Matthew 5:43-48 New King James Version (NKJV)
Love Your Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 [a]But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father 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 have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your [b]brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the [c]tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
This past Sunday morning I preached on being a disciplined soldier in the Army of the Lord. The Lord had me to share several characteristics of a disciplined soldier. Shortly before church Sunday morning the Holy Spirit gave me one more that I did not have in the message that the Lord had given me earlier in the week. That one was that where the Army of the Lord is different from every other Army that has ever existed is that we are to love our enemies. Well that probably got about as many Amens as Jesus probably did when He preached the Sermon On The Mount. I told the congregation that it was easier for me to preach it than to do it.
Can you imagine what it would have been like that day when He preached it. Romans soldiers all around. Roman soldiers that were known for their cruelty and mistreatment of the people that they conquered. Roman soldiers that had publicly crucified many of their fellow Jews. And here this man that would refer to Himself as the Messiah was telling them to love their enemies.
Jesus came to a culture that was in turmoil. We currently live in a culture that is in turmoil. As a person that is Pro-Life and believes that God created human beings male and female for each other I often find myself in opposition to what is being pushed down our throats in the culture today. And yet without compromising what I believe I am called by the Lord to love my enemy.
I believe that it is a major scheme of the devil to get Christians to respond in a hateful manner when people say hateful things about us. When we bless our enemies, we are responding as the Lord Jesus responded. And by the way He did this while preaching and teaching repentance from sin. When we do good to our enemy it is totally different than the way that the world treats its enemies.
Then Jesus said that we are to pray for our enemies. Do you pray for political leaders that you don’t agree with? Do you pray for the actors, actresses, and late-night TV shows that often mock Christians?
When Jesus was hanging on the cross, He was praying for those who hated Him. He prayed for those that were mocking Him. He prayed for those that were driving the nails into His hands and into His feet. His praying paid off a whole lot more than if He had been saying one of these days I will get you guys. : So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that [a]He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:39 New King James Version (NKJV)
We are told that we are to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. That word perfect in the Greek is telios. It can mean going through the process to complete a goal. It also means maturity. It takes a mature Christian to pray for our enemies. Remember this God loves to turn His enemies into friends. Look at Saul of Tarsus a persecutor of the church who would become the Apostle Paul. When I go to Guatemala there is a very dedicated Pastor that God is using to do great and mighty things. At one time he worked for the drug lords. I wonder how many people chose to pray for him and to love him when he was in his lost estate. I am sure that many loved and prayed for us when we were lost and living in lifestyles of sin.
So, for all of us let’s do what Jesus said to do. Let’s love and pray for those who hate us. I know I have heard people say before that it is hard. Well Jesus can identify with us and help us. Remember what the Apostle Paul said in writing to the church at Philippi. Phi 2:5-8 “ Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it [b]robbery to be equal with God, but [c]made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus we confess before You that it is not often that we pray for our enemies. It is hard to love our enemies. Lord we ask you to help us to see them as you see them. Help us to believe that as You rescued us from the Kingdom of darkness that You can do the same for them.
In Jesus Name
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