Our Pastor, Elder Jonathan Cook, then presented a powerful instructional sermon using Matthew 5:43-48 as his main text with support from Romans 12:18 and 1:28-31, 1st Corinthians 13:11, Matthew 24:10-13, 2nd Peter 3:3, Luke 6:22, Genesis 48:21, 49:33, and 50:2 and 14-21, Psalms 139:19-24 and 69:13-15, 1st John 4:7-11, and various other scriptures. As background to his sermon, Elder Cook first spoke regarding the current state of our country and the widespread hatred, evil, and animosity in the world. He encouraged us to not only pray for our country, but also not to be drawn into all the animosity and hatred out in the world, and yet seek to live peaceably among all men. Elder Cook emphasized that Jesus taught a very countercultural message in His day which remains just as countercultural in our day: respond to hate with love. Elder Cook also warned that we too will be hated for following Jesus, just as Jesus was hated in His day. No matter what, we should strive to avoid the extremes and stay with conduct consistent with scripture and maturely focused on the Lord. Elder Cook also emphasized that we should never forget that Jesus has promised that we will pass to the other side when the storms of life come upon us, for He is able to turn a great tempest into a great calm. Elder Cook then reflected upon Jacob’s son Joseph and how he responded to the despicable acts of evil by his brothers. Not only did he not punish them (which is what they deserved), but he forgave, sustained, and comforted them (something they did not deserve). Above all, Elder Cook, emphasized that we need to love one another in recognition of the great love that God has shown toward us.