TEXT: Matthew 5:43-45:
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
In this passage, Jesus addresses the reasonable human idea that we ought to love our neighbors and hate our enemies. Jesus, as He has done throughout His Sermon on the Mount, flips that idea on its head, telling us that we ought to love our enemies as well. This was a particularly pointed command for his mostly Jewish audience who felt as though they lived in a land surrounded by and invaded by enemies — Romans, Samaritans, and other Gentiles. Because these people had not descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and did not worship the God of Israel, they were seen by the Jews as enemies. In fact, the Jews’ hatred for other people groups was so well-known that the Roman government saw them as haters of humanity.
Since loving our neighbors is the standard, Jesus calls us to treat our enemies like our neighbors. But who is our neighbor? The word “neighbor” indicates one who is near or close in proximity. In the Old Testament, Jews lived only near other people who were just like them; so it was easy to love one’s neighbor. But, in the New Testament, Jews lived in close proximity with Romans, Greeks, Samaritans, and other Gentiles. Still they had defined neighbor as one who was a fellow pure descendant of the Hebrew patriarchs. However, this changed with Jesus. A.T. Robertson writes, “The Old Testament meaning of neighbor covers national or tribal fellowship. But the Christian sense of ‘neighbor’, expounded by Jesus in the parable of the Good Samaritan, includes the whole brotherhood of man. It is founded in love for man, as man, everywhere.”
Today we live in a much more cosmopolitan world than our first century counterparts. Our “neighbors” — the people who live and work in proximity to us — are likely to be quite different from us. Many who live side-by-side today have a different ethnic background, race, language, educational status, economic status, political leaning, social views, etc. We are commanded to love each of our neighbors. Not only that, but often the people we regard as our “enemies” are those in our own homes, our own churches, our own workplaces. You should get along with these people, but for some reason, you don’t. Maybe it is a difference in personality; maybe they dislike you because you’re a Christian; maybe you had a disagreement years ago that you never got over and every time you see each other, you start arguing. Whatever the case, Jesus commands you to love. Whoever you regard as your enemy, choose to love them anyway.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.