Faithlife Sermons


The Greatest Sermon Ever  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:11
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Introduction: A sad woman was walking along the beach when she saw a bottle on the sand. She picked it up and pulled out the cork. Whoosh! A big puff of smoke appeared. "You have released me from my prison," the genie told her. "To show my thanks, I grant you three wishes. But take care, for with each wish, your mate will receive double of whatever you request." 
"Why?" the woman asked. "That bum left me for another woman." 
"That is how it is written," replied the genie. 
The woman shrugged and then asked for a million dollars. There was a flash of light, and a million dollars appeared at her feet. At the same instant, in a far-offplace, her wayward husband looked down to see twice that amount at his feet.
 "And your second wish?" 
"Genie, I want the world's most expensive diamond necklace." Another flash of light, and the woman was holding the precious treasure. And, in that distant place, her husband was looking for a gem broker to buy his latest bonanza. 
"Genie, is it really true that my husband has two million dollars and more jewels than I do, and that he gets double of whatever I wish for?" The genie said it was indeed true. "Okay, genie, I'm ready for my last wish," the woman said. "Scare me half to death." 
Today, as we continue through the sermon on the mount, we are talking about retaliation. So open your Bibles to...
Read: Matthew 5:38-42
Explanation: Let’s break this passage down a bit. If we were to take this passage in a literal sense, then we would all be bruised, naked, and broke! Eye for an Eye was called The Law of Retaliation in the Old Testament. Quite contrary to how it is interpreted, this law had nothing to do with personal vengeance. This was a law that was about legal dealings in a court of law. It meant that one could take another to court and for an offense and there the sentence could be executed legally. This law guided the courts as to what was an appropriate punishment.
The slap on the right cheek was not an opened palm slap it was what we call a back-hand to the right side of the face. In the Jewish culture that type of slap was very insulting. This act alone could get a person double the fine than if they would to slap someone on the left side with an open palm.
Regarding the lawsuit mentioned, frivolous lawsuits were not common in this time. So the description Jesus gives of this lawsuit was most likely a legit case. Jewish law permitted a person to sue another for possession of their tunic, or what we would call their shirt. This shirt was generally long sleeved and went down to the ankles. Jesus says to go beyond that and give them the cloak, or coat as well. The cloak was the most valuable of clothings as it was for warmth and could become a blanket as well when needed. To take the cloak was too harsh so it was prohibited by Jewish law. So, Jesus is advocating reconciliation here.
The Roman Solider had a practice to make a civilian carry things for them, however, they could not force them to go more than a mile. Jesus is suggesting here that the disciple should not only go a mile for their oppressor but go beyond that as a way to show love and service to them.
Given the context of this passage is do not retaliate, this last verse helps us realize that we are to not refuse help to our oppressors of to those who are less fortunate. In fact, Paul supports this when he writes in Romans 12:19-21
Romans 12:19–21 ESV
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Now that we know the actual context of what Jesus is teaching here, we need to glean the truth of how we are to respond. I believe one of the main things that we can learn from this passage is that...

A Disciple Leaves Vengeance in God’s Hands

It is not up to the disciple to take matters into their own hands when it comes to dealing with oppressors. Now, Jesus is not saying that we do not have a right to defend ourselves or families when threatened with serious bodily harm. What he is teaching is that we must learn to practice mercy and grace.
Yubis was filled with grief and didn't know where to turn. Yubis' husband--a pastor--was brutally murdered as a martyr in Colombia for his faith and teachings of Jesus Christ. As a result, their two-year-old daughter was despondent--and she stopped speaking. She would only draw pictures with each one just saying one word ... "Daddy."
With the help of The Voice of the Martyrs, Yubis was able to receive practical assistance along with counseling for her daughter. Taking it a step further, she is now enrolled in Bible school. In a recent interview she told VOM ... "I wanted vengeance on those who killed my husband--I know who they are. But God has shown me that the best vengeance would be for me to tell them about Jesus. So that is what I plan to do."
It is a natural tendency to want to get revenge for things that have hurt us. However, we are called to do the unnatural. We are called to love and pray for our enemies. Jesus said in Luke 6:27-28
Luke 6:27–28 ESV
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
I know that this is a very hard concept especially in our culture. Nonetheless, it is the way of a disciple of Jesus. It was George Herbert that said, “Living well is the best revenge.”- George Herbert. When we respond to our oppressors with love, mercy, and grace; we will show them the true character of Jesus. Just think about it for a moment. If you are here today as a Christian, you were once an enemy of God. What did God do? John 3:16
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Paul reminds us in Romans 5:10
Romans 5:10 ESV
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
As we were enemies of God, He made a way for us to be reconciled to Him. Through Jesus, we can be made right before Him and are adopted as sons and daughters. The same truth is true for you enemies. If you show them Jesus, they too can have an opportunity to be reconciled to God.
Conclusion: Church, we must leave vengeance up to God. Those who choose to do evil all the days of their lives will have their just punishment. In the meantime, we are to continue to pray that their hearts would be softened. We are to show love in all things. We are to be Jesus to people that are hard to love. I understand that this is a very difficult way to live, however, it’s the right way. It is the way of our Savior. Choose today to live and love like Jesus.
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