Matthew 5:43-48 (Love Your Enemies)

Mat 5:43-48   See again Mat 5:20: what is the fifth example that Jesus gives in which our righteousness must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees if we are to enter the kingdom of heaven?  Lev 19:18 from which Jesus quotes does not mention hate for enemies; from where did this rabbinical tradition that was taught to the people arise?  Cf.  Exo 17:14-16, Deut 23:3-6, 25:17-19, Psa 139:21-22.  Why might they have supposed that such an ethic was important in separating themselves from the pagan practices of the world?  What indications do we find in the Old Testament that this ethic was not entirely correct?  See Psa 139:23-24, 1Sa 24, 2Ki 6:8-23, 2Ch 28:8-15, Pro 25:21-22.  What important distinction did they fail to make in regard to the object of their hatred?  See Rom 7:15,17-20.  Instead of hating the sinner, what are we to hate?  Cf. Jud 1:23, Rev 2:6.  Do we as Christians often fail to make the same distinction?  Does loving our enemies mean that we love and accept their evil deeds?  What does the true love of God require from us in regard to the evil deeds of even our worst enemies?  Cf. Mat 14:3-4, Act 24:24-25, Eph 5:11-12 and contrast the example of Jonah in Jon 1:1-3, 3:10-4:11.  When Christ commands that we pray for our enemies does He mean to say that we should pray that God would bless them in their wickedness?  What should we pray for them?  See 1Ti 2:1-4, 2Ti 2:24-26.  In spite of our many failings and sinful natures, does God cease to love us or bless us with good things?  See Mat 5:45, Act 14:17.  If He is to be our Father and we are to be His true children who bear His nature and are like Him, how then are we to be towards our enemies?  See Mat 5:46-47, Luk 6:27-38, Rom 12:17-21, Eph 5:1.  What is the answer to each of the four questions in Mat 5:46-47?  Again, how does this illustrate how our righteousness must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees if we are to enter the kingdom of heaven?  What conclusion to His logic does Jesus state in Mat 5:48?  Cf. 2Co 7:1, Phil 3:12-15.  How is Mat 5:48 a fitting conclusion to Mat 5:17-47?

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