Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount Part 9
Second Mile Christianity
One winter day not so long ago a man went shopping at the local neighborhood mall. When he returned to his car he noticed a rather foul odor coming from under the hood and so he checked the engine. In the compartment he discovered a dead cat rather mutilated from being caught in the fan.
The poor cat had sought shelter from the snow and cold and didn’t realize the dangers of resting on the engine block. Mr. Jones was lucky though, one of his shopping bags was made of plastic and so he emptied its contents and proceeded to scrape, pull and push the cat corpse into the bag.
With a bang he slammed the hood down and walked off to wash his hands, but looking back he noticed something unusual. He had left the bag on the hood of the car. He was about to return and pick it up but just then a lady walks by, looks suspiciously in both directions, she grabs the bag, and with her cart she then speeds off for the mall.
"Well this is too good to be true!" the man thought as he laughed at the lady. He decided to follow her and see what would happen next. She went to a restaurant and proceeded to survey her prize. "Yuck!" she screamed as she looked in the bag. And then over she fell. Of course, the management was equally alarmed that a customer had fainted in their establishment and so they called the paramedics.
The woman in no time at all was strapped to a cart and ready to be hauled off to the ambulance. But the man couldn’t resist. "Hey lady!" he shouted, "don’t forget your package!" And with that he gently laid the cat corpse filled bag on the lady’s chest, just as the ambulance doors were closing!
One summer evening in Broken Bow, Nebraska, a weary truck driver pulled his rig into an all-night truck stop. He was tired and hungry. The waitress had just served three tough looking, leather jacketed motorcyclist - of the Hell’s Angel’s type - decided to give him a hard time. Not only did they verbally abuse him, one grabbed the hamburger off his plate, another took a handful of his french fries and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it.
How did this trucker respond? How would you respond? Well, this trucker did not respond as one might expect. Instead, he calmly rose, picked up his check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the register, and went out the door. The waitress followed him to put the money in the till and stood watching out the door as the big truck drove away into the night.
When she returned, one of the cyclists said to her, “Well, he’s not much of a man, is he?”
She replied, “I don’t know about that, but he sure isn’t much of a truck driver. He just ran over three motorcycles on his way out of the parking lot.”
How do you respond to situations in life, that is at the heart of what we will learn tonight from this passage of scripture from Jesus and His sermon on the Mount.
Read Scriptures: Matthew 5:38-42
I. Justice according to the Law.
Vs. 38 “You have heard that it was said, ’Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’”
In the Old Testament, it was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Jesus is quoting from Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20 and Deuteronomy 19:21
This was not revenge, but it was justice.
Revenge happens when we feel that justice was not served, so God in His wisdom said that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth would ensure that people would not seek revenge.
The farmer had been pestered by a carload of people who delighted in climbing an orchard fence and eating his apples without asking permission. One day, as he walked up to them, one of them smiled sheepishly and said, "We hope you don’t mind that we took a few of your apples." "No, not at all," said the farmer, "and I hope you don’t mind that I took some of the air out of your tires." Some would say that that is justice not revenge.
Now that we know what the law stated, with the next few verses we will learn what second mile Christianity is all aboutl
I. Going the second mile may require submission to injuries
Vs. 39 “But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
Jesus was the ultimate example of turning the other cheek.
This does not imply that we are to let our families be murdered while we do nothing.
Paul appealed to his Roman citizenship at times to preserve his own life.
Richard Weaver, a Christian worker, earned his living in the Cole mines of West Virginia. He had the higher priority, however, of trying to bring his associates in contact with the savior and His soul-restoring Word. While most of the men were indifferent, one became offended by his witness, and finally exclaimed, "I’m sick of your constant preaching. I’ve a good mind to smack you in the face!" "Go ahead if it will make you feel better," replied Weaver. The man immediately struck him a stinging blow. The Christian did not retaliate but turned the other cheek. Again the unbeliever struck him and then walked away, cursing under his breath. Weaver called after him, "I forgive you, and still pray that the Lord will save you!" The next morning his assailant was waiting for him when he came to work "Oh, Richard," he said, his voice filled with emotion, "do you really forgive me for what I did yesterday?" "Certainly," said Weaver extending his hand. As he told him again the message of salvation, God opened the man’s heart, and he was ready to become a Christian.
This man was willing to suffer physical injury so that he might win one to Jesus. That is the idea in this verse, if it will bring someone to Christ then be willing to submit to injuries.
II. Going the second mile may require a submission to personal property
Vs. 40 “And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.”
The Law did not allow the outer garment to be taken from a person since it protected them from the cold.
We have a person who is trying to take every advantage of the law and Jesus is saying that it would be better to suffer a small lose than to have an attitude of revenge. Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:7 tells us that we are better off being taken advantage of than bringing shame to Christ.
We know that the scripture says, that God will meet our needs, He knows what is going on in your life, if you give to someone who is really in a need out of a pure heart, something that you need, I know I have seen it happen in my own life, God will see to it that you need doesn’t go unmet.
III. Going the second mile may require acceptance of burdens imposed.
Vs 41 “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”
Jesus is saying here, if you are asked to help, to carry a burden, then our own rights should never come into play. If fact what Jesus is teaching is that we should be willing to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Our primary concern is people—reaching them with the love of Christ. If it means that I have to accept some burden, then so be it. Sometimes it is a burden to stay up studying for a sermon until mid-night, then just get to sleep then the phone rings at 2:00 am because someone is in the emergency room and they don’t know if they will make it, what do you do, you accept the burden and get up and get going.
You may be called on to above and beyond, what do you do? You get up and accept the burden imposed all in an effort to show off Jesus.
IV. Going the second mile may require a readiness to share.
Vs. 42 “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
This verse does not mean that we just blindly give away all. We are called to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us. In fact we know that the bible teaches that if a person is able to work and provide for himself and his family and he doesn’t then he should not eat, Meaning you and I are not obligated to help them.
When someone has a genuine need and they cannot possibly get it themselves, then we as believers should be willing to step in and provide to the best of our ability.
Listen going the second mile is tough, it is not easy, it means that we serve with out complaining, without gripping, without criticizing, without self-pity. If means that our heart is set on reaching out to the lost and hurting around us, regardless of the consequences. God has a purpose for our lives, and that purpose is to try to win as many people to Christ that we can. We have a choice to make when we are wronged. We can seek revenge ourselves, or we can show mercy. There are times in which we will need to assert our rights. There were times when Paul did so to preserve his life. We need to think long and hard before we retaliate for a wrong suffered. We are called to be different, to be distinct, and that is how Jesus expects us to live, will you obey Him the next time you feel that you are mistreated.
(Thanks sermoncentral contributor, Preacher’s outline and sermon bible)