Have You Really Listened to What Jesus Is Saying
I recently visited a church where one of our leaders is an elder. We went out into his city and did some one-on-one evangelism and open-air preaching. The LGBTQ religion was finishing its month of worship toward sexuality.
Johnny and I decided to witness and preach at a local soccer stadium. The stadium had a huge rainbow-colored banner draped on the side that had the words: “Love Is Love.” Within ten minutes of me preaching, this woman came marching by, waving her rainbow flag proudly, and chanting “love is love” and “God is love.”
When she stopped in front of me to parade her flag and to tell me God is love, I asked her to please define the word love for me. She stated, “It is what makes you feel good and what that individual person determines is right at that moment.” We will finish my encounter with the love lady—that’s the nickname we will give—a little later in the article.
I want to pose a question for everyone: Do we really know what Jesus is saying when he is talking about loving our enemies and doing good to those who hate you?
Luke 6:27 But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you
Let’s get a little context with this passage first. Jesus has just finished demonstrating to his disciples all the different people who need God’s truth. Here are the three ways they saw him minister in this specific passage:
First, the religious and cultural elite,
Second, the nobodies in his culture, and
Third, his followers.
We can learn from the context that Jesus wanted to show people that they needed to be poor in spirit (broken in their deficiency of sin), longing for God’s will in their life, and to understand loving well— which will bring persecution in your life.
- Can you really hear what he is saying?
I was taught that one of the first key principals in communicating is to state what you are not saying. I am not talking about some weak-willed person who does not have the fortitude to stand on their conviction, so they capitulate to the latest flow of thought, which comes from popular opinion. This is what happens to people who determine their beliefs off subjective opinions, not universal objective truth. These types of people will never truly listen to anyone who opposes them because they hate objective truth. Listening well will never affect you negatively as long as what you believe is grounded in objective truth.
Listening well is a dying art. I had a dear friend of mine correct me in one of my videos he was critiquing. He said to me, Tommy, “You cut that guy off about five times.” I needed to hear that. What was I lacking? The ability to listen well. Usually, when we don’t listen well—and I am speaking from my experience—we are just wanting to bulldoze the conversation in our direction. Over the years, by God’s grace, I have become a better listener not because of my personal knowledge but because of my growth and worship of the God of truth. Let that sink in.
When you grow in your understanding of the God of truth, you can relax in any given context that you find yourself in and trust. Here is something that was revolutionary in my walking with the Lord. I don’t determine the truth but I rest in the one who does.
John 8:32, “You will know the truth and it will set you free.”
The master teacher here in Luke 6:27 is really trying to say “pay attention to what I am saying because it is counter-intuitive to human nature.” We also see this topic of listening to the Savior in Matthew 7:24.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
Notice in this text that listening is followed with direct application. Believing in Jesus will give you access to His kingdom. If we don’t listen to the Lord’s providential voice when it comes to salvation, we will never listen to our enemies.
True listening comes from people who really care about what is being said. They value the person on the other side of the voice. If you have valued the voice of the true shepherd you will value all of His image-bearers. No matter the craziness that is coming out of them. Most of the time when you let them talk, they will destroy their own argument. All they need is a little time. Just be patient and listen, then put what they are saying on display for logic to expose the contradictions.
Here is a conversation where an unbeliever snagged themselves on their own words. Start watching at the 5:30 mark, and if you are new, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. If Jesus tells us to love, how are we to define what love is?
- What is true love?
Let’s get back to my encounter with the love lady at the Red bull Soccer Stadium. She came by chanting love is love. I asked her to please define the word love for me and she said, “It is what every the person determines it to be and it makes them feel good.” Yikes! I said, “Ma’am if that is the case, the rainbow sign hanging off Reb Bull stadium should read Love is lust because that is the definition that you just gave.”
Lust is being led by your own impulses and desires, which usually end in destructive consequences. Bill Clinton lusted after Monica Lewinsky and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Freddie Mac leaders lust after money no matter how much they have to deceive to get it. The love lady told me I was going to hell. I asked why she was being so intolerant and judgmental, but she gave no answer.
I took the time to explain a cogent definition of love. It is unconditional; it sacrifices the complete picture of love; it is the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. She walked away waving her rainbow flag high with a hard heart toward the truth. When it comes to God’s love, there are no strings attached. Let me explain.
When God regenerates, you truly have the capacity to love and listen to your enemies. Unfortunately, the love lady did not want to talk to me other than shouting a very ambiguous definition of love and to tell me I was going to hell. The most loving thing for me to do in that moment was to expose her to the God who truly loves by giving His truth.
Christ loved us while we were still His enemies. We are called to believe. No strings attached. Just believe and bring your filthy works and sins to the foot of the cross. The only way you can come to this glorious gift is if God providentially opens your eyes to this amazing grace you don’t deserve. If you are reading this and you do not know Jesus, I plead with you to repent of your sins stealing, blaspheme, worshipping other gods, etc. Place your faith in the one who first loved you. Jesus.
You don’t receive this because you are good. You receive this grace because God is merciful. We don’t love our enemies because they are good to us. No. Just the opposite, they hate us; however, that’s what makes this type of love so radical. We are called to love because we were first loved. When we hated God, he still loved us.
- Doing good with no immediate satisfaction.
Doing good to our enemies may never reap instant results you can tangibly see. However, we are not called to see tangible results. We are called to radically love our enemies. God has prepared good works for us to do in advance. We are to walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
If we love well, heaven will be a place where we will receive the delayed gratification that we have been storing up in heaven. This is what Jesus was saying in Matthew’s gospel: don’t chase earthly possessions or money but seek the true treasure of loving our enemies well by doing good to them.
Matthew 6:20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
So what is your hard thing? Hard people at school, a boss who won’t quit hounding you and treating you unfairly, a wayward kid who says she hates you and what you stand for, getting mocked for sharing your faith? I don’t know what you are facing but God does. Love them and do good to them and in doing this you will glorify the God that gives the ability to love your enemies. He loved you when you were His enemy. Jesus spoke loud and clear when he said to love our enemies. I hope you have the strength to listen. Here is a great video of an example of loving your enemies. Enjoy.
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