Morning Sermon: Be Merciful, Even As Your Father Is Merciful, Luke 6:27-36

Old Testament Reading: Leviticus 19:1–18, 33–37

“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God. Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the LORD your God. When you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD, you shall offer it so that you may be accepted. It shall be eaten the same day you offer it or on the day after, and anything left over until the third day shall be burned up with fire. If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is tainted; it will not be accepted, and everyone who eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he has profaned what is holy to the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from his people. When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God. You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning. You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD. You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD… [Verse 33] When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. And you shall observe all my statutes and all my rules, and do them: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:1–18, 33–37, ESV)

New Testament Reading: Luke 6:27-36

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:27–36, ESV)


Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church but without the benefit of proofreading.


As we move forward in our consideration of Jesus’ sermon on the plane, we should remember a few things that were stated in the sermon that I preached on the previous passage. 

One, do not forget Jesus’ audience. He directed these sayings, not to the non-believing world, but to his disciples. This does not mean that the principles stated here have no significance or application for the non-beliving world. But it does mean that what Jesus said was first and foremost for his disciples. He called his disciples to himself, fixed his eyes on them, and spoke these words (Luke 6:20).  

Two, do not forget what the sermon on the plane is. Here we find ethical teachings from Jesus. Here Jesus tells his followers how they are to live in the world. The Chritian faith is a way of life, remember. Yes, it is a way of believing. But it is not only that. It is also a way of living.  Christians, having belived what the Bible says, and having placed their faith or trust in Jesus, are then to walk in a particular way. They are to walk in the way of Christ. They are to obey God’s moral law. They are to adopt these ethical teaching of Jesus and live according to them. christ Everyone is to do that. But here Jesus gives special instructions to his disciples concerning the way in which they are to walk in this world.  

Three, do not forget what the previous passage said. Jesus began his sermon on the plane by declaring his followers to be blessed. And he did not only say that they were blessed, he gave the reasons. Followers of Jesus are truly blessed because the eternal kingdom of God belongs to them. They are forgiven and made righteous in God’s sight through faith in Jesus. They will enter heaven when they die. They will enter the new heavans and earth when Christ returns to judge and make all things new.  So then, those who follow Jesus have reason to rejoice even if they are poor, hungry, mourning, and despised by men presently in this world. Christ spoke to his followers saying, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!” (Luke 6:22, ESV). And then he commanded them to ‘Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets” (Luke 6:22–23, ESV). So then, those who have faith in Jesus are to have this mindset. They must see and know that they are blessed in Christ. And then, being convinced of this, they are to rejoice, even in the face of persecution. They must see himselves as blessed and also know that those not in Christ are in a woeful condition. This is true even if they are rich, comfortable, and honored by others in this world. The whole passage that we considered last week was about adopting this heavenly and eternal mindset. And the mindset was to result in rejoicing. 

Brothers and sisters, I want you to see that the passage we considered last Sunday (Luke 6:20-26), and the passage we are considering today (Luke 6:27-36), are intimately related. In the previous passage, Jesus declared his followers (who gave up the things of this world to follow him) to be blessed, and he pronounced woes on those wicked who choose the riches, pleasures, and prestige of this world over devotion to Christ. Jesus’ followers are blessed even when they suffer persecution at the hands of the wicked. The question that naturally follows is this: how should the disciples of Jesus treat the wicked? What should their attitude or disposition be towards those who exclude, revile, and persecute them? How is the follower of Jesus to relate to those who refuse to follow after Christ, and even do them harm? Is this not the question that naturally arises? If it is true that the disciples of Jesus will suffer persecutions in the world of the kind described in Luke 6:22, then how are Christians to treat their enemies? Are we to exchange evil for evil, blow for blow, insult for insult, curse for curse? Listen again to the words of Jesus. “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27–28, ESV).

Speaking of abuse… this passage that we are considering today has often been abused. Some have run to this passage to support the idea that civil authorities ought not to punish murderers with the death penalty. “Love your enemies”, Jesus says. “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” And so they pick up this text that was addressed to Jesus’ disciples and apply it to the civil magistrate. Others have used this text to teach that Christians should never defend themselves, attempt to escape their abusers, or demand restitution when some damage has been done to their person or property. After all, Jesus says, “To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either”, or so the argument does. And others have taught that Christians cannot serve in the military or in our judicial system, for serving in these spheres naturally requires the Christian to violate the principles that Jesus here teaches his disciples. 

Clearly, these are misinterpretations and misapplications of this text. One, these interpretations of the text ignore the very specific context of Jesus’ words. He was speaking to his followers regarding how they are to view and relate to personal enemies. This text is not about how a civil magistrate is to relate to a convicted criminal, how a military man is to relate to an enemy force, or how a homeowner, husband, and father is to relate to a dangerous intruder. Yes, there are principles here that may be applied even in situations like these. But the text does not teach the non-aggression principle, as some have claimed, for Jesus has personal enemies and enduring persecution for the Son of Man’s sake in view when he says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Two, whatever Jesus says here about loving your enemies cannot contradict what the Scriptures say elsewhere. And a careful examination of the Scriptures reveals that God has given the civil magistrate the authority to punish the criminal even with the sword (see Romans 13), that Christians may serve in the civil realm and even in the military (see Luke 3:14), and that self-defense is permitted. In fact, in Luke 22:36 Jesus speaks to his disciples, saying,  “And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36, ESV). This is not a reference to the sword of the civil magistrate, but the sword of self-defense. Christians are certainly permitted to defend their person and property against violent men and thieves.  

What then is Jesus teaching here?  He is instructing his disciples concerning the mindset or attitude they are to have towards their personal enemies and even their persecutors. And of course, this mindset or attitude will result in a way of life. So then, just as the mindset about being eternally blessed in Christ (as was taught in the previous passage) is to produce rejoicing in the believer, so too the love that we have for our enemies in the heart is to result in showing mercy and doing good even to those who mistreat us. Here Jesus commands his followers to love their enemies and to be merciful to them, for in this way they will show themselves to be “sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:35).

In just a moment, we will consider this text piece by piece. But before we do, I would like to pause and acknowledge that this teaching is very challenging. We should admit that our natural (sinful) inclination is not to love our enemies but to hate them. Our natural (sinful) proclivity is to retaliate against those who do us harm. We have all felt the desire to get even, to exchange blow for blow, and insult for insult. But this is not the way of Christ. Remember, the Christian faith is a way of life. And this is not the way that Christ has commanded his followers to walk. Friend, are you a disciple of Jesus? A disciple is a learner, remember? And if you are a disciple of Jesus you are not only to learn true doctrine from him. You are also to learn to walk in his way. Or to use the language of John, “By this we may know that we are in [Christ]: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:5–6, ESV).

Let us go now to our text. We will consider it in three parts. First of all, we will look at the command that Christ gives to his disciples to love their enemies (vs. 27-31). Secondly, we will consider what the Lord said about this being a distinguishing characteristic of the Christian (vs. 32-34). And thirdly, we will consider the motivation we have to love our enemies, namely, the glory of God and our eternal good. 


Love Your Enemies

First, Christ commands his disciples to love their enemies. In verse 27 we hear the voice of our Savior: “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies…” This is a commandment. Christ commands his followers to walk in this way: they are to love their enemies. To love is to have affection or concern for another person. And Christ is here commanding that his followers to have a kind of affection and concern for their enemies. I do not take this to mean that we must have the same kind (or degree) of affection and concern for our enemies as parents have for their children, or as husbands and wives have for oneanother, or as brothers and sisters in Christ have for eachother. I think it is understood that there will always be differing degrees of affection and concern for others depending on the relationship. But the command of Christ is clear and unwavering: “Love your enemies”, Christ says. As you think of your enemies, or as you look at your enemy, you are to love them. You are to have affection (or sympathy) for them. You are to be concerned for their well-being – especially their eternal well-being.    

The command to love your enemies is the primary command in this passage. What does Jesus command his followers to do as it pertains to their relationship with those who mistreat them? They are to love their enemies. But you will notice that this primary command is followed by seven subordinate commands. And these all clarify what Jesus means when he says, “love your enemies”. Ok, Jesus. So you are saying that I am to love my enemies. I am to have a kind of affection and concern for them. But how am I to treat them? What is this love to look like practically speaking  

Next, Christ says, “do good to those who hate you…” Does someone hate you? Do they hate you because you are a follower of Jesus and because you walk in the way? Then love them in return, and do good to them. 

I think of Paul’s words to the church in Rome. He wrote to them, saying, “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 12:19–21, ESV). If someone hates you and does evil to you, as a Christian, you are not to avenge yourself. Instead, you are to leave the vengeance to the Lord, and you are to do good to your enemy. If he’s “hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink”. And when Paul says you will “heap burning coals on his head” (quoting Proverbs 25:22), he means that you will get your enemies’ attention this way.  

“Love your enemies”, Jesus commands. And by this, he means, we are to “do good to those who hate” us. Next, he commands his followers to “bless those who curse” them. To curse is to speak against. To bless is to speak well of. When an enemy curses you, brothers and sisters – or to use the language from the previous passage – when your enemy reviles you and spurns your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! (Luke 6:22, ESV), you are not to curse in return but to bless. You are to answer your enemy’s hateful speech with kind speech. You are even to ask God to do something good for that person, for that is what means to pronounce a blessing on another.

The third sub-command, following the main command to “love your enemies”, is found at the end of verse 28: “pray for those who abuse you”, Christ says. The Greek word translated as “abuse” can also be translated with a variety of English words. Other translations say,  “mistreat”, “spitefully use”, and “falsely accuse”. How is the Christian to respond to mistreatment? They are to pray for their abuser. Notice, the text does not say that the Christian is to enable the abuser, or that Christians must not remove themselves from the abuser so as to escape the abuse (think of how often Paul fled from persecution in a given city). But the Christians is called to pray for those who mistreat them. We are to be like our Lord who cried out to the Father on the cross, and prayed for those who crucified him, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34, ESV). 

The fourth sub-command is found in verse 29: “To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either” (Luke 6:29, ESV). The command is found in the phrase, “offer the other also”. A slap to the face is an act of disrespect. It is not a full-blown assault with the intent to do bodily harm. If the intent were to do serious physical harm, the hand would not be open but closed. So then, Christ is here teaching that a Christian should be willing to accept disrespect and loss for the sake of maintaining a Christian witness. 

Christ does not here forbid self-defense in a general sense. Instead, he teaches that a Christain must be willing to endure mistreatment, especially for the sake of Christ and the gospel. If someone slaps you on the cheek, especially if it is because you follow Jesus, then do not retaliate. Turn the other cheek to them, which is a sign of your willingness to endure mistreatment in Jesus’ name.  

Listen to Peter’s teaching on this point. In 1 Peter 2:19 we read, “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:19–23, ESV). 

The fifth and sixth sub-commands are found in verse 30: “Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back” (Luke 6:30, ESV). Again, I must offer a word of caution. I do not believe that Christ is here saying that we must give to every beggar who asks for a handout. It may be that we have legitimate concerns that the money we give would be used, not for good, but for evil. And we must not forget what Paul says, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10, ESV). Indeed, we are to be wise with the resources that God has given to us. We are not to squander those resources or enable others in their addictions, etc. In context, Jesus is teaching that if an enemy of ours is in some legitimate need and he pleads with us for help, we must respond generously. We are not to hold back if it is within our power and if it is our place to meet the need. And in situations where our goods are taken from us (the context being persecution on account of Christ), we are not to demand to have our goods returned to us. Again I say, this is not common theft, but some form of persecution that is in view. And in situations like these, the Christian is to suffer the wrong. We are not to seek revenge. We are not to be driven by angry and vindictive passions. 

The seventh sub-command is special. It has been referred to as the golden rule. It is a law of sorts which clearly communicates what it means to love another person. Sometimes it might be unclear as to what exactly our duty is to another person, but this law is light to our feet: “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” (Luke 6:31, ESV). Do you wish that people would treat you with kindness and respect? Do you wish that people would help you if you were in some need? Then treat others in this way – yes, even your enemies. The question we must ask is, how would I want to be treated in this situation? And then we are commanded to treat others in that same way. 

To summarize this entire section, I’ll quote from the commentator J.C. Ryle again, just as I did in the previous sermon. His words are succinct and clear. 

“In the first place our Lord explains the nature and extent of Christian charity. The disciples might ask, Whom are we to love? He bids them ‘love their enemies, do good to them that hate them, bless them that curse them, and pray for them that despitefully use them.’ Their love was to be like his own towards sinners – unselfish, disinterested, and uninfluenced by any hope for return. – What was to be the manner of this love? the disciples might ask. It was to be self-sacrificing and self-denying. ‘Unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other’ – ‘Him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.’ They were to give up much, and endure much, for the sake of showing kindness and avoiding strife. They were to forego even their rights, and submit to wrong, rather than awake angry passions and create quarrels. In this they were to be like their Master, long-suffering, meek, and lowly in heart.”

Brothers and sisters, I’m afraid that this teaching from our Lord is often neglected today. The Christian faith is a way of life, and the way is to be marked by love – self-sacrificing love – yes, even love for our enemies.  


This Is A Distinguishing Characteristic Of A Disciple

After Christ commands his disciples to love even their enemies, he teaches that this is to be a defining characteristic of his followers. 

In verse 32 we read, “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.”

So you can see that Christ calls his disciples to a higher way. Even the non-beliving and unregenerate will love those who love them, do good to those who do good to them, and lend to those who will surely repay. But Christ calls his disciples to a higher way of life. You see, the unregenerate are willing to live according to the works principle. I’ll love you, so long as you are worthy, is the idea. If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. But the follower of Christ is called higher. The love and mercy we show is to be unmerited. I’ll love you, not because you are worthy – not because you have earned my love – but because Christ has commanded it. I’ll scratch your back knowing that you will likely never scratch mine. More than this, I will bless you even if you curse me. I’ll do good to you even if you do evil to me. This is a higher way of life. It is a way of life characterized by unconditional love. 

You know, we use the phrase “unconditional love”, and “unconditional grace” often within the church. What does it mean? It means that God’s love for us in Christ Jesus, and the common mercy that God shows even to the wicked, is not conditioned, based, or rooted in the creature, but is freely given. In other words, God’s mercy and grace it is not earned by us in any way. The love that the world has is often conditional. I’ll show respect to you so long as… That is the way of the world. But those in Christ are called to walk on a higher path by loving with a greater kind of love – unconditional love.


To Live According To The Way, Christians Must Remember That Those Who Do Not Follow Christ Live Under God’s Wrath And Curse 

The third and final observation that I have from our text has to do with motivation. The disciple of Jesus is to love their enemies for the glory of God and for their eternal good. 

Look at verse 35: “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:27–36, ESV).

I mention our eternal good because of Christ’s words, “and your reward will be great”.  It is very rewarding to live and to love in this way. Truth be told, it is rewarding now! It is a great blessing to live in this self-sacrificial way. It is a joyous thing to love others unconditionally. It is joy to give and to serve. It is not a burden, brothers and sisters, but freedom and joy. And in contrast to this, a self-centered life really a miserable life. “You’ve probably heard it say, it is more blessed to give than receive”. And this is true. To love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, brings great rewards in this life, and especially in the life to come. The disciples of Jesus who live and love in this way will store up for themselves treasures in heaven. 

When I speak of being motivated by the glory of God I mean that by living and loving in this way we will bring honor to our Father and heaven and show that we are indeed his beloved and redeemed children.  Christ said, love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return… and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” So then, those who are adopted as sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ are to imitate their heavenly Father in this way. Just as he shows mercy to all – even to the ungrateful and evil – causing it to rain on the just and unjust alike, so too the disciples of Jesus are to show love and mercy to all, yes even our enemies.



Brothers and sisters, I will move this sermon towards a close by offering a few reflections on this text.

Some of you might be able to apply this text in a very direct way. Perhaps you have a coworker, a boss, or a neighbor who mistreats you because you are a follower of Christ. Christians throughout history, and even up to this present day have endured persecution of the kind described in the previous text, and therefore, they have the opportunity to apply the teaching of our Lord in a very direct way. Love your enemies. But all of Jesus’ disciples must adopt this mindset even if they are not reviled and mistreated on account of the Son of Man (Luke 6:22). And if we have this mindset to love our enemies unconditionally and selflessly, then we will be well prepared to love everyone, especially those who are friends of ours, with the unconditional love of Christ. Brothers and sisters, love your enemies and love one another too! 

In another place, Christ said,  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35, ESV). So you see, love is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Christian. Christians are to be known for their love – unconditional, selfless love – love for their enemies, and especially their love for one another.

I want you to think of how easy it is to slip back into the works principle even in your closest and most intimate relationships. I am thinking here of the relationship between parent and child,  amongst siblings, between husbands and wives, and even within the church, member to member, and between pastors and members. You might not even be aware of it, but it is very easy to fall into the I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine mindset, or the I’ll love you so long as you are lovely error. This mindset is a relationship killer. It is selfishness at its core. It is about receiving before it is about giving. It will never produce a relationship characterized by the love and mercy of God. Instead, this mindset will produce a vicious cycle of bitterness, backbiting, and revenge. Can you picture it? One dirty look is exchanged for another. Every harsh and impatient word receives a harsh reply. Every insult is answered with an insult of equal or greater force. Over time, the heart grows cold and hard. Conditional love is cold. It is not freely or generously given. No, it is calculating. Have they earned it?, is the question. Have they pleased me enough to be worthy to receive my kindness? But unconditional love is true love. It is warm and life-giving. It is generous and free-flowing, for love and kindness are shown irrespective of merit. This is the kind of love that God shows to sinners. He is merciful even to the unrighteous. He gives good gifts even to those who hate him. And this is especially the kind of love that Christ has for his church unto salvation. He has loved us with unconditional love. He died for us while we were yet sinners. He laid down his life for his people. Though were undeserving and while we were still his enemies, Christ was crucified for us and for our salvation. While we were still rebels, he graciously and effectively called us to himself by his word and Spirit. Christians are called to love in this unconditional way. Love your enemies, brothers and sisters. And especially love one another.  

Can you imagine how wonderful the world would be if everyone loved in this unconditional way? And even if you were to imagine a world still plagued by sin, think of how good it would be if most or many would respond to personal mistreatment in a merciful and gracious manner. I suppose that most wars would cease. Certainly, personal conflicts would diminish and hearts would not be so cold. Frankly, I do not have hope for the non-beliving world. Unless the Lord shows mercy and regenerates them by his word and Spirit, and saves them through faith in Christ the Son, the world will continue to hate, take revenge on personal enemies, and love according to the question of merit or personal benefit. But the Christian is to walk in a differnt way. Therefore, we should expect to have a little taste of heaven on earth in our churches and in our homes as we love one another with the unconditional love of God. And we ought to be resolved to give the world a taste of it too as we show unconditional love and mercy even to those who mistreat us. 

And the Christian is able to love in this way. Why?

One, the Christian has experienced the unconditional love of God in Christ Jesus in the Covenant of Grace.

Two, the Christian’s heart has been renewed or regenerated by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit has made our cold, hard hearts warm and soft. 

Three, the Christian has been freed from bondage to sin in the kingdom of darkness and death and has been transferred into the kingdom of light where Jesus is Lord. The ethics are different here. 

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:7–12, ESV)

Lastly, do not forget that Christ commands his disciples to love in this way. If we are followers of Jesus, we must love as he loves. We cannot pride ourselves in having  sound doctrine and right worship and forsake love. As Paul says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing… So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13, ESV)

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