The Book of Luke, The Sermon on the Mount Ė Love Your Enemies, Part Ė Lesson 78
Last week in our lesson we discussed the principal that God deals with you as you deal with others.
Our Lord Jesus Christ taught the disciples to pray by saying that we would be forgiven our debts as we forgive our debtors.
He taught us that we will be forgiven our trespasses as we forgive the trespasses of others
From this we concluded that it is foolish to ask God for forgiveness when we refuse to forgive others.
In this you are wasting Godís time and your time.
God deals with you and with me in the same way that you and I deal with others.
When we deal with men in mercy, God deals with us according to mercy.
When we demand our rights, that is, justice, then God gives us justice also.
Do you really want justice; do you really want what you deserve?
If you truly know what you deserve, according to the scriptures, you will only want Godís mercy, for justice will bring condemnation.
So, Jesus taught that God deals with us in the same way we deal with others, including our enemies:
He continues this instruction and these commands in:
Luke 6:36-38, 36Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
Here then is the quality that our father expects us to have.
It is a quality of compassion, a quality of mercy.
We are not to have a quality of judgment in that we compare ourselves to others and elevate ourselves over others by finding the twig in their eye but refusing to see the timber in our own.
If you pay attention to your own faults and failures it will take so much time to remove the beam or timber from your eye that you will have no time left to attend to the twig in your brotherís eye.
Anyone who works with wood is intimately acquainted with slivers for slivers and working with wood go together.
In working with wood I sometimes get large slivers but most of the time they are extremely small slivers and well embedded.
One thing I know from experience is that the body tells you very quickly when something is in it that does not belong there.
The body is very jealous and hollers loudly and will keep on reminding you that a sliver is present and the body will not shut up until the offending party is removed.
I have the proper tools to get rid of slivers; magnifying glasses, needles and tweezers.
It takes time to remove even the tiniest of slivers.
I do not have an urgency to go around looking for slivers in others but I just take care of my own.
That is what God expects me to do.
By his grace I am to remove my own sliver for that alone will take up plenty of my time.
God gives us pain in our lives, he gives us slivers, he gives us a mote in the eye that we may have an understanding of what others are suffering.
Because we know the pain of the sliver we are to have compassion or mercy upon others of like suffering or weakness.
Compassion or mercy is to be the foundation we rest upon that will keep us from not judging, not condemning, but acquitting, and giving.
We are not to be as the Pharisees, who set themselves up as judges of all other men, glorying in themselves and despising others.
Jesus forbids the self-righteous, self exalting, and hypocritical judging which is false in its very nature and ends up only in the calling down of Godís judgment on those who judge.
The Pharisees took to judging in order to condemn others and to acquit themselves; and that is what the natural man always loves to do.
The Pharisees and men and women in general reserve all their compassion for themselves, always finding themselves innocent, and never judge themselves that they may not be judged.
Paul said in I Cor. 11:31, For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
When I get busy and remove my sliver I judge myself and therefore no one else can judge me.
But instead of judging yourself it is easy to catch yourself judging others every day.
I will relate to you a simple example that happened to me on Friday in Pensacola.
I, along with my wife, she being a witness, was at the intersection of Ninth and Langley stopped by a red light in that strange triangular intersection.
I was watching the oncoming cars get crowded up in that triangle and telling my wife that the guy in that car was not paying attention to the fellow behind him whose carsí rear end was sticking out in traffic.
All he had to do was to move up a few feet and the fellow behind him would have room to get his car out of the line of ninth avenue traffic.
Here I was paying attention to anotherís inattention while I was not paying attention to my own responsibility to move when my light turned green.
Sure enough I got caught performing exactly the same offense that I was judging another of and I was quickly judged by the car behind me.
The light turned green and I was engaged in criticizing my neighbor for not paying attention and here I was not paying attention.
No where in scripture do I find myself or do I find you as the standard by which all others are measured.
When you, as the Pharisees did, set your life up as the standard and judge others by your life you are doing what Jesus told you not to do.
Instead of compassion it is condemnation that you are expressing.
But by the grace of God we have the power to rise above those ordinary and natural qualities of judgment, condemnation, and lack of forgiveness and giving.
God gives us his grace that we may not be ordinary and follow ordinary behavior.
While ordinary men live ordinary lives, Christians are to live supernatural lives and that is only done by living by faith.
While ordinary men are only capable of loving those who love them, Christians, by the grace of God, are to love those who hate them.
Christians are given the power to operate in the Spirit.
The natural man operates in the flesh and looks for reward from men.
But the spiritual man operates in Godís spirit and he looks to God for his reward and does not look to men.
He is to live by faith and not by sight!
We are to love men not because they love us, but because we are to live in the love of God and to love men and women on behalf of God.
That is why God keeps us around; to minister on his behalf for
we are His body.
We are capable by the grace of God to express love to all men, including our enemies.
We may be despitefully used and mistreated but we are to render good for evil as God renders good for evil.
We too much think of ourselves as our own instead of Godís own.
We too much think of serving self instead of serving God and doing what He tells us.
If God tells us that we are to allow men to take advantage of us we are to remember that it is God who we look to for blessing and reward.
Christians are not to look to men for payback.
Christians can engage in a kind of ďdeficit spendingĒ of love because God will always replenish the supply and there is no end to Godís love.
The natural man needs the love of men to love men.
But Godís children do not need the love of men to love men, because we have the love of God to love men.
There is a non-ending supply of Godís love which is accessible to his children which we can use to love men.
You can get what you want though your own efforts and for sticking up for your rights, love for love or hate for hate, or you can trust in God.
God does not give ounce for ounce, pound for pound, but he always gives measures that are pressed down, and shaken together and running over as you serve Him.