acresofhope: (the eyes)
Well, a few days ago I talked about something that made me really happy, and now, I will tell you what is was. Which is why the subject of this post is the rest of the lyric from A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes. All of it wouldn't fit in the last subject. Neat how that worked out.

I listened to part one and two of "But I Say to You, Love Your Enemies". Somehow, no matter the subject he's teaching on, this guy ends up going back to the gospel. To him, it's central to everything and to take your eyes off grace for a moment is setting yourself up for disobedience.

But I'm getting off track.

The very first word of the Sermon on the Mount—and this is no mistake—is, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." We don't enter the kingdom of heaven because of the moral resources that we bring; we enter by confessing with tears our poverty of spirit.

In Mark 10:15 Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all." It is a gift to the poor in spirit who are broken and childlike and have no airs of self-sufficiency.

In Mark 2:17 Jesus said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." We enter the kingdom poor in spirit, helpless as a child, sick and in need of a spiritual physician.

This is what Jesus was doing when he ate with tax collectors and sinners—he was pursuing the poor and the helpless and the sick. And the self-sufficient murmured, "This man receives sinners and eats with them" (Luke 15:2). And when they said that, Jesus told them the parable of the prodigal son. And the point was: I don't eat with sinners because I like sin. I eat with sinners because I am the love of God welcoming home poor, helpless, diseased sinners—forgiving them, cleansing them, making them new, and sending them out to love in the power of God.

Which is why he could say to the priests and elders in Matthew 21:31, "Truly I say to you that the tax-gatherers and harlots are going into the kingdom of God before you."

How can this be: sinners and harlots going into the kingdom of God? The bottom line answer Jesus gave: "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). He came to die for them—for us.


I was sitting there, listening to his words (which are only summarized in the transcript) and getting excited, especially the parts about being sick and "prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you." (Matt 21:31 ESV) Now I was never a prostitute, but I was close enough to it to identify with that. I was so excited that I jumped up out of my seat and was like "Me! That's me!"

As soon as I did it, I realized how crazy I must have looked. How odd is it to say "Yay, I'm a sick whore!" I mean, I'm certainly not happy that I have all these issues or that I'm so bent to let Him down. I guess the part I'm happy about is that I know He has forgiven me, and I know He has, in one sense, cleansed me, and in another sense, is still cleansing me and making me new.

I guess that's the whole point of the sermon though, isn't it? Jesus loved His enemies. How can you claim to follow someone like that, who is perfect and has every right to hate His enemies, and not love your own enemies? Sounds pretty impossible to me. Maybe it'd be a gradual thing, but you'd love your enemies.
acresofhope: (at His feet)
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:9-21 ESV


I have just finished listening to a sermon from John Piper on these verses. Boy, does this hit home. Yet another ouch moment.

I don't even know how to respond to this. I have complained and, most likely, repaid evil for evil. And even now, I am tempted to excuse myself by saying not that it is not in the way that some would think I have. It really doesn't matter which way I have. I shouldn't have, plain and simple.

I want to obey this now, even if I haven't been...but where does the genuineness come from? How do I genuinely bless and not curse? I don't know how to do that! All I can do is fall on my face before God and scream, "PLEASE, TEACH ME!" and hope, with a Biblical kind of hope that is better described as expectation, for a miracle.

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acresofhope

April 2010

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