Title:  Handling Your Enemies

Focus:  Part of being a living sacrifice involves not merely saying a blessing, but being a blessing to even enemies.  Being a blessing involves trying to be at peace with all people by serving their needs as they arise.

Function:  To motivate the hearers to make a habit of ministering to the needs of enemies as well as close friends

Text:  Rom 12:14, 17-21




1.  A couple of boys, Brian and Curtis always picked on me on the way home

            a.  Threw mud balls at house, made fun of Mom

            b.  Chased them, never could catch them

            c.  Finally caught one of them and tackled him

2.  Ever had anyone that had it out for you?  How would you handle them?

            a.  Text deals with that question

            b.  The theme of this chapter is living sacrifices

            c.  Being a living sacrifice also involves how treat enemies

3.  (Rom 12:14) - We are to “bless” our persecutors

            a.  Greek:  “Eulogia”  --  We usually think funeral eulogy, but it is more

            b.  Blessing a powerful thing

                        - Esau ready to kill brother for stealing Father’s blessing

                        - The Lord’s blessing is more powerful

                        - Dt - Blessing and Curses

                        - If being cursed meant bad, being blessed meant good

            c.  So a blessing is more than mere words

                        - It’s like love - we not to love in word, but in deed and truth

                        - Words without action is dead

4.  (Rom 12:17-21) This passage tells us we are to be a blessing to others


I.  Preoccupy your mind with good (v.17b)

            A.  Lit:  Have a mind to do what is good (predisposition)

                        1.  2 words for good in Greek - agathos & kalos

                        2.  Agathos = good, upright, right, just

                        3.  Good - Kalos (used here) = Good, honorable, lovely, noble

            B.  Illustration of this kind of good (Mark 14:3-9)

                        1.  $40,000 bottle of perfume

                        2.  She went above and beyond

                        3.  She has done a “lovely; kind, thoughtful” thing

            C.  ILL:  Tommy and I filled request for groceries from a lady

                        1.  She had young children at home

                        2.   Tommy put in several little goodies for the kids

                        3.  That was above and beyond.  It was a lovely thing

            D.  Any of us would do this for Jesus, or one in need

                        1.  But what about doing something lovely for your enemy?

                                    a.  Did Jesus do that?

                                    b.  Fed Judas a morsel at last supper

                                    c.  You don’t do that for just anyone

                        2.  But how can I do that?

                                    a.  (Phil 4:8-9)

                                    b.  Have a “mind” to do good

                                    c.  Don’t be preoccupied with self, but with others

                        3.  If so, the God of peace will be with you - next point


II.  Preoccupy self with peace (v.17-19)

            A.  Mt 5:9 - Blessed are the peacemakers - called sons of God

                        - We are to be peacemakers

            B.  Paul tells us how not to have peace - Not by Revenge

                        1.  Revenge may seem like solution

                                    a.  That how many think you “make it right”

                                    b.  Peace never comes through revenge

                                    c.  The hurt, hate, discontent still there

                        2.  That is why Bible has always taught against revenge

                                    a.  (Mt 5:39-42) - No eye for eye, tooth for tooth

                                    b.  In O.T. context, that not about revenge

                                    c.  It came to mean that, though

                                    d.  Jesus say we to turn the other cheek

                        3.  There is a problem with revenge

                                    a.  v.19 - Vengeance is Mine, I will repay says the Lord

                                    b.  (Prov. 20:22) - Do not say, I will repay evil, wait for the

                                         Lord, he will save you

                                    c.  (Isa 40:18-24, 31)

                                                - God will take care of it

                                                - But some not want to wait on the Lord

                                                - Took matters into own hands = idolatry

                                    d.  So problem with revenge is idolatry

            C.  ILL:  Besides, revenge usually makes it worse (Prov 25:21-23)

                        1.  v.23 - Biting back with tongue brings not peace, but storm

                        2.  How do you put out a fire?

                                    a.  How about make it hotter, burn out faster right?

                                    b.  How about an explosion, put out the flame

                                    c.  Problem - Creates more damage

                        3.  Result of fighting fire with fire is more fire

            D.  We need to preoccupy self with peace, not revenge

                        1.  Revenge can only make it worse, not better

                        2.  It could result in idolatry, not waiting on God

                        3.  How are we to be peacemakers?

                                    a.  Peacemaker, not peace enforcers

                                    b.  If have to enforce peace, it not true peace

                                    c.  Next point...


III.  Preoccupy our hands with service (v.20)

            A.  Gal 6:10 - Do good to all men, especially to household of faith

                        1.  Gal 6:9 - Do not lose heart in doing good, will reap in due time

                        2.  We need to do good through service

            B.  Good works are not limited to your buddies

                        1.  2nd greatest command is love neighbor

                                    a.  Lk 10:29ff - Who is our neighbor?

                                    b.  Story shows on helping one who is an “enemy”

                        2.  Jesus did good among Gentiles (oursiders)

                                    a.  Jesus fed 5,000 Jews

                                    b.  Also fed 4,000 Gentiles of the Decopolis

                                    c.  In Decapolis, healed, excorized, and taught

                                    d.  Washed Judas feet, fed him at last supper - Jn 13:26

                        3.  Message - Serve needs of enemies when they arise

                                    a.  After all, Christ did

                                    b.  He died on the cross for even his enemies

                        4.  So, if enemy burns you, don’t burn him back

                                    a.  Fighting fire with fire only makes more fire

                                    b.  Instead, fight fire with water

            C.  ILL:  Examples of a cup of water

                        1.  Dad and mean clerk at store during summer job

                                    a.  Dad said always be nice

                                    b.  They wound up being friends

                        2.  Lady in a previous church, gave me all kinds of trouble

                                    a.  Letter writing campaign to have me fired

                                    b.  Always commented her, card on B-Day, etc.

                                    c.  Became freinds, and still write to each other

            D.  World says if Angry - LET IT OUT - RELEASE

                        1.  But that is often not the best thing

                        2.  Like a Dr Pepper bottle shaken

                                    a.  Open it, pressure escapes rapidly and have a mess

                                    b.  Let it out slow, and have refreshing drink

                        3.  ILL:  Like when I caught Brian

                                    a.  Wanted to let out pressure fast

                                    b.  Mom drove down street with sister

                                    c.  She shook head at me

                                    d.  Invited Brian to play Ball out back.  Friends. 

                        4.  (v.21) Not overcome evil with evil, but with good



1.  Do you want to overcome your enemies?  Be a blessing to them

2.  That is only way to overcome hate, resentment, bitterness.

3.  (1 Pet 3:9-12) - Can’t overcome fire with more fire

4.  How can you be a blessing, even to your enemies?