Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Love our enemies? 11/03/2013
Dear friend,

In the days that Jesus lived and walked this earth, crowds were always gathered around Him, from both the Jewish cultures and non Jewish cultures. Some came to hear Him speak while others came to be healed of their diseases. Was it any different than it is today that people who desire to know Jesus seek to do so by listening to Him speak from the Bible through all the means of communication that we are blessed with today.

As He spoke to the multitudes on the flat ground on that day, they must have been perplexed at what He spoke concerning the nature of His kingdom. In that culture it was considered a blessing to be rich and a curse to be poor, so can you imagine what they were thinking as they listened to His first statement? .He tells them that the opposite of the way that they humanly think and the way that the culture does and teaches is the nature of His kingdom.Let us listen in...

Luke 6::20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.
30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

Today we remember All Saints Day, a day of remembering those who have given their life for the sake of the Gospel as well as for those who are giving their life for the Gospel today. It is also a day that is called IDOP, or international Day of Prayer for the persecuted church - Let us consider this statement made by our brother in Christ far away from here.

"If the church is one, you are the persecuted church." -Fahed (a Palestinian believer)

Today we have the opportunity to grow in our awareness of our being in the worldwide persecuted church, those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ and who consider it a great honor to be counted worthy to suffer shame for the sake of Christ. These suffering Christian are unknown, but well known, dying but yet living, chastened, and not killed, sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, poor, yet making many rich, and having nothing.....

Hebrews 10:32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings,

33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated.

34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.

Our brother in Christ goes on to say:

"I was familiar with these verses, having read them many times. God’s Word is clear there is one body with Christ as the head. But, I had never considered that I am the persecuted church. It is not them and us, but all Christians are in the body of Christ. What does that mean? How does that impact my thinking? Change my heart?

Fahed answered that as he continued to talk. He said that if a Nigerian Christian girl is violated, that’s my daughter or granddaughter who was violated. If an Egyptian church is attacked and burned, that’s my church that was burned. If Sudanese Christians are forced to leave everything behind and flee for their lives, that’s my family in flight. If a Pakistani pastor is martyred, that’s my pastor who was killed for his faith. If Eritrean Christians are arrested during a prayer meeting, those are my brothers and sisters jailed for their faith."

Around thousand years ago, encouragement was written to the early Christians concerning the nature of the church, of the body of Christ, reminding them to live in that which they have been created for...

Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.

We are one with all our brothers and sisters all over the world, past present and future. We are united because Christ has reconnected us to God through His life, through His death and through His resurrection from the dead. We are united because we believe what He is done through love has appeased the wrath of God against sin, and through faith we have the assurance of eternal life. Being a member of the family of God, we seek to live out that which we have been created for: Community, which is marked by love for God and for one another and for all the world. Apostle Paul wrote of this community...

Romans 12:4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,
5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

And a theologian during the 1930's 40's interpreted those verses...

"The church as an institution continues its life on the basis of its traditions and structures. Where the church functions as a community--based on mutual care and responsibility--its life is sustained through mutual relationships, with each member playing a part. There is a great dynamism, as well as a great vulnerability in being church in this way. That is why we tend to opt for the church as an institution rather than that of a community. The value of church as community is that because each person must play a part, each person can grow in the use of his or her particular gifts, talents and qualities."

"Community develops, not because of the love of community, but from the love we have for one another."

D Bonhoeffer

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
36 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward."
37 Peter said to him, "Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."
38 Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

Those who were in attendance that day when Jesus challenged His hearers were called to think through their beliefs and convictions. Were they living the good life now or jhad the began to catch on the message and mission of Jesus?

I received this email in response to a question I had asked about this text.

"Hi Orval, since my husband is napping, II will try to write thoughts about Luke 6 17 to 31. I'm having a tired day. so it may apply to the text. he may mean we are blessed when we are tired because we turn to Him and His word seems to mean more when we are empty. When we are hungry for Him.

In Jeremiah 31 God says He will put the fear of Him in our hearts. Eldie Niskanen's version said, "I will put a desire for Me in their hearts's.

When this desire kicks in and we long for Him we are blessed. hungry for Him and His Word we are blessed. it draws us together, draws us to His Word like we can't get enough of it. We are like the ground longing for water and The Word waters us and plants seeds and fruit grows.

Some people have been given the gift of poverty even though they have money. They give out of that poverty and they are given joy. The poverty is true humility. They "get it" that it has nothing to do with money.

The deepest longings of our hearts are blessings."

Now this is a very powerful statement. In light of your previous statements I will conclude that you are pointing to the God given longing for intimacy with our Creator in order to live in Him in grace and truth in Jesus. If these longings lead us to a place of our need for Him, they bring profit to us, but if those longings, (as they often do) result in us not seeking the true God in Christ, and looking for satisfaction created things, well.....

The difficulty that we as humans have always had is that we make the church an institution rather than a place of true fellowship with Him, with Jesus, with the Spirit and therefore with one another. We know we are called to "do" church so we do get together desiring to be one in Him, but often times it lacks the love, peace and joy which the Holy Spirit is. Rather than break the barriers of human thinking, we stay stuck in a type of system that is regulated by our human regulations and human desires whatever that might be.

So the deepest longings of our hearts are indeed from God, are given by Him in order to cause us to seek Him, but due to our fallen nature's susceptibility to settle for created things as means by which to find satisfaction and meaning, we struggle greatly in this area. David had the desire for God.....he felt like a dry ground at times, longing to be watered the Water of life, for he saw that it made all the difference in which "water" one drank. (verse 3)


O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.

3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,

6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

Now we return to our text: The question before us is: Do we see the difference between the blessing and the woes that Jesus is referiring to? Have we come to a place where we desire to turn from self to Him? We will have no understanding of verse 27 if our eyes have not been opened by Him to the freedom that enables us to live in love and service to Him and to others. If we do not understand and receive His freeing and enabling grace, we will interpret the following verses as something to do, as opposed to that who we are in Him.

Luke 6:27 "But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
,28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.
30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.
31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

May the Lord by His Spirit open this teaching of our Saviour unto us.

In His Grace,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 03 Nov 2013 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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