Wednesday Morning: 21 Aug 2019 – Matthew 5:33-48 Jesus’ teaching on Vows, Revenge, and Love for Enemies.

Wednesday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Grace – Wednesday)

O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day: Defend us by your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin nor run into any danger; and that guided by your Spirit, we may do what is righteous in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Matthew 5:33-48 (NLT)

The Sermon on the Mount (Continued)

Teaching about Vows

“You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’ But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

Teaching about Revenge

“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

Teaching about Love for Enemies

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
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Morning Reflection:

Jesus’ teaching on Love for Enemies.

I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.

– Matthew 5:44-45 –

Living by Kingdom standards involves a dramatic transformation of our thinking, our feelings, and our actions. Nowhere is this more evident than in Jesus’ teaching on loving our enemies. It’s not just a matter of going through the motions; God looks at our hearts and examines our motives as well.

Heartfelt love of enemies involves doing them good and praying for them. And that takes a work of God within us – an extreme makeover by God’s Word and Spirit – to move us from self-preservation to self-sacrifice, from meanness to generosity, from coldness to warmth, from distance to proximity – if not physically, at least emotionally.

Kingdom living is truly upside-down from the way the world lives and responds to enemies – with anger, hatred and retaliation. And prayer for the good of our enemies is one means of grace that facilitates that change in us as well as them.

Questions for consideration:

  • When you think of your enemies, who comes to mind? Why do you consider them your enemies? Please explain.
  • How have they harmed you? How have they hurt you? Please explain.
  • How have your enemies affected your thinking, your feelings, and your behavior? Please explain.
  • Has God changed the way way you think, feel, or behave towards them? Please explain.
  • What would it take for you to pray for them? How would you pray for their good? Please explain.
  • What would it take for you to be reconciled with them? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer – For Our Enemies

God of Grace and Glory: Have mercy on us all, and especially forgive our enemies – those who have slandered and persecuted us, those who seek to destroy us, those who defame Your Holy Name. Fill us with Your Spirit, that we may love them as Jesus commanded us. Lead us all from falsehood to truth: deliver us all from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time turn all our hearts to You, and enable us all to stand reconciled before you through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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“Love Your Enemies”” – Tom Blakely

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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