Operating within the confines of His Father’s love, Jesus determined to lovingly confront the religious leaders of His day! He often used strong language yet had to be making an effort to reach them or else it simply just would not qualify as love. Jesus said in Matthew 5:43,44 (KJV) “You have heard that it was said ‘love your neighbor and hate your enemy, But I say unto you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Quite simply, Jesus persistently sought to prove to the religious people of His day, that they did not know God!
I have done a lot of research on various revivals. It seems like each revival is marked by something unique. During the Charles Finney Revivals of the 1800s, a large percentage of the converts by Finney’s own confession were people who felt that they were already saved. Charles Finney, who was trained as a lawyer, would take the Word of God and read it as a covenant in his sermons. He showed plainly that each party had a responsibility and that as man fulfilled his part God then would do His.
As he did so the Holy Spirit would fall on people and they would come under great conviction and repentance. Conversion experiences were nothing like those of modern-day church services. People would sometimes even weep all night over the revelation of their sinfulness in the eyes of a Holy God. A simple study on the subject would lead anyone to ask questions about today’s conversions. Today we encourage people to say a brief prayer and sign a decision card. There could never be any inward transformation in anyone’s heart with such a shallow time of prayer. Is it any wonder that little change is ever witnessed in many of the lives of today’s Christians?
If Jesus were to address a group of today’s religious leaders and were to confront them with this heart searching question what do you think the reply would be? If He were to say to them, “Hey guys and gals let’s put your Christian love to a test. How are you doing in the category of loving your enemy?” When we read His injunction to love our enemies do we assume that Jesus was just creating some sort of a metaphor, or that perhaps He was setting up a unique parable? Or did Jesus know that if any believer truly sought God enough, with due diligence, that they would be filled to the max with the Spirit of God, and that then with that power, love their enemies?
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Nolan Harkness