Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Who is my Enemy?

Who is my enemy? A terrorist leader? President Bush? My boss? The person who ripped me off?...
Each one of us could probably come up with a long list of possible enemies.

Matt.5:38 – 45
38 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
“ And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” Ex.21:23 – 25

  • This is the law – justice is when the punishment suits the crime – just and full payment must be made to balance the scales.

  • This is the way of the world – taking revenge for wrongs received.

39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

  • This is not the way of the world, but is unusual and is a testimony of our Father's love and mercy toward us through his Son.

40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

  • This is normal in this world; in fact in our natural human state, we love only what or who brings us pleasure – there are conditions attached to our love.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

  • This kind of love is very unusual – it is called “agape” in Greek. There are three kinds of love in the old Greek - “eros” or erotic love, “philial,” often called “brotherly love,” perhaps best translated as “friendship”. These first two kinds of love can be separate, or together (as in the relationship between a husband and wife.) Both kinds of love require reciprocation. “Agape,” translated as “charity” in 1Corinthians 13, means “unconditional love” and is the kind of love that God has for us.
    “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Ro. 5:8

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

  • It is the mark of a child of God to love like he does - unconditionally. It is the mark of our continuing humanity in this life to struggle sometimes to love everyone, but God gives his children the ability – it is not something for us to try to do; rather it is something to let God do in us:
    “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5

So who is my enemy?
¶ Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places Eph.6:10 – 12

  • People are not our enemies!! The difference between true Christians and those who are not has nothing to do with them being better, or good, or anything like that. It has nothing to do with the way they live, think, behave, what they do or don't do. The difference has practically nothing to do with them and practically everything to do with God: he has made true Christians different by sending his son to pay for their sins – in fact he paid for the sins of the whole world – every man, woman, and child who has ever been and who ever will be born! It is a very small thing for us to simply accept what he has done for us by putting our faith in Jesus Christ for what he has already done for us.

  • Our enemies are spiritual and numerous. (Rev.12:9)
    These enemies were given great power in the Earth when Adam sinned. Adam was given dominion over the Earth when he was created (Gen. 1:28), but gave that dominion to Satan when he sinned. (Gen. 3:17)

  • Our enemies are very powerful. No human being can resist their power. They are completely opposed to God, completely ruthless and totally committed to the destruction of the human race. They are behind every evil thing that has ever happened or will ever happen, either directly or indirectly via the natural state of fallen man.

  • Our enemies are everywhere, doing all they can to destroy us. They work to make us sick, to make us disobey God, to create division between us, to bring down godly pastors, to destroy churches, to create chaos in the world, and especially to stop us from accepting God's gift of salvation. They do not want you to get saved! They want to destroy you!

  • How can you stand up to enemies that are so powerful? The simple answer is, you cannot. You aren't strong enough and have no hope of ever being strong enough.

  • God is the answer. He has come to our rescue through his son, Jesus Christ:
    “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;” Romans 1:16

The gospel of Christ is simple, powerful and everlasting: “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” Acts 16:31 “ He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life...” John 3:36

The gospel of Christ is for everyone, regardless of background: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John3:16 – 17 The Bible clearly says the gospel is for all (2Cor. 5:15)

God's power is greater than our enemies' power. When we trust Him, he sends the Holy Spirit to indwell us. God literally puts his life and power into us when we trust him: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1John 4:4 God has sent the Holy Spirit to everyone who trusts in him through his son, Jesus Christ. He has the power to resist the enemy and to overcome.

We have enemies – lots of them, and their king is Satan. Our enemies aren't human. It's not God's will for us to fight other humans. Satan is thrilled to see us fighting each other, especially in the church. In fact, he works constantly in the church to turn us against each other. His subtle whispers work to cause one person to do or say something that hurts another, then to cause the other to take offense. He does all he can to turn congregations against pastors who consistently and lovingly teach the truth. As God's children, we are called to recognize who the enemy really is and to steadfastly resist him.

God tells us clearly how to deal with our enemy: 2Peter 5:6 – 9
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8 ¶ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

God, our loving Father and the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, is successfully fighting our real enemies for us. He has successfully destroyed the power of evil through the death and resurrection of our Savior. For us the battle is won.

Jesus said:
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Rev. 21:4 – 6

Are you saved? I hope so! Here's what God says to all those who have put their faith and trust in his Son, Jesus Christ:

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 1John 4:4

Are you still undecided?
...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2Cor.6:2

Do you feel you need to take more time to think it over?
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14

NOW is the time to make that decision. You can't stand before God and argue that he didn't give you enough time. You need to decide right now. It's very simple – are you willing to trust yourself for all eternity, or does it make a lot more sense to trust Jesus Christ?


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