Passage: Matthew 5:33
- Entering God's family is only through adoption, which he paid for fully in Christ - we contribute nothing.
- But belonging to God's family as disciples costs us our very lives and allegiance to follow Jesus.
- Jesus redefines "neighbor" to include enemies - his kingdom operates by loving enemies, radical counter to the world.
- This doesn't deny God's just judgments in the OT, but Jesus ushers in a new way of overcoming evil with good.
- Loving enemies is the distinguishing mark of Christ-followers - it shows we belong to a radical kingdom.
- We fail at this - harboring anger rather than understanding for those different than us politically, etc.
- The Table invites all who trust Jesus despite earthly divisions - it represents the unifying grace of the gospel.
- Apologizing for representing the kingdom poorly is important - shining Christ attracts, religious superiority repels.
- Do you think Christians have done a good job of "loving enemies" and blessing opponents versus just loving "neighbors"? Why or why not?
- What makes it so countercultural to love across sharp political/cultural divides? What tends to happen instead?
- How have you wrestled with hard OT passages about destruction of enemies versus Jesus' teaching to love enemies?
- Why does love of enemies set Christians apart? How might this kind of radical love overcome evil?
- When have you seen "in house" fighting amongst Christians undermine our witness more than unbelievers?
- How can we have conviction but communicate it with Christlike grace and patience versus pride or condemnation?