Monday, August 17, 2009

Got Enemies? - Hebrews 1 part 3

“But to which of the angels has He ever said,
‘Sit at My right hand,
until I make Thine enemies
a footstool for Thy feet?”
(vs 13)

I don't know about you, but I have had my share of enemies in this life - plenty of 'em. People (peers and even my parents) have stabbed me in the back - some repeatedly, all painfully. In my 40 years of life, I have been deeply wounded, hurt, scarred, stepped on and stomped on - at times by those who should have been my greatest allies. It can be easy to develop a victim mentality and to cry out "woe is me." It can be easy to do - yet not helpful to do - nor even necessary to do. Christ turns victims into victors - "But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer, through Him who loved us." (Romans 8:37)

Hebrews 1:13 speaks of One who had enemies and it really grabbed me this morning. "But to which of the angels has He ever said, 'Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet?"

In this passage, the Father is speaking of the Son and what jumped out to me is that Christ had enemies. I know, that 's not earthshattering, breaking news. Truthfully I suppose it is somewhat of a "duh" statement. "He was crucified, Lori - of course He had enemies!!" However, that fact really settled in with me this morning. It has made me pause to ponder: If Christ had enemies, should we be shocked that we do?

Hear the question again - If Christ had enemies,should we be shocked that we do?!

Matthew Henry writes: "Christ never did anything to make men His enemies, He has done a great deal to make them all His friends - and yet still He has enemies." To that I add simply - Selah!

Christ, the sinless Savior of the world, had and still has enemies. We should not be surprised that we share in these sufferings with Him.

I am reminded that persecution is a promise for the godly: "and indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Tim 3:12).

I am also reminded that, in God's economy, He is able to bring blessing from it: "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Mat 5:10-12).

The persecution of Christ, while the most vile and heinous act that has ever occurred in the history of the world, brought about the greatest blessing that the world has or will ever know - the salvation of sinners!

Had His enemies never falsely accused Him, wrongly convicted Him, and visciously nailed Him to the cross we would all still be dead and damned in our sins. Christ took upon Himself persecution that He did not deserve - He took what we deserve and gave us what we could NEVER merit! Jesus had enemies and you and I were numbered among them: "For...while we were enemies, we were recociled to God through the death of His Son." - Romans 5:10

The Lord Jesus Christ had enemies, He still has enemies - but the day is coming when He will make them a footstool for His feet. In the meantime - mercy, grace, and a treaty of peace are still universally extended to all who will desert the enemy camp and flee to the Kingdom of Christ. What a gracious God to so willingly extend an olive branch to those whom He has the power and right to crush with just a word. Do you realize how amazing the gracious offer of the gospel is?

Christ's conquering moment will come, and at a time when we least expect it. Which side are you bowing the knee to? Which army has your allegiance? Are you an enemy or a friend of Christ the King? It is a crucial question.

In closing, if you are enlisted in the cause of Christ and are facing your own enemy barragement this day, remember that your Captain is sovereign! He works all things according to the counsel of His will - even enemy bombardment!
Knowing that He is in control, know also that He has a blessed purpose in your trial - He truly does!! Just as His own persecution brought about God's glory and our own eternal good - so can yours! I leave you with some words from 1st Peter regarding our attitude and behavior as we face the foe and seek to dispel the fiery darts that they so often hurl in our direction.

"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ....

...don't return evil for evil, or insult for insult, but give a blessing instead....

...For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously....

...Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exaltation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right....

...Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you....

...And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you."

Thankful for the treaty of peace - praying for His and for my enemies,

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