Enemies, Part 6: How to Deal with Your Enemies

Enemies, Part 6: How to Deal with Your Enemies

Discover biblical truths concerning the most important issue of our day: the enemies of Christianity. Our six-part sermon series, Enemies, delivers valuable insights on spiritual warfare and how Christians can be on the winning side:

Enemies, Part 1
Enemies, Part 2: The Enemies of All Righteousness
Enemies, Part 3: The Enemies of the Lord
Enemies, Part 4: Who is the Enemy?
Enemies, Part 5: Friends and Enemies
Enemies, Part 6: How to Deal with Your Enemies


Enemies, Part 6: How to Deal with Your Enemies sermon teaches that we should choose God’s standard to love our enemies rather than the world’s standard to hate our enemies.

Key verses:
Matthew 5:43-48

Matthew chapters five, six, and seven give us what is called the Sermon on the Mount. It is Jesus’ first public sermon that he gave. Matthew twenty-four and twenty-five is the last of his sermons called the Olivet Discourse. In Matthew chapters five, six, and seven, Jesus lays out many truths and gives us the highest standard of living that has ever been given to mankind.

What about the law that was given to Moses? He relates the law to His teaching; it is all through it. That is the answer to that question. Jesus sets the standard extremely high for us. If we were to be righteous in and of ourselves, we would have to entirely live up to the Sermon on the Mount. James writes that if you offended one part of the law, you have offended the whole. So, Jesus gives us this high standard.

I have said that leading up to what we are going to read. We are going to read chapter five and not all of it, we begin near the end of the chapter, verse forty-three, and then to the end of the chapter to verse forty-eight.

Let’s look at verse forty-three, Jesus says:

Matthew 5:43: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.”

That is what you have heard, isn’t it? You should love your neighbor and hate your enemy. We are going to talk about that in just a moment. As I mentioned earlier, we have been doing a series of sermons about enemies. You can get the whole series, six in total, and find it on our Facebook page and you can find it on our YouTube channel. This is the final message in the series, it is on how to deal with our enemies.

Most people have enemies. Maybe you do not, maybe you are one person in this world, and you get along with everybody and everybody loves you, that is fine. I know some people, maybe they have enemies, but it is hard to believe because I do not know of anybody who ever said to me that they did not like them. There are some people who everybody they meet will like. I am not one of those people but probably you are. If that is true, then that is great. But listen anyway just in case you have an enemy one day, you will want to know how to deal with them.

Our Real Enemy

We have seen in our series that our real enemies are not people. That might seem like a strange statement, but it is true. Our real enemy is not people. Our real enemies are these spiritual forces, dark spiritual forces that are behind the evil of this world. You may say, “Wait a minute preacher, are you talking about devils and demons?” Yes, that is exactly what I am talking about. Do I believe in those? Yes, I do. Why do I believe in that? Because the Bible teaches us to. It is very simple. Is that all I have? No, it is not all I have but it is all I need.

What else do I have? I have seen dark forces at work. Before you sit there and ask if I have done an exorcism, no, I have not nor do I really want to, to tell you the truth. I am not interested in that. But the truth of the matter is, it does not mean we cannot see spiritual forces at work.

And so, we have seen that the Lord gives us spiritual resources to fight spiritual battles. You cannot fight spiritual battles in the flesh, in your own strength. You will never win that way. You have to have the strength of the Lord. You need the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You need His Word. You need every piece of armor that has been given to us and we talked about that a couple of Sundays ago. God has given us resources for these spiritual battles but primarily we have to trust the Lord.

At the root of it all, let me be clear about this, at the root of it all is selfishness or self-centeredness. That is the root of all evil. You may say that I am wrong, that money is the root of all evil. If you heard that, you heard wrong. It does not say in the Bible that money is the root of all evil. What it says is that the love of money is the root of all evil. Nowhere does it say that money is the root of all evil.

You may say rich people are all evil. That is not true. You may say I must be one of those rich people. Never have been and do not expect to be. If wanted to be a rich man, I went into the wrong line of work. I know some rich preachers but do not know many. There are some but they are in the minority not the majority. What about all those people on television? Did you know all those people on television are the minority of preachers and not the majority? That is a fact.

This is not in my notes, but it came to mind, and I thought I would share that with you. We had somebody come here years ago and wanted to put our services on television. I know that is hard for you to believe but they did. I declined it because we would have had to pay for the airtime, and it was a horrendous amount of money. It was more than we take in on a Sunday, that we would have had to pay to televise one service. So, we declined that offer. It did not seem like the Lord was leading in that direction at all.

I tell you that to say, these preachers on TV are always asking for money. Do you know why? So, they can get rich? It costs an unbelievable amount of money to be on television. We are not doing it and we do not plan on doing it. Does that make sense to you? I hope so. So, if you are wondering why they are asking for money it is because the cost of doing a television ministry is enormous.

Simple Concepts

To get back on track here, we need to not be self-centered people. If you are not always thinking about yourself, if you are not always centered on yourself, you will get offended a lot less. Many times, you get offended because you think too much about yourself and you worry about yourself. Have I ever been offended? Yes, more times than I could think, and I do not want to think about it.

Maybe you were in a church and so-and-so offended you and you had to leave that church. If I left a church over somebody offending me, I should have been gone decades ago and I would have left many churches many times. Do not do that. There is an old saying, it is not a Bible verse, but it will help you if you get a hold of it. The old saying is if anybody comes between you and God, that person is closer to the Lord than you are. Think about that.

What we are talking about is instead of being self-centered, selfish people, we need to be Christ-centered people. We need to make Jesus the center of our life, the center of our thinking, the center of our actions, we need to do that.

What I am about to share with you this morning is simple in concept. It really is. I do not think there is anybody here who will leave here today and say that they did not understand that and do not know what it is about. I think you will understand. You understand much more complicated things in life than what I am about to share with you.

The fact that it is simple in concept however does not mean it is easy to live out. Some things are easy to understand but they are difficult to apply in your daily life. Why? Because many times we just do not want to. We know what is right, we know it is good. We do not want to do it. Do you know what James says?

James 4:17: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

That means, honestly folks, we know if we do wrong that is a sin, but we also need to know that if we do not do what is right, what we know to be right, that is also a sin. We are not talking about ignorance. The Bible actually talks about the sin of ignorance, which means you did something wrong you did not know was wrong at the time.

We are talking about you knowing what you should do, you just choose not to do it. As I said, these are simple concepts that Jesus sets out for us here on how to deal with our enemies, but they are harder to live than they are to understand.

Man’s Traditions

Let’s take a look at verse forty-three again, the Lord says:

Matthew 5:43: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.”

All through the sermon on the mount, He says similar things to this, “Ye have heard that it hath been said.” This is common teaching, and He is referring primarily to the Talmud teachings of the Rabbis of His day. These were writings that were assembled that are not part of the scriptures. There are also other bodies of writings they had that were commentaries or thoughts from writings throughout the centuries.

One of the main conflicts between Jesus and the group that called themselves the Pharisees was this: They held the scriptures as being true, but they held their traditions as being more valuable. They have a higher regard for their tradition than for the scriptures. And Jesus said that they got it backward. They needed to understand that the scriptures were God’s Word and the rest of it is just their tradition and no more than that.

We have traditions, all of us do. We have social traditions. We have traditions in heritage and for the most part that is fine. Why do I say for the most part? Some people have traditions that are not so great. But most of the time your tradition is going to be fine. But your tradition is not what God has given to you.

We do a few things in our church that are just traditional. What do I mean? We do not go through rituals. I hope that you know and understand that. We do not have a prescribed mass that we need to follow. But we do have traditions.

For example, when we baptize we almost always sing the same hymn when we baptize. Where in the Bible does it tell us to sing that hymn? It does not, so why do we do it? Number one, it is traditional, number two it is the situation. When we observe the Lord’s supper, we take an offering for the poor and needy during the time of observing the Lord’s supper, at the end of it. The Bible talks about taking such offerings. It does not tell you that you have to do it when taking the Lord’s supper. Nowhere does it say that. Why do we do that? It is traditional. It is a time to take it, a time to think of others but it is a tradition.

There are other things that are traditions. We have our traditions as other people have theirs. If you find a church that says they do not have traditions in their church, that is probably not true. They probably have traditions they follow as well. I could point out some but that is not really our purpose today and takes time that we need for other things.

So, in verse forty-three, “Ye have heard that it hath been said,” – a common teaching of the Rabbis in that day. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.”

I said this a while ago, but I am going to say it again. That is the world’s philosophy. That is what the world in general thinks. You love certain people. Who do you love? Mainly, you love the people who love you. Somebody is nice to you; you are nice back. Somebody shows you love; you show it back. There are folks who do not even do that. Somebody shows them love and they are so self-centered that they do not show love back. I do not think most people are that way. Most people, if somebody shows them love they show love in return. That is good, it is not going far enough but it is good to go that far. What do I mean it is not going far enough? Look at forty-three again:

Matthew 5:43: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.”

A New Truth

Notice verse forty-four:

Matthew 5:44: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”

“But I say unto you,” – you have heard the tradition to love thy neighbor and hate your enemy, but Jesus says, “But I say unto you,” – again, that is all through the Sermon on the Mount. He says that you have heard this said by them said of old-time, “But I say unto you.” Do you know what He is doing? He is raising the standard. He is raising it higher than it was ever raised before or that it ever has since. That is exactly what He is doing. This is the highest standard that you will ever come across. You will see that by the time we finish, I am sure.

So, let’s read that once again at verse forty-three to continue the flow of thought:

Matthew 5:43: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.”

Matthew 5:44: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”

Jesus says a new truth, the higher standard, “Love your enemies.” – Wow. To love somebody who loves you ought to be easy for us but to love your enemies? How can you love your enemies?

I heard a preacher say this not long ago, “That whole thing about you can hate somebody’s sin and love the sinner, it is not in the Bible.” Oh, yes, it is. Where is it in the Bible? It is in the Bible in a number of places but let’s start right here. Jesus said to love your enemies. He did not say to love your enemy’s sin. You can love the sinner and hate the sin. God hates sin, there is no question about that. You can find that throughout the scriptures. Jesus said to love your enemies, now, that is doing something, to love your enemies.

Let me give you an example. We are not going to turn but you can look it up later in Matthew chapter twenty-six, about twenty chapters from where we are right now. Matthew chapter twenty-six, the scene is the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus has gone there with his disciples to pray. They had just come from having the Passover meal and Jesus establishing what we call the Lord’s Supper at the end of the Passover meal. Jesus goes up and leads his disciples out to Gethsemane to pray.

Before they leave, one of them left the room. You know who it is, Judas Iscariot. Jesus had said to all the disciples at the table that before this night was over one of them would betray Him. One of them will betray. Do you know what the disciples did? This is so interesting; I encourage you to look it up and read it for yourselves. None of them did this, “Yup, I know who he is talking about. It is Judas. I suspected him all along. It is him; he is the one that the Lord is talking about.” Nobody said that.

I met a man years ago. If I mentioned his name maybe not everyone would recognize it. Many of you would. I met him because he lived in this area, and he worked at a place where I did business. I went to that place of business and met the fellow there. I am telling you he seemed like an ordinary person to me. I never thought that he would be anything other than this average person.

But if I told you his name and told you what he did, you may not recognize his name, but you would recognize what he did. He was a horribly evil person. Why am I telling you this? Because when I met this man at the place where he worked, I did not suspect him of evil. I did not suspect him of anything. He did not show any signs of having anything evil in mind. But he did, he did something very evil.

Now, that is how it was with Judas. The other disciples did not suspect Judas of betrayal. As a matter of fact, when Jesus said that one of them was going to betray Him, do you know what they all said? “Lord, is it I? Am I the one? Am I the one who is going to betray you?” They did not point to each other. They looked at themselves. That was the right thing to do. It was right to consider themselves before pointing the finger at somebody else.

Do you know what happened before the night was over? They all forsook Him and fled, all of them. Peter followed afar off, John got closer than Peter did, but when it came right down to it, none of them stood with Him. So, Jesus says to love your enemies.

In Matthew chapter twenty-six, they finished their praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. The other disciples fell asleep, you know the story. Jesus woke them up and said it was time to go. About the time He says that police officers come and arrest Him. What do I mean, police officers? They were Roman soldiers. They were not. That is a misportrayal that we see so often in pictures that are painted, or maybe in a movie or something. The Romans did not get involved in it until Herod sent Jesus to Pilate, then the Romans got involved.

So, who were these people that came and arrested Him? They were members of the temple guard. The temple guard was in essence a police force around the temple grounds that were under the command of the high priest. He was their chief commanding officer. You may not remember that when Moses set up the office of the high priest. No, you do not, because he did not set that up. But this was under the temple that Herod built. He had a force called the temple guard.

This is a lot like, for example, Palm Beach County school district has its own police force. Their primary job is to protect the schools. Can they do other things? Any sworn police officer can enforce the law if he or she comes upon a situation where they need to enforce the law. They can do that. But their primary job is to protect the schools.

I will tell you something else that happened, this is years ago. I was in a Christian bookstore on Federal Highway down in Boca. Did you know there are no Christian bookstores in our area anymore? None. We used to have several, but they have all gone out of business. But I was in the Christian bookstore in Boca, and I came out and there was a police cruiser what many people would call a black and white. I looked at it and thought that it was not the Boca Raton police, it was not the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, I just did not recognize it. It was obviously a police cruiser and then this officer came walking up wearing a blue police officer’s uniform.

I asked him, “Excuse me, sir, I do not recognize the markings on your car. What department are you with?” Here is what he said, “I am with the federal police.” I said, “Federal police! I did not know we had any federal police.” He said, “Yes, our primary job is to protect federal property.” — like the federal courthouse and so forth. He said, “And, we are the law enforcement arm of FEMA.” Did you know that FEMA had a law enforcement arm? You probably did not, I did not until that man told me that. If you look at him, he looks like somebody who would be a regular city police officer.

He was a pleasant fellow and by the way, he was going into the Christian bookstore, he was a Christian and we had a good talk. His primary job is to protect federal property. I tell you all this because the temple guards’ primary function was to protect the temple area. But they wore armor, and they were guards with weapons and swords and that was their law enforcement area.

The Traitor Friend

The temple guards were dispensed by the high priest that night to arrest Jesus. They did not know where He was, but Judas did. So, Judas’ betrayal is that he led the guards to the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus. That was his betrayal.

You all know the story; Judas came with them to lead them to Jesus, and he told them that the one he kissed is the one they looked for. Why? Hadn’t they seen Jesus before? They probably have but it would be dark, and they wanted to be sure they got the right man.

As you know, Judas came up and kissed Jesus on the cheek and Jesus said, “Get your nasty traitor lips off of me, I do not want you anywhere around me.” Is that what He did? No, it is not, is it? What did Jesus tell us? Jesus said to love your enemies. Do you know what He did?

Matthew 26:50: “And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.”

What did Jesus say when Judas kissed Him? He said, “Friend,” – He called him a friend. Can you imagine? Didn’t Jesus know what Judas was doing? He surely did. If you remember what we just told you, Jesus prophesied it at the dinner table. As a matter of fact, Jesus said, “He who dips his bread in the sop with me is the one” and Judas had done that. Yes, Jesus knew what Judas Was doing, He knew ahead of time that he was going to do it. It is prophesied in scripture that he would do that in more than one place.

Judas comes to identify Jesus to turn Him over to those officers and Jesus called him friend, ‘Friend, wherefore art thou come?” Now think about that. I just told you Jesus knew why he was there, He knew ahead of time, it was prophesied centuries before. So, why did Jesus ask him why he was here, “Friend, wherefore art thou come?”

I am going to tell you something I told you many times before, but you need to get a hold of this because it will help you. The Lord has never, ever asked a question to find out the answer. He did not ask Judas why he was there because He just did not know why he was there, and Jesus was surprised he was there and had no idea he was coming. No, Jesus knew why he was coming and exactly why he was there, so why did He ask the question?

The Lord has never asked a question to find out the answer. He always asked the question so that we will think about the answer. He asked Judas this question, not because He did not know why Judas was there, He asked the question so that Judas would say “Yeah, what am I doing?” If the Lord questions me or questions you, it will be for the same purpose.

Then the verse says, “Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.” They took Him to be tried. They took Him to be beaten. They took Him to be spat upon. They took Him to be crucified. And Jesus called this man a friend? Yes. What does He say?

Bless, Do Good, and Pray for Your Enemies

Look at verse forty-four again:

Matthew 5:44: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”

You probably have had people curse at you in your lifetime. I certainly had a lot of people curse at me. That is why if people mess up my name and call me by the wrong name or something like that, that does not upset me because I have been called so many worse things, that was OK.

I do not even mind if people say, “Hey, you.” I answer to that. But the fact of the matter is, the Lord says here, “bless them that curse you,” that is hard to do, isn’t it? What do we want to do when somebody curses at us? We want to get them right back. That guy cutting me off in traffic, I am going to show him. I am a worse driver than he is. Is that it? My horn is louder.

I used to have a car that had a loud horn on it. I really did and I liked that horn because it was so loud. But I hardly ever honked it at anybody. It was a Cadillac, the only one I ever owned. Boy did it have a big horn, but I hardly honked it. Why? I do not like people honking at me and I try not to do it to other people. Does that make sense to you?

This is off subject a little bit, but I had a Dodge, years ago, probably my favorite car I ever owned. Somehow water got into the horn. I went to the junkyard to buy another one and change it out. I used to do a lot of work on cars, but I do not anymore, so do not ask me to work on your car. The guy at the junkyard said that he did not have the horn that would fit that car.

I looked over and saw a Plymouth. Plymouth and Dodge were both made by Chrysler and were pretty much the same car. I said the horn on the Plymouth would fit my car. The guy said that it was a roadrunner, it had a different horn. I said, “Yeah, it does, give me that!” So I put that roadrunner horn on my car. What is different about it? It said “Meep, meep.” It really did.

But the thing that Jesus is teaching us here is this, “bless them that curse you.” Do not honk your horn to show them yours is louder or cuter for that matter. Honestly, just bless them that curse you. That is so easy to understand and so hard to do.

But He goes on in verse forty-four, “do good to them that hate you.” I was working at a place years ago and there was a guy there, he was not my boss, he was not my manager, but we worked at the same place. He had no authority over me on the job at all, but boy, did he give me a hard time. He really did. I suppose he had his reasons for doing that, giving me a hard time on the job.

I tried not to give him a hard time because that is not what a Christian is supposed to do. One day, I finished with work, and I came out into the parking lot. Somebody got their car stuck in the sand and this fellow was trying to help this person get their car unstuck. And I walked by and said, “Good luck with that chump, I hope you get it out.” I did not do that. What did I do? I got in there and helped him. I worked beside him and tried to get that car out. Why? Because Jesus said to. He said, “do good to them that hate you.”

And then He says, “pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” That does not mean somebody who cuts in front of you in line. That means somebody who has genuinely done you wrong and they are doing it to you because you are a Christian. Jesus says to pray for them.

Gamble at the Cross

There’s an example of that in the Bible.

Luke 23:33: “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.”

Luke 23:34: “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”

Do you understand? Jesus not only calls Judas, friend, when he came to betray Him, but he prays for the men who crucified Him. That is exactly what He is saying here, “pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” That is easy to say, easy to understand, you get it, but boy is it hard to do.

We talked about persecuted Christians around the world. Do you think we ought to pray for the persecutors? Yes. What do you pray for them? How about how Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them.” Do you realize that people who do evil things, do it because they are sinners, and have a sinful nature? But I had said it is due to selfishness. Yes, that is sin.

Do you realize the wrong we have done in our life is because we are sinners? What do we need to do? We need to be forgiven. Jesus said if we have been forgiven, forgive others. We need to forgive other people. Even those who have wronged us? Yes. Even those who did it on purpose, knew they were doing it and it was not an accident or mistake? Yes. It was not an accident or mistake, they meant to do it, and they did it purposefully, and He says to pray for them.

Do you know what I found out? I shared this with you before and I will share it again. I found out it is hard to be angry with a person when you are praying for him. It is not hard to be angry with a person if you are not praying for him. But it is hard to be angry with a person and pray for them at the same time, it really is.

But Jesus prays. Do you know what they did? Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And those men around the cross said, “Did you hear that? He just prayed for us, and we ought to repent of our sins.” It is not what they did.

Here is what happened, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” After He prayed for them to be forgiven for what they were doing, they gambled over His clothes. Think about that. Where were they gambling? At the foot of the cross.

They were gambling for His clothing because His robe was very unusual. The fact of the matter is, they gambled for His clothing for their own enjoyment, the gambling, I suppose, and to get the clothes. They probably reasoned that He was not going to need them anymore so they might as well.

But I submit to you that from that day to this, people have been gambling at the foot of the cross. At stake are not the clothes of the Lord, the stakes are their own soul. They are gambling at the foot of the cross, they are gambling thinking they are going to be OK when they die.

You may say, “Oh, preacher, you are always making up stuff about eternity and Heaven and Hell and all that.” Well, number one, we do not make it up. Number two, you need to know and understand this, something is going to happen when you breathe your last breath, and you close your eyes that final time. something is going to happen.

You may say, “Well, I do not believe that. I believe I am going to fall asleep and that is it. I will not know anything after that.” Then, with all the kindness I can think of, let me ask you a question. What is the point of life? If you are just going to come at the end of it and cease to exist, what is the point that you are living for? I will go a step farther than that. If you have nothing that you would die for, you probably do not have anything to live for.

What are you living for? I could be a benefit to my fellow man. Oh, you could be a benefit to your fellow man so that they can turn into what, turn into nothing? What is the point in helping them if they are on their way to nothing? They are on their way to cease to exist entirely and be conscious of nothing, know nothing, have no memory, have nothing, become nothing, what is the point in helping them towards that?

You may as well eat, drink, and be merry because you are one day going to turn into nothing so enjoy it while you are here. That is exactly the way a lot of people think, too many people think. They are gambling that they are right.

Then there are those who are gambling with their own goodness. You may say, “I know, I may not be perfect.” – keep that statement in mind. “I try to treat other people well, I try to meet people’s needs, and I am a giving person, I am a generous person, I am a kind person, I am a loving person.” And that may all be true but when you come to the end is it going to be enough? You are gambling at the foot of the cross.

Do you know what you need to do? You need to drop the dice or cards or whatever you are gambling with and look up at the cross and realize that the one who is there paid for your sins already. You cannot do enough good to make up for the wrong that you have done. You may say, “Well, I think so. One day I am going to stand before God, and He is going to put everything on scales. One hand is all the bad I have done but on the other hand, will be all the good I have done. All the good I have done is going to outweigh the bad.”

Tell me in Bible where it says that. Show me that. I guarantee you that you cannot find it. And the reason you cannot find it is that it is not there to be found. The Bible says this, that Jesus Christ paid for my sins at the cross. Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures:

II Corinthians 15:3: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;”

Romans 5:8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

What did He die for? He died for our sins; He paid for our sins; He took them upon Him. We talked about that last Wednesday night we spoke on the Day of Atonement. The truth of the matter is, our sins are paid for at the cross. Jesus did not stay dead, He rose from the grave, and He lives today and is ready and willing to save anybody and everybody who come and put their faith and trust in Him. He paid for our sins at the cross and all He asks us to do is to trust Him to forgive us and He promises that He will.

Romans 10:9: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

Romans 10:10: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

What do you need to do? You need to believe in your heart that your sins are paid for. You need to confess your sins to the living Savior and trust Him to forgive you and He has promised to do it. It is that simple. As I said, the things we are saying today are all simple to say and to understand, but for many people, they are much harder to do.

Why Love Our Enemy?

Let’s go on and look at verse forty-five, the Lord sets out a simple principle for us. Why are we supposed to love our enemy? Why are we supposed to bless those who curse us? Why are we supposed to do good to those who hate us? Why are we to pray for those who despitefully use us, and persecute us?

Matthew 5:45: “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

So, the reason we are to do these things is “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” You may say, “Well, I thought you said in other sermons that you are born again and then you become a child of God.” That is right, but what the Lord is telling us here is that we need to live like God’s children. We have a choice. We can live like a child of God or we can live as the world lives. We are going to do one or the other.

So, He says, “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Do you know what that is saying? God treats everybody fairly. He does. He sends sunshine on good people; He sends sunshine on bad people. He sends rain on good people; He sends rain on bad people. Do you know what He is telling us? He is telling us to do the same. You treat everybody with respect.

Do you want to know how to earn respect? It is simple. Give respect and you will earn respect. You will. If you treat other people with respect, you will receive respect in return. If you treat people that they are lower than you are or beneath you, why should they respect you? Be the children of God and not children of the world.

In the next two verses, the Lord illustrates what He is talking about:

Matthew 5:46: “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?”

Jesus said, “For if ye love them which love you,” – go back to verse forty-three, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.”

Matthew 5:47: “And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?”

Let’s work backward through that verse. Publicans were Jewish, Israeli men who went to work for the Roman government that was oppressing the nation of Israel at that time, as tax collectors. Their fellow Israelis did not like them at all because they were working for the Romans, but moreover, they considered them as traitors. They had gone to work for the enemy.

And then thirdly, the publicans did not get a salary from the Romans. What they did is they collected the taxes and they were allowed to charge extra and that is how they made their money. It was up to them how much extra they charged. Most of them charged outrageous amounts and they became very rich, very unpopular, but very rich.

So, Jesus is saying that if you do what He is telling you in this verse, how are you better than a publican? Because even a publican will do this. What is it? “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye.” Do you expect God to bless you because you love the people who love you? He said that even a publican can do that, the most hated man in our society will do that.

Matthew 5:47: “And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?”

The Lord says that if you are friendly to people that you know and are friendly to you, how are you better than anybody else? What are you doing better than anybody else is doing? Most anybody will do that, even the publican will do that and they would.

God’s Standard

So here is the standard. I told you Jesus gives the sermon on the Mount as the highest standard ever been given. Here it is, verse forty-eight:

Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

He says, “Be ye therefore perfect.” You cannot get a higher standard than perfect. And the Lord is telling us to be perfect. He is not telling us to be perfect by some human standard.

Think of the best person you know or ever have known, whoever that is. I do not know what person comes to mind; think of the best person you have ever known. Whoever that is, they are not your standard. They may be such a wonderful person, but they are not your standard. Who is your standard? Look at verse forty-eight again:

Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

To be perfect, you have to be as perfect as God. I am not going to ask you to raise your hand as to who is as perfect as God. First of all, no hand should go up. Secondly, I do not want to embarrass you if you chose to raise your hand. I sure cannot raise my hand. I am nowhere near the perfection of God. The truth is none of us are.

What the Lord is saying is, as a child of God, remember He said that back in verse forty-five, “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” For the child of God, our Father in Heaven is the standard, not the people of this world.

If you are thinking that you live better than those people over there and live better than that person over there. Well, those people and that person are not the standard. You may or may not live better than they do but that is really not the point at all. The point is, do you live as good as God does? Are you on His level?

Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

Our goal is not to love or hate like the world, our goal is to love like the Lord. In order to do that, number one, we must be saved by our Lord. You are not going to start loving like the Lord does until you receive His love and you have been born again. Once you receive His love and have been born again, then you may begin to live and love as the Lord does.

Number two, we need to be surrendered to our Lord. We need to say, “Lord, it is not what I want, it is what you want; not what I want to do, it is what you want me to do; not what I want to say, it is what you want me to say.”

And then we need to be sanctified by our Lord. What does sanctified mean? It means to be cleansed and set apart for God’s service. How are you going to get sanctified? By surrendering to the Lord and letting Him fill you with His Spirit to guide you.

Finally, we need to be serving our Lord. Do you know why Jesus came to this world? He tells us. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. Paul puts it this way:

I Timothy 1:15: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”

To save sinners, that is why He came, people like me, people like you. He came to save sinners. So, if we are going to be serving our Lord, what should we be seeking to do? We should be seeking what He came to do, to see people saved. Do you know why? Because God loves people. God loves sinners. Does God love His enemies? Yes. Peter writes:

II Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

God gives us a long time. Do you ever wonder why a person who is not such a nice person lives a long life? Maybe God is just being patient with him, giving him plenty of opportunities. He is longsuffering, Peter goes on, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Do you know what that verse tells us? There are other verses that corroborate it, it tells us that God wants everybody to be saved.

You may say, “Glad to hear you say that preacher. Everybody is going to Heaven.” That is not what I said. I said God wants you there, God wants you to be saved. God wants you to go to Heaven, but He leaves the choice up to you. You can trust Him, have your sins forgiven, and receive eternal life or you can go your own way. It is your call. But if you turn away, it will not be because He did not love you. It will not be because He did not take care of your sin problem. It will be because you did not trust Him.


Watch the prerecorded live version of the entire service and sermon, Enemies, Part 6: How to Deal with Your Enemies, on Facebook.

Enemies, Part 6: How to Deal with Your Enemies — Related Sermons

Discover biblical truths concerning the most important issue of our day: the enemies of Christianity. Our six-part sermon series, Enemies, delivers valuable insights on spiritual warfare and how Christians can be on the winning side:

Enemies, Part 1
Enemies, Part 2: The Enemies of All Righteousness
Enemies, Part 3: The Enemies of the Lord
Enemies, Part 4: Who is the Enemy?
Enemies, Part 5: Friends and Enemies
Enemies, Part 6: How to Deal with Your Enemies

You may also want to listen to or view these sermons:

The Dangers of Another Gospel

Wisdom is Better Than Gold

 

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Dr. Michael L. McClure, our lead pastor, is known for his in-depth knowledge and effective teaching style of biblical truths applicable to every day living.

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