What should you do when someone who hates you needs your help? It’s been such a joy as we’ve been working our way through that part of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus six times said, “You have heard it was said but I say to you.”
I can’t review every single day because that would take up all of our time but we’re in the sixth of those six statements and once again it’s crystal clear that Jesus was not as some claim raising the standard to a higher moral standard under the New Covenant than what was found under the Old Covenant.
If we do make that preposterous claim, we have to demonstrate that the ethic that Jesus was advocating cannot be found in the Old Covenant. If it is found, that proves we’re wrong and we found in four out of the six cases and we’ve only looked at four so far, that’s wrong. It’s dead wrong. The same ethic that Jesus was advocating for his followers to follow is right from the Old Testament, right out of the Law of Moses.
The sixth one is Jesus talking about love your enemies and we’ve asked the question: is that some kind of new idea? I showed in the previous little lesson, no, we find it in Proverbs 25 verses 21 and 22. If your enemy is hungry, give them food to drink. If he’s thirsty, give him water to drink. If you do that, you heap burning coals on his head. You’re trying to affect a change. You’re trying to heal the relationship by doing good to someone who doesn’t deserve it as God has been demonstrating for you all your life every time the sun rises and every time the rain falls. We’ve covered that. Paul quoted Proverbs 25 and verse 21 and 22 in Romans chapter 12 showing that Paul believed that the New Covenant ethic of loving your neighbor as yourself is found in the Old Covenant.
Now, one more that I promised on the previous broadcast to let you see. Actually I’ll give you two more. The first one is in Exodus chapter 23. Listen to this. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying helpless under its load, you shall refrain from leaving it to him, you shall surely release it with him. Did you hear that commandment? That’s under the Law of Moses.
Now, what would you think of the person back in Moses’s day who said to you, “Well, I saw the donkey or I saw the horse, it wasn’t a donkey, I saw the horse of someone who hates me lying helpless under its load and I’m so glad it wasn’t a donkey because if it was a donkey, the law required me to help him. But because it was a horse, I didn’t have to.” What would you say to that person? You’d say, “I think you got a problem, buddy. You got the letter of the law but you’re totally missing the spirit of it.” In other words, Exodus 23:5, if you take the spirit of it, it’s exactly, exactly what Jesus taught, love your enemies. It doesn’t just apply when your enemy is having a little trouble with his donkey. Anytime your enemy needs help, help him because you’re trying to love your enemy. Why? Because you want to have a relationship and restore it so that person is no longer your enemy.
Morality and ethic that is taught in the Old Testament in which Jesus does not raise the standard, it can’t be raised any higher than that, just fulfills it in the Sermon on the Mount by reminding his followers. This is what God has been demonstrating and teaching from the beginning.
Then in the reiteration of the law in Deuteronomy which was to the next generation. Their forefathers, their parents didn’t make it into the Promised Land so we see a repetition of the law given once again in Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 22, verse number four, “You shall not see your countryman’s donkey or his ox falling down on the way and pay no attention to them. You shall certainly help him to raise them up.” Help people who don’t deserve it. Right? Right. Again, it’s not just about ox and donkeys falling. Clearly the spirit of Deuteronomy 22-24 incorporates any opportunity that we have to help an enemy who needs help just like in Proverbs chapter 25. You keep burning coals on their head. You humiliate them. You shame them because they go, “Oh, my goodness. This person is being good to me and I don’t deserve it.” It cuts them and they say, “You know what? I’ve been a jerk.” That’s what God does. He’s the one who came and died for everyone’s sins. Nobody deserved that. Our God is a loving his enemies type God.
All right. This is what Jesus said and just other words, going the extra mile, turning the other cheek, giving your coat to the guy who wants to take your shirt or whatever, vice versa. It’s being good to people that don’t deserve it. Loving your enemies. Pretty obvious to see. That’s four out of the six where it’s indisputable that there’s no raising of the standard here, none whatsoever.
Let’s keep reading as we try to wind this down today. Matthew five, verse 46, “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” I think, I’m not sure, I bet you that’s what the scribes and Pharisees thought. Your neighbor, you’re supposed to love your neighbor. That’s only the people that love you and Jesus saying, “What?” Do not even the tax collectors, the people that you believe are the most morally bankrupt people, don’t they love those who love them? How does that put you and give you any kind of kudos with the Lord? If you greet only your brothers because that’s apparently what the scribes and Pharisees were teaching, you only have to greet your brothers, everybody else, just ignore them, what more are you doing than others? Do not even Gentiles, the pagans, the idol worshipers do the same? Crystal clear. Crystal, crystal clear.
Now, there are other ramifications because there are people. Jesus is not talking here about warfare because clearly under the Old Covenant there were times when he told people to go to war. People say, “Well, war is forbidden because we’re supposed to love our enemies.” You better think about that a little bit more because you’re pointing your finger at God who sent people to war. See? You think you know more than God? Oh, it all changed in the New Covenant. Wait a second. Wait a second. We just proved four times in those fundamental base of morality it hasn’t changed. Where is that taught in the New Testament?
All right. Something to think about. I love you even if you don’t like me. I love you because I’m going to try to follow what the Lord says. Okay. Hope to see you next time. We’ll start looking at the other two you have heard what I say to you statements by Jesus. God bless.