Summary: Exposition of Psalm 35 regarding praying for our enemies
Text: Psalm 35:13-14, Title: Kill ‘Em and Bless ‘Em 2, Date/Place: NRBC, 4/3/11, AM
1. Opening ill – taking scripture seriously, martyrs about denying Him, also forgiving others
2. Know more is going on than you see (Acts 2:23)
1. In this text, Peter tells the men that they killed Jesus, but only after He was handed over to them by God for His predetermined purpose. They thought they were doing one thing, God was ensuring that they were carrying out His purpose. God works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called by Him. He works all things after the inscrutable counsel of His will, and toward His desired ends. And know that sometimes those ends are accomplished through the painful wounds of an enemy.
2. Gen 50:20, Rom 8:28, 31-39, 2 Cor 4:18
3. Illustration: The legend says that Genghis Khan, the Mongol king of the 13th century, was out hunting one hot summer day with his favorite hawk perched on his wrist.
4. Don’t feel like all of the opposition from the enemy is without purpose. It is hard to view every hurtful act as being used of God, but it is true, and we must bring our minds into submission to that fact, and our hearts will follow. God could at anytime speak peace to your enemies, and He doesn’t always do that. He could cease sustaining their heart to beat and their lungs to work, and their opposition would immediately end. God doesn’t fall asleep, nor does He do things whimsically, but wisely and intentionally. So at least He is allowing this enemy to harass you, therefore you know that the enemy is serving God’s purposes. And it is easier to pray for someone if you know that God using them in your life (even if it is painful). So thank God for your enemy, ask God to reveal what He is teaching you through these attacks, and pray blessing upon the head of those who oppose you.
Know it is an explosive, public testimony (Acts 7:55-60)
1. When you are suffering at the hands of another at work, in school, in the community, people are watching you (the Christian) will respond. Just like Jesus said that we have no credit if we love those who love us, we have no credit if we lash back at our enemies. The unconverted world lashes back at those from whom it perceives an attack from. But with us it should not be the same. Jesus openly prayed for His murderers as did Stephen did in this text. And the results were staggering.
2. Illustration: Dietrich Bonheoffer who wrote , “It is infinitely easier to suffer in obedience to a human command than to accept suffering as free, responsible men. It is infinitely easier to suffer with others than to suffer alone. It is infinitely easier to suffer as public heroes than to suffer apart and in ignominy. It is infinitely easier to suffer physical death than to endure spiritual suffering. Christ suffered as a free man alone, apart and in spirit, and since that day many Christians have suffered with Him.” this was the story of our speaker last week, our brethren in the world counting the cost each day, ever mindful that despite the beatings, there was a watching world.
3. The world needs you to kiss the hand of those that wield the rod against you. They need to see that the Christian faith makes a difference. It is the one faith that calls it’s adherents to love their enemies. And they want to know if it works. The motivation here is the heartfelt desire to see all men come to repentance even if it means intense suffering on our part. What if the attacks that you have endured from other believers, or people in your life would be used by God to testify of His sufficiency to the point that men and women would embrace Him because of your reaction? Do we ever think of these personal attacks in the church that way? I agree, they shouldn’t happen, James says they ought not be; but what if everyone of you who was attacked, blessed instead of cursed, and that became the standard at New River? Blessed instead of embittered, blessed instead of left, forgiveness and love instead of grudge and hate? If you had a choice whether or not to be attacked know that people would come to faith, would you? What if your stuff was seized? What if you were imprisoned? What if your spouse or children were afflicted? Every lash across your back (physically or symbolically for Christ’s sake) that you willingly endure and bless instead of curse is a testimony of your changed life and of Christ’s sufficiency. Pray that God will use your enemies and their attacks to bring others to Himself.