Mt 5:44 “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.”
Wow! How many Amens do you think that Jesus got when those words came out of His mouth that day when He preached what we call The Sermon On The Mount? Although I was not there, I would dare say that there probably were not too many. Think about how many enemies that many in the crowd had there that day. There were the Romans who were occupying their land. There were the Tax Collectors who collected taxes for the Romans and often extorted them. There were the Scribes and Pharisees who added to the law and put shame and false guilt on many of the people. Then there were the Sadducees who didn’t believe in the immortality of the soul, or in anything supernatural. Plus, I am sure that there were many there who maybe had some enemies over some business transactions, or other things that take place in a fallen world. Hopefully I can share a few things with you that will help us all to love our enemies at a time when there is so much hatred and unrighteous anger in our culture.
The first thing that we need to understand that once we are born again and become believers in Jesus Christ, we need to understand who are real enemies are. Those enemies are Satan and the demonic hierarchy that is behind so much of the evil in the world. We are told in Eph 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
With that said just as God works through real people to advance the Kingdom of God upon the earth. Satan works through real people to oppose the Kingdom of God upon the earth. So, we do what Jesus has commanded us to do and we begin to pray for those that he is working through. So right now, you want to be sure that you are praying for those that the enemy is using to oppose the Kingdom of God. Remember Jesus died on the cross to save them from their sins just as He died on the cross to save those of us who have already come into the Kingdom to save us from our sins. Joh 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.2Pe 3:9 ¶ The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.(NKJV) I have found out that the energy that I spend ranting is better used in praying.
Think about the Apostle Paul. When he was known as Saul of Tarsus, he was a persecutor of the church. When I look in the Book of Acts and when the early church was praying I think about how God would use their prayers to bring those that opposed the Gospel and the Kingdom of God into the Kingdom of God. We get a glimpse of how they prayed in Ac 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” I believe that it was that type of prayer that would turn enemies into friends. I believe that it was that type of prayer that would lead to Saul of Tarsus having a life changing, mission changing encounter with Jesus Christ on the Road to Damascus. Look at what happens in Ac 9:3 -6 “As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? “And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
This should really motivate us to pray for those who are opposed to the Kingdom of God. Just as the Lord redeemed Paul and would turn the boldness that he had in persecuting the church into a boldness to go on three mission trips, plant churches, write at least thirteen books of the New Testament and be a martyr for the faith. Think about how God can redeem the lives and the boldness of the people who are advancing ungodly causes and use them to become purveyors of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As I am typing this, I just noticed that the clock on my computer said 1:11. This confirms that God can redeem what appears to be the unredeemable if we just pray for our enemies as Jesus has commanded us to do. This verse has been a real blessing to me about how God can do that in the life of any of us who have lived in, or still are living in rebellion Eph 1:11 “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”
I remember one time in my early days as a Christian when someone did something that could have injured me, or my family. My first instinct was to retaliate. But the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, and told me to pray for that person. I did what He said to do and God took care of me and my family. No harm came to us.
Our Lord is always right. He is never wrong. So today I encourage you and I challenge myself to heed the words of Jesus and to pray for those who hate us and for those who oppose the Kingdom of God. When we do, we can expect God to work in that person, group of people, or situation in a way that we cannot ask, or imagine.
Let us Pray
Lord Jesus you gave us a great example on how to do this when you were hanging on the cross. You prayed and asked the Father to forgive those who nailed the nails in your hands, who mocked you, and taunted you. Today help us to pray for those who persecute us. We pray that our prayers would be used to turn them from enemies of the Kingdom to Brothers and Sisters in Christ in the Kingdom. Lord we thank you for those that have prayed for us when we were enemies of the Kingdom. Thank you for the mercy that You showed us by answering their prayers and bringing us into the Kingdom.
In Jesus Name
Pray for our Jasper TV Broadcast tomorrow.
Pray for the service at New Life Fellowship in Winfield on Sunday Morning October 18th.
Pray for Evening Service at the Home of Lea and butch Benton in Haleyville October 18th 5:30 P.M. If your church doesn’t have an evening Service we hope that you can come.
Love You All