. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As Christians we have to be prepared to face our enemies and deal with them as Christians should. Jesus was constantly harassed by the Pharisees and others that were the enemies of Christ and the gospel of the kingdom. In Luke 17:20-21 Jesus is confronted again by the Pharisees. They challenge Jesus to tell them when the kingdom of God would come. We need to take note, not only Jesus’ answer, but also the way that He answered them. They came with an attitude of rebellion challenging Jesus to tell them “when” the kingdom of God would come. Jesus gave them a short, but clear answer that I am sure did not satisfy their curiosity.

“The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” I am sure that this time, just like other questions before this, they only wanted to trap Jesus so that they could condemn Him to the Roman authorities.

Jesus’ answer, though completely true, gave the enemy nothing to use against Him. From this short passage we can learn several lessons to apply to facing our enemy.

Just as Jesus knew the enemy and his tactics, we also should not be ignorant of our enemy.

Remember that “…we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).” The enemy, the real enemy, is the deceiver Satan. People are not the enemy, they are only pawns used by the devil to attack the saints of God. They are deceivers who themselves are being deceived by Satan (2 Timothy 3:13). They are used to trap and destroy those that follow Christ. We should be aware of their tactics and commit ourselves to Christ’s keeping.

“Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).”

Therefore, we need wisdom.

Jesus said, “…be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).” We need to “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man (Colossians 4:5-6).”

Just as God’s word is able to make you wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15), that same wisdom will help you deal with those that work against us.

Also, we should take care of our own attitude. We all have to deal with our own sinful nature that is full of pride. Remember that “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).”

As followers of Christ we must learn to be patient (1 Thessalonians 5:14). We should follow Christ’s instruction to “…Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you (Luke 6:27-28).” Always remember that God through Christ can turn an enemy into a friend and a brother.

Finally, we need to “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear(1 Peter 3:14-15).” We are witnesses of God’s mercy and grace. This does not mean that we have all the answers. In fact the best answer that we can give to some questions is, “I don’t know.”

Or, “I haven’t thought about that. Let me prayerfully think about it and I will get back to you.” Remember we are responsible to give them what they need, not necessarily what they want. The Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus. He gave them what they needed, not what they wanted.

What did Jesus give them?

The same thing that we are to give to every person ensnared by Satan. He gave them Himself.

He told them that “…the kingdom of God is within you.” Or, “the kingdom of God is in your midst.” There is no kingdom absent the King. Jesus was there and they couldn’t see Who He was. What does the world need? The world needs Jesus. What do those who are working for the enemy need?

They need Jesus. Show them the love of Christ. Tell them about Jesus.

If you have any questions, we invite you to visit with us this Sunday. Bible study is at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:50 a.m.

We are located at 711 West Washington Ave. mercyatcalvary.