FOR YOUR ENEMIES
Romans 12:9-21 and Matthew 5:43-48
Introduction: We make a list of them, wish for them, talk about them. Some people go in debt to buy them, everyone wants them...GIFTS! We say things like, "What do you want for Christmas this year?" Or, He is always so hard to buy for, I know exactly what she wants. We usually get them for people we work with, our friends and of course our family. But do we ever stop and ask the question, do we ever ponder what our enemies might want for Christmas? Have you ever thought about what you should get for your enemies?
You are probably thinking, but Chuck, I don’t have any enemies. What about the person you avoid when you see them at the grocery store? How about the person you love to here gossip about? Have you ever thought about given that person you are holding a grudge against, a Christmas gift?
This morning I want to give you 4 Christmas gift ideas that you should give to your enemies.
Chuck Swindoll said, "Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate."
What are you going to give the people on that list you have accumulated over the years? Lets go to Matthew 5:43-48
"You have heard that it was said, ’Love your neighbor and had your enemy." 44) But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45) that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46) If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47) And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48) Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.
The first gift you should give your enemies is Love.
1) Love your enemies. Agape your enemy. Love your enemy like you love God. Love your enemy like you love your closest Christian Brother.
This word love here is and action word. It really means doing the right thing for someone. It has nothing to do with warm fuzzy feelings.
You say, But I can’t. It’s impossible, the Jesus has asked you to do the impossible.
If you loved your enemy, would they be your enemy for very long?
2) Pray for those who persecute you.
When Jesus said that, I don’t think he met that you pray bad fortune on your enemies. Maybe you should pray for their salvation? He Jesus forgave you, he’ll forgive them. Maybe your enemy is a brother in Christ. Then you should pray God’s blessing on them?
I’m not for sure what you Jesus met when he said, pray for those who persecute you. But I do know this, He does want you to pray for your enemies. Are you doing it?
What a wonderful Christmas card you could send to someone who you have had a 10 year feud with. Dear sir, I know we’ve not gotten along very well over the years, but this Christmas season, along with this card, I say prayers on your behalf. May God bless you this Christmas. Signed, Your name.
What would that do to your relationships? What kind of example would that be for your children.
Why not give love and prayers to your enemies this Christmas. I think that is what Jesus wants you to do.
Let’s turn to Romans 12:9-21
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10) Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11) Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12) Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13) Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14) Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15) Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16) Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17) Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18) If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19) Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20) On the contrary: (a quote from Prov. 25: 21,22)
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; in he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on is head." 21) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." Romans 12:14
I realize this is unnatural. If someone persecutes you, you don’t want to give them a blessing you, you want to knock their socks off.
What does this word bless mean?
It means to praise. Praise the one who persecutes you. It can mean give thanks. What, are we suppose to say thanks for persecuting me.
If you look hard enough you can always find something to be thankful for, even in persecution. This word bless can me one other thing. And that is to speak well of.
Do you find something good to say about those who persecute you.
4) Food and drink --
v. 20 On the contrary, (instead of you getting revenge) If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
If you knew that one of your Christian brothers or sisters had a need, what would you do? You would do what you could to meet it. You should do the same thing for an enemy.
This morning I have suggested 4 gifts you should consider giving to your enemies. You should give them your love, your prayers, your blessings, and food and drink.
That is some heavy stuff to take in.
I don’t want you to leave this morning without knowing how to give these gifts.
HOW TO GIVE THESE GIFTS
1) PRAY FOR HELP --
It may seem that God has asked to do the impossible, and maybe for you yourself it is impossible, but ask God for help and he will help you.
2) Forgive them. I don’t care who it is or what they have said, you must forgive them. It doesn’t mater if it is a family member or a stranger, God doesn’t care what they have done to you, He wants you to forgive them.
Matthew 6:14,15 says, "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
You won’t be able to love your enemy until you forgive him. It will be impossible to bless someone who you are holding a grudge against. You are not likely to pray for someone you haven’t forgiven.
3) Treat them the way you want to be treated. In your anger you might think, well, I don’t care what my enemy says about me. Or maybe you find yourself thinking, "Let him try to hurt me".
4) Remember you are not perfect.
When you realize you have made some of the same mistakes as you enemy it’s easier to treat them like God wants you to treat them.
5) Give them the benefit of the doubt.
Many of you have harbored feelings, you are holding grudges, your curse your enemies, you watch them like hawks waiting for them to mess up. If you can’t treat your enemies the way God want’s you to at Christmas time, you probably never will. Won’t you make this holiday season the one where you give these great gifts, not only to your loved ones, but also to your enemies.