Luke 1:77,78,79 – To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Make no mistake Believers in Christ, we cannot forget the real reason why we are here. We can never forget why God created us and selected us; what His job for us is. In a manner of speaking, we are all apostles. Why? Because the word “apostle” means “one who is sent”, and we have all been sent into the world for one reason, and that reason is to show the love of God so that through the love of God men might be saved. Not only would these people be saved, but also delivered, set free from sickness and disease, injustice, fear, mental anguish, emotional distress, poverty, demon spirits, and all forms and manners of oppression, captivity, and torment. Why is this not being done? It is not because there are not enough Believers in Christ: see what mighty and great things that only Twelve did. It is not because the apostles in the time of Christ are better than us, for now is the time of Christ, and whereas they had to wait for Christ to die, resurrect, and ascend for the Holy Spirit to come upon them, we can have all the power that they had to wait for right when we believe upon Him. And it is not because they were special: they were men just like us. No, this is not being done because not enough Believers are faithful and obedient. And one of the main areas in which we lack faith and obedience is that we do not love our enemies. How many of us could have been like Simon Peter, who while spending two agonizing days dying while being crucified upside down besought his murdering tormenters and passerby gawkers – many of whom were no doubt mocking and denouncing him – to accept Christ and be saved? Nay, far too many of us would go to our crucifixions bearing a grudge. We would ask God to strike down those who are doing us wrong. Rather than our love of God getting us through that tough time, we would instead hold onto our religion and our self – righteousness and self – justification through it. We would deny love rather than show it; we would take God’s love and keep it to ourselves to maintain our own integrity rather than share it so that others might be saved.
Ultimately, rather than be like Jesus Christ and Simon Peter, who knew that they were fine because the destruction of their temporary body would mean the liberation to glory of their eternal spirits to be with God and instead thought of the fate of those who were suffering in this life and would suffer even more in eternity, we Christians are carnal and worldly through our religions. Just like those who rejected Christ because it threatened their temporary earthly beliefs and positions of influence, we live for the temporary. We bear the slights and insults of those who do us wrong; we receive the wicked counsel and actions of the enemy, and rather than loving them so that they can be saved, we hold it against them to make sure that they will not be. We purposefully “get religion” and become self – righteous. We become joyless, backbiting, gossiping, conniving, and mean. We draw a line in the sand which our religion arbitrarily tells us is SIN and we go right up to it, do an upside down dance while juggling cups and saucers, but we dare not cross it lest we sin in our own minds and not be justified in our own hearts. Why? Because if we sin in our own minds, then we would have to actually get down on our knees, talk to God, and repent. And if we do that, then God might tell us what we do not want to hear, which is that we have to be like Christ and love our enemies. So in order to avoid that we do everything but what we regard to be sin, meanwhile doing nothing but what God regards to be sin already.
We do this because we know religion rather than God, and because we do not know God we do not know Him, we do not know His love, and we do not know how to share His love. Religion does not teach us how to love people. It does not teach us how to get people saved through Christ. It teaches us how to reject people. Not only do we reject true believers, but we reject those that we regard as sinners, often good people who are hurting and since they do not know God they have no outlet for their goodness and only outlet for their pain, and all they know is to outlet that pain by hurting others. In other words, scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, Roman soldiers, and oh yes some guy named Paul. But instead of ignoring what their temporary body is doing to your temporary body and instead considering the eternal soul of them AND you, you retreat into your corrupt shell. You lash back out, driving that poor soul further and further away from freedom, justice, goodness, and liberation from sin.
And instead of it breaking your heart, you glory in it. Because the foundation of your religion and lifestyle is “I am good and you are not. I am going to Heaven and you are not. While I am going to spend forever in Heaven, you are going to spend forever in hell, because you are not as good as me! I am better than you, God likes me better than you, so He is going to accept me and reject you! Goodbye loser! Hope you like the smell of smoke!” Now, of course, you have no idea of God or His Nature. You have no idea what you are going to be doing all that time in Heaven. You do not even think about those things, because you do not even really spend that much time thinking about – or seeking revelation about – God or anything about Him. Why? Because your whole existence is living in this world. Your only desire is that God come and punish the bad people for being bad. And you know what? You do not want them punished for things that they did TO GOD! You want them punished for the things that they did TO YOU! Even the people who have done nothing to you, you still want them punished because they are out there having a good time doing the things that you want to do. You want to have that good time, but you can’t. You want to gamble, smoke, drink alcohol, consume pornography, commit fornication and adultery. There are even times when you want to kill somebody. But you do not do it, and you envy those who do. Because of your envy of them, you hate them, and the only purpose that your God serves is to exact your hate upon them. The only thing that you want God for, the only reason that you care about God for, the only reason that you serve God for, the only reason why you get up in the morning and pay tithes and pray and sing songs and do your religious service to the church and community is just so that one day God is going to settle the score with all who have done you wrong; just so that He will punish all those that you hate because they do what you deep in your heart really want to. And yes, you have all of your scriptures, all those pronouncements of the prophets and the words of Jesus Christ Himself about what is going to happen to those people. When you lie awake at night in pain, lonely, hurting, sad, and afraid, your “I am going to Heaven and you are not” thoughts are your joy. They are your peace. They are your comfort. God is supposed to be those things, but He is not, for you love not God but your religion.
But out there are true Believers. They are people who have been hurt but still pray for those who hurt them. They are people who have been hurt by YOU and still pray for YOU. Yes, you have hurt them with your hatred, your anger, your bitterness, your hypocrisy, your self – righteousness. They interact with you and see you interact with others and experience all of the trauma that you inflict on others, and what is more they see you proclaiming the Name of the very Father, Son, and Holy Ghost that they love while you do it. Your actions sorely test their patience, try their love, press their mercy, and burdens their faith. To tell the truth, they would rather pray for some killer in jail or drug dealing pimp in the streets because at least THAT PERSON does not claim to know God. At least THAT PERSON does not read the Bible every night and reject its meaning; at least THAT PERSON doesn’t go to church every week and come out worse than they were before. True Believers look at you and are tempted to say to themselves: “I cannot wait until Judgment Day when all the hypocrites are exposed.” But true Believers ignore the temptation and pray for you because they want you to be saved. They want the evil that you suffer on earth to be the last evil that you will see.
We are not to be religious folk. We are to be true Believers. We are to show love to those who abuse us not so much so that they will stop abusing us, but so they will stop abusing THEMSELVES. As bad as they make it for us on earth, they face far worse in the next life. Saving our enemies is an integral part of doing God’s Will. Why? Because if it were not, who would be saved? Everyone is someone’s enemy. You, as a matter of fact, are the world’s enemy! The world hates and rejects you because you hate and reject the world and instead choose Christ. I think that the problem is that a lot of us delude ourselves as to who our friends are. We judge people based upon how they outwardly treat us in our presence. If they are generally nice to us, we call them our friends. If they are generally reliable and honest, we put our trust in them and actually consider them people of character. But that is a lie. They can never be our true friends unless they accept salvation through Christ. If we forget that, then their virtue becomes a snare to them. They become convinced of their own virtue and certain that if God does exist, He will not destroy a virtuous person. Christians become less militant in praying for such a person’s salvation; are less likely to evangelize such a person, because we tell ourselves “He is a good person, he will turn around!” That is not the case! None is good but the Father, and that is why we need to accept The Son so that the Holy Spirit can come into us! The unsaved is not our friend because the unsaved is of the world, and the world and all in it is your enemy.
Of course you want nice good sweet friendly people, especially those who are in your immediate family, to be saved. They have done good things for you and you want good to be done to them in turn and not evil. And you are going to be less concerned with the salvation of those who do evil to you, especially if they are not connected to you. But that is your flesh, your carnality, your temporal speaking. Get into contact with the eternal, and realize that a person who has accepted Christ is your friend no matter how they act, and a person who has not accepted Christ is your enemy no matter who they are. And THAT is why you must love your enemy. Without the knowledge, love, and power of God, you cannot even truly tell your friend from your foe. Those who you think are for you are actually against you, and those that you perceive to be against you are praying for you.
Without God guiding you, you will pray for those that God wants left alone; those people whom God’s grace has departed (ichabod) and that God has given over to a reprobate mind. And even if you are praying for people that God wants, if you pray in the flesh you will pray according to your own emotions. That is why you must love God above yourself and worship Him sincerely in spirit and truth. Let God guide and direct your prayers. God knows who are and who will be your friends and who are and will be your foes and will direct your prayers accordingly. But in order for this to happen, you have to have a heart to do right. You have to have a desire to love and obey God. You have to seek it in prayers, fasting, and immersion in God’s Word. You have to renounce what seems natural and reach for what seems unattainable, and indeed is unattainable except through God.
How do you do such a thing? One way is practice. When someone does you wrong, immediately pray for them. Pray first that God puts forgiveness and removes resentment and anger from your own heart (take the beam out of your own eye first) and then pray that God saves that person, or forgives that person if they are already saved. Also, when someone wrongs someone else, pray for them! This especially applies to when you read about or watch the news. Those people committing horrible acts of crime against innocent people? They can still be saved! God can still use them! I was even reading an Internet article about murderers who convert to Christ and evangelize others while on death row. Sadly, religion perverts the minds and hearts of so – many would – be Christians. Religion teaches us to fear these people; to hate them for what they have done! But those with the love of Christ do not want people to do evil only to suffer evil for eternity. We want people who have done evil to receive God, do good on earth and receive it in Heaven! That is what is so wrong with so many of these “victims’ rights” movements. It really is not about the victims and what is best for them; for them to hold onto their hurt and pain. What is good for victims is to overcome through Christ Jesus! To give their hurts and fears to God and let God heal them! How terrible would it be to be raped, assaulted and disfigured, or to see a loved one murdered and go through all that pain on earth and then on top of that have your soul destroyed in hell! We should be offering victims of crimes and of war hope through Christ so that they may be loosed from their anguish on earth AND have eternal freedom in Heaven!
The very thought of a child molesting murderer living forever in Heaven rejoicing and praising God alongside his innocent victim would turn the stomach of a religious person, for a religious person cannot conceive that a righteous God could love such a criminal and want that criminal to be saved. Why? Because such a person is incapable of giving (or receiving) God’s love for such a person has not the love of God in him. So, that person has what so many religious people have: a desire for retribution. Fry ‘em! Lock ‘em up and throw away the key! So what if one or two are innocent! Getting even with the guilty is all that matters! Of course we should go to war! They attacked us! We have the right to defend ourselves! If they are against us, we are against them! That has nothing to do with the love of God! A trust in a God who fights our battles and wins every time! Yet so many people who believe in God through Christ represent this to the very people that need to hear about Christ’s love so that they can be saved. A lot of these people actually know better; have heard it preached to them, have read it in the scriptures, have actually heard God’s voice and call in their spirits. But they deny the goodness of God and choosing instead the wrath of man. Do they not know that the very people that they are holding a grudge against God wants them to be saved? Either God wants you to evangelize that person that so gets under your nerves personally, or God wants you to pray for them so that someone else will break through to that person. But you are so full of resentment, so ready to condemn that person to the lake of fire because of what they did to YOU that you are unwilling to let God use you to do God’s will, which is for that person to be saved. Virtually every Christian has heard that it is the will of God that everyone be saved, but virtually no Believer acts like it!
We must know who our enemies are, who are the unsaved. We must love our enemies, who are the unsaved. And we must love God so that we allow God to use us to do His will, which is bring salvation to our enemies. Is it not better to do God’s will in all things rather than to be outside His will in anything? The only way that you are going to achieve that is to rely not on yourself but rather the Holy Spirit of God that is within you. Jesus Christ died so that you could have it, and He showed you the way by forgiving His murderers and mockers as the life was draining out of Him on the cross. Be like Jesus Christ and do the same unto all that your God commands you.
Lord, help me to love my enemies so that you would use me to help them find salvation through Jesus Christ. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Deliverance:The demons that operate in this area are religion, lack of love, rejection, and bitterness. Please read the Basic Spiritual Warfare guide to learn more about how to go against these demons to help set captives free and win battles in the name of your God through the power, authority, and victory given to you by his Son Jesus Christ and by his blood shed for you!