Summary: What is involved in living the Christian life?
1. SPEAK THE TRUTH.
Mt 5:33-37 33 “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.
** I was once told that if you start your sentence with “to tell you the truth.....” it makes them wonder if you usually lie if you don’t say that.
** When someone tells me “I’d swear on a stack of Bibles a mile high”, I tend not to trust them. Their lie is probably a mile high.
* Here, Jesus was referring to the tradition of swearing on something or someone that what they were promising was true. It became common to swear something but secretly have a way around the truth. So much so that you couldn’t believe people anymore.
* The OT didn’t forbid swearing an oath. In fact, Believers were forbidden to swear an oath by anything other than God’s Name.
** Joshua 9:20 reveals the seriousness of keeping an oath so that “God’s wrath will not come upon us.”
So, OT Laws says if you swear an oath, do so only on God’s Name because it is the only thing with true meaning. And, also you keep that oath because God will visit wrath upon you for breaking it.
** Here Jesus reveals how the law is transformed in the NT age. Don’t swear at all. Your word should be absolutely truthful 100% of the time without making an oath!
(Except if your wife asks you “Does this dress make me look fat”)
2. ELIMINATE VENGEANCE.
Mt 5:38-39 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
* As a kid Kellie used to tell me her favorite kind of dream was where she would be being chased by someone or some thing that was evil and trying to hurt or kill her. How she would run until finally she couldn’t and would turn and attack and kill her attacker. Satisfaction! Lot alike!
Vengeance is a great motivating factor in people’s hearts. The natural reaction to someone hurting you deeply is to hurt them deeply in return. And, even better, to injure greater in return!
The old “I don’t get even, I get ahead”.
This passage is often misunderstood. Some Christian groups have wrongly become doormats for anyone that wanted to abuse them. God never intended for you to stand by and watch your loved ones be killed or raped or victimized. You have every right and the responsibility to defend yourself, your family, and your property. Also, to defend your nation in a just war.
What then?? slap on the cheek was a euphemism for a “great insult” done to a person. (The slap of the glove prior to a duel was an insult)
This insult is an attack on our character and honor.
Jesus advises us to accept that type of attack and turn the cheek.
Don’t stoop to their level and don’t seek revenge.
** What I have found is that God is the Great Vindicator.
And God says that “Vengeance is Mine.”
What I have found to be true is that God is a lot better at serving justice to people who have offended me than I have ever been able.
3. DEMONSTRATE LOVE.
A. With Your Comfort.
Mt 5:40-42 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
If found guilty in a civil matter, the court could take most belongings but not your coat. It was a practical thing to keep from completely impoverishing someone to freeze to death. If someone had to give up their coat it was thought they would hate their accuser.
Jesus, though, said that if someone has a legal claim over you that you should make it right COMPLETELY. If you had to sell your coat to be able to pay the debt, then do it. This would at least show you own remorse for the damage you caused.
B. With Your Time.
41 Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.