:38; Gal 5; Rom 7). Our flesh is weak and someone who is wounded and weak does not have the strength to be gentle, kind, patient, hospitable and generous. It is when we are weak, wounded, and lacking, that we tend to strike out at those who hurt us, those who threaten us, those who hurt us or wound us, those who offend us (even if they did not mean it).

So, we have a couple admonitions that we need to cling to.

1. It is important for us to recognize that Jesus came as a human being

He was as much man as he was God, and in so, had to work just as hard to respond to who or what opposed him or who as we do. But, He set the standard, he showed us that despite our fleshly weakness, the Spirit in us is capable of enabling and empowering us to do things we ourselves could never imagine doing. (John 14:12)

“...it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

2. Next, in that, we have the Holy Spirit.

We underestimate the Holy Spirit’s ability to guide, protect, empower, and enable. Or maybe, more accurately, we underestimate our ability to hear, listen, and follow the Holy Spirit - like we’re the one in all of God’s kingdom that the Holy Spirit can’t use... We must remember that God did not leave us as orphans, but gave us himself – the very power that raised Jesus from the dead is now in us - and this for a purpose. (John 13-14; Eph 1; 2; Gal 5; 6)

3. We tend to focus on the weakness of our flesh, our emotions, and our feelings - and often because we think we are our body, or flesh - but, we are not.

We tend to use human logic and the human definition of “justice” which is actually to (or for us to) avenge, when in God’s economy, for the children of God, our taking vengeance is not “justice”. That is actually a sign of immaturity and weakness. (See Romans 12)

4. So, we misunderstand or misinterpret, or, just don’t believe that when the scripture says “in my weakness I am strong” or “I can do all things through Christ to strengthen to me”

a. We don’t believe

b. We don’t trust

c. So cannot entrust - me, this moment, my welfare to God and His truth and Spirit - and rest in Him, trusting that:

i. He will be there and strengthen me

ii. He will work everything out for the good

iii. He does have a plan and a purpose and will accomplish it regardless of what the world does around me or to me

Phil 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

2Cor 12:9-10 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Jeremiah 29:11-14 “11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14I will be found by you...”

Mercy and Compassion, He knows... He knows

In our hearts, setting Jesus apart, as, Lord… Why? Certainly, because Jesus IS Lord, God incarnate. But also, because of His incredible Mercy toward us. He so loved the world that the Father gave His only Son, the Son came by His own volition, and offered Himself on our behalf. He came as one of us, enduring in His own flesh our suffering - and this, daily. You see, Jesus would not only come to save, but would come to relate so that we would have “a merciful and compassionate high priest” in other words, one who is acquainted with our suffering and therefore has great compassion for us and dares call us brothers and sisters. (Isa 53; Heb 2:5-18; Heb 10:5) And now, calls us to live out the same mercy and compassion that He has shown, and shows, us. (Matthew 7; Luke 6)

He SO loved the world… John 3:16-17

16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

What joy to know we are loved and held… 1Peter 1:8-9

8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Jesus… Lord? Yes… 1Peter 3:15-16

13Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats b ; do not be frightened.” c15But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Grace: It is God’s mercy that saves - His patience and tolerance, His kindness that keeps… Romans 2:1-4

1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

With this in mind… His mercy and grace… Romans 12:1-2

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Seeing and treating others with grace & mercy Luke 6:37-42 (27-36)

Being like Jesus--Gentle.

Jesus did not describe Himself explicitly very often, but one of the few times He did, He used two very non-authoritative (not so typical for a conquering hero, what the world would expect from a leader) words: humble and gentle.

These would not be the words one would expect from the Messiah, a King who is expected to come and conquer the world to establish a new kingdom. But these are the very words Jesus chose for Himself.

If it is God the Father’s concerted purpose to conform us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus (Rom 8; Eph 4), then these two words must not only end a part of our vocabulary, but the very aim of the building of our own character. And to be sure, this is not only the Father’s aim, this is the Spirit’s aim (Gal 5). And therefore, ought to be ours, as well.

Isn’t it interesting, that God would choose each, oh, any of us, to represent him when you consider just how average we all are. Well, it was no different for Jesus.

That this one who appeared like “a dry root… having no majesty or anything in His appearance to attract to Him” (Isaiah 53:1-3) was truly attractive because of what was going on on the inside - that leaked out His heart - His eyes and lips...

Could it be, that humble and gentle are two of the

primary attributes that would make this unassuming, even unattractive, blue collar man from Galilee, attractive?

...that bled out of His head, hands, feet, and side? (Isa 53:4-12)

Isaiah says that there was nothing in His appearance to attract is to Him… but the gospel, may, Jesus Himself, seems to indicate that a gentle and humble spirit

● Certainly, hearing of the healing and miracles drew people to see and experience… But it is was gentle and humble manner that invited them in

● The people came from everywhere to hear him (the words of life - both attracted and repelled) (Matt 9; Mark 2; 3; 7; Luke 5; and John 6)

● The people brought their children to him to have him bless and pray for them (Matt 19; Mark 10; Luke 18; their sick Matt 14; Mark 1)

“I am gentle and humble in heart”. Matt 11:28-30

28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

“...do so with gentleness and respect…”. 1Peter 3:15-16

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

A gentle word turns back wrath… Proverbs 15:1,18

1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,

but a harsh word stirs up anger.

18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,

but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

The demoniac (Luke 8:26-39) - there are monsters in all of us...

● His love drew and changed the man

● His words of life gave him life

● His. Power scared the people

● So he sent the man (us) in his place

● How? To go, like he came to us

This is, there are, for all of us… Living lives of gentle consideration - 1Peter 3:1-7

It is the power of God transforms, but it is the love of God that invites, embraces, and saves… that might bask in His presence.

We are… Broken pieces brought together by God’s gracious and skillful hands to make something beautiful…

God promised Abraham that he would be the father of and his Offspring (the Seed, Jesus) A blessing to the nations... Genesis 15:4-6; 26:4

God had ensured there would be Nations at the Tower of Babel… Genesis 11:8-9; Acts 17:24-28

Jesus comes to the world because he so loved the world... John 1; 3:16-18; Isaiah 53

Jesus implored His followers to love God and one’s neighbor as one’s self - stretching His followers’ perception of who they were responsible for… defining this concept by using a despised member of the community as the one who loved his “neighbor” making this one considered “less than” the “hero” Luke 10:25-37 (Phoenician woman - Mark 7:24-30)

Jesus, on his leaving, commands the disciples to “Go Make Disciples of all Nations...” Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus instructs the disciples to recognize the concentric nature of the movement of the Kingdom of Heaven (for each who would follow)… Acts 1:7-8

● …being called to go from Jerusalem to Judea; Judea to Samaria; Samaria to the ends of the Earth – as God gathers to Himself all nations (Isa 60:1-3; Zec 8:22; Rom 15:7-13;)

“Worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals,

because You were slain,

and by Your blood You purchased for God

those from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Rev 5:9-10

This is the work of the Kingdom, this is the privilege of the family of God, this is the honor it is to be an ambassador as a representative of the kingdom of heaven to the lost of the world as makes a refuge, a place to run, a place of peace with God and man, to bring hope - to man, through man

It is our honor to be part of the kingdom and this kingdom movement as we love one another as brothers worldwide.

We are… Broken pieces brought together by God’s gracious and skillful hands to make something beautiful…

So, God has given us apostles, prophets, pastors, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers to equip His people for works of service… to the fullness of Christ” Eph 4:9-16

What are those works? Eph 2:8-10

● First is to believe in Jesus (John 6:28-29)

● Next is to love and serve the Brotherhood with the gifts and talents and resources given by God's grace to each of us for all of us - here and abroad - loving others with that which we have been blessed with (John 13:34-35; James 1)

· Lastly, as we care the body, we allow that love to be a demonstration of God's grace to man to a lost world and to give them a reason for hope when we are asked... To go and make disciples of all Nations (Matthew 28:18-19; Acts 1:7-8)

How do we go? 1Peter 3:15-16

● Christ as Lord

● Live a life worthy of the call/name (Eph 4:1; 5:1; 1Peter 2-3)

● Prepared to give a reason for hope

● Gentleness and respect

This is exactly what the ministries and Kenya are doing for their people. Kenyans being equipped to reach their fellow Kenyans. Our privilege is to walk beside them, WHILE, learning from them!

This is the privilege and responsibility we have as American churches to our brothers around the world – and too see what it Is that we can learn from them.

Jesus Refuses to not Love the Unlovable, but Loves

Luke 5:27-32; Luke 14:1-6, 12-14; Luke 15:1-2; Luke 19:1-10; John 13:1-5, 12-30 We are loved. How can we not then be happy? How can we not love, others, as we have been loved? We have been forgiven of our sins… and this, by God, how can we not be relieved and grateful, and, want that (relief) for others? (1Cor 6:11; Eph 2:1-10)


The joy and enthusiasm of the Kingdom, the joyful humility of the loved…

● Seen…

● Received, accepted… He, invites Himself in

● Undone, redone – enthusiasm and delirium

An inventory of this past week... (Romans 12)

● How many of us were just excited to be alive?

● How many of us could hardly contain ourselves?

● How many of us were looking for something, someone to love?

So now…

How many of us, recognizing we are seen, known, received and accepted, had Him invite Himself in to our hearts and lives – were bewildered, astonished, moved and motivated to respond with joy and humble exuberance – looking for someone to bless…? (maybe, despite our own personal suffering – certainly taking into account, that some us were the acutely hurt)

Quick survey of Luke… Jesus refuses to not love the unlovable, but loves

Luke 5:27-32; Luke 14:1-6, 12-14; Luke 15:1-2; Luke 19:1-10 - Accept - those who sin; Condone - not, the behavior; Patient - long suffering, slow in avenging wrongs, long-tempered, avoids the premature use of force (retribution) that rises out of improper anger... Tolerant - to restrain, forebear

John 15:19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”

John 17:14-16 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

1 Corinthians 5:9-10 “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.”

The privilege of “being” Jesus to the lost… (Prov 4:18; Matt 5:13-16; John 5:18; Acts 4:13)

1Peter 2:11-25; 3:8-22

So now…

How many of us are happy, glad, relieved, that God loves us in Jesus and does not treat us as our sin deserves, but is merciful, patient, tolerant, and kind, and invites us into fellowship with Him - seeing, knowing, that we are works in progress, progressing, working the process… with Him? (Psalm 103; Rom 2; 5; 7&8; 1Peter 1)

Loved, loved, and loved. Now to love.

Luke 5:27-32; Luke 14:1-6, 12-14; Luke 15:1-2; Luke 19:1-10; John 13:1-5, 12-30

We are loved. How can we not then be happy? How can we not love, others, as we have been loved?

We have been forgiven of our sins… and this, by God, how can we not be relieved and grateful, and, want that (relief) for others? (1Cor 6:11; Eph 2:1-10)

Blessed, happy, are the poor in spirit… - “I have nothing to give… nothing of my own... but you accept me, anyway…”

Blessed, happy, are those who mourn… - “I have sinned, I sin, I am sorry… but, you forgive me, you comfort me…”

How many of us are happy to be here? To know that we are loved by God and welcome? Just glad that we could come in and be… accepted by God and others…?

An inventory of this past week...

How many of us are acceptable based on our performance last week?

How many of us wish we had acted differently in the moment?

How many of us wish we had “done” better?

So now…

How many of us are happy, glad, relieved, that God loves us in Jesus and does not treat us as our sin deserves, but is merciful, patient, tolerant, and kind, and invites us into fellowship with Him - seeing, knowing, that we are works in progress, progressing, working the process… with Him? (Psalm 103; Rom 2; 5; 7&8; 1Peter 1)

Quick survey of Luke… Jesus eats and eats some more - Luke 5:27-32; Luke 14:1-6, 12-14; Luke 15:1-2; Luke 19:1-10

● Accept - those who sin

● Condone - not, the behavior

● Patient - long suffering, slow in avenging wrongs, long-tempered, avoids the premature use of force (retribution) that rises out of improper anger...

● Tolerant - to restrain, forebear

2Cor 6:17 “...be separate…” (see 1Cor 5:9-10)

The privilege of “being” Jesus to the lost… (Prov 4:18; Matt 5:13-16; John 5:18; Acts 4:13)

1Peter 2:11-25; 3:8-22

Come to the table… John 13:1-5, 12-30

Luke 15:1-7 ...and Jesus Welcomed Them

Luke 15:1-7 ...and Jesus welcomed them.

(Back-to-back with Luke 14… hmmmm)

Who are the “Tax Collectors and sinners” in our lives? What makes them such?

What made Jesus attractive?

Why would anyone flock to Him?

Tax collectors - a publican, gathering public taxes from the Jews for the Romans

· The tax-collectors were, as a class, detested not only by the Jews but by other nations also, both on account of their employment and of the harshness, greed, and deception, with which they prosecuted it W. Barclay

Sinners - sinful, depraved, detestable, heathen (Matt 5:3; Rom 5; Eph 2)

· specifically, of men stained with certain definite vices or crimes, e. g. the tax-gatherers

Welcome - hospitality, accept, allow

· to receive to oneself, to admit, to give access to - to admit one, receive into contact and companionship

· To admit (accept) hope, not to repudiate but to entertain, embrace its substance

· Not to shun, to bear, an impending evil

Muttered, grumbled, murmured

· Constantly, intensely murmur

· An intensified from of murmur, in this context “heavy complaining”

· Murmur is an uncommonly used Greek term, this intense version is even rarer “more expressive”

“It was an offence to the scribes and the Pharisees that Jesus associated with men and women who, by the orthodox, were labelled as sinners. The Pharisees gave to people who did not keep the law a general classification. They called them “the People of the Land”; and there was a complete barrier between the Pharisees and the People of the Land. To marry a daughter to one of them was like exposing her bound and helpless to a lion. The Pharisaic regulations laid it down, “when a man is one of the people of the Land, entrust no money to him, take no testimony from him, trust him with no secret, do not appoint him guardian of an orphan, do not make him the custodian of charitable funds, do not accompany him on a journey.”

“A Pharisee was forbidden to be a guest of any such man or to have him as his guest. He was even forbidden, as far as it was possible, to have any business dealings with him. It was the deliberate pharisaic aim to avoid every contact with people who did not observe the petty details of the law...

The would have shocked to the core at the way in which Jesus companied with people who were not only rank outsiders, but sinners, contact that would necessarily defile.”

W. Barclay

To the Jew, the parable would have been a shocked… as Jesus states:

  • “There will be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents”

  • The teachers of the Law were known to say (as a strict Jew)... “There will be joy in heaven over one sinner who is obliterated before God”

“The Jews looked sadistically forward not to the saving but the destruction of the sinner.”

W. Barclay

Lest We Forget His Mercy - We Are The Poor

Luke 14:15-24 Sometimes, we are so consumed with our own self-importance, so distracted by this world and its baubles, that we confuse the riches of this world with the true riches of the kingdom (Matt 6; Luke 12) … and this causes us to take for granted what we have received, to believe that we somehow deserve “this” - God’s blessing through worldly means with worldly riches. And so, in our haughtiness, or being distracted, we miss opportunities to commune with God and others - and the great privilege of being blessed by our Father, and in turn, being blessed with the privilege to bless - others. Revelation 3:14-22

Lest we forget our own poverty, or, odor...

We are someone else’s… poor, lame, crippled

We are someone else’s… least

We are someone else’s… cross to bear

Humility, is not merely a matter of humbling of oneself, it is actually - the realization of God illuminating the true, poverty-stricken self, producing in us a very real view of self - one who is vulnerable, frail, fragile, and needy - in need of God’s mercy, grace, and love.

And having been blessed by the mere knowledge of God, let alone (now) being the object of His merciful, gracious love - the ability to see in others, their intrinsic value as declared by God - as He has shown to you and is true of/in others

And having been struck by this truth of (our) intrinsic worth, we now desire, more and more, to be a vessel of that expressed declaration - Jesus - growing in the desire to truly bless another, to honor both God and man.

We must learn that to humble oneself for the distinct purpose of “being humble” can be as (pride provoking and) self-promoting as arrogance born out of haughtiness.

Humility is not something that is done in a vacuum, but with and before (God and) others - loving and serving others. Certainly, there are blessings to be had in being humble…

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, and he delivers those whose spirit has been crushed. ... The LORD is near to those whose hearts are humble.” (Psalm 34:18)

Even though the LORD is high above, he sees humble people [close up], and he recognizes arrogant people from a distance (Psalm 138:6)

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in a high and holy place, and with the oppressed and humble of spirit, to restore the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the contrite. (Isaiah 57:15)

"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6; 1Peter 5:5; Matt 23:12; Prov 3:34; 29:23)

But the fact remains, that humility for humility sake, is not the end-all, it is being humble in light of (God and) others, in full recognition that if it were not for God’s mercy and grace - we stand naked, as our self is exposed before a holy God and we are again confronted by our own poverty and desperate need for that mercy, and that we are here with others, and having received that undeserved grace, we learn to see others through the lens of God’s loving mercy, and revel in the honor and privilege to honor and love and serve and elevate - all with whom our paths cross, who they are, where they are, with mercy and grace.

As humility is not merely to “be humble”, but humility is in seeing others as valuable and treating them, serving them, loving them, doing life, living, with them - that way – mercifully, graciously, lovingly, humbly seeing them as better than self. (Phi 2:1-11)

Jesus’ humility leads to meekness, a gentle soul that is kind - as there is nothing He sees in Himself that needs (self) protecting, defending, elevating, proving - but instead, humility is the confidence of knowing who and whose one is so that all energy and effort can now be put forward to lift and elevate others, to bless, and serve, and celebrate others.

When we walk into a room and our ambition should be to elevate everyone in the room – in so, cannot help but be kind

Jesus confidence was in His trusting faith in His Father and His relationship with Him - expressed by His Father in the form of faithfulness to His beloved - child.

● His position as His Father’s beloved

● His privilege as His Father’s Son (child)

● His permanence as His Father’s possession

● His being the object of His Father’s affectionate faithfulness

Why do we struggle? Why is the world being tossed?

Our meandering through life, being pitched back and forth by the winds of change has everything to do with our desire to be accepted, to belong, to be grounded, to know and be secure.

God, came to restore us to Himself - what does that mean, to be restored to Him?

● Lostness… to not know the way

● Aimlessness… to not have a direction

● Worthlessness… to not have value

● Purposeless… to not have significance

If we do not have an identity, if we do not know who or what we are, we wander aimlessly in search of meaning and significance. In doing so, frustrated, we will attach ourselves to anything in an attempt to fulfill these inherent needs, or, longings - or - attack others as a perceived threat.

From Luke 14… We see Jesus entering room healing on the Sabbath rebuking the Pharisees, trying to realign their morality, and then speaking of the kingdom. That the righteousness that they would live out by inviting the poor, is the actual righteousness of the kingdom - expressed to them, in them, through them,, and therefore Jesus example of who is invited to the feast in the kingdom and those who will be rejected is an indictment on those who would believe that they have no need for mercy and God’s gracious and generous hospitality

Matthew 25 speaks of “the least of these”; Mark speaks of children being “the least of these”; James declares clearly, plainly, simply, that when we do not take care of the poor, and in fact, recognize our own property “you are rich rejoice in your suffering, or loss, or poverty“ and you discriminate among yourselves is also a reflection of this teaching.

What is it then that Jesus calls us to do? Is it not to live according to the kingdom truth and its righteousness, that righteousness that lives in us - Gods of life and us?

That is what Jesus is saying… it is about God’s righteousness living in and through us that invites us to the banquet, enables us to be seated with the righteous, as righteous - merciful, gracious, loving, and kind - humble and meek - just like Righteousness Himself, not by anything we have done, but by Christ, the Righteous One, who lives in me.

Has not My hand made all these things? And so they came into being, declares the LORD. This is the one I will esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at My word. Isaiah 66:2


Taking the Lowest Seat: Because I Know Whose and Who I am - I Humbly Bow

Humility: the lowest seat in the house – we can’t do this alone… what is it to be truly humble?

Luke 14:1-14; 22; God has established (y)our intrinsic value - Luke 12; Matt 6 - Jesus didn’t patronize us, patting us on the head and nodding and winking at creation in an attempt to show He cares. No, He put our flesh on and joined us here, stooping to see and meet and empathize and understand - He loved us, in spite of our odor. (John 1:9-14; Mark 9:30-37; Phil 2:1-8; Heb 2)

Sometimes we can be so concerned about our own position and place that we cripple our ability to see the needs of others around us making us unable to render aid - or worse yet, unwilling. And even if we do see a need, we can see it as an obstacle, an annoyance, or at best an inconvenient obligation of “service” or help. We need to understand, that Humility, being truly humble, puts us in a natural position to see, to meet, to aid.

This is not about patronizing, but in fact truly ascribing value. This is learned.

We must get over our flesh’s need and desire to be the best, the first, the only, the center of attention, being needy; being jealous, envious, worried and hurried… This is the process of truly being humble. And humility can only happen when we recognize and remain acquaintanced with our desperate need before God and despite that need God’s having esteemed us by ascribing value and dignity through the life and death and resurrection of His Son - and that, on our behalf - the price paid.

“Therefore...

...in view of God’s mercy, offer your body as a living sacrifice… (Rom 12:1) It is essential that we remember that it is God’s mercy toward us that gives us life, His mercy toward us that enables me/us to remain, His mercy toward us that invites us into the kingdom - that He has established our value by his value system - mercy. When we remain grounded in the recognition of God’s mercy, we see ourselves in a right light - humility, humbly.

Blessed are the poor... who mourn, the meek - the humble and gentle, the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (Matthew 5)

This is by no means our natural inclination, but must be learned - taught and caught - practiced in order for the heart and mind to be truly changed, transformed. And this, as we learn to trust the Lord more and more, entrusting to Him more of ourselves as we grow in our confidence and in light of His mercy toward us, humility. (Psalm 25)

Associate with those of lower position - Rom 12:3-13; James 2:4

Applying intrinsic worth/value to others - as to (ascribe) value - respect, esteem, dignify As they have been made in the image of God. The world seeks to diminish one’s intrinsic worth/value by applying worth to position, power, prestige, success, wealth, intellect, etc. Luke 22:25; Matt 20:25; Mark 10:41-42 We have been valued by Christ - this is inestimable and irrevocable It is ours to... live in that truth“...establish” and affirm this grand truth in others by seeing and treating them as such Jesus came to restore intrinsic worth - dignity and esteem. He did this, not by wrestling for or holding on to the place of power (Phil 2:6-7), but by humbly recognizing AND receiving His own intrinsic worth - as spoken of by His Father - and therefore having both the confidence and the strength to (gladly) elevate those around them. (Psalm 2:7; 89:27; Matt 3:17; 11:27; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:33; 9:35; John 3:35; 5:37; 12:28; 8:14; 13:1, 3; Acts 13:33; 16:28; Heb 1:5)

How do we lead from this position - Luke 22; John 13Not lording - asserting dominance Serving - asserting value and care

Things to consider in developing a humble spirit… A sober of self – Matt 5:3-6; Romans 12:3, An elevated view of others - Matt 5:7; Romans 12:9-10, 13-17; James 2 Developing an inclination, a taste, a desire, for the lowest seat - Luke 14:10-11 Developing a desire to serve others - Luke 22:14-16; 24-30; John 13:1-17 Growing in confidence of one’s own identity as God’s child, the Father, through Jesus, held/kept/affirmed by the Spirit - John 1:12; 3:16; Rom 8:14-17; Eph 1:4-6, 13-14; 2; 1John 3:1-3 Not being jealous or envious by the success or position or prestige of others - Matt 6; 20; 25; Mark 10; Luke 22; John 21:18-22 Learning to truly rejoice for the sake or on behalf of others - Luke 7; Rom 12:14-16 Not being debilitated by the disappointment of “not being exalted” by others Or being seen as “the server” - Matt 6:2, 5, 25; John 13:1-17; Phil 2