Thursday, April 27, 2006

But He...But I...Must I?

9Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20“But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:9-21

We all remember the exhortations about faith: faith as small as a mustard seed, cast a mountain into the sea, believe and ask in faith, etc. Here we go. Stand by for nutty idea # 1705-B.
We all should abhor what is evil and cling to what is good. For those who may consider morality as mutable, changing as to needs or situations I’ll spell it out: God decides what is evil or not evil. He is the arbiter and judge. If He calls something bad, don’t call it good. About 15,000 good sermons could be written just by digging into the wisdom found in verses 9-13, but I want to focus on verse14today.
Verse 14 is so contrary to our human nature but so resonating of God’s that we marvel at the difference. It’s a command which we find hard to keep in our hearts. Or practice.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad needs to be lifted up in prayer for Salvation.
He needs salvation just as much as everyone else on the planet, and he is indeed persecuting, so verse 14 tells us we should be blessing him. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. There is nothing gooder than being freed from the false religion of Islam and accepted into the family of God through Jesus Christ.
We recall the old saying about Islamic stubbornness: “Make the mountain come to Mohammed”. Well, Mohammed, or in this case, Mahmoud needs to come to Christ and seek forgiveness for his sins. This happens through hearing the Word, conviction by the Holy Spirit and repentance. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is simply human, just as we are, and is not beyond the reach of the Gospel.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Wouldn’t you love for
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to accept Christ and take this verse to heart? If Muslims are converted to Christians, no more war. Muslims know how dangerous the Gospel is to Islam, which is why Abdul Rahman was under a threat of death. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
If you’re thinking that it is impossible or at least very unlikely that our prayers for Ahmadinejad’s salvation would be answered, you need only look at the Bible where God makes the most unlikely things happen time after time. And remember that with God, all things are possible.

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