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The Scriptorium

Neighbor Love (1)

Even your enemies are your neighbor. Luke 6.27-31

Luke 6: Part 2 (2)

Pray Psalm 52.8, 9.
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
I will praise You forever,
Because You have done it;
And in the presence of Your saints
I will wait on Your name, for it is good.

Sing Psalm 52.8, 9.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
“But as for me may I be seen in God an olive ever green!
Ever in God, most kind and just, shall I with joy and gladness trust!”

Thanks evermore to our Savior be raised! His faithfulness be ever praised!
Here with Your people, loving God, I wait upon Your Name, so good!

Read Luke 6.1-31; meditate on verses 27-31.

1. Whom did Jesus command us to love?

2. By what standard should we love our neighbors?

Jesus is outlining the good works that characterize those who are blessed to know Him and receive His Kingdom. The essence of those good works comes down to loving our neighbors as we love ourselves (v. 31; cf. Matt. 22.34-40).

It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Jesus describes neighbor love in the most difficult of terms – loving those who hate or wrong us. Why must we love them? Because God does (v. 35) and, as His children and subjects, we must strive to refract His love into the world. To love this way requires supernatural power – the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5.22, 23). But we will not realize those gifts or that power unless we first make up our mind that loving our neighbors, be they ever so unlovable, is what we must do.

Whether they hate and curse us, spitefully use us, strike us on the cheek, steal from us, or otherwise take advantage of us, we must love our enemies. We must treat them not by the way they treat us but by the way we would like to be treated (v. 31). If we can love our enemies like this, loving our friends will be much easier.

And note that the love we must show our enemies is no mere attitude; it entails actions. Doing good, praying for, suffering abuse, exerting or depriving ourselves. Love gives and endures, expecting nothing in return (v. 30). We will only love this way as we keep our eyes on Jesus and His Word in our heart, and as we practice day by day loving the people in our Personal Mission Field, no matter how reprehensible they may be.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The Law found in Exodus 20.1-17 starts with our relationship to God, then moves into family. All ten commandments deal with familial relationships, but then these same commandments must be applied to those outside the family and even outside the faith.

Jesus’ command to us in Luke 6.27-31 includes God, family, friends, and enemies. There are no special opt-out clauses for the exceptionally irritating.

“Some people are easier to love from a distance,” our friend Pat Hunter used to say. But when we can’t keep our distance, we may find that some of the living are really hard to love up close and personal.

1 Corinthians 13 sums up our goal for love. In action. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Lk. 6.27). Yes, that kind of love and that kind of good. And really, without Jesus Christ fueling that love in us, it is truly impossible to do. But “with God nothing will be impossible” (Lk. 1.37).

Under our breath, instead of cursing these folks, we bless them. And pray for them (Lk. 6.28).

We willingly accept more abuse than is inflicted on us, and we give more than what is taken from us. (Lk. 6.29).

Who does this? Who even wants to attempt this? Only those who know we belong to Jesus, and that Jesus has given His all for us. He died for us when we were to Him His enemies (Rom. 5.8). Just like the people we find so very hard to love. We were those people to Him. And yet. He loved us.

And Jesus says to us, This style of life, this way of living is the way to joy. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friend. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you” (Jn. 15.11-14). And we’re back to Exodus 20.1-17.

This is a joyful life worth dying for. First to self, then for others.
“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise (Lk. 6.31).

For reflection
1. Discipleship comes down to loving God and neighbors. What is your approach to growing in each of these areas?

2. Why must neighbor love include love for those who oppose us?

3. Love is not just an attitude or a feeling. Love is action. What actions of love do you anticipate taking today?

To love friends is the custom for all people, but to love enemies is customary only for Christians. Tertullian (155-250), To Scapula 1

Pray Psalm 52.1-7.
Pray for those who persecute the Church in various parts of the world, that they might see God’s love for them and, in the light of His goodness, come to repentance and faith in Jesus (Rom. 2.4)

Sing Psalm 52.1-7.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Why do the mighty boast in sin? God’s love endures, it knows no end!
They with their tongues vain boasts repeat, and like a razor, work deceit.

Men more than good in evil delight, and lies prefer to what is right.
They utter words, both harsh and strong, with their devouring, deceitful tongue.

God will forever break them down, uproot, and cast them to the ground!
He from their safety tears them away, no more to know the light of day.

The righteous see and laugh and fear, and say, “Behold, what have we here?
Such are all who at God conspire, and wealth and evil ways desire.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by
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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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