"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"
Acting Like Our Father (Mt 5:43-48)
2. This is certainly a challenging task Jesus put before His
a. It is tempting to respond to evil in kind
b. Especially when the mistreatment comes from an enemy!
[Keeping in mind the context of the sermon on the mount, let’s first
I. THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION
B. THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION HAD MISAPPLIED THE LAW…
1. Though it did enjoin the command to "love your neighbor"…
2. It inferred from this command one had the right to "hate your
enemy" – Mt 5:43
a. "This phrase is not in Leviticus 19:18, but is a rabbinical
inference which Jesus repudiates bluntly. The Talmud says
nothing of love to enemies." (Word Pictures In The New
Testament, Vol. I, Robertson)
b. "The rabbis corrupted Lev 19:18, which sums up the Law of
Israel, by adding `and hate your enemy.’ By thus tampering
with Scripture, they intended to define their neighbors to
include only Jews and to exclude Samaritans and Gentiles."
(Believers’ Study Bible)
[Having noted the difference between what the Law actually taught and
the wrong interpretation given by the scribes and Pharisees, let’s now
consider what Jesus taught on…]
II. HOW TO TREAT OUR ENEMIES
A. JESUS REQUIRES THAT WE…
1. "Love" our enemies
a. Not hate them
b. Rather, show "active good will" towards them
2. "Bless" those who curse us
a. They may speak evil of us
b. But in response we are to speak kindly of them
3. "Do good" to those who hate us
a. They may either ignore us or do evil things to us
b. Yet we are to treat them kindly in either case
4. "Pray" for those who spitefully use us and persecute us
a. Notice, we are to pray FOR them, not just about them
b. I.e., pray for their well-being, salvation, etc.
B. THIS IS AN EXPANSION OF THE PRINCIPLES IN VERSES 39-42…
1. Don’t seek vengeance!
2. Don’t resist an evil person!
3. Instead, react by manifesting aggressive love!
[Why should we respond to our enemies in this way? Jesus goes on to
III. REASONS TO REACT IN THIS WAY
A. "THAT YOU MAY BE SONS OF YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN"…
1. That is, to demonstrate ourselves to be truly His children!
– Mt 5:45a
2. What is our Father like?
a. He gives material blessings to both the evil and the good,
both the righteous and the unrighteous – Mt 5:45b
b. He is kind to the unthankful and evil – Lk 6:35-36
c. He offered His Son while we were yet sinners and enemies!
– Ro 5:8, Ro 5:10
d. He loved us before we loved Him – 1 Jn 4:10
3. As taught elsewhere, we are to imitate our Heavenly Father
– 1 Jn 4:11 ; Ep 4:31-5:2
B. TO BE DIFFERENT THAN "TAX-COLLECTORS"…
1. In Jesus’ day, they were despised by the Jews, because they
made themselves rich by collecting taxes from their fellow-men
for the Roman government
2. And yet, these tax-collectors would…
a. Love those who loved them
b. Greet cordially those who greeted them
3. We are no different if our love is limited to our "brethren"
or "friends"! – Mt 5:46-47
C. TO BE "PERFECT" AS OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT…
1. The word "perfect" means "brought to completion, full-grown,
2. In this context, it has reference to the matter of showing
love and mercy; note the parallel passage:
a. "Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is
merciful." – Lk 6:36
b. "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in
heaven is perfect." – Mt 5:48
3. When we display love and mercy to our enemies…
a. We are "complete," "full-grown" in demonstrating love
b. Just like our Father when He shows kindness to evil and
1. If we really want to be…
a. "sons of your Father in heaven"
b. "perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect"
2. It is imperative that we be influenced…
a. More by the teachings and example of the Son of God
b. Than by the attitudes and example of the "tax-collectors"!
Are you "Acting Like Our Father" who is in heaven? Or do you emulate
the most carnal people around us? May the "sayings" (cf. Mt 7:28) of
our Lord provoke us to consider the proper way to respond to our
enemies and to any who might abuse us!