Upside Down - Love Your Enemies
Opening Game - Name that Nemesis
Transition - Maybe you’re wondering what in the world that game has to do with us or the Bible. Has anyone in here ever had an enemy?
Personal Story - I know I’ve had an enemy before. When I was in middle school there was this kid - Michael Vandergrift. He was just annoying! He was bigger than me, so he thought he could push me around a lot. I wouldn’t call it bullying - He was just SUPER annoying!
Transition to Text - Jesus had something to say about our enemies. He had an “Upside down” way of dealing with it.
Normally we would want to take our enemies and beat them.
That’s the goal isn’t it? To win. To beat our enemies?
Jesus shows us another way..It’s an upside down way.
Text - One day, Jesus was teaching a crowd on the side of a hill. In the middle of his talk he says something that just seems crazy! Let’s look at it
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.
Jesus says here - LOVE YOUR ENEMIES!
This seems crazy! Aren’t we supposed to beat them?
Jesus wants us to learn to love them. So how do we do that?
Pray for them!
When we talk to God about something he starts to change our hearts
When we start to pray for someone, maybe it first starts out like - GOD PLEASE GIVE THIS KID WHAT HE DESERVES!
But Jesus loved us and doesn’t give us what we deserve. He loved us and gave himself on the cross for us - Instead of giving us what we deserved, he gave us his love and grace.
Over time, as you pray, God starts to change your heart.
For me - For Michael - I don’t know what happened, but eventually God helped us both change. We actually became good friends. Sometimes he still got on my nerves - but I didn’t think of him as my enemy anymore.
What about you? Who is your enemy?
Instead of trying to beat them, pray for them. When you do this, you both win!