October 22, 2009
The Sermon on the Mount is the perfect picture of what God, through the Holy Spirit, can do to change any Christian, Brad David told Oklahoma Baptist University students during a weekly chapel message Oct. 21. Davis’ message focused on the topic of loving one’s enemies.
Davis, a 1990 OBU alum, is pastor of Eagle Heights Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. He based his message on Chapter 13, “The Enemy – ‘The Extraordinary’,” of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, “The Cost of Discipleship.” The book is the foundation of the year’s chapel theme, “Costly Illumination: Counting Everything Loss in Light of the Surpassing Worth of Knowing Christ.”
Davis told students they could each become a person to truly impact their generation, to be the leaders of tomorrow. He said love is the one element necessary to make that change. When people truly experience God’s love, they are able to express it to others.
“That’s all the Sermon on the Mount is about – us experiencing it, being changed by it, being molded by it, and then expressing it,” Davis said.
Bonhoeffer contends that the extraordinary measure of Jesus Christ’s love is that He not only tells his followers to love their neighbors, but also to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them (Matthew 5:44). Davis said the message of unconditional love takes a lifetime to learn.
“Have you thought about that?” Davis asked, referring to God’s unconditional love for people. “Somewhere along the creation schedule, God decided that he was always going to operate in love toward us … that there’s not going to be barriers … that regardless of what I do, God’s going to respond the same to me: with love.”
Davis said God intends for people not only to experience his unconditional love, but also to express it to others – even to an enemy. Jesus stated it’s not natural to offer love to a persecutor, but he still calls his followers to extreme commitment: “do good to those who hurt you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who persecute you.”
“Jesus painted that picture beautifully, didn’t he?” Davis said. “After being beaten, assaulted, hung on a cross, what did he say? ‘Father, forgive them.’”
Davis said when persecutors encounter love from a Christian, they experience a love of God that cracks through their hard hearts. Christians become instruments used by God to reach the enemies with his love.
“If you want to live an extraordinary life, a life that impacts the society around you …, a life that matters, I challenge [you] to let the Holy Spirit lead you to the point of loving like this,” he said.