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7th Sunday after Epiphany
 

"But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"

Matthew 5:44     .

 

Texts & Discussion:
 

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18 
Psalm 119:33-40 
1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23 
Matthew 5:38-48 

 

This Week's Themes:

Love of Neighbor
Church of Christ Unite!
Being Peace-Makers

 


 

 

Children's Sermons:

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Children's Message Excerpt:

How Big is a Christian?
based on the theme of "Spiritual Growth"
by Rev. Frank Schaefer

Objective: Christian Maturity is not measured in inches or years, but in the way we share our love

Props: A measuring stick or tape.  A tall volunteer from the congregation.

Good morning boys and girls.  Today I thought we talk about spiritual growth.    I got a question for you "who is the biggest Christian in this sanctuary today?" (Let them share). Then suggest that the tallest person present (your tall volunteer) come forward, as he (or she) could be the biggest Christian around. Have the kids measure his or her height, neck, biceps, etc.). "Is this really how we can measure the Christianity of a person? . . .

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Sermons
:

  • The Power of Love, Matthew 5:43-48     (see excerpt below)
    adapted from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's sermon "Loving Your Enemies"
    by Rev. Frank Schaefer, editor
     

  • Getting Even Matthew 5:38-48       
    by Dr. David Rogne
     

  • Dealing with HostilityMatthew 5:38-42
    by Dr. David Rogne   

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Sermon Excerpt:

The Power of Love, Matthew 5:43-48
adapted from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's sermon "Loving Your Enemies"
by Rev. Frank Schaefer, editor

Certainly these are great words, but they are also difficult words. Over the centuries, many people have argued that this is an extremely difficult command. Many would say that it just isnít possible to put this command into practice.

I believe Jesus realized that itís hard to love your enemies. He realized that itís difficult to love those who seek to defeat you, those who say evil things about you. He realized that it was painfully hard, pressingly hard. But he meant those words.

We cannot dismiss this passage as an analogyóitís not an exaggeration to get a point across. The principle of loving your enemy is a basic tenant of our Lordís ministry. We would be well advised to take these words seriously and to actually live by them. And as we do, we will discover that more powerful words have not been spoken. These words are life-changing and if heeded, will give us peace and joy even in the midst of strife!

1. The first question we need to answer is: How do we actually love our enemies?
We need to understand that there is an element of good in every person, even in those who act like our enemy. So every time negative and hateful thoughts enter your mind toward that person, remember that there is some good about that person and look at the good in that person. For God created every one of his children in Godís own image. Everybody is beautiful in the eyes of God.

2. Secondly, we need to realize that there is something within all of us that causes us to cry out with Goethe, "There is enough stuff in me to make both a gentleman and a rogue." There is something within each of us that causes us to cry out with Apostle Paul, "I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do."
Even within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals
.. . . . .

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