Sunday 23 August – The Sermon on the Mount – Matt 6:5-8

Thanks to Andrew Walker for sharing God’s word and challenging us this week. 

Excite

Before you come to read the passage and listen to the talk, I want you to try to answer three questions.  Try not to rush an answer but try to think honestly and be truthful to yourself.

  1. When I pray, how do I imagine or picture God as I’m praying and what is his manner and attitude to me?
  2. Does this picture change depending on what has happened in my day?
  3. How does my picture of God affect how I pray?

Engage

Galatians 4: 4-7 from The Message reads

4-7 But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.

Meditate on these verses and how they affect you as you approach God to pray?

Extend

Listen to the song called “No Longer Slaves” by Bethal Music

Sunday 9 August – The Sermon on the Mount – Love your enemy

Excite 

Last week after preaching I paused because I was stuck by the tough reality of what Jesus said, even to the point of questioning what I said. Below is a summary of last week and some questions to help us apply Jesus’ teaching to our lives.

As Christians how we treat others is important, we are called to: 

Total Love

This is a very difficult passage for us to read and act on as it goes against our natural instincts. 

Jesus is telling us here that disciple don’t retaliate

  • Turn the other cheek – we give up the right to retaliate, that desire to strike back.
  • Someone wants to take your tunic give them your cloak as well – We don’t hold onto our material possessions 
  • Going an extra mile – We go further
  • Giving to the one who asks you – We give more

As you think about this teaching of Jesus what do you struggle with?

How can we live these out in our lives?

Take time to think about how Jesus and his disciples lived these out.

How can each of these show love to others?

Passage: Matthew 5:43-48

As we come to this week, we see all that we have just thought about taken even further. This week we will see the extent of the radical love that Jesus calls his disciples to live out. Think about the areas of your life that this teaching could transform, and ask God to make it happen.

Engage and Extend

Jesus took something they all pretty much believed in “you have heard that it was said

43 ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

And turned it on its head by saying But I tell you

44 Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

As Christians how we treat others is important, we are to:

Totally Love

This is counter cultural it is love beyond what the world shows beyond what we may think is reasonable.

Jesus calls us to go further than everyone else, as we see in the challenges of verses 46&47. Consider these verses how do they challenge you.

Think of Jesus and all the different people he went to, people no teacher on the law would ever interact with. 

We must look at all of this in the light of eternity, as members of the kingdom of heaven, living a fully repentant life, as we show active love and pray for our enemies, we will gain an eternal reward in heaven and hopefully through our witness they will see heaven. They will repent. 

Also Jesus said: 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.

Loving our enemy is part of being a son or daughter of God taking after the example of God. 

48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

We can never be prefect but we can strive, to live to please God.

Remember God loves his enemies. We were God’s enemies.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God did it for us, so we must do it for others. 

How does this challenge you?

Think of the implication for our jobs, school, neighbourhoods, where we get a hard time.

Think of the implication for our interaction with society and government.

Do we love and pray for them?

Jesus can save us, Jesus can save our enemies. 

we should love them enough to share the love of Jesus with them and pray for them, this is difficult but it is what active love is. If we are not doing this it is just passive love, which isn’t really love.

How are we doing with this challenge from Jesus?

Simply ask ourselves “who am I praying for?”

As Christians how we treat others is important to our witness. How is our truthfulness, witness and love, as we hold it up to Jesus’ teachings?