Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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EPIPHANY 7 – February 24, 2019 – Luke 6:27-38 “GENUINE, RADICAL LOVE”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Gospel Lesson just read, from Luke 6, our Lord Jesus’ instructions regarding love.  We begin with prayer.

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • Everyone knows that you have to be in favor of love. Even when we do harsh or evil things, we know that we have to find a way to explain it as being the “good and loving” thing to do.
  • I remember thinking about this as a young child. At first, I really didn’t like the idea of having to “be loving” at all.  It involved sharing your toys, being less competitive, helping others, working for others, caring about others, giving away my things to others.  It sounded like a lot of work to me, with little benefit to myself!  And I was right! 
  • Of course, the only love I was contemplating was to family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and only people who were generally good and decent people – and certainly not love toward criminals, evil people, or enemies. Why in the world would anyone ever want to help someone who was an enemy, someone out to harm you or do you in?
  • So, when I heard Jesus’ instructions about love, I could hardly even contemplate it. And when Jesus talked about helping only those who reciprocate, I thought that was good – until He said “even sinners love and do good to those who love them.”  So, I was a “sinner” then, and sadly, that was really all I wanted to be.
  • So as time went along, and I continued to have to consider these teachings [after all, they do come from Jesus Himself], I began to consider these instructions on “RADICAL LOVE,” even while coming to acknowledge that they also describe “GENUINE LOVE.”
  • So, whether I liked it or not, I had to begin contemplating having this kind of love, as personally difficult and distasteful as it seemed. And in time, as we are humbled by our own repentance, it begins to make perfect sense.  So I urge you also to consider and contemplate this “GENUINE, RADICAL LOVE” as taught by Jesus our Savior.

 

I.  Jesus Calls Us To Love In a Manner That Is Contrary To Law And Justice, Even To Love Our Enemies

 

Text:  “But I say to you who hear, Love you enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.  To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.”

 

Statement:  Law and justice says that people who engage in such evil, and especially against me, should be sorely punished.  Not only should they NOT be rewarded with my good, I should surely not have to “bless” them or “pray FOR” them!  This feels like involving myself in their evils, affirming their evils. 

 

Application:  But of course this is precisely the nature of God’s love for every human being, each of whom is sinful – hating, cursing, and abusing others, with physical violence and greed and thievery.  This is our sinful nature, and the response of God and His love toward us.  It is not to pay us back, or to teach us some lesson that God insists that we love in this way.  He insists that because He loves us in this way, and in spite of the affront created to “justice,” such love is actually “good.”  We can learn this.  For really,

 

II.  Jesus Calls Us To Love With A Love That Is Consistent With The Gospel, With His Love

 

A.  So We Are To Be Careful Not To Judge Others

 

Text:  “Judge not and you shall not be judged.”

 

B.  We Are Not To Condemn Others

 

Text:  “Condemn not, and you will not be condemned.”

 

C.  Rather, We Are To Be Forgiving, Merciful, And Kind – Like Our Heavenly Father

 

Text:  “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.  Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

 

D.  And So Also We Are To Give Generously

 

Text:  “From one who takes your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.  Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. . . . give, and it will be given to you.  Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For with the measure you use it will be measure back to you.”

 

Statement:  Just as we are grateful – or at least we should be – that God is gracious, merciful, forgiving, loving, and generous in blessing us, so too we should recognize this as goodness, and goodness that we can and should bestow on others.  They too are in need of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love – especially when they are hateful and abusive.  So we can come to grasp and understand the perfect logic of what Jesus taught!

 

Application:  Yes, it will require adjustment in our thinking – away from the principles of our sinful nature which in spite of our own guilt and culpability, still calls for justice and vengeance and judgement on others.  We can understand the logic of this, the logic behind what Jesus instructs about “GENUINE, RADICAL LOVE.”

 

Conclusion:  This is painful to our sinful nature, and that painfulness will never go away completely, and if we think we have mastered this kind of love, the Lord will arrange an experience for us to teach us differently – God forbid!

 

Instead, let us continue to contemplate the goodness and blessedness of the Gospel, of His undeserved but complete mercy, forgiveness, love, and generosity to us!  As we meditate upon His goodness and love, we will better understand the necessity of loving others as He has loved us.  And this will also provide us with strength and compulsion to overcome our own evil.

 

God grant it to each of us, Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.