Summary: Remember, you must be a good testimony for God in all things.
A. Introduction: We Are Instructed To Pray For . . .
1. People. “I exhort . . . that supplication, prayers, intercession and giving thanks be made for all people, for kings and for all who are in authority” (I Tim. 2:1-2).
2. Those over us, (boss, president, governor, pastors, etc.)
3. Healing. “Is anyone among you sick? . . . Let them pray over him” (James 5:14).
4. Forgiveness. (Matt. 6:12; Mark 11:25-26).
5. Things. (Matt. 7:7ff).
6. Spiritual insight. (Eph. 1:20).
7. The hardest prayer to pray, because it’s natural to seek revenge.
8. Your enemies. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” (Luke 6:27-28). When has someone spitefully used (abused) you? _______________________________________________.
B. Types of Enemies/Opponents
1. Tribe hatred. People hate you because they hate your nationality, culture, socio-economic rank, ethnic origin, etc.
2. Position hatred. They hate your position as “boss,” or the low man on the totem pole. They may lust for your position.
3. Money motives. They hate your money (lack of it), and they may “lust” for it.
4. Family hatred. When there’s money on the table, families fight. They probably will fight if there is no money, and no table.
5. Physical retaliation. They attack you to get even, i.e., revenge.
6. Get even. They attack you because of what they perceive you have done to them.
7. Christian persecution. They attack you because of your stand or your faith, i.e., because of the guilt you give them.
C. When They Oppose You
1. Jesus warns. Know your opponent, and react accordingly. “I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of man” (Matt. 10:16-17).
Four Lessons on Prayer
1. When they oppose you.
2. David’s imprecatory prayers
3. When they are an enemy.
4. When it is Christian persecution.
2. The Jesus exhortation. “You have heard that it was said, “an eye for an eye . . . but I tell you not to resist an evil person. But who even slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other” (Matt. 5:38-39).
a. Because it doesn’t do any good to hit back.
b. Because they will hit again harder.
c. Because retaliation feeds our lower nature.
d. Because the bitterness remains after you hit back.
e. Because hitting back doesn’t solve the problem.
f. Because you lose more than you gain.
g. If you win the physical battle, you lose the spiritual edge.
3. The Jesus example. “When he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not” (1Peter 2:23).
4. Jesus instruction. Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.
a. You get your heart right with God.
b. You are here to be a spiritual blessing all.
c. You can change them with prayer, not criticism or debate.
d. You can pray for their salvation and/or spiritual growth.
e. You can win the argument, when you win with prayer.
f. God can hit them better than you.
5. Jesus’ wisdom. There is a time to run, retreat, or hide. “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another” (Matt. 10:23).
6. Negotiate with God, not your enemy. “Repay no one evil for evil . . . if it is possible . . . live peaceably with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. If your enemy is hungry, feed him . . . for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head . . . overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:17-21, NKJV).
a. Back away from arguments, for when you win; you may lose.
b. Pray God’s blessing on them in the exact way you disagree with them (to bless means to add value).
c. Keep your anger to yourself. (A disciple is a disciplined one.)
d. Commit your loss and enemy to God.
e. The issue is no longer between you and the combatant.
f. The issue is between you and God. God can punish your enemy more than you can. But if you “fight,” God may punish you.
g. Trust God to make it up to you more than you lose.
D. The Christians’ Duty
1. You are not instructed to win every argument, beat any person, and put another down. If you are a Christian and love God, you are commanded to love people. “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22:37-39).