Summary: A nugget of discovery in this lesson shows us that heaping coals of fire on an enemy's head is actually bringing the presence of God to his life.
1. [Checker/Chess Board
a. Checkers -- Mutually Assured Destruction -- you jump my checker, I jump yours; Strategies -- "Double Master Opening; Fife Opening; Spider Web; Zorro;" etc.; Some openings are illegal in Tournament Play because if accomplished they give too much advantage
b. Chess -- possible to win without losing a piece; even possible to lose without losing a piece
2. Matthew 5.43-48
a. Checker approach makes the most sense to us -- love neighbor and hate enemies; take my checker, I take yours -- Psalm 139.21-22 -- Do I not hate them that hate you, O LORD?
b. Jesus goes in a different direction -- love neighbor AND enemies
3. Paul's Addition -- Romans 12.14-21
a. Quotes most of Proverbs 25.21-22
b. Leaves off reward -- . . . and the LORD will reward you.
4. Loving enemy brings:
I. The Presence of God to People in Need
A. Seen in the Burning Coals -- Romans 12.20
1. We have always thought that doing good to enemies resulted in burning frustrations
2. Actually, God is represented in burning coals --
3. A Greater Application for Isaiah 6.6-7 -- Healing and Putting God's words in his mouth
4. Jesus Serving Disciples Breakfast -- John 21.9 (Jesus is God)
When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.
B. Seen in Beneficial Actions (Romans 12.20a)
1. Imitation of God sending Rain and Sun
2. Imitation of Jesus -- He practiced what he preached -- Matthew 5.38-42
a. [Hebrew literary/storytelling techniques to add a character to the story to represent the one hearing the story -- 2 blind men instead of 1 as in other gospels; 2 demon-possessed men; a donkey and a colt instead of just the colt -- there is a place for us to ride with Jesus
b. If we are going with him, we have to become like him
c. Our tendency is to want to be the exception and retaliate on our terms rather than be willing to bring God and his undying love into the lives of people -- Note Romans 12.21
d. Shows I have not been to the cross with Jesus -- Galatians 2.20
A few years back I read a powerful story of an African boy named Damare. He was a slave who had angered his Muslim master by attending a church service. So his owner took out into the wilderness, nailed his feet and knees to a board, and left him to die. Fortunately, someone found him and nursed him back to health. Damare later told "The Voice of the Martyrs" that he forgave the person who did this to him. Why? "Because Jesus was nailed and forgave him."
1) Attitude of entitlement -- Look how badly I have been treated
2) Look how badly Jesus was mistreated
3) How does his response compare to ours?
When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2.23
II. The Picture of Jesus to Attract People in Need
A. What attracts People to the Kingdom of Heaven?
1. Razor-sharp wit or logic? Purity of Doctrine?
2. A LOVING SAVIOR -- and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." John 12.32
B. Treat Others as Jesus Would Treat Them -- Ephesians 4.31-32
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
1. Our actions Affect Jesus --
[Target and Picture of Jesus
I once read the story of a Sunday School class. The teacher known for his elaborate object lessons and that Sunday was no different. On the wall was a big target and on a nearby table were many darts. The teacher told his students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry . . . and he would allow them to throw darts at the person's picture.
* One of the girls drew a picture of another girl who had stolen her boyfriend.
* Someone else drew a picture of his little brother.
* One even drew a picture of the teacher.
The class lined up and began throwing darts, and everybody got into the fun. Some of the students threw their darts with such force that their targets were ripping apart.
When everybody had had their turn, the teacher began removing the pictures from the target and then he took down the target. The whole room gasped as they saw that under the target was a picture of Jesus.