Exhortation - Punchbowl - 1 April 2007
Posted 01 April 2007 - 01:03 PM
Reading – Matthew 5
"Gillian and I are glad to be with you and bring a message of love from Shaftesbury Road brethren and sisters. You might think I am talking about athletes and running a race this morning – but I am wearing this headband because I have trouble with my eyes and I need to wear this to be able to see you. I have listened to a lot of talks on CD’s because I can no longer read as well. A phrase I heard on a talk from a youth conference was “inconvenient love” – why did the brother speak about this and he didn’t explain himself well, I thought this was strange. The more I thought about this, the more important I thought this was.
How do you define “inconvenient love” – some people use this in the world to talk about “falling in love” – but in a more ordinary way in our lives, we experience inconvenient love in our own families. I am sure many have received a phone call when something has gone wrong at home – it seems to happen when something important is happening at work, but when someone gets sick, or your wife has electrocuted herself – you make arrangements, and the things that seemed to be important at work no longer become important, but you go to care for your family. Your parents roof might leak and you have to go out at night and help them – but you don’t say no to your parents, you go and help them. I remember a Sydney Conference – it was very busy – and we had one morning free but I spent it sitting at a medical centre because one of my sons fell off a bike. We love our kids to sit on the bed and have a chat, but this often happens when we are tired and we really want some sleep. When we are fresh and ready for the kids, they generally have something else to do and they don’t want to talk. All of these things we could call “inconvenient love” – they put us out but we don’t regret those things because they are part of life. You remember what you put your own parents through when you were young. I am not talking about inconvenient love regarding our family or friends – but inconvenient love in our lives as believers.
In Matt 5:46 – the Luke record says “if you love those that love you what credit is it to you, because even sinners love those that love them”. Sometimes we feel good about ourselves and what we have done for others – but we must measure ourselves against what is being said here in Matthew 5. We might feel good for helping one of our friends, but they will help us when we need help. Jesus is asking us to think about helping those that are no so close to us – showing love to those who cannot return our love to us ever, or will not return our love. Consider this passage in v46 where Jesus words are so important. Start at v43-48 Do not even the sinners do this? Is the question that Jesus asks. We must have something that separates us from those around us – if we are exactly the same what impact has our relationship with God had on us. It is a simple example that Jesus uses – but powerful example – “every day the sun comes up and brings forth fruit” – God gives gifts to the just and the unjust. God could just cause it to rain on the believers only if he wanted, but he makes the sun rise on the evil and good, and sends rain on the just and unjust. God chooses to do this. He includes sinners and righteous in His gifts. Why shouldn’t we be like our God? Every day God looks out over the earth and there are those enjoying what he has provided. Just a few of those people love him and receive his blessings and are thankful, but most people don’t even think about God. Some think about him once a year at Christmas time, there are those that don’t care about Him at all. There are those that totally hate God – and shout out “if there is a God strike me down and prove you exist” – and then say “see there is no God because I am still here”. But God brings his sun and rain on all those people. So perhaps one of the things I should do this week is record the acts of love that I perform – are any of them acts of inconvenient love. When we feel we have done something nice for someone else – ask the question “would the person that broke into our house and did the wrong thing by us – do an act of love it for his mother or his son?” Do we expect to have our love returned? What does it mean to love our enemy? Jesus gave us some hints “don’t resist an evil person” v39-41. These words are specific and challenging. They are really difficult for us to live out. This love is not about talk, not about saying nice things it is about ACTION. Perhaps the second thing I should do this week is to sit down and write down who is my enemy? Perhaps it is the shop assistant that is rude to us. Perhaps it is the driver that cuts us off in traffic. Perhaps it is the unreasonable boss at work that keeps asking for more and more. Perhaps it is the brother and sister that criticises what we do but doesn’t do a single thing to help. Perhaps it is the person that doesn’t agree with us. Perhaps it is the person that keeps on taking, taking, taking. How much longer will we let this go on before telling them off? These are challenging questions we need to ask ourselves. The world is full of people that love their families and will do anything for them. The world is full of people who have close friends and will do anything for their close friends. Jesus doesn’t challenge us to love our families, our close friends, or those that are polite to us. Jesus challenges us – how we react or relate to our enemies.
Posted 01 April 2007 - 01:05 PM
Posted 01 April 2007 - 01:06 PM
Posted 01 April 2007 - 01:07 PM
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