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Summary: To motivate the hearer to examine his/her behavior in order that he/she may take a more proactive approach when conflict arises.

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TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR ME

Matthew 5:38-48

TEXT: "You have heard that it was said, ’An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 "If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 "And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 "Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. 43 "You have heard that it was said, ’You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 "And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than oth-ers? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

PROPOSITION: To motivate the hearer to examine his/her behavior in order that he/she may take a more proactive approach when conflict arises.

INTRODUCTION:

I. I CHOOSE HOW I WILL REACT TO THE WORLD AROUND ME v.38-41

"You have heard that it was said, ’An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 "If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 "And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.

Application: Jesus isn¡¦t suggesting that His followers should become some kind of doormat for the entire world. What He is suggesting is that you have the ability to choose your reactions ¡V that you don¡¦t have to respond out of some kind of emotional spasm, but rather you can make godly choices even in the face of un-godly people and circumstances. One of the greatest illustrations of this truth is found in the reaction of Stephen to those who were assaulting him:

Acts 7:57-60 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

„X Stephen didn¡¦t try to get even ¡V He prayed for God¡¦s forgiveness for his attackers

„X Stephen¡¦s focus wasn¡¦t upon his attackers ¡V His focus was upon God.

„X Stephen demonstrated that even on the worst day of his life, he could choose to do good rather than choosing evil.

Application: The choices you make regarding your reaction to the world around you have a profound effect upon your relationship with God, your relationship with others, and upon your relationship with yourself.

Deuteronomy 30:19 "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;

II. I MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY OWN BEHAVIOR, NOT THE BEHAVIOR OF OTHERS v.43-45

"You have heard that it was said, ’You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Application: Notice what Jesus is saying ¡K

„X You may not like the way people are treating you, but that does not give you permission to treat them in the same way.

„X You are held responsible for your behavior toward other people.

Romans 14:10-13 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: "As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God." 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

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