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Reset // Matthew 5:43-47 // Week 5

CityRise November 2, 2020 sermons, church, Crosspoint Church - Bellaire, houston, matthew, Reset, Roger Patterson, sermon on the mount, West U Baptist,

The following is a transcript from the sermon presented by Dr. Roger Patterson on Sunday November 1, 2020 at our Crosspoint Church – Bellaire Campus and in our Online Experience on youtube.com/cityriseorg. To view the sermon in full, please visit our YouTube page.

How many of you would consider yourself a weather nerd?  Most people get their weather from their local tv station.  Are you an ABC, NBC, FOX, or CBS local news fan?  A lot of times, people will pick their news station based on the weather guy or girl. 

And this week has been a good week to be tuned in to the weather, hasn’t it? We had a cold front move through in the middle of the week that enabled us to miss a hurricane, Hurricane Zeta, that hit Louisiana.  That’s 5 named storms that have hit Louisiana this Hurricane season alone.  Isn’t that crazy?

When it comes to getting the weather these days, you can tune into your local tv station, you can look on your Apple Watch or on your smart phone at a particular app, or you can go online to sites like, www.weatherunderground.com

But weather nerds have an entirely different approach.  The geek out over the weather!  As a matter of fact, my brother-in-law has a buddy from his college days that is such a weather nerd, that he started his own twitter account advising the Nashville, TN area of weather, weather alerts and the like.  It’s called Nashville Severe Weather, and it has 191K followers.  It’s community supported weather.

And there is so much about the weather that is fascinating.

Now, on Tuesday of this coming week, there will be a Presidential Election.  Are yall ready to get this over with? I know I am.  I’m ready to be done with all of the political ads.

But in the Political space, there is a lot made about the weather with terms like Global Warming and Climate Change.

Def. Climate Change & Global Warming:

Climate Change is a long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define the Earth’s local, regional and global climates.

Global Warming, studies the human-produced temperature increases caused by what appears to be human activities which increase heat-trapping gas level in the Earth’s atmosphere, raising the Earth’s average surface temperature.

And it seems that one party blames everything on climate change, and the other doesn’t even act like it exists.

Did you know that Jesus was a Climate Change Advocate? And did you know that he placed an expectation on his followers to be all about Climate Change?

Let’s dig into our text today to see how Jesus instructs us to be about climate change.

Matthew 5:43-48

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Let me begin by asking this question:

 

What was the Climate Jesus Encountered?

I.              What was the Climate Jesus Encountered? 

To best understand this passage, I want us to grab hold of a few facts as we consider this in its context.  These four items best describe the climate…the ongoing temperature and conditions of relationships that Jesus was addressing.

  1. First, as David Garland explains, it was not uncommon in the ancient world for a farmer to pray “for the protection of his own animal and for the animal of his rival to break his leg.”

That may not be that uncommon for us in our lines of work, either…or, in our politics for that matter.

  • Second, multiple scholars make a similar point by looking at the documents found belonging to the Qumran Community, what we know as the Dead Sea Scrolls, which explicitly commanded love for those within the community and hatred for the outsiders. This love-hate antithesis may be mitigated by the Qumran Community’s conviction that they alone were the faithful remnant, but not all of it can be dismissed so easily. This line of thinking seems to be what Jesus is referring to when he quotes this saying, whether it was from this community or others.[1]
  • Third, we need to know that the common Jew was apt to ask, “Who is this neighbor that they were called to love?” Obviously, this included the fellow Israelite. But more than that, it also included non-Israelites (Lev. 19:18, 33-34; Deut. 10:18-19). The outward impression of Jews at the time was that they hated their enemies.

David Garland says…

“Some believed that hatred of everyone but Jews was part of their religion.”[2]

  • Fourth, love and hatred in this passage do not refer to mere emotions. To love means “to favor, prefer, or select,” and to hate means “to disfavor or neglect.” To put in the simplest terms, “Loving the neighbor and hating the enemy is to place the neighbor first and the enemy second.[3]

Jesus saw the climate and determined a need to call for climate change.

What would Jesus make of our relational climate today?

  • He might say, “Oh, you are a Republican?  And you love other republicans, don’t you? Well, even the democrats do that! Why don’t you care for your democrat neighbors like you do your republican neighbors?”
  • If Torchy’s Tacos…anybody like themselves some Torchy’s Tacos?  If he went into Torchy’s Tacos, he might say, “Hey…I can order a democrat off the menu.  Why did you take the Republican down?”
  • Or, Jesus might say, “Why do white people only go to church with white people, and black people only go to church with black people? What’s the deal?”
  • And if Jesus were on your social media accounts, as one of your friends, would it be obvious who you loved…preferred, and who you hated…disfavored or neglected?
  • Would he see gracious speech or condemning speech?

What sort of climate would Jesus see with our lives? Our relationships? Our social media posts?

Look at verse 46-47.

Matthew 5:46-47

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 

You see, I think we have a fundamental Climate Problem as followers of JesusOur problem is that we live for rewards today in this worldly kingdom, instead of rewards given to us someday in the heavenly kingdom.

Now, I’ll come back to this in just a moment…but let’s make sure we remember what the Sermon on the Mount is all about. 

  • It’s about a new way…
  • a new ethic…
  • a new kingdom…
  • the Messiah’s Kingdom, where we are called to live differently. 
  • And we are called to pursue that kingdom now.

And there are blessings that come along with this kingdom.

Remember the declaration of blessings at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount.  They are called the Beatitudes.

Let’s review these really quickly, because I want to show you something.

Matthew 5:2-12

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Every single one of these commendations comes with a REWARD!  There is REWARD!  There is BLESSING.  There is a blessing now and there is a blessing to come.  And notice verse 12.

Matthew 5:12

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Notice it says, “…for your reward is great in heaven…”

So much of how we live and how we think is about this world.  And so, we act certain ways:

  • We love those who love us.
  • We are kind to those who are kind to us. 
  • We embrace those who embrace us. 
  • And we condemn those who are not like us and do not think like us.

But, if we lived for a different kingdom, we would see the promise and say, “I want that reward. I want the GREAT Reward in heaven. It’s better than the reward here on earth now. I want the heavenly reward.”

Quote: One writer states…

“The command to love your enemy is a command to find your hope and your satisfaction in God and his great reward—not in the way people treat you. The steadfast love of the Lord is better than life (Psalm 63:3). Loving your enemy doesn’t earn you the reward of heaven. Treasuring the reward of heaven empowers you to love your enemy.”[4]

Jesus calls us to treasure the reward of heaven more than we do this life.  And when we do, we long to love our enemy. This is the Climate Change the Jesus is calling for in our lives:

  • He is calling us to love those who you consider your enemy.
  • He calls us to love those who hate us. 
  • He is calling us to pray for and do good to those who persecute us.

It’s his way…the kingdom way…and it’s the way of the Father.  And that’s the second thing that Jesus teaches us is that our Father’s Climate Doesn’t Change.

II.        Our Father’s Climate Doesn’t Change

Notice this in verse 45.

Matthew 5:45

45 …so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Notice the consistency of God.

He is a good God…He is a merciful God…He is a loving God. And he cares for his creation.  And his mercy is new every single day. 

Lamentations 3:22-23

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Many call God’s love demonstrated here as “common grace”–

Def. Common Grace: —an undeserved blessing that God gives to all people, both believers and unbelievers.

God could without being accused of injustice condemn all. Instead he shows repeated and prolonged favor on all. That is the point here that is being established.  He has established his climate for us.

…for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.

Why does God do this?

Let me give you 4 reasons for God’s Common Grace from Theologian Wayne Grudem:

4 Reasons for God’s Common Grace

  1. To Redeem Those Who Will Be Saved
  1. To Redeem Those Who Will Be Saved –

            The Apostle Peter declares that the day of judgement and final execution of punishment, “is being delayed because there are yet more people who will be saved.” (Grudem, Bible Doctrine, p. 278)

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

There are more people who will be saved.

4 Reasons for God’s Common Grace

  1. To Redeem Those Who Will Be Saved
  2. To Demonstrate God’s Goodness and Mercy
  • To Demonstrate God’s Goodness and Mercy –

Grudem States…(Grudem, Bible Doctrine, p. 278)

God’s goodness and mercy are not only seen in the salvation of believers, but also in the blessings he gives to undeserving sinners. When God ‘is kind to the ungrateful and selfish’ (Luke 6:35), his kindness is revealed in the universe, to his glory. David says, ‘The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made’ (Psalm 145:9).

God’s Goodness and mercy is on display for all to see.

4 Reasons for God’s Common Grace

  1. To Redeem Those Who Will Be Saved
  2. To Demonstrate God’s Goodness and Mercy
  3. To Demonstrate God’s Justice
  • To Demonstrate God’s Justice –

When God repeatedly invites sinners to come to faith and when they repeatedly refuse his invitations, the justice of God in condemning them is seen much more clearly.

Grudem says…(Grudem, Bible Doctrine, p. 278)

“On the day of judgment, ‘every mouth’ will be ‘stopped’ (Romans 3:19), and no one will be able to object that God has been unjust.”

4 Reasons for God’s Common Grace

  1. To Redeem Those Who Will Be Saved
  2. To Demonstrate God’s Goodness and Mercy
  3. To Demonstrate God’s Justice
  4. To Demonstrate God’s Glory
  • To Demonstrate God’s Glory –

The glory of God is demonstrated in many ways by the activities of human beings in all the areas in which common grace is operating.

“In developing and exercising dominion over the earth,” Grudem says, “men and women demonstrate and reflect the wisdom of their Creator. (They) demonstrate Godlike qualities of skill, moral virtue and authority over the universe. These qualities and activities, though tainted by sin, reflect the excellence of our Creator and therefore bring glory to God. (Grudem, Bible Doctrine, p. 278)

Now, why am I taking you through all of that? 

Because I believe that we should seek to understand God’s heart. His heart it to:

  • To redeem all of mankind
  • To demonstrate goodness and mercy
  • To demonstrate justice
  • And to demonstrate His glory

He has a plan in all that He does.  And His common grace over his creation is the climate that He has established for us. 

Application: Think of this and be moved. The Heavenly Father shares good things with those who oppose him.  It’s a climate of blessing.  The Father is perfect and never wavers in this.  And it moves hearts that pay attention to it.

The third thing that I believe that Jesus teaches us is this…

III.            Our Climate Won’t Change, Unless We Change It

Look at verses 45 and 48.

Matthew 5:45a

…so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:48

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Notice that as Jesus is speaking to his disciples, he is identifying them as different and set apart from the rest of mankind. 

Now, let’s keep in mind that Jesus isn’t saying that you earn your salvation by behaving this way. He’s saying that as sons and daughters of God, we are to pursue this standard.  And we are to carry ourselves this way.

Now, again, what’s the principle we need to see here?

Our Climate Won’t Change Unless We Change It

We are responsible to bring light into darkness.

We are responsible to:

  • Turn the other cheek
  • Walk the extra mile
  • Be generous to those who would beg from us

We are responsible to:

  • Love our enemies
  • Pray for those who persecute us

Jesus calls us to be change agents, to turn the tide, to bring in a different climate, as sons and daughters of the Most-High.

Illustration: I want you to think back in recent American history to see if you can think of a figure who, in the last 50 years, did this very thing?

  • At age 35, he won the Nobel Peace Prize
  • In the same year, 1964, he was named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year
  • He was the President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, whose motto was, “Not one hair of one head of one person should be harmed.”
  • After being arrested for his involvement in a non-violent protest, he wrote the Letter from a Birmingham Jail, the civil rights manifesto known as a defense of civil disobedience addressed to a group of white clergymen who had criticized his tactics.
  • He is known for these words…

“Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.”

“Hate cannot drive out hate. Only Love can do that.”

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

  • In August of 1963, through his influence, a March on the Mall in Washington D.C was organized, and it was known as the turning point for Civil Rights in the United States.
  • It was here, at the Mall, as the last speaker of the day, standing before the Lincoln monument, addressing some 250k people, Dr. Martin Luther King said…

“I have a dream… I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!3

Dr. King embodied this portion of scripture.  He was a Baptist Pastor who sought to change the climate. And he did it by:

  • seeking to love.
  • By seeking to live out a much higher ethic.
  • By doing good to those that hated him.
  • By praying for those who persecuted him.
  • By pursuing the way of Jesus.

Application: Friends, let’s be honest with one another. We are living in a deeply divided time in our history.  And we need to learn to disagree without being disagreeable.

We have the way of Jesus put before us.  We have the call of Jesus to understand the climate in which we live. We see the way of the Father, and we are to seek to change the climate…and we do that by Love. By doing good…by serving and praying for those who are against us.

And church, here is what I want you to hear:

  • You’ve been given this word…just 2 days before this Presidential Election. I’m asking you to let your identity in Jesus Christ outshine whatever political party you are affiliated with! Win or lose, you represent Jesus Christ.
  • You are being challenged to be the church on November 4th like you are on November 3rd, 2nd and 1st. Whenever this election is decided and how it is decided, let your identity in Christ inform your way, your words and your response.
  • You are being challenged to choose the Way of Jesus…the Messiah’s Way…The way of the Eternal Reward as that which will characterize your life.

Let’s now pray for our nation, with a prayer, prayed by President Abraham Lincoln, called, A Prayer for Peace.

“Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people, the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth. In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

A Prayer for Peace
Abraham Lincoln
Washington D.C.
March 4, 1801


[1] D.A. Carson, Matthew, 157.

[2] David Garland, Reading Matthew, 76 (see Tacitus, Histories 5.5; Juvenal, Satires 14.102).

[3] O. Linton, St. Matthew 5, 43, ST 18 (1964): 70.

[4] John Piper, “But I say to you, Love your enemies, Pt. 2,” www.desiringgod.org

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