The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

01/30/2017

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High Standards


"You have heard it said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise and set on the evil and the good. and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous" (Matt.5:43-45).

Have you heard any of these? "I don't get mad, I get even." "You'll get yours." "Don't try that again." In today's verses, Jesus is teaching a higher standard of living. They are in direct contrast to the practical workings of the law of Moses. In the Law, folks took an "eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth" attitude as their mantra, and threw in loving one's neighbors, but hating their enemies as an extra... Jesus calls us to a higher standard of living. This may be one of the most difficult teachings to live by in the Bible, but Jesus exemplified it in his dying moments when He prayed for His enemies. Stephen, generally thought of as the first Christian martyr, took up the mantle. His enemies stoned him to death for his belief and testimony, and his last words in Acts 6:60 were these; "Lord, do not hold this sin against them..." In today's turbulent world, many think that is virtually impossible to love an enemy... But love has many degrees, and the degree that prompts us to bless an enemy and pray for him is the love that is enjoined upon us... Lest we think that this loving one's enemies is some kind of afterthought that Jesus had, lets take a look at Paul's writings to the Roman church... "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written; 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary; "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head...' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (17-21). It is all about overcoming evil with good... This week, we will take a look at the higher standards we are held to as Christians. Hopefully, it will be both challenging and enlightening...

Have a great start to your week... Begin it with a RAK or two.... Love mark Phil.4:11

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