A Pharisee invited Jesus to dinner. They were joined by an unexpected “guest”:
A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
We’re sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to the greatest sermon ever preached: the Sermon on the Mount.
Today, we come to what a theologian named John Stott called the “highest point of the Sermon on the Mount.” I love how he describes it:
It is both most admired and most resented, namely the attitude of total love which Christ calls us to show towards one who is evil and our enemies. Nowhere is the challenge of the Sermon greater. Nowhere is the distinctness of the Christian counter-culture more obvious. Nowhere is our need of the power of the Holy Spirit (whose first fruit is love) more compelling.
Pray through these words with all your ♥:
Today we continue our discussion started yesterday here about one of the most famous conversations in human history. To recap, Nick, a religious leader, came to see Jesus to find out more about the man and his mission. Jesus described the necessity of a spiritual rebirth and then uttered these beautiful words, the most frequently quoted in the entire Bible:
If you had to define Christmas in one word, what would it be?
Here’s how the Bible answers that question: LOVE.
The man known as “the disciple Jesus loved” said:
Speak the truth in love. (Ephesians 4:15)
Again, that’s TRUTH in LOVE. Let’s break it down a bit, starting with TRUTH.
According to one survey, a whopping 91% of Americans lie “routinely” (assuming they weren’t lying when they responded). Here’s what the Bible says
A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin. (Proverbs 26:28)
An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. (Proverbs 24:26)
In other words, lies are hateful but TRUTH is like heavenly smooches.
Jesus took it even further. Here’s what he said about Satan:
When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
Don’t be like Satan. Be like Jesus. Speak the TRUTH.
OK, so what about the LOVE part? Over and over the Bible tells us to use words to build, not to destroy:
Encourage one another and build each other up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
How often should we encourage one another?
Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)
Times are tough out there. People are hurting. Ask God to help you encourage as many of your fellow humans as possible today. And tomorrow. And each day after that.
Encourage your spouse. Encourage your kids. Encourage your parents. Encourage your friends. Encourage your co-workers. Encourage your boss. Encourage your dentist. Encourage your gastroenterologist.
The possibilities are endless.
We’ll close today with some other LOVE words:
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)
An anxious heart weighs a man down but a kind word cheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)
Once more, with feeling:
SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE.
(Source: James Patterson & Peter Kim, The Day America Told the Truth (Prentice-Hall, 1991))
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