I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Serving Our Enemies

Do you have people that you don't really like? Or maybe someone who doesn't really like you?Let's think about that as we read the verses in Philippians together. (Go ahead and read the verses. If you wait until I read them out loud, we'll never finish this...)

In verse one, Paul is trying to comfort the believers at Philippi, so they won't be afraid of their enemies. He wants them to strive together in the Gospel. (Look at Phil 1:27-30)

He tells them to be of one mind, to be lowly (humble) and think of others' needs.

When you think of an enemy, what comes to mind?
1. Unsaved people
2. Devil
3. Tempters
4. Those who persecute Christians
5. Those who hate God

It's easy to think of those kinds of people as enemies. But what about Christians? Can they also be our enemies? Well, think of it this way: do all Christians live perfectly? Do we all have our spirit and tongue under control all the time? Could these people be enemies?

Christians who:
1. Gossip
2. Act in the flesh
3. Say things without thinking
4. Behave in a selfish way

They can definitely feel like our enemies. When those things happen, it seems to be in opposition to the things God has commanded us. They are hurtful, and bother us.

Why does that bother us so much? Because they are supposed to be our brothers and sisters in Christ. But also for another reason: it hurts our pride. It makes us feel bad. It makes us worry what others may think of us, because of another's hurtful words.

Look in Phil 2:5-8. These verses are about Jesus. (Go ahead and read them. I will wait.)

Some things we learn from these verses:
1. He wasn't worried about his reputation. He didn't care what other people thought of him, or what He did, because He was doing the Father's will.

2. He served those that rejected Him. Many of the Jews didn't believe He was the Messiah, but Jesus still served them. Maybe some of them were fed with the 5,000 by the loaves and fishes. They received a blessing from Him even though they rejected Him.

3. He submitted to God's plan and took on the form of man. Imagine how glorious Heaven is. Jesus has always been with the Father. In the splendor of Heaven, that beautiful and perfect place, Jesus was exalted. He was worshipped like He deserved. But He was willing to leave all of that, and take on the form of our sinful human body, so that He could save us. Wow. What a sacrifice for many who would reject Him!

4. He submitted to DEATH for us. EVEN the death of the cross, the verse says. That's important to notice because the cross was a punishment reserved for thieves, murderers; those who had committed really bad crimes against Rome. Jesus was none of those.

Let's look again at Phil 1:27 (Go ahead...)

If something happens to you that is hurtful, it is not important that everyone knows what happened. It's not important that you warn others there is strife between you and another Christian. We must give up our pride, move on in life, and work together so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ might be preached without anything to stop it. If we have bad feelings against another Christian, can God use us to preach to others? Will we be willing to work together with that person for Jesus' sake?

It is so easy to defend ourselves, even to those who don't know a problem even exists. It's our human nature to want to make others hurt like we've been hurt. Or to make sure everyone else knows the problem lies with the other person. And maybe we are innocent. Maybe others are being cruel because we haven't fulfilled their expectations. Or maybe it's all been a misunderstanding. In any case, there will be times when we are unduly blamed or slandered.

How should we respond when someone else (Christian or non-Christian) hurts us?
I Peter 2:21-24 (Please read the verses. I'll still be here!)

Jesus committed Himself to God, who is the righteous judge. God knows all that happens. God sees when someone hurts you. He knows exactly what they have said or done, and He knows if it's true or not.

Just like Jesus, we need only to trust God, serve those who may be our adversaries, and work with one mind so the Gospel can be preached without hindrance.

It's not easy, that's for sure. Maybe those who have hurt us don't deserve our love or service. But do any of us deserve Christ's? If we remember that Jesus' reputation is much more important than our own, it will help us to forgive and serve others for the sake of the Gospel. May God help us all!

1 Comments:

  • XOXO Dr. Kay Elizabeth

    Thanks it wasn't by chance I rad this post. I have been slandered at church for speaking the truth. Thank you for the post! Please come and check out my blog at medschooldream.blogspot.com. Let me know what you think and please please please leave a comment. See I begged and I am a stranger how weird and serious is that?..lol. Thank you :)

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