Living with Your Enemies

Discussion Guide for Romans 12:14-21

A Divided Country

These days, about the only thing Americans agree on is the fact that we’re a divided society. Some people have even called it a “culture war.”

It’s pointless to debate what the divisions are or who caused them because this phenomenon is not new. Humans have found an infinite number of ways to divide ourselves since the dawn of creation.

Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that Christians are just as divisive as the world in general.

There are many reasons for Christian division — especially within the last 100 years of the evangelical church. I could write a book on the history of evangelical division, but the two key issues are:

  1. Misunderstanding the biblical call to holiness, and
  2. Refusing take The Great Commission seriously.

How the Church is Different

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” – Matthew 10:16

Christ followers have always faced opposition from the world, the flesh, and the devil. Jesus understood that a call to be a disciple was a call to live among his enemies.

The beautiful thing about the Christian faith is that we have been given every tool necessary to live as minorities in a world that fundamentally does not understand who we are.

In 2 Corinthians 5:20 Paul compares being a Christian to being an ambassador.

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

We often like to speak about being “culture warriors” for Jesus Christ. In reality, the language of warring against cultural enemies is nowhere to be found in the New Testament. Instead, we are called to be ambassadors among people who sometimes view us as the enemy.

There is a wide gap between the tactics of a warrior and the mission of an ambassador. Our ultimate goal is to represent Christ as an ambassador bringing reconciliation to the world.

Discussion Questions

  • In what ways do you see the pressure and experience of persecution? (v.14)
  • How does a Christ ambassador think differently from a culture warrior?
  • Do you think Christians sometimes make enemies unnecessarily?
  • How could you practically respond to persecution with blessing?
  • Talk about one instance when someone surprised you with empathy.
  • How do you maintain objectivity when you have a disagreement?
  • When have you had to forego vengeance and leave wrath to God? (v.19)
  • Have you ever had the opportunity to “heap burning coals” on somebody’s head?
  • How were you able to “heap coals” and maintain your love for your enemy?

Related Message: How to Treat Your Enemy

Prayer Time

Venture Out is a new group at Venture Church organizing opportunities to serve in missions. They are currently planning missions trips to Kentucky and South Asia.

Please keep this ministry in your prayers as God raises up people with a heart to reach people at the ends of the earth.

Jonathan Pugh
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