Summary: Christ-followers seek to model His character when others choose to harm or humiliate us.
(adapted from Southeast Christian Church’s series: Living a Life of Integrity"0
SERIES: “WORDS OF WISDOM FOR KINGDOM LIVING”
TEXT: MATTHEW 5:38-48
TITLE: “LOVE YOUR ENEMIES”
INTRODUCTION: A. A truck driver is sitting in a crowded roadside diner ready to eat his lunch. It’s not
just any diner and any lunch. It’s his favorite diner on the road and his favorite lunch.
Just as the waitress brings the truck driver’s meat loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy,
and green beans to his table, a motorcycle gang swaggers in the door.
Most of them seat themselves at the table next to the truck driver but there’s not
room at that table for all of them. The gang members left standing turn to the truck
driver and bark, “Move! We want that table!”
The truck driver calmly says, “I haven’t finished my meal.” One of the motorcycle
toughs takes his dirty finger, swipes it through the mashed potatoes and gravy, sticks
his finger in his mouth and says, “Hey, not bad grub.” Another gang member takes
the trucker’s cup of coffee and slowly pours it over the remaining food on the plate
and snarls, “You’re finished now!”
The trucker stands, takes his napkin, wipes his mouth, walks to the cash register,
pays for his meal, and silently walks out the door. All the bikers are laughing now.
One of them says, “Ain’t much of a man, is he?” The waitress says, “And he’s not
much of a truck driver, either. He just backed his rig over your motorcycles.”
1. How do you react to people who make life difficult for you?
2. We all encounter people who are hard to live with.
--How do you treat the “jerks” in your life?
B. We have some direct instruction on this particular issue
1. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus raised the bar for those who followed Him.
a. Don’t resist an evil person.
b. Don’t try to get even.
c. Turn the other cheek.
2. Jesus taught His followers that they should respond differently than the world and
counter to their own carnal instincts.
--You have to admit the teachings of Jesus in this section are impossible to keep
unless we are energized by the power of the Holy Spirit within.
3. Chuck Swindoll, Simple Faith: “In my opinion, Jesus’ words recorded in Matt.
5:38-48, are among the most unusual He ever uttered. The strange-sounding advice
not only cuts cross-grain against our human nature, it also represents the antithesis
of the advice most Americans are given. Nevertheless, His words are wise and His
way is right. If we will only give them a chance, we will discover how true and –
yes, once again – how simple His advice really is.”
C. Before we look phrase by phrase at this passage, there are two basic principles about
interpreting and applying the Bible that are important in understanding this section. 1.
1. First, Jesus sometimes used a method of teaching that was popular in that day called
a. The Jewish Rabbis would sometimes use hyperbole to deliberately overstate their
case or emphasize just one side of a truth to motivate students to look at it with a
--classic modern hyperbole: “I’ve told you a thousand times; don’t exaggerate!”
b. For example Jesus said, “Unless you hate your mother and Father you can’t be
my disciple” (Luke 14:26 paraphrase).
1). His listeners understood that He didn’t mean to literally hate your parents –
that would contradict everything else he said about families.
2). He was obviously overstating the case to illustrate that there was to be a much
greater allegiance to God than to mother and father.
c. So there are times that Jesus’ teaching is to be taken seriously but not literally, or
you’ll wind up being legalistic and impractical.
2. The second principle in understanding this section of the Sermon on the Mount is
that Jesus words have to be interpreted in light of other Scripture.
--God’s Word does not contradict itself. Rather, it is the best interpreter of itself.
3. With those principles in mind, let’s look at this section that talks about how we treat
people who are difficult to live with.
I. AN EVIL PERSON WHO HUMILIATES YOU
--Mt. 5:38-39 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not
resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
A. “An eye for an eye” was the Old Testament system of justice.
--It was the principle of exact retribution – mentioned in Deuteronomy 19:21.
1. It was meant to prevent crime, establish justice, and avoid overreaction.
a. prevent crime – by providing the knowledge of punishment before the crime occurs