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Text Box: The Spiritual Law of Love
 

 

Text Box: (Matthew 5:43-48 GWT)  You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.'  But I tell you this: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.  In this way you show that you are children of your Father in heaven. He makes his sun rise on people whether they are good or evil. He lets rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust.  If you love those who love you, do you deserve a reward? Even the tax collectors do that! Are you doing anything remarkable if you welcome only your friends? Everyone does that!  That is why you must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.
 
(James 2:8 NIV)  If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.
 
(Galatians 6:1-2 NIV)  Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.  Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
 
(Romans 13:10 NIV)  Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
 
(Galatians 5:14 NIV)  The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
 
 

Text Box: The second part of what Jesus quotes in Matthew 5:43, “hate your enemy”, was not actually part of the law.  The religious right of that time had corrupted Leviticus 19:18 by making an exclusion the law did not make, which is what Jesus corrects.  The King James version translates verse 44 as: “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.”  It really details how involved we need to be in the lives of those who wrong us deliberately: Loving them, blessing them, doing good to them and praying for them—this is walking the second mile!
 
This kind of love proves our Heavenly Citizenship and our sonship with the Father.  How you treat those who hate you, those who curse you and those who persecute you, will be your distinguishing mark as a son/daughter of your Father in Heaven. 
 
God’s love is unconditional (perfect).  His love for everyone does not depend on the worthiness of the people who are to receive it.  God loves because of who He is, not because of who we are. God blesses others not because of who they are, but because of who He is.  His love is not based on performance.  He loves you today as much as He did when you were a stinking, reprobate unbeliever! In this passage Jesus teaches us to love because of who we are--sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven.  No longer are we to love based on the worthiness of the individual before us, but on the basis of who God has made us.  It is our choice to decide to love on that basis.
 
(Hebrews 6:7-8 NIV)  Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.  But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
 
You see, it is the ground that decides what to do with God’s blessing.  Some soils produce fruit with God's rain (blessings), while others produce thorns (Luke 8:11, 15). When we walk the mile to reconcile hatred, attitudes, lust, divorce, deceit and vengeance with those whom we know and love, we are not necessarily being any different from the world.  It is the second mile--walking it with those who hate us, persecute us and force us, that makes us bear fruit that testifies we are being like our Father in Heaven.  This is perfect love.
 
Deciding to love like our Father in Heaven loves is walking In His Footsteps…
 

In His Footsteps © 1998                                                    

 

 

 

Text Box: The Spiritual Law of Love
 

QUIET TIMES

 

MONDAY

Read Matthew 9:9-13.  Why were the Pharisees critical of Jesus?   How did Jesus love the tax collectors and “sinners”?   Did the Pharisees love the tax collectors and “sinners”?  What is the difference between sacrificing and being merciful?  Read Hosea 6:6.  According to this verse, what is equivalent to “acknowledgement of God”?  What is equivalent to “burnt offerings”?  How were the Pharisees not acknowledging God in their treatment of “sinners”?  Was the Pharisees’ love conditional?  Did their love depend on the worthiness on the individuals they were willing to love?  Were the Pharisees just concerned with sacrifice or with showing mercy?  From these passages you can see that Jesus notices when we are merciful because having mercy implies that we are deciding to love based on who God has made us.

 

TUESDAY

How do we know when we are loving like God loves?  Let’s examine the fruit of love.  Read Hebrews 6:7, 8.  What does the land represent in this passage?  Is it up to the land to decide what it does with God’s blessing?  Does God bless everyone evenly?  Are all opportunities given to everyone or does God discriminate?  What is in store for the land that bears good fruit?  What is in store for the land that produces thorns and thistles?  Are thorns and thistles the fruits of perfect love?  No other Scriptures distinguish the fruits of love and sin better than Galatians 5:19-24.  What does the fruit of the flesh look and smell like?  What about the fruit of the Spirit, what are the end products (read also 2 Corinthians 2:14-16)?  So, if you have ever generated attitudes, bitterness, or anger in your relationships, what kind of fruit has been produced?  Let the fruit that you bear testify to the kind of love you have decided to give, whether it is true love, or merely selfish gain.  Don’t be surprised if you fall short, for if you do—then it is time to let the Spirit of God work in you.  Test yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5)!!!!

 

WEDNESDAY

If you want to be the land that produces good fruit you need to be in the habit of testing yourself for selfish motives.  Read Psalm 139:23, 24.  Describe David’s attitude in this prayer.  Was he smug (Romans 12:3-5)?  Was he open to correction, or did he resent correction (Proverbs 15:31)?  Read 2 Peter 1:5-9, 13-16.   What do we constantly need to work on?  What if we don’t actively seek to work on our faith, what happens?  Does our salvation have to be continuously worked out (Philippians 2:12)?  Read Psalm 51:16, 17.   What are the real sacrifices to God?   Are we justified necessarily by what we do, or does attitude count more in God’s eyes?  Is God just looking for a change of action on our part, or a change of will?   Is Christianity to you a short-term diet, or a lifetime commitment?

 

THURSDAY

In the world we work toward achieving a certain position. In Christ, we have received a position (taken a stand) and we’re working from this position to make a difference in the rest of the world.  We don’t win others to Christ to be won ourselves, but because we have already been won!  We don’t serve other to be saved, but because we have been saved!  Read 1 Corinthians 15:1, 2 and Ephesians 2:8-10.   Do we work to be saved?  Why, then, do we work?  The more you believe that you are sons and daughters of your Father, the more you will act according to who you realize you are.  You are so used to acting the way Satan has lead you to believe.  Stop believing him and believe God!  Are you God’s workmanship or the devil’s?

 

FRIDAY

It is important to understand that for our love to be sincere, it must not be imposed (Romans 12:9; 2 Corinthians 6:4-12; 1 Timothy 1:3-5; 1 Peter 1:22).  Do you think, from your readings, that the Pharisees imposed certain standards of conduct amongst themselves?  Do you think they made their behavior more important than the reason for their behavior?  Were they just acting better, or were they really becoming better by growing closer to God?  They weren’t really walking that second mile now, where they?   It is easy to confuse means with end.  Fellowshipping, Sunday’s breaking of bread, praying, devotionals and Bible study are all means to the end of perfecting us in a relationship with our Lord.  If we think these are ends in and of themselves, then we could just do these things to justify our Christianity.  That is exactly what the Pharisees were doing.  Are you doing anything for the sake of feeling justified in the eyes of God by doing it?  Or do you pursue the things of the Kingdom because you have been saved and transformed by all these means God uses to draw us unto Himself?  WHICH ONE IS IT!!!???  It is very important for your own personal growth to devote yourself to the things mentioned in Acts 2:41-47 because you have been saved and because you will grow closer to God by all these means!  Do you think the brethren in  Acts 2:41ff devoted themselves to the aforementioned things because of fear, or because they were joyful to have been

saved?

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4

 

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