Love God By Loving Our Enemy (Traditional / P&P)

May 22, 2022 | Aldersgate Weekend | Traditional / Prayer & Praise Services

Bishop Dr Gordon Wong
Love God By Loving Our Enemy (Traditional / P&P)

May 22, 2022 | Aldersgate Weekend | Traditional / Prayer & Praise Services

Bishop Dr Gordon Wong

Scripture Passage: 2 Chronicles 28:8-15 (NRSV)

WATCH | SERMON (VIDEO)

READ | SERMON NOTES

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Summary l John Wesley’s heart felt strangely warmed at Aldersgate in 1738. While some churches prefer to emphasise the head for correct thinking, and others the hands for correct doing, Methodists should stress the heart for correct feeling. Most of us would agree that head, heart and hands are equally important. Indeed, our Lord Jesus commanded us to love God with our heart, mind and strength together. However, with the approach of Aldersgate Day our focus is on the heart or our feelings. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, it was compassion which moved the Samaritan to stop and help the injured man. These good feelings led the Samaritan to good actions in providing first aid and more.

Why did Jesus choose to make a Samaritan the good example of compassion and good deeds of mercy? Here are two guesses:-

First, perhaps Jesus was inspired by an earlier good Samaritan story. (2 Chronicles 28) The Samaritan Israelites had killed 120 thousand soldiers from Judah, captured 200 thousand women and children and seized the spoils of war. On returning to Samaria, the Prophet Oded scolded the Samaritan army. Their cruel rage in killing so many, had reached up to heaven and made God angry. The captives must be returned to Judah, or God’s anger will fall on Samaria. The prophet urged the Samaritan soldiers not to treat their brothers from Judah so cruelly. (v11) Like the Samaritans, we are all sinners guilty of sins against God. (v10) When we are suffering for our sins, we too hope for some compassion and mercy. So how can we treat our brothers and sisters with such contempt?

The compassionate response of the Samaritan soldiers was incredible. They turned out to be good Samaritans. The captives were returned to Jericho, fed, clothed, anointed with oil and the weak transported on donkeys. (v15) Similar language is found in Jesus’ parable. The good Samaritan also applied healing ointment on the injured man, and brought him safely to Jericho on a donkey.

Both stories urge us to feel compassion and to show kindness to people who are suffering. We are all brothers and sisters, fellow human beings and all sinners. We should treat each other with compassion. When the Jewish religious leaders were debating whether to stone a woman who had committed adultery, Jesus preferred to show compassion. He challenged any of the religious leaders without sin, to be the first to throw a stone. Similarly, the Prophet Oded had reminded the Samaritans that they were also guilty of sins against God.

Jesus’ Good Samaritan story is set in the context of ordinary relationships in daily life. It focuses on our social or cultural enemies. This is the second guess as to why Jesus chose a Samaritan to be the hero of his story. At that time, the Jews and Samaritans were social or cultural enemies. They had fought wars and had bitter theological differences. There was a deep hatred and fear between them. Even though Jesus personally experienced animosity from the Samaritans (Luke 9: 52-53), the ‘neighbour’ in the parable was a Samaritan and not the priest or Levite.

When a Bible scholar asked Jesus who his neighbour was, the parable challenged the scholar to accept the Samaritans (his social, cultural and theological enemy) as neighbours whom God wanted him to love.

Similarly, our Lord Jesus commands us today to love God by loving our neighbour. Jesus is saying, if you really love me, love your neighbour, even if he is your enemy.

(Sermon notes by Denis Koh)


PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS

  1. How has the Holy Spirit spoken to you through the preaching of God’s word? (2 Chronicles 28).
  2.  What can we learn about God in this passage?
  3. Bishop Wong asked in his sermon – “Who is our enemy?” – Share with your small group where you felt led and comfortable: “Who is your enemy?”
  4. May our hearts be strangely warmed to love God by loving our enemies. Take time to:
    • Pause and ponder – What is God’s personal invitation to you? 
    • Share and pray for one another.
Posted by Wesley Communications Team
Posted by Wesley Communications Team

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