This year we have covered the first nineteen chapters of The Gospel According To Matthew. In the previous post, we concluded the parable in Matthew chapter 20. Here was the summary:
Jesus told a parable that pulled together everything stated in Matthew chapters 18 and 19. Those two chapters showed us the reason why we don't see God's Will on earth as it is in Heaven...because we OPPOSE God. We follow our own understanding and traditions instead of God's Word.
This parable presented "friends of God" that end up murmuring against Him because the individuals followed their own traditions instead of God's Word!
After this parable, the Gospel According to Matthew changed its focus. However, before we change our focus, I would like to spend this week covering some doctrine.
In verse 13, the householder used the word "friend".
This week, we will look at the meanings of the words "enemy" and "friend"....let's begin with "enemy".
The most telling passage from the Bible concerning enemies is:
"27 But I say unto you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you,
28 bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.
29 To him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and from him that taketh away thy cloak withhold not thy coat also.
30 Give to every one that asketh 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.
32 And if ye love them that love you, what thank have ye? for even sinners love those that love them.
33 And if ye do good to them that do good to you, what thank have ye? for even sinners do the same.
34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? even sinners lend to sinners, to receive again as much.
35 But love your enemies, and do them good, and lend, never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil." (Luke 6:27-35)
We have talked a lot about LOVE on this blog. Here are the posts making up the Series on LOVE:
Love is the Ultimate Effect
What it means to say, "I love you"
The passage above from Luke showed Jesus' definition of LOVE was "giving without expecting anything back from the one to which you gave".
Notice also, Jesus said to give to everyone and let them decide if they were an enemy or not. YOU don't decide who the enemy is. You give. If they give back, then they are not an enemy. If they don't give back AT ALL, then they are an enemy.
Your enemy is someone who does not give back AT ALL when you initiate giving to him.
During the Love Series, we saw one reason you would not expect a person to give back to you is because you owe him. We are not talking about that situation in this post. We are talking about a situation where you initiate giving...and they don't give back at all.
Before we continue, allow me to present a convention I will be using. As we have seen on this blog, our culture (man-made tradition) defines certain words one way, while God's Word defines the word a different way. I don't expect you to cease using the word according to our culture, however, the presentation of these principles can get confusing...
I will be using the words "Friend" and "Enemy" to denote the definitions according to God's Word...and "friend" and "enemy" to denote the definitions according to our culture (man-made tradition).
Now, looking at the definition of Enemy...
God does NOT determine who His Enemy is! The individual does! This goes against Calvinism and most of what is taught in church today. God first gives to EVERYONE...and each person determines if they are an Enemy of God's (or not) by whether they give back to God.
Notice, someone can be my Enemy AND NOT your Enemy...even if you and I are in Fellowship.
An Enemy is someone with whom you have ONE-WAY Sharing. You give and they don't give back to you AT ALL. This is a relatively small group of people for each individual.
This means, it looks as if EVERYONE else is in a huge abstract group...composed of sinners, believers, people we are in Fellowship with, Friends, etc.
In fact, this other group includes people we share with at Interaction, Connection, Relationship, Fellowship...and I would say Marriage, both IS and OUGHT.
Your Enemy is someone who does not give back AT ALL when you initiate giving to him.
We do not determine our Enemies...the individual determines whether he is our Enemy by his response to our giving to him.
When the definition is seen in this light, it seems very few people are actually our Enemy. The rest of the people fall into a huge abstract group.
However, the Bible speaks of another relatively small group of people called Friends. Friends are a small subset of this huge abstract group...