Sermon:  Active Love  

Summary:  We must love all people, especially our enemies and express it in a
godly way by being actively generous, selfless and merciful to them.  God takes
notice and will in turn be merciful and generous with us.  But if we are selfish and
do not love in a godly way to avoid hardship, woe to us because we have our
reward in full.  However, if we do, we are blessed even if being loving to our
enemies makes us poor, hungry or sorrowful, because God will reward us.

Know:  God is kind to ungrateful and evil people, therefore we need to be
selflessly and actively kind as well.

Feel:  Courage from knowing that even when we “lose” something by being kind
to ungrateful people or enemies, we will not ultimately lose anything, because
God will reward us generously

Do:  Identify “enemies” or people with whom you have trouble dealing with and
cannot avoid, and ways to do good to them generously and mercifully

Text:  Luke 6:12-38

Scripture Reading:  Rom 5:8-10

Meditation Scripture:  Psalm 139:23-24

1.  What does it mean to love as God loves?
	a.  Many people think  they know what love is
	b.  People write poems, sing songs about it, make movies
2.  A major theme of Sermon on the Plain - Selfless Love
3.  We must love as God loves  - It is an active love in 3 ways

I.  Active Generosity (v. 27-31)
	A.  The theme of these instructions is generosity
		1.  Generosity:  
			a.  Definition:  1) Willingness to give money, help, or time 
			    freely  2) Nobility of Character 3) Giving a substantial size
			b.  Etymology - Gener as in “generic” or “general”
				- Idea of non-favoritism, given to all
				- Give because in your nature, not that they deserve it
		2.  Generously love those who mistreat you.
		3.  How?  I “feel” everything but love for my enemies!
		4.  What is love?  = Agapate (not philia - “affection”)
			a.  Idea of charity, nobility, kindness
				- Not based of feeling, but virtue, a decision
				- Definition - 1 Cor 13:4-8 = generosity
			b.  Idea of doing “good” to those who hate you
				- Not, “Agathos” - Good, upright, noble
				- But, “Kalos” - Good, beautiful, graceful
			c.  In other words, be gracious and good to enemies
	B.  Jesus gets specific on how to be lovingly generous
		1.  Bless your enemies:  Bless = “eulogeo” (eulogy)
			a. Call down God’s favor, or to praise & speak well of
			b.  Opposite of cursing
			c.  Col 4:6 - speech with grace, seasoned with salt
		2.  Don’t get even with your enemies
			a.  Revenge will not make it right, can enslave you
			b.  Vengeance is God’s work, not ours
			c.  Need faith in God, that he will make it right
		3.  Give generously to those who ask
			a.  Even if someone takes something from you, give more
			b.  In a way is freeing, you giving rather than being robbed
			c.  Don’t demand it back - Not attached to things
		4.  Treat others how you want to be treated
	C.  ILL:  Martha was civil to her cranky, nosey neighbor
		1.  Neighbor always staring out window at them
			a.  Called the police when kids run across yard
			b.  Called police when visitors park in yard
			c.  Said mean things to the family a lot
		2.  Martha still always said hi, and was civil
			a.  Offered to help do the yard work, he refused
			b.  But she continued to do her duty
		3.  One day, the neighbor saying mean things, and tripped
			a.  Fell down, sprained his knee, cut his hand
			b.  Martha was leaping for joy on the inside
		4.  Prov. 24:17-18 - Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do 
		      not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Or the Lord will 
		      see and be displeased
			a.  Need to examine our hearts
			b.  Psalm 139:23-24 - Search me O God, and know my 
			      heart, try me and know my anxious thoughts, and see if 
			      there by any hurtful way in my, and lead me in the 
			      everlasting way
	D.  Active generosity begins with an attitude
		1.  Need to work on both actions and attitude
		2.  Do good, and think well of others, even your enemies
			a.  Remember that they are made in God’s image
			b.  Remember that Jesus died for them too

II.  Active Selflessness (v. 32-35)
	A.  Need to do good to others selflessly
		Help others whenever we can
	B.  ILL:  My uncle used to tell us about doing favors for other people
		1.  He was always helping other people out with things
			a.  He was sort of a jack of all trades
			b.  Well known in that little town of 500 people
		2.  He said it was the proper thing to do
		3.  If you do for them, they will do for you - so cover your bases
		4.  But what if they don’t return any favors to you at all?
			a.  What if they never return what you loaned them?
			b.  How would you feel?  Feel ripped off?
			c.  Would you do any more favors for them?
			d.  Would you avoid doing good to them any more?
	C.  This is exactly the sort of thing Jesus is talking about
		1.  We are talking about a benelovent spirit
		2.  (Titus 3:4-6) - This is in line with the character of God 
			a.  His “love for man” appeared - Grk:  “Philanthropia”
			b. Carries same meaning today as it did then
			c.  Idea of doing benevolent acts for the good of others
			d.  No self centerned motivation
		3.  You are acting in accordance with God’s character
			a.  Be holy for I am holy
			b.  Also means - Be selflessly generous, because I am
		4.  1 Cor 15:1-3
			a.  Bear with the weak, not to please ourselves
			b.  Should please our neighbor for HIS edification
			c.  For even Christ did not please himself
	D.  What does this mean here in your life?
		1.  Focus on what you can give, not what you can get
			a.  What you can get in this life will pass away
			b.  What you give stays with you
		2.  Don’t loan money, just give it
			a.  If they pay it back, good, if not, oh well.
			b.  This why I don’t give out loans
			c.  This why church not in business of giving loans

III.  Active Mercy (v. 36-38)
	A.  It takes mercy to love and not condemn enemies
	B.  This is perhaps among the most abused verses in the Bible
		1.  This one of most quoted verses by unbelievers - Don’t judge
			a.  You can’t say my lifestyle is a sin
			b.  Rest of Bible makes clear that not what this means
			c.  So what does it mean?
		2.  Talking about an attitude or disposition
		3.  Our disposition should be in line with the character of God
			a.  Be merciful just as your Father is merciful
			b.  Our default setting should be mercy
			c.  There is no biblical warrant to hold a grudge
		4.  Context - Talking specifically about how to treat your enemies
			a.  Enemy sins against you, be merciful to them
			b.  Be willing to pardon them
	C.  ILL:  A brother once said only have to forgive if asked.  That’s wrong
		1.  How merciful you are will affect how much mercy you get
		2.  Jesus illustration on this principle - shakedown principle
			a.  Imagine a bag of chips - open it, mostly air, settled
			b.  Imagine it overflowing, no empty fluff
		3.  If we are generous, we will be overflowing with mercy
		4.  How much generosity you give is how much you will get
	D.  This will enable you to be selflessly generous to your enemies

1.  This doesn’t look easy, someone may profit off of my generosity
2.  Jesus began this section with a serious of blessings and woes
	a.  Woes for the selfish (v.24-26)
		- If we hang onto our stuff, and dont’ generously do good, then 
		   what we have hung onto will be all we get
	b.  Blessings for the selfless (v.20-23)
		- If these principles keep us poor, we have the kingdom
		- If we wind up hungry, God will ffed up
		- If we get down because of this, God will make us laugh
		- If people mistreat us, God will reward us
3.  God takes notice - So don’t lose heart

Questions for Small Group Discussion