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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- This is the heart of God. We were his enemies and he sought is.
- Pray for them.
- 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  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  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.