Law & Relationships pt.3

Men’s Small Group // October 18, 2021

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group working through the Sermon on the Mount and is based on the book The Message of the Sermon on the Mount by John R. W. Stott.

Matthew 5:38-48

Review of Last Week

  • We are at the end of a 6 part interpretation of the law by Jesus, where he is explaining how Righteousness Works in Daily Life.
  • We need to remember that this righteousness Jesus is talking about centers on  Relationships. The commandment always promotes the righteous opposite.
    • Not Murder –> Reconciliation
    • Not Adultery –> Purity and Integrity
    • Not Swearing Falsely –> Truthfulness
  • This theme is carried on in todays section.

Righteous Non-retaliation

  • What’s the big picture?
    • In our relationships, we don’t seek retaliation or revenge but we accept injustice.
    • Jesus is not telling us to pretend or deny evil exists or to condone evil behavior. He is telling us not to retaliate.
    • Jesus wants this law to be an attitude: Be willing to suffer loss yourself rather than cause another to suffer.
  • Jesus gives us four pictures to illustrate what he means:
    • In each of these situations, we are called to show grace, restraint, and care for the person.
    • We are to completely rule out revenge and retaliation, so much so, that we even allow the person to double the injury.
    • We turn our other cheek, we give our cloak, we go an extra mile.
    • In all of this we have to stay engaged with the person, not run away.
  • What does this look like in the life of Christ?
    • Jesus experienced all four examples.
    • Picture Jesus being betrayed, arrested, tried without cause, spat upon, whipped, tortured, humiliated, and hung naked on a cross to die in public view. What’s his response… Compassion and Forgiveness.
    • This is not a picture of weakness too afraid to stand up for himself.
    • This is a picture of strength under control and absolutely rejecting the idea of any kind of retaliation.
  • In our relationships with others, it is not about our rights but about grace and caring for others in our vulnerability.

Unlimited Love

  • Jesus outlines three elements to loving our enemy:
    • Pray for them.
      • Pray for God to change their heart, but that God will change our heart as well.
    • Have compassion for them.
      • You can see God’s compassion in his common grace.
    • Be intentional.
      • Don’t passively wait for your enemy to come around. You go and engage with them.
      • In order to engage with them, we need to be around them. We need to be active in their lives.
    • Why?
      • This is the heart of God. We were his enemies and he sought is.
  • Who is Your Enemy
    • Political enemy? Biden Supporter or Trump Supporter
    • Person at work who is always putting me down.
    • Non-religious person who continually antagonizes me or speaks despairingly about Christianity.
    • Anyone who disagrees with me.
  • It’s easy in the southern US to avoid anyone outside my circle.
    • My Friends are all Christian
    • My News is all Christian
    • My Activities are all Christian
    • Where am I stretching and mingling with the lost?
    • Do I spend time truly engaging with anyone that thinks differently than me?
  • Since the call from Christ is to love not only our neighbor but our enemy as well, let’s end our time by thinking about what it means to love.
    • First… Set in your mind that person or group of people that you just don’t like or respect. Hear these words and think about how you’re engaging and responding with them.
    • 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV — “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant [5] or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; [6] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. [7] Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Begin prayer with silent time for everyone, then close with 1 John 4:7-12.

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