Summary: When evil people do wrong to us we are called to also respond with grace, love and generosity.

Sermon Brief for Matthew 5:38-48

Title: The Rights of a Believer.

Text: Matthew 5:38-42

Central Idea of the Text: When evil people harm others they are to respond with grace, love, and generosity.

Central Idea of the Sermon: When evil people do wrong to us we are called to also respond with grace, love and generosity.

Major Objective: Pastoral

Specific Objective: The desired objective is that the hearer will understand how Jesus wants us to respond when people do wrong to us. In understanding this I also want them to apply this attitude to their life and actually respond in a Christlike manner.

Introduction: There is a lot of talk about rights in America. Civil rights, Constitutional rights, and you have the right to remain silent! As Americans we have a lot of rights! However we are also citizens of heaven… and it is easy for us to forget that Heaven is a Kingdom… not a democracy. We don’t get a vote against the King.

TS: What does God have to say about our rights?

1. You don’t have rights to your stuff. (vss. 38-42)

Exp: The law of the Old Testament taught a system of justice that was intended to run a nation. However the Kingdom of God is different. Jesus here teaches to reply to evil with good. If you are taken to court give them more than what you are ordered to give. If someone puts a burden on you, do more than is asked.

Ill: God has made clear to me that He has the rights to my stuff… (Computer at CFNI story)

App: We as disciples are called to go above and beyond what the world would expect. The Word says “Do not answer evil with evil but overcome evil with good!” When you are wronged you do not have the right to take revenge. You do not even have the right just to give them what they want! God is the one who really owns your stuff. He is clear here that if we are being taken from we have to give more.

TS: So our stuff… isn’t. You know what else you don’t have a right to?

2. You don’t have a right to have an attitude. (vss. 43-47)

Exp: This section is telling the people to love and pray for the people who do evil to them. Jesus says that anyone can do good to those who do good to them but who will do good to those who do wrong to them? Just like God gives both the good and the evil good things God’s people are to be different and do the same.

Ill: My attitude your problem bumper stickers.

App: Again as disciples we are called to a high standard. We are to reflect Christ in our lives in every way. When you are wronged you don’t have a right to get an attitude about it. We are to love and pray for those who persecute us! Do this for a month consistently and I promise you will have done something in that time that made a positive impact for Christ.

TS: Ouch. That hurt me both to write and to preach. This next one is no better…

3. You don’t have the right to be mediocre. (vss. 48)

Exp: This is not that anyone is going to be perfect. Jesus is calling for people to strive to be the most perfect that they can. The whole Sermon on the Mount calls for a level of Godly living that is not possible in the natural. It is only by the Holy Spirit that we can move toward living that way. Jesus is telling the people here not to accept being like the world!

Ill: We all get an image in our head when we talk about Jesus. Vomiting Jesus. Ever picture it?

Ill 2: Rick Warren talks about this idea… There is lots of stuff we get to do in heaven that we can do here… worship, fellowship, pray and even have fun. There are only two things on earth that we can’t do in heaven… Sin and reach out to the lost… so which one do you think God wants you to be doing?

App: We do not have the right as disciples to live a mediocre life. It’s that simple. If we are not striving to be all that God has called us to be then we are rebelling against God and God sees rebellion as being just as bad as witchcraft!

TS: As citizens of Heaven we have given up these rights.

Conclusion: What have we given them up for? We have some rights that are good things! We have a right to eternal life in heaven! We have a right to claim God’s promises on earth! However, we have to remember as a part of the deal we give up some rights as well. Let’s pray!

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