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In the Presence of My Enemies (7 of 8)
Series: Righteousness Redefined
At the end of the Beatitudes where Jesus is redefining what it means to be "blessed" when it comes to the kingdom of heaven, Jesus says in the final beatitude that you are blessed when you are persecuted for righteousness' sake.
Jesus is communicating to His disciples that a life lived counter culturally according to the gospel will encounter persecution and reviling.
Jesus tells them and us to rejoice and be glad because our reward will be great in heaven.
In this text we are going to see how we should respond to those who persecute us or harass us, and who might be considered our enemies.
TEXT: Matthew 5:43-48
Whereas in the previous antitheses Jesus may have been referring to an actual command found in the Law, here He shows just how the scribes and Pharisees twisted the Law to make it say what they wanted it to say.
Nowhere in Scripture will you find the command to "hate your enemy".
In fact, to hate an enemy wasn't even inferred in the Scripture.
To the contrary, you'll find many times in the bible those who honored their enemies.
Look at Exodus 23:4-5, where God's people are told to do "favors" for their enemies:
If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.
Look at what Job declared about his treatment of his enemy when he was questioning God.
Have I ever rejoiced when my enemies came to ruin or become excited when harm came their way? No, I have never cursed anyone or asked for revenge.
Some of you may be thinking, "What about the 'imprecatory' psalms that ask God to smite the enemy?"
Those have to do with enemies that are a threat to the glory of God and the people of God as ...
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