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The Greatest Sermon Ever Preached #3 (Going the Extra Mile)

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Proposition: As Christians we must not fall into the vicious cycle of hate, but rather learn how to first escape it then completely destroy it.

Introduction: Get The Monkey Off Your Back

I did not have a long athletic career during my high school years, but I still remember the lessons learned during that brief time of my life. In the quiet place of my mind I can almost hear the voice of coaches repeating clichés that must have been drilled into them.

One such saying was learned during the time I was a member of the track team. I would be at practice running, and I could hear the coach yelling, “Get the monkey off your back!”

 About ¾ the way around the track when the last bend was completed you became extremely tired, but it is at this time that you must dig in and try to sprint that last ¼ lap. This is the hardest time to speed up, because it feels like you have a monkey on your back. You must though.

It would be easy to just coast into the finish line, but you most likely will not win.

Jesus is in essence telling us to get the monkey off our back. When the rest of society is saying, “slow down and coast; Walk if you need to”

Jesus is saying, “Dig in and give the extra effort.”

I. The Right Attitude

  • It all starts with your mindset.
    1. What is your strategy for dealing with one who treats you badly? Are you looking to get even from the onset?
  • The true meaning of “an eye for an eye”
    1. Jesus is not quoting The Old Testament as he was doing before, but he is quoting popular saying of the day. We know this, because in the previous quotes He would say, “You have heard that it was said by those of old”. This contemporary context is not the same as the Old Testament.
    2. The Old Testament used the statement “an eye for an eye” as a means of limiting and determining punishment. One was not to pay their life for causing someone to loose an eye. The punishment was part of criminal law system, and it was determined by trials and judges. The Old Testament scripture's context was not dealing with personal vindictiveness.
    3. Jesus is referring to the context of 1st century Judea, and that context is the same context we deal with today. This contemporary context has the thought of, “If you do something bad to me, then I am going to do something bad to you. If you hate me, then I am going to hate you.”
  • How to defend yourself
    1. These statements are not dealing with a life threatening situations, but how to respond to the following:
      • Personal insult - Turn the other cheek
      • Threats of civil court actions - Give to him your coat also
      • Professional harassment - Go the extra mile
      • Request from the needy - Give and do not turn away

II. The Right Reaction

  • Love for your enemies
    1. The statement telling us to hate our enemies is not in The Old Testament. This is another saying of the day.
  • Give good for bad.
    1. We do not respond to hate with hate. The only way to break the vicious cycle of hate is with love, but someone has to go first. (Don’t take an eye for an eye. Don’t take anything.)
    2. As a Christians we must learn to not only stop the cycle of hate, but to short circuit the whole process. We in essence diffuse the bomb, by giving the opposite of what’s expected:
      • Love for enemies
      • Blessings for Cursing
      • Doing good for those who hate
      • Praying for those who despitefully use and persecute

  • Christian standards are higher that the world’s standards
    1. What makes us different? We live in the same world as everyone else. We work on the same jobs as non-Christians. We live in the same towns. How is the child of God different? The same rain falls and the same sun rises on us all.
    2. It’s in the differences of our actions that distinguish us from the world. How can we become good Christians if we are acting like the world?
    3. There is no difference if we don’t act differently. We all are, for the most part, the same physically, but we are a peculiar people because of the way we act. We love those who hate us.
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