We are now in Part 6 of our Sermon Series on Kingdom Living in Matthew 5. This is the last antithesis of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. An antithesis is an opposite statement. For example, we say, “I love you; I hate you.” The statement, “I hate you,” is the antithesis or the opposite words of, “I love you.” The last antithesis in Jesus’ sermon is in Matt. 5:43-47.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Back in v. 20, Jesus says that unless our righteousness exceeds the righteousness of religious people, you will never enter the Kingdom of God. Then Jesus gives several examples of the greater kind of righteousness. Stop becoming angry at someone, for it is murder (vv. 21-26). Stop lusting after a woman, for it is adultery (vv. 27-30). Don’t divorce your wife, for you make her commit adultery (vv. 31-32). Remember that these are required of the followers of Christ only, members of the Kingdom of God. They are not required of those who reject Christ.
Now Jesus commands us to love your enemies. To love our enemies is the higher kind of righteousness. To love our enemies is expected of us in the kingdom.
I have outlined this teaching of Jesus into five points.