THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

PROGRAM AIR DATE – 7-6-14

LESSON TITLE: “LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF.”

WELCOME

TODAY WE ARE BLESSED WITH A WONDERFUL GIFT FROM GOD, THE BIBLE. THIS BOOK IS GOD'S LIVING WORD. IN ITS PAGES WE ARE TOLD “FOR THE WORD OF GOD IS LIVING AND POWERFUL AND SHARPER THAN ANY TWO-EDGED SWORD.” IT IS IN THIS BOOK OF BOOKS THAT WE FIND THE ANSWERS TO ALL OF MAN'S QUESTIONS AND NEEDS. THIS MORNING YOUR AREA CHURCHES OF CHRIST WELCOME YOU TO A PROGRAM COMMITTED TO THAT PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY. AS WE PRESENT THE LIVING WORD. NOW HERE IS YOUR HOST RAY SULLINS.

“THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE; WE WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT,” PSALMS 118:24! OH, HOW TRUE THESE WORDS SHOULD BE TO EVERY FOLLOWER OF GOD! THIS IS A GREAT DAY! WE SHOULD BE REJOICING! WE MUST BE GLAD! WHY - WE ARE BLESSED SERVANTS OF GOD ABLE TO ASSEMBLE BEFORE HIS THRONE ON THIS, THE LORD’S DAY!

I AM GLAD YOU ARE WITH US THIS MORNING AND THANK GOD YOU HAVE MADE THE RIGHT DECISION TO GIVE THIS TIME TO YOUR CREATOR. I LOOK FORWARD TO OUR TIME SPENT TOGETHER TODAY AS WE SING PRAISES TO THE ALMIGHTY AND AS WE STUDY FROM HIS MATCHLESS WORD! THIS MORNING, I KNOW WE WILL ALL BE EDIFIED THROUGH OUR TIME SPENT TOGETHER. SO LET’S ALL DO OUR PART TO MAKE THIS TIME PROFITABLE BEFORE GOD, AND FURTHERMORE MAY WE USE IT AS A GREAT ENCOURAGEMENT ONE TO ANOTHER! AT THIS TIME, LET’S APPROACH OUR FATHER’S THRONE IN PRAYER:

PRAYER: GOD AND FATHER, WE THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS DAY AND THE MANY GREAT BLESSINGS OF LIFE, BOTH PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL. FOR FATHER, WE KNOW ALL GOOD THINGS COME FROM YOU AND FATHER BE WITH US, NOT ONLY THIS DAY BUT EVERYDAY OF LIFE, THAT WE MIGHT DO OUR VERY BEST TO SHINE BEFORE A LOST AND DYING WORLD. THAT THEY MIGHT KNOW YOU AND OBEY YOUR TRUTH AS WELL. AND IN THE END, FATHER GIVE US THAT GREAT REWARD AND THAT PROMISED HEAVEN WHICH HAS BEEN MADE READY FOR EACH AND EVERY INDIVIDUAL WHO WAS FOUND FAITHFUL IN THE END. FATHER, WE THANK YOU FOR JESUS CHRIST AND ALL THAT HE HAS DONE TO MAKE THESE THINGS POSSIBLE. IN HIS NAME WE PRAY, AMEN.

JUST THINK FOR A MOMENT HOW MUCH YOUR LORD HAS DONE, AND IS DOING IN YOUR LIFE! I HOPE NONE OF US HAVE FORGOTTEN WHAT A WONDERFUL SAVIOR WE SERVE! THIS MORNING WE WANT TO BEGIN WITH A SONG THAT REMINDS US OF THE ANCHOR WE HAVE IN JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD! SO, WON’T YOU JOIN IN WITH THE CONGREGATION AT THIS TIME AS WE SING TOGETHER, “WILL YOUR ANCHOR HOLD!”

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

AREN’T WE BLESSED TO HAVE THE BIBLE! A BOOK FULL OF GOD’S WILL TO MAN! A BOOK THAT NOT ONLY ANSWERS ALL OF OUR SPIRITUAL QUESTIONS OF THE DAY, BUT WHICH ALSO GIVES US ALL THE ANSWERS THAT PERTAIN TO LIFE AND GODLINESS!

HOW WOULD WE HAVE THE ANSWER TO QUESTIONS LIKE, “WHERE DID WE COME FROM,” “WHAT IS LIFE ALL ABOUT,” OR “WHERE ARE WE GOING AFTER DEATH?” ONLY THE BIBLE GIVES US THE PROPER AND COMPLETE ANSWERS TO ALL THOSE THINGS WE NEED TO KNOW IN THIS LIFE.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WONDERED, “HOW SHOULD I ACT,” OR “WHAT SHOULD I SAY.” MAYBE YOU QUESTIONED, “WHERE SHOULD I GO,” OR “HOW SHOULD I REACT! AGAIN, THERE IS ONLY ONE SOURCE WHERE WE CAN TURN FOR THESE AND ALL OTHER ANSWERS WE NEED TO BE PROPER IN THE EYES OF GOD.

I REALLY LOVE THE WAY PETER PUT IT IN 2 PETER 1:3. THERE WE READ, “HIS DIVINE POWER HAS GIVEN TO US ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN TO LIFE AND GODLINESS, THROUGH THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIM WHO CALLED US BY GLORY AND VIRTUE.” DID YOU CATCH ALL OF THAT! BECAUSE OF GOD’S POWER WE HAVE AND KNOW ALL THINGS PERTAINING TO LIFE AND GODLINESS. AGAIN WHERE DO WE FIND THESE ANSWERS - FROM GOD’S BOOK ITSELF - THE BIBLE! THE SAME VERSE GOES ON TO TALK ABOUT HOW THROUGH THIS SAME BOOK, WE CAN HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE WE NEED AND TRULY KNOW GOD AND HIS WILL. OH, HOW TRULY BLESSED WE ARE TO HAVE THE BIBLE!

FINALLY, LET’S READ HOW GOD GAVE US THIS WONDROUS BOOK THAT EQUIPS US SO COMPLETELY! FIRST YOU MIGHT REMEMBER WHAT PETER FURTHER SAID IN HIS BOOK IN THE SAME OPENING AS ABOVE. HOWEVER, NOW LET’S DROP DOWN TO VERSES 20-21. THERE WE READ, “KNOWING THIS FIRST, THAT NO PROPHECY OF SCRIPTURE IS OF ANY PRIVATE INTERPRETATION, FOR PROPHECY NEVER CAME BY THE WILL OF MAN, BUT HOLY MEN OF GOD SPOKE AS THEY WERE MOVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.” THERE WE HAVE IT, GOD CHOSE FAITHFUL MEN AND LEAD THEM TO WRITE THOSE THINGS ACCORDING TO HIS WILL AS HE SO DESIRED!

HOW BLESSED WE ARE TO HAVE A GOD WHO CARED ENOUGH TO GIVE US HIS COMPLETE REVELATION. SO THAT WE MAY NOT ONLY KNOW HIM, BUT ALSO - SO WE CAN KNOW WHAT WE NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO BE FOUND PLEASING IN HIS SIGHT.

IN JUST A FEW MINUTES IT WILL BE TIME TO BEGIN OUR MAIN STUDY OF THE DAY. THIS MORNING WE WILL BEGIN A NEW SERIES OF STUDY ENTITLED, “EVERYONE WHO LOVES IS BORN OF GOD.” OUR FIRST LESSON IN THIS SERIES WILL DEAL WITH THE, “LOVE THY NEIGHBORS AS THYSELF!” SO PLEASE STAY WITH US AND AFTER OUR NEXT SONG, I WILL BE LEADING US IN THIS STUDY FROM GOD’S WORD. NOW LET’S JOIN TOGETHER IN OUR NEXT SONG OF THE DAY. THE NAME OF THIS HYMN, “WHEN WE ALL GET TO HEAVEN.”

LESSON

BY RAY SULLINS

WE'RE SO GLAD YOU'VE CONTINUED WITH US THIS MORNING AS WE NOW GO TO GOD'S WORD AND CONSIDER A NEW SERIES OF STUDY THAT REALLY WILL HELP US TO FOCUS ON THE FACT THAT WE ARE BORN OF GOD IN RELATIONSHIP TO BEING THOSE WHO LOVE AS GOD LOVES. AND OUR MAIN THEME WILL BE TAKEN FROM THE BOOK OF 1JOHN AND CHAPTER 4, WHERE WE ACTUALLY LEARN IN VERSE 8 THAT THE BIBLE SAYS, “GOD IS LOVE.” AND CERTAINLY THAT'S NOT SURPRISING TO ANY OF US WHO KNOW GOD OR WHO ALREADY LOVE GOD OR WHO HAVE SEEN THE LOVE OF GOD IN OUR LIVES. THOSE WHO HAVE RESPONDED IN AN OBEDIENT WAY TO DO HIS WILL. BUT WE KNOW THE VERY FOUNDATION OF ALL THINGS PERTAINING TO GOD IS THIS CONCEPT OF LOVE AND IT IS A GREAT AND WONDROUS THING. FOR WE ARE ABLE TO SEE JUST HOW MUCH OUR GOD CARES FOR US BECAUSE HE HAS LOVED US IN ORDER THAT HE IS BEEN WILLING TO DO SO MANY THINGS TO MAKE SUCH A GREAT DIFFERENCE IN OUR LIFE.

BUT OUR MAIN TOPIC WILL COME FROM ACTUALLY VERSE 7 THERE AND THIS WILL BE OUR THEME, AS WELL AS HELP US TO UNDERSTAND WHAT WE'LL TALK ABOUT THIS DAY. AS WE NOT ONLY UNDERSTAND THAT GOD IS LOVE, AND THEREFORE BECAUSE GOD IS LOVE, WE ALSO NEED TO KNOW HIM AS A GOD OF LOVE AND THEREFORE LOVE OURSELVES. BUT NOTICE WHAT HE SAYS IN VERSE 7 AGAIN OF 1JOHN AND CHAPTER 4. THE BIBLE SAYS, “BELOVED, LET US LOVE ONE ANOTHER FOR GOD IS LOVE AND LOVE IS OF GOD.” BUT THEN NOTICE WHAT HE ADDS, “AND EVERYONE WHO LOVES IS BORN OF GOD AND KNOWS GOD.” WOW, WHAT A NEAT THOUGHT. EVERYONE WHO WHAT? IS BORN OF GOD IS ONE WHO LOVES. THOSE WHO LOVE ARE BORN OF GOD. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL IDEA BECAUSE THIS IS THE SAME CONCEPT THAT WE NOT ONLY SEE HERE IN THE BOOK OF JOHN, BUT THAT WE ACTUALLY FIND IN OTHER PLACES AND BY OTHER WRITERS IN THE SCRIPTURES WHERE WE BEGAN TO SEE THIS DISCUSSION THAT WE KNOW GOD. AND IN THE FACT THAT WE KNOW GOD, IF WE REALLY KNOW GOD, WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND WHO HE IS. AND IT ALSO IMPLIES THE CONCEPT OF DOING WHAT HE ASKS OF US. AND SO WHEN IT SAYS THAT WE KNOW GOD, DON'T YOU FIND IT INTERESTING THAT HE ALSO HAS JUST SAID LOVES OR THOSE WHO LOVE, EVERYONE WHO LOVES, IS BORN OF GOD? YOU SEE, THOSE WHO KNOW GOD AS THE GOD OF LOVE WHO UNDERSTAND THE LOVE OF GOD, THEY LOVE. EVERYONE WHO LOVES IS BORN OF - IF THEY SEE, IF GOD SEES THE LOVE OF GOD IN US, IF THE WORLD SEES THE LOVE OF GOD IN US AS IT IS COMING THROUGH OUR ACTIONS AND OUR WORDS, GUESS WHAT? THEN EVERYONE WHO LOVES IS BORN OF GOD. THEY KNOW US AS THOSE WHO ARE BORN OF GOD.

AND SO WHAT WE WANT TO BEGIN TO LOOK AT NOW FOR SEVERAL WEEKS IS THIS IDEA OF NOT SO MUCH THAT GOD IS A GOD OF LOVE, FOR CERTAINLY HE IS. WE ALL KNOW THAT AND WE BELIEVE THAT AND WE'VE ACTUALLY LOOKED AT THAT IN A FEW OF OUR SERIES FOR THIS YEAR. BUT WHAT WE REALLY WANT TO FOCUS ON NOW IS TO UNDERSTAND, NOT JUST THAT WE LOVE OURSELVES AS GOD LOVES, BUT WE WANT TO BEGIN TO APPLY MAYBE SOME BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES THAT TEACH US WHAT LOVE IS. IF I KNOW GOD AND CERTAINLY AS ONE WHO IS OF GOD I DO AND I STRIVE TO KNOW HIM AND I KNOW HIS WILL. AND AS WE SEE HERE, IF I'M BORN OF GOD AND I SHOULD BE OR AM BORN OF GOD AS A CHILD OF GOD, THEN HOW DO I DEMONSTRATE THIS LOVE? YOU SEE, I KNOW GOD IS A GOD OF LOVE AND I HAVE SEEN THAT BY LOVE HE HAS DONE WHAT? SO MANY THINGS IN MY LIFE. HE CONTINUES TO DO SO MANY THINGS IN MY LIFE AND HE HAS PROMISED TO DO SO MANY THINGS IN MY LIFE. NOT ONLY IN THIS LIFE, BUT ALSO IN THE LIFE TO COME. WELL, IF I KNOW THAT AND I DO KNOW THAT, THEN IF I AM TO RECIPROCATE AND TO LOVE SO THAT I MIGHT BE KNOWN AS ONE BORN OF GOD, THAT I MIGHT LOVE SO THAT I MIGHT PROVE THAT I AM WILLING TO SHOW MY LOVE TO GOD - JOHN 14:15. BY WHAT? KEEPING HIS COMMANDMENTS. HOW THEN DO I DEMONSTRATE THIS LOVE AS GOD LOVED? WELL, CERTAINLY SOME OF THE THINGS WE SEE ARE GOING TO BE IN THE FACT THAT BECAUSE GOD LOVED IN THIS WAY, WE ALSO LOVE OUR FELLOW MAN.

BUT TODAY WE WANT TO LOOK AT SPECIFICALLY THE LOVE THAT WE ARE CHALLENGED BY JESUS HIMSELF TO HAVE FOR OUR NEIGHBORS. AND SO WE'RE GOING TO TURN BACK IN THE BOOK OF MATTHEW, THE GOSPEL ACCOUNT THERE OF MATTHEW. AND WE’RE GOING TO START IN CHAPTER 22 BECAUSE HERE JESUS IS UNDERWAY IN A DISCUSSION WITH AN EDUCATED MAN IT SEEMS, AND HE'S TRYING TO HELP HIM TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS THAT HE OR WHAT ANYONE MUST DO IN ORDER TO BE FOUND PLEASING TO GOD. THERE, IF YOU WILL NOTICE IN VERSE 36, A QUESTION IS ASKED. “TEACHER, WHICH IS THE GREAT COMMANDMENT IN THE LAW?” AND THIS LAWYER, THIS EDUCATED ONE, IS ASKING HIM THIS QUESTION BECAUSE HE WANTS TO KNOW WITHIN ALL OF THE LAW WHAT IS IT THAT STANDS OUT? WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT? YOU KNOW THE ANSWER. YOU'VE HEARD IT MANY TIMES. THE FIRST GREATEST COMMANDMENT AND THE NEXT IS LIKENED TO IT. NOTICE THE FIRST ONE AGAIN IN VERSE 37, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART, WITH ALL OF YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL OF YOUR MIND.” IT SAYS, “THIS IS THE FIRST AND GREAT COMMANDMENT.” BUT THEN HE SAYS THIS IN VERSE 39, “AND THE SECOND IS LIKENED TO IT: YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” AGAIN, AS I THINK WE WELL ESTABLISH OFTEN ON THIS PROGRAM, WE KNOW THAT GOD IS LOVE AND WE KNOW HOW HE SHOWS OR DEMONSTRATES LOVE TO HIS CREATION - MAN - AND WE ALSO, AS WE CAN EVEN SEE HERE, KNOW HOW THAT WE ARE TO LOVE GOD.

CERTAINLY WE MUST RECIPROCATE THAT LOVE. IN FACT, IN 1JOHN CHAPTER 4, IF WE WERE TO READ ON IN VERSES 9 AND 10 AND WE MIGHT IF TIMES PERMITS LOOK AT SOME OF THOSE LATER. BUT IF YOU'LL THINK ABOUT WHAT HE SAYS THERE HE SAYS WELL, WE LOVE GOD BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED US SO WE RECIPROCATE. WE REFLECT THE LOVE OF GOD BACK TO HIM AND WE KNOW THAT, AS GOD HAS LOVED US, WE MUST WHAT? LOVE HIM. THAT'S NOT STRANGE BECAUSE EVEN IN THE LIVES THAT WE LIVE IN THIS WORLD. WE LOVE THOSE WHO LOVE US. DON'T WE? WE LOVE OUR PARENTS BECAUSE THEY FIRST HAVE LOVED US. WE OFTEN LOVE OUR SIBLINGS BECAUSE...YOU SEE, WE'RE NOT STRANGERS TO KNOWING THAT THERE ARE THOSE WHO LOVE US AND WHEN SOMEONE LOVES US, OFTEN AND MOST LIKELY IS THE CASE, THAT WE ALSO RETURN THAT LOVE. AND WE ALSO WANT TO SHOW LOVE TO OTHERS THAT THEY MIGHT SHOW LOVE TO US. BUT IF YOU'LL NOTICE HERE WHAT HE ADDS IS THIS IDEA OF THE NEIGHBOR, THE SECOND GREATEST COMMANDMENT. NOT ONLY THAT WE SHOULD THINK ABOUT THAT JESUS SPOKE OF, BUT THE SECOND GREATEST COMMANDMENT IN THE LAW OF THE PROPHETS.

IF I WERE TO LOOK AT THE OLD TESTAMENT AND SAY, WHAT IS IT THAT GOD WANTS OF THOSE IN THAT DAY? IT SAYS UPON ALL THE LAW THERE ARE REALLY TWO FOUNDATIONS: LOVE GOD AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR. IN FACT, MANY WILL SAY IF YOU GO TO THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AS WE FIND THERE, FOR INSTANCE IN EXODUS CHAPTER 20, THAT THE FIRST FOUR COMMANDMENTS DEAL WITH THE LOVE THAT WE DEMONSTRATE TO GOD AND THE LAST SIX DEAL WITH THE LOVE THAT WE DEMONSTRATE TO OUR FELLOW MAN. AND IF YOU'LL CHECK THAT OUT I THINK YOU'LL FIND IT TO BE TRUE. THE FIRST ARE IN SHOWING THAT LOVE DIRECTLY TO GOD AND THEN THE OTHER IS IN HOW WE DEAL WITH OUR FELLOW MAN, SHOWING LOVE TO OUR FELLOW MAN. AND THAT'S WHY TODAY WE WANT TO THINK ABOUT WHO IS THIS NEIGHBOR?

IF I'VE GOT TO SHOW LOVE TO MY FELLOW MAN THEN I'VE GOT TO UNDERSTAND WHO MY FELLOW MAN IS. NOW, IF YOU'LL BEGIN RIGHT OFF THE BAT THE FIRST THING THAT IS OBVIOUS IS THAT WE LOVE THOSE AGAIN WHO LOVE US. AND WE CAN GO IN THE BIBLE AND HOW MANY EXAMPLES CAN WE FIND OF GOOD RELATIONSHIPS? PARENTS TO CHILDREN, TO CHILDREN UNTO PARENTS, OF SIBLINGS, OF BROTHERS WHO LOVE BROTHERS. NOT ONLY BROTHERS BUT WHAT ABOUT FRIENDS? I THINK OF DAVID THERE AND JONATHAN. THE CONCEPTS OF BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIPS AND THE LOVE THAT WAS SHOWN IN THOSE FRIENDSHIPS BECAUSE OF THE COMMITMENT THAT THEY HAD TO ONE ANOTHER AND THE HELP THAT THEY HAD AND WERE WILLING TO GIVE TO ONE ANOTHER. YOU KNOW, THOSE ARE THE OBVIOUS. IT'S JUST OBVIOUS THAT THERE IS SUCH A THING AS LOVE AND WE SHARE THIS WITH THOSE WHO WE CARE ABOUT ON THIS EARTH. AND ALL OF US WHO ARE WATCHING THE PROGRAM THIS MORNING, OR WHO ARE THINKING ABOUT THESE THINGS OF GOD, HAVE THOSE WHO LOVE US AND THOSE WHOM WE LOVE. SO THOSE RELATIONSHIPS TO ME, WE DON'T NEED TO SPEND A LOT OF TIME ON BECAUSE WE UNDERSTAND THOSE. HUSBANDS LOVE THEIR WIVES AND WIVES LOVE THEIR HUSBANDS, NOT ONLY BECAUSE GOD SAID SO. NO, BECAUSE WE HAVE BECOME ABLE TO SHARE AFFECTIONS AND TO CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER AND TO DESIRE TO HELP AND EVEN PROTECT AND TO DO WHATEVER IS NECESSARY.

YOU KNOW, THERE ARE MANY FUNDAMENTALS AND FOUNDATIONS OF LOVE. SOME OF THOSE CAN BE SEEN IN FIRST CORINTHIANS 13. BUT NOW WHAT I WANT YOU TO REALLY THINK WITH ME ABOUT IS WHAT TRUE AND GREAT LOVE IS. AND I THINK ONE OF THE PLACES THAT WE FIND THAT IS ACTUALLY IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. IF YOU'LL GO THERE AGAIN TO AN EARLIER TEXT IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 5, YOU MIGHT RECALL WITH ME THAT IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT THERE ARE A LOT OF BASIC TRUTHS THAT ARE TAUGHT THAT ARE CERTAINLY CHALLENGING TO THOSE WHO WOULD WANT TO KNOW GOD OR TO LOVE GOD. BUT I WANT YOU TO NOTICE WITH ME HERE WITHIN THIS TEXT WHAT HE SAYS FIRST OF ALL IN VERSE 46, AGAIN MATTHEW 5:46, “FOR IF YOU LOVE THOSE WHO LOVE YOU, WHAT REWARD HAVE YOU? DO NOT EVEN THE TAX COLLECTORS DO THE SAME? AND IF YOU GREET YOUR BRETHREN ONLY, WHAT DO YOU DO MORE THAN OTHERS? DO AGAIN NOT EVEN THE TAX COLLECTORS DO THE SAME?” DON'T YOU FIND IT INTERESTING, FIRST OF ALL, THAT HE MENTIONS TAX COLLECTORS AS KIND OF IN A NEGATIVE CONNOTATION HERE AND CERTAINLY THERE'S NOT A WHOLE LOT OF FOLKS TODAY THAT LIKE THOSE WHO COLLECT TAXES, ARE THERE? WELL, HE'S TRYING TO SAY THAT IN THAT DAY CERTAINLY THAT THE TAX COLLECTOR OFTEN AS WE EVEN FIND SOME OF THOSE WHO WERE CALLED BY JESUS HIMSELF WERE QUITE DECEPTIVE AND ACTUALLY WERE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THEIR OWN PEOPLE. AND BECAUSE OF THAT WE SEE THAT THEY WERE NOT LIKED BY THE AVERAGE OR COMMON MAN. AND SO HE OFTEN USED THIS REFERENCE TO THE TAX COLLECTOR OR THE SINNER, THE ONE WHO CERTAINLY WAS NOT DEMONSTRATING THE CHARACTERISTIC OF LOVE FOR A NEIGHBOR. AND IT'S QUITE SIGNIFICANT HERE BECAUSE WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT IS REALLY THAT LOVE THAT ONE HAS FOR A NEIGHBOR. AND THEN HE COMPARES IT FIRST TO SAY, DOESN'T IT JUST RING TRUE THAT EVEN IN THE EARTH, THOSE WHO ARE WICKED, THOSE WHO ARE SINFUL, EVEN THOSE WHO ARE NOT FOLLOWERS OF GOD, THOSE WHO ARE TAX COLLECTORS, EVEN THEY LOVE THOSE WHO SHOW LOVE TO THEM. EVEN THEY ARE KIND, TO THOSE WHO SHOW KINDNESS TO THEM. EVEN THEY ARE GENTLE TO THOSE WHO SHOW GENTLENESS. YOU SEE, IT'S JUST COMMON PRACTICE.

AND THEN HE GOES NOT ONLY FROM THERE, BUT HE SAYS EVEN BRETHREN. YOU KNOW WE'RE TO LOVE OUR BRETHREN. IN FACT, WE COULD GO BACK TO FIRST JOHN CHAPTER 4, EVEN INTO CHAPTER 5, AND OVER AND OVER GOD THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT THERE REVEALS THE FACT THAT WE HAVE TO LOVE OUR BROTHER. AND HE GOES SO FAR AS TO SAY THAT IF WE CLAIM THAT IF WE DO NOT LOVE OUR BROTHER, HOW CAN WE LOVE GOD WHO MADE OUR BROTHER? AND WE CAN'T LOVE GOD, IN FACT, IF WE CLAIM TO HATE OUR BROTHER AND LOVE GOD BECAUSE WE MUST FIRST LOVE OUR BROTHER, THE ONE THAT GOD HAS ALSO CREATED AND WHO GOD WANTS TO BE SAVED. AND SO YOU SEE THE IDEA? IT'S NOT REALLY SOMETHING UNUSUAL TO BE ABLE TO LOVE THOSE WHO LOVE US OR TO LOVE THOSE WHO ARE IN OUR PHYSICAL FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOVED US OR TO LOVE OUR BRETHREN WHO WE LIKE OR WHO LOVE US. AND SO, THAT'S WHAT HE'S TRYING TO ESTABLISH HERE.

BUT ULTIMATELY I WANT YOU TO NOTICE AS WELL WHAT HE SAYS IN VERSE 48. WHAT ARE THEY BEING CHALLENGED TO DO BY JESUS? VERSE 48 SAYS THIS, “THEREFORE, YOU SHALL BE PERFECT JUST AS YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT.” WE NEED TO STRIVE FOR A COMPLETENESS BEFORE GOD. WE NEED TO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION. THAT MEANS NOT ONLY KNOWING WHO GOD IS AND WHAT IT IS HE DOES OR HAS DONE BUT WHAT HE WANTS US TO DO IN HIS IMAGE OR LIKENESS AS WE SAW IN OUR LAST SERIES. AND THEREFORE, AS HE IS A GOD WHO IS PERFECT, WHAT DO WE STRIVE FOR? PERFECTION. WE SERVE A PERFECT GOD AND WE'VE GOT TO TRY TO LOVE AS BEST WE CAN, AS GOD HAS LOVED.

SO, IT'S NOT ANY GREAT THING BECAUSE GOD HAS CERTAINLY SHOWN LOVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE LOVED HIM AS WELL. BUT IT GOES A STEP FURTHER. GOD HAS SHOWN LOVE TO ALL MEN, EVEN THOSE WHO DON'T LIKE HIM. EVEN THOSE WHO HATE HIM. EVEN THOSE WHO PROCLAIM THEMSELVES TO BE HIS ENEMIES. NOW THAT'S WHAT THIS TEXT IS ALL ABOUT. IT'S NOT A BIG THING THAT WE LOVE THOSE WHO LOVE US, WHETHER IT BE PHYSICAL, FAMILY, CHURCH FAMILY, WHETHER IT BE FRIENDS, WHETHER IT BE NEIGHBORS, WHETHER IT BE CO-WORKERS. THAT'S NOT A BIG THING WHEN WE'RE FRIENDLY TO THOSE WHO ARE FRIENDLY TO US AND VICE VERSA. THE BIG THING IS AS HE BACKS UP NOW HERE TO SAY IN VERSE 44. THE GREAT THING THAT HELPS US TO WORK TOWARDS THAT PERFECTION AND UNDERSTANDING WHAT A TRUE LOVE - THE DEPTH OF LOVE - OF THE NEIGHBOR IS FOUND HERE IN VERSE 44, “ BUT I SAY TO YOU (JESUS' OWN WORDS) LOVE YOUR ENEMIES. BLESS THOSE WHO CURSE YOU. DO GOOD TO THOSE WHO HATE YOU AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO SPITEFULLY USE YOU AND PERSECUTE YOU.” HE STARTS OUT WITH ENEMIES SO HE STARTS OUT WITH THE BIGGEST THING AND SAYS YOU KNOW, THOSE WHO ARE OUT TO GET YOU AND WHO ARE DOING WICKED THINGS AGAINST YOU. MOST OF US PROBABLY WOULDN'T LIKE OUR ENEMIES, LET ALONE LOVE OUR ENEMIES - HE SAYS LOVE YOUR ENEMIES. BUT THERE ARE SOMETIMES PEOPLE THAT WE KNOW WHO ARE CONSIDERATE ACQUAINTANCES OR WHO ARE FRIENDS AS IT GOES ON TO SAY HERE WHO CURSE US, WHO SAY THINGS AGAINST US, WHO HATE US, AND ALTHOUGH WE MIGHT LIKE THEM THEY HATE US, AND SOMETIMES WE WONDER WHY. WHO DO SPITEFUL THINGS AGAINST US, WHO PERSECUTE.

YOU SEE, IT'S NOT JUST THOSE WHO WE SEE AS ENEMIES, BUT SOMETIMES THOSE WHO DO HARSH AND UGLY THINGS AGAINST US, SINFUL THINGS AGAINST US, WHAT DOES HE SAY? BE PERFECT, AS YOUR FATHER IS PERFECT AND LOVE YOUR ENEMIES. THAT'S THE NEIGHBOR. THAT'S THE NEIGHBOR, THE CONCEPT OF THE NEIGHBOR THAT WE SEE PRESENTED TO US IN LUKE CHAPTER 10 WHEN WE FIND A MAN WHO FALLS ON HARD TIMES BECAUSE THIEVES BEAT HIM UP AND THEY ROB HIM AND HE'S LEFT FOR DEAD. AND WE SEE THE OLD SELF-RIGHTEOUS JEW WALKING BY AND HE JUST PASSES BY ON THE OTHER SIDE AND WE SEE THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS LEVI, WHO MOST LIKELY WAS INVOLVED IN THE PRIESTHOOD IN SOME WAY. AND GUESS WHAT? HE PASSES BY AND DOES NOTHING. THEY DO NOTHING, PERHAPS TO EVEN HELP THEIR OWN BROTHER. THE INDICATION SEEMS TO BE THAT HE WAS TRAVELING WITHIN THIS LAND SO HE MIGHT HAVE VERY WELL BEEN A JEW. BUT THEN DO YOU NOTICE THERE WHO STOPS? THE GOOD SAMARITAN. A SAMARITAN WHO REALLY GENERALLY WOULDN'T BE KNOWN TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH A JEW. HE STOPS. THE NEIGHBOR, THE NEIGHBOR WHO LOVES EVEN THE ONE HE DOESN'T KNOW OR THE ONE WHO WAS HIS ENEMY OR THE ONE THAT IF THEY KNEW HIM OR IF THAT ONE KNEW HIM HE WOULD BE HIS ENEMY.

YOU SEE, WHAT A NEIGHBOR IS? DO YOU SEE WHAT THE LOVE OF GOD MEANS? DO YOU SEE WHAT THE IDEA OF BEING BORN AS GOD IS? AND LIVING WITH ONE AS ONE WHO LOVES AS GOD LOVES? FOR EVERYONE WHO LOVES IS BORN OF GOD AND KNOWS HIM. SO WHEN WE SHOW FORTH LOVE TO OUR FELLOW MAN, GOD SEES THAT LOVE. WE CHALLENGE OUR FELLOW MAN TO KNOW GOD AND WHEN OUR FELLOW MAN HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO KNOW GOD THEY HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO OBEY GOD. AND WHEN YOU OBEY GOD YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY UNTO ETERNAL LIFE.

CLOSING COMMENTS

LET ME THANK YOU AGAIN FOR CHOOSING TO BE WITH US TODAY. I HOPE OUR TIME TOGETHER HAS BEEN AN ENCOURAGEMENT AND BLESSING TO US ALL. WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US EVERY FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, AT 7:30, AS WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO THIS TIME OF WORSHIP BEFORE GOD!

BUT FOR NOW, LET ME ASK IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT TODAY’S LESSON? MAYBE, YOU WOULD LIKE A FREE TRANSCRIPT OR A CASSETTE TAPE OF THIS PROGRAM? POSSIBLY, WE COULD ASSIST YOU WITH FREE BIBLE MATERIALS OR CORRESPONDENCE COURSES? NO MATTER WHAT YOUR NEED IS, PLEASE CONTACT US AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:

The Living Word 2540 N. Kansas Expressway Springfield, Mo. 65803

Many of these materials are also available on our website: That address is: www.thelivingwordprogram.com

Or if you prefer, you may call us at: (417)869-2284

HOW BLESSED WE ARE TO BE CHILDREN OF GOD AND TO KNOW THE LOVE OF GOD THEREFORE MAY WE ALL LOVE AS GOD HAS LOVED AND ESPECIAL LOVE ALL THOSE WHO ARE OUR NEIGHBORS AS CERTAINTY AS GOD HAS LOVED US.

OUR PRAYER IS TO HELP THE WORLD KNOW ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS TELEVISION PROGRAM. THE LIVING WORD HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU UNDER THE OVERSIGHT OF THE ELDERS OF THE KANSAS EXPRESSWAY CHURCH OF CHRIST IN SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF AREA CHURCHES OF CHRIST.