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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Hating what God Hates

Are you ready to think and to learn? I hope so, because this one is a mind bender!

As we move on in our sermon series from Ephesians 5 titled Be Imitators of God, today we will continue to examine Ephesians 5:1. We learned last week that if we are indeed to imitate God then we must reflect His highest and most noble quality, that being His absolute holiness. This week we will learn that in order to imitate God we must hate the things He hates.

Does God hate? Yes, He does. He gives us a list and tells us numerous times throughout Scripture that there are things that He hates. We usually do not think of God as hating, but I think that is due to the fact that we do not know what hate is. We have modified the definition of love, to be sure, making love a fuzzy feeling or an emotion that comes and goes and that we can fall into and out of. We have also changed what it means to hate. In our pursuit of absolute tolerance we have forgotten that there are things that God hates and that He commands us to hate as well.

The word hate means "to count as a foe." In other words, to hate someone or something is to recognize that the object of our hate is an enemy. If we are using the term correctly, and historically, then we hate those things which will destroy us if we do not oppose them! In this world of political correctness run amuck we have forgotten what hate really is. Hate is thinking and acting as if something or someone is an avowed enemy and seeks to do us harm.

The truth is that if we truly understand what hate is, then we can see how God can be perfect in holiness and hate at the same time. In fact, we will learn that love and hate are not mutually exclusive! Remember, we are not talking in emotional terms but in relational terms, so love and hate are not opposites. They express a reality relationally.

I want to make sure you understand this because God can love and hate the same person at the same time! How can this be? Simply put, since these terms express relational reality, God can hate a person (recognizing that he is an enemy) and at the same time love that person! Think about this for a moment. How else is it that we can be commanded to love our enemies? For to admit that a person is an enemy is to hate them!! And the best example we have from the Scriptures of God loving those He hates is Romans 5:8:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

You see - God recognizes that we are His enemy before we have trusted Christ. We are sinners, we are rebels! And yet at the same time that we are relationally His enemies, He loves us. That is why He can command us to love our enemies and do good to them - because this is exactly what He has done. He showed love to His enemies by sending Christ to die for us.

You see then how mixed up we have become as we allow terms to be redefined and manipulated? We think of hate as seeking to harm someone. We think of hate in the terms of "hate crimes" and racism and condescending arrogance. And yet we have a problem if we define hate that way because the Bible is so clear - God hates! And if God is perfect and sinless and He hates then surely there are things that we are also expected to hate.

We need to re-learn what hate really is so that we can imitate God by hating the things He hates.

In fact, if we are to imitate God, then we must start by being holy as He is holy. But that is just the first step. The second step then in imitating Him is to hate what He hates. So what does God hate?

Defining Hate - Psalm 139:22

Seven Things God Hates – Proverbs 6:16-19

These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.

More Things God Hates

Lying – Prov. 13:5; Zech. 8:17; Ps. 119:104, 128, 163

Evil – Ps. 5:5; 97:10; Prov. 8:13; Amos 5:15; Is. 61:8; Heb. 1:9

Idolatry – Jer. 44:4-5; Deut. 16:21-22

False Worship – Amos 5:21-24; Ps. 119:113; 139:21-22; Rev. 2:6

Violence – Ps. 11:5

We see then that according to the Scriptures, God hates these things: 1. Pride, 2. Lying (false witness), 3. Murder (violence), 4. A Wicked Heart, 5. Feet Swift to Evil, 6. One Who Causes Discord Among Brethren, and 7. Idolatry (including False Worship of God, worship that is unbiblical).

Do You Hate God? - James 4:1-6

In Conclusion today we will learn why we must hate what God hates and we will see what happens when we fail to hate what He hates. If we engage in behavior that He hates then we say with our actions that we are His enemies. And yet how many of us would say with our mouths, "I Hate God"? I am sure none of us would, but to embrace worldliness and to approve of sin is to do just that, declaring with our lives that we are at enmity with God. To be His enemy, as we have seen, is to hate Him!

The message from this text can be downloaded or listened to for free at this link: Hating What God Hates - Eph 5:1

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