Matthew 5:38-44 Sermon – Gospelised Ethics

In this sermon Tim continues our series on What Jesus Taught, looking at Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:38-44 and how it ushers in a new Kingdom Ethic where we love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us and take back the inactive from people who have wronged us; blessing them and going the extra mile! How will you put these words into practice this week?

Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday March 20, 2022.

27/11/22 – 2022 End Of Year Sermon – by Tim Giovanelli Manly Life Church Podcast

In this sermon Tim recaps an amazing year at Manly Life and calls us to remember what we have been taught and put it into action, do we look any different as a church or as individuals since the beginning of the year – have we grown in our faith? Let's end the year well and join with what God is doing! SERMON NOTES click here: https://manlylife.org/2022/11/29/2022-end-of-year-sermon/ For more information about Manly Life check out our website: http://www.manlylife.org You can also find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ManlyLifeChurch
  1. 27/11/22 – 2022 End Of Year Sermon – by Tim Giovanelli
  2. 20/11/22 – Romans 2 Grace and Truth – by Tim Giovanelli
  3. 13/11/22 – Exodus 20:8 Sabbath and Rest – by Victoria Giovanelli
  4. 05/11/22 – Mustard Seed – by Tim Giovanelli – 10th B'day Celebrations
  5. 30/10/22 – Romans 1:1-17 Not Ashamed Of The Gospel – by Tim Giovanelli – Glorious Gospel Series

SERMON NOTES:

Read Matthew 5:38-44

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. 

Well occasionally a story makes the news that cuts through the usual depressing mix of wars, gang violence, natural disasters and political scandals… 

  • News that reminds you that there is a God in heaven who is bringing a remarkably different, subversive and counter-cultural kingdom to earth
  • News where citizens of this kingdom behave in such a way that it makes you sit up in awe of what can happen when the gospel gets hold of someone’s life. 

You might remember the tragic but inspiring story of the Abdallah family…

  • Here in Sydney a few years ago, 3 of their children were killed when a drunk driver mounted the curb and hit Danny and Leila’s children. 
  • As a parent I can’t think of anything that would more destroy the fabric of your soul.
  • And yet at a press conference a few days later, the remarkable Christian parents Danny and Leila spoke of finding forgiveness in their hearts for the drunk driver.  
  • I don’t know what you saw… but I saw… Jesus. I saw the ethics of the sermon on the mount worked out in the most tragic of circumstances. 

What do we do with the Sermon on Mount? Beautiful, impossible, challenging, subversive…

  • Blessed are the peacemakers, the persecuted, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed are the merciful… 
  • We are doing this series on What did Jesus teach, and thinking through what it means to be a disciple. 
  • After all, if we are to call Jesus Lord and try and live by his teachings, we need to let them impact us deeply. 
  • So today, would it be fair to say this (Love your enemies) is Jesus most admired teaching but also the most difficult to live out? … 
  • Bit like forgiveness… admirable until you have to do it…

Give you my conclusion at the start… and then you can see how I am going to get there…

  • 3 levels of humanity… Darrell Johnson
  • Uncivilised humanity: Like the war being fought in the Ukraine at the moment. Where people bring evil into the world. 
  • Civilised humanity: Restrained justice. Eye for eye. We treat people with a polite respect. 
  • Gospelised humanity: where the gospel has so gotten a hold of your life, that Christ forms within you, leading to acts of remarkable grace and mercy!

Some people really get on my nerves…

  • But believe it or not, apparently I really annoy some people
  • Fall outs happen – inside and outside the church…
  • Fight or flight… rarely do we engage constructively…
  • At best – Karma and an eye for an eye rules…
  • The reality for most of our lives is that a huge amount of our mental energy is spent on our relationships, that with our family, friends, neighbours and colleagues
  • Lie in bed at night having conversations in our minds…

Todays passage is fundamentally about how we treat one another.

  • And in this area, we all need help… many of us well into our adult lives… 
  • Because fundamentally how we treat others defines our lives, our relationships, our chance for peace and happiness
  • Some have called this the high water mark of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount
  • So what is this about, this turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, this loving our enemy and praying for those who persecute us?
  • I want to suggest that Jesus is describing what it means to be a child of God 

Victoria and I are starting to wonder what our kid will end up being like as they grow a bit older? Basically hoping they get Victoria’s genes… we all have a family resemblance… 

  • You may never look more like God… as his children, than when you act like this…
  • You see this is the difference between civilized humanity and gospelised humanity… 
  • Civilized humanity often does the bear minimum required of it to keep the peace and stay within the law…
  • Gospelised humanity are those who have been enamoured by the King and become citizens of an entirely different kingdom. 
  • Who have renounced their old lives and begun to trust and follow Jesus.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. 

Jesus is working with one of the oldest laws of civilization… lex tali-onius

  • This is the law of just retribution 
  • Lex tali-onus is found in earliest know codes of law  
  • Found all through the OT – Deuteronomy, Leviticus… but particularly…

 Exodus 21:22-25

“If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. 

So just retribution – 3 facts you need to know about lex tali-onus

  1. It took taking justice out of an individuals hands and put it into the courts… this was meant for the judges of Israel to decide.  
  2. It limits revenge… so marks an important advance for humanity – punishments are to fit crimes
  3. An accommodation to our fallen nature… saying if you must have compensation at least make it fair – it’s a foot for a foot not… you hurt my foot so I am going to take your life!

But important – it is Gods will from the beginning that no human being seeks revenge…

Leviticus 2:1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. 18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD.

So Lex tali-onuis was given as permission for those who could not find in their hearts forgiveness…

  • Can you now see what Jesus is doing… taking people back to Gods original will… to not seek revenge, to let love rule…
  • Civilized humanity will limit revenge… this is what Australia is built on… eye for an eye, I wont wipe out your entire village for an eye… we have the rule of law… good thing!
  • Gospelised humanity will go further…

You have heard it said… but I say to you, do not resist an evil person…

  • So what do we do with all of the emotional energy generated by evil… 
  • What are we to do in the face of wrong?

Jesus gives 4 examples interpreting what it means not to resist

Vs 39 If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 

  • Jesus is talking about the slap with the back of a hand – deliberate insult…

40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 

  • Talking about a miscarriage of justice…
  • 2 garments… shirt close to the body, cloak wrapped around… only two items people owned…
  • To take someone’s shirt is a terrible miscarriage of justice, mean thing to do…

41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 

  • Talking about the Roman right to force a Jew to carry his bags 1 mile…
  • Colonial act of cruelness…

42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

  • Request that takes advantage of another person… no intention to return what is lent…

So you have been hit in the face, sued for your shirt, forced to carry an enemies bag and been taken advantage of…

  • What does the one who came to establish the Kingdom of God say about how we are to respond?
  • Clearly we are not to get even… but do we passively let the evil person have there way
  • This is the big point…
  • Passively stand by… no – nothing passive about any of Jesus examples…
  • Crucial – nothing passive in 4 illustrations
  • Jesus is saying don’t try to get even…
  • But he is saying go on the offensive! Change the dynamics of the encounter!!!!!!!

Look at 4 illustrations – listen to his words…

Vs 42 – doesn’t say give what you will get back, says give to whom ever asks…

  • This is not writing up a contract to ensure that you will get your goods back…
    • This is freely giving with no expectation of return…

Vs 41 – does Jesus say if someone forces you to go one mile, let him exploit you to go two…

  • No – not passive… before the oppressor can exploit you, change the dynamic…
  • You have done the mile you have to… but if you volunteer to carry his pack, you are not a slave…
  • You are in control…
  • Gets to the end of one mile, he takes his pack back… you grab it and keep walking for another mile…  See what is happening?

Vs 40 – does it say if you’ve been sued for your shirt, let him sue you for your coat…. No that is passive – the coat has not been requested, but you give it to him

  • You have beat him to the punch
  • Rested the offensive from the evil person
  • This is brilliant – you become a game changer a world shaper…

Vs 39 – does it say if you are hit, let him slap you again?

  • No – doest say let him slap you… he says turn to him the other cheek…
  • Not passive… 
  • Turn to him the other cheek… before he can hit you again, prepare your face for it… take charge of the situation.
  • Yes more hurt and humiliation – but you have taken the initiative

Don’t surrender the initiative, but take the initiative and take on evil with good.

  • Did you expect anything less? From Jesus…

E Stanley Jones – Indian missionary… he taught the sermon on the mount to Ghandi…. 

  • In his book Christ of the Mount written in 1931… he says,
  • In cases of deep wrong the temptation is to use the weapons of the wrongdoers… 
  • To fight on their level. Do you ever do that?
  • Don’t do it, says Jesus: Hate begets hate, violence begets violence… where does it stop…

As his disciple Ghandi famously said, an eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind.

  • Jesus is urging us to use higher weapons… love and grace
  • And surely this is the only way to turn an enemy into a friend….
  • Not going to happen by retaliating… it happens by bringing something new into the equation
  • Giving the cloak, turning the cheek, giving away… this is active resistance…
  • Jesus says “I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”
  • And why? Vs 44 that you may be called children of your Father in heaven.

Finish with 3 quick things – what this is about?

First: This is about developing the family likeness

Jesus is calling us to do what the Son of God will go on to do… Citizens of the King are to live lives that resemble the King they follow… this is his life (pause)

  • They seized him, they tormented him, they whipped and tortured him
  • They thrust a crown of thorns on his head and nailed him to a cross where he hung and died
  • The one who quietened the storm, fed the thousands, healed the sick….
  • But Jesus refused to respond in kind (don’t you know he says to his friend Peter that at my word thousands of angels could bring the fury of God)
  • As he hangs on the cross he says “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”
  • This is our King

And it changed the world

  • It brought something new into the equation – circuit breaker for the endless cycle of violence.
  • Grace… as Bono says in his song, the name of a girl, also a thought that changed the world.

And so we, his children carry on the family likeness when we to learn his ways

  • When we are bullied or mocked and we bless instead of fighting back
  • When we are cheated and robbed we are generous in return
  • When we are pushed away we offer a hand back. 
  • We are God’s children when we learn his ways…

Secondly: As we participate in the Kingdom of God, it changes the world. Really there are 3 levels of life

  • Lowest level – does evil for good (dictators do this… bullies do this). It’s an evil way to live.
  • 2nd level: Does evil for evil and good for good – legal level – civilised level of life – the Aussie way… bare minimum to keep the peace… 
  • 3rd level: Does good for evil – grace level… 

When the other persons conduct determines yours… you are an echo… we live in a world of echoes…

  • Applied to nations, it leads to war…
  • Applied to us it leads to bitterness and revenge… regrettable behaviours…

But return good for evil, and you join the divine conspiracy… the subversive kingdom!

  • Put down for put down… insult for insult and you are an echo…
  • But when the kingdom grabs hold of an individual, a community, a nation we become more than just an echo…
  • We go to a higher level… It is the only chance we have to redeem evil
  • We have got to go higher. It’s what the children of God, citizens of the King are to do…

Finish with a challenge: Put into action

  • Think of someone who has hurt you or taken advantage of you… 
  • Maybe don’t start with the biggest enemy or inflictor of pain you know. You can work up to that… 
  • But who is someone you have been hurt by. Who is someone you have been taken advantage of by? 
  • What would seizing the initiative by doing good to them practically look like. 
  • An olive branch of peace? A gift or meal sent over? 

Published by timgiovanelli

My wife Victoria and I are planting a new church in Manly, NSW

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