Like Our Father

 
 
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Website Copy:Our world is SO divided right now.  I don’t know about you, but I find myself struggling with anger and a constant bad attitude.  This week, I want to share how Jesus is changing that in me and what He can do to help you too as we look at just what it is that God cares about.  Tune in! Need prayer? visit my.oswegochristian.com/pray to post a request.Subscribe to our podcast on your phone to automatically have new messages downloaded weekly: in iTunes (http://my.oswegochristian.com/iTunes) or Android (http://my.oswegochristian.com/Google)

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OPENING:We live in a SUPER polarized world right now.  -it used to just be democrat or republican -now it’s covid a conspiracy or covid the real deal -I love trump, I hate trump
There are literally marriages that have had stress put on them because the husband doesn’t think this is that big of a deal as he hangs out with his buddies and the wife is now afraid for their family..
It’s crazy…
We are divided and the problem is We’re not just divided – we’re angry Because we’ve been locked up and in lock down…
How do you respond to those people that make you mad? the people who seem like idiots to you?
Let me ask you a different question, because my guess is you are nice to them to their face.
How do you talk about them when they are not around?
ILLUSTRATION: When I was a kid, my dad was a huge republican.  I had this 6th grade teacher, Mr. Cronkite.  He was the coolest science teacher ever.  We had paper airplanes contests, and made rubber band powered cars.  We learned all the bones in the body and to say the parts of the heart as the blood flowed through them in under 5 seconds.  He was the first teacher that made me love learning.  But he was a democrat. 
My dad called him the commy. “What’d that commy teach you today?”
Ha
That’s what we do, right?  As Kansas’ we are nice to your face and call you names and make fun of you behind your back…
ILLUSTRATION: I have to tell you as I’ve gotten older, this is one of the things that I’ve really struggled with.  I’ve gotten more set in my ways.  I know what I like and what I don’t and I don’t like having the things I like threatened…
I’m just plain ol’ meaner -if my kids get picked on at school My natural reaction is to tell them to just punch that kid in the face…
I’m just being honest with you here…
But that’s not what Jesus said for us to do…
Actually, Jesus’ Ethic was SO much harder than that… listen
Matthew 5:43-4843 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Love your neighbor is an old testament command – but Hate your enemies seems to be one of those tags people added into it…
-it’s like when you tell your kids that a speed limit just just a suggestion… -it combines the law with how we all really play out the law…
but then Jesus says one of the hardest things anyone has ever asked of someone..
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute youTake all the nicety out of this teaching – all the lovey dovey Jesus picture you have of it. Instead, picture the worst moment from your life… -The person who devastated your family -The boss who laid you open in front of all your coworkers -The person who relentlessly made fun of you for believing in God
Whoever it is, what ever situation it is -What Jesus is asking of us goes way beyond
“Don’t call democrats commy’s”
It’s not “Don’t be mean to people you don’t like” instead It’s “love your enemies and pray for those who mistreat you” Seriously, who does He think He is to ask that of us?
Here it is thoughJesus is telling you what God cares about…Did you hear what He said?44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
why do we do this? It’s because we are kids wanting to be like our Father
ILLUSTRATION: Have you ever seen a little kid working with their dad – a little boy helping him with mowing or changing the oil, acting out the part of being like their father?
That’s what Jesus is calling us to “If you want to be like the Father, this is the path”
why? Because somehow – God brings himself to cause the sun to rise on the evil and the good He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous
That means that somehow, God hold back the judgement that people deserve to allow them to experience blessing they don’t deserve Sun, brings heat and growth to crops Rain brings moisture and quenches your thirst
Jesus is saying, God is giving us all a taste of the goodness of His blessing…
People often ask the question of how God could let bad things happen to good people I don’t know why no-one asks the question of how God could let good things happen to bad people
seriously… God’s patients, hoping that we will just maybe turn to Him and find real life is unfathomable.
So, here’s my question, that I think is inherent in Jesus’ teachingIf God is willing to withhold judgement and condemnation of people, why can’t you?  Why can’t you pray, and love?
I have to tell you, that hits me right between the eyes…  -am I willing to truly love people like God loves them…
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: It’s easy to believe this was just a nicety that Jesus preached, except when He was on the cross, do you remember the prayer He prayed?  “Father Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing…”
Jesus was on a cross, nails through his hands and feet, dying as a criminal, literally dying for these men who were so wickedly cruel to Him.  And in that moment, when they weren’t even asking for forgiveness.  He asked for it for them. 
It is literally the hardest prayer ever prayed… And yet, Jesus was able to look past and love them.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be more like Jesus.  I want to learn to be able to pray for those who mistreat me and to love my enemies… 
So, who is it that you need to say to God, “Father forgive them?”  I know for some of you that’s easier said than done.  It doesn’t mean what they did was alright, it means that you are going to be like your father

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