Matthew 6:9-13 - After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom
come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive
our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
The Sermon for this week is: Responding To Evil - Matthew 5:38-42 - Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for
an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to
him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him
have thy cloke also. And
whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee,
and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
1. When someone treats you wrong, how do you respond?
a. Do you react in kind, treating evil with evil?
b. Do you just stand there and take whatever abuse is given?
-- What is the proper way to respond to evil?
2. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus taught concerning the righteousness of the kingdom...
a. He did so by contrasting it with the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees
1) Noting how the Law had often been interpreted and applied
2) Declaring what He expected of His disciples
b. Jesus contrast this “righteousness” in such matters as:
1) Murder and anger - Matthew 5:21-26 - Ye
have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of
the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou
fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and
there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the
altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree
with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge,
and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto
thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
2) Adultery - Matthew 5:27-30 - Ye have heard
that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you,
That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that
thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend
thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable
for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy
whole body should be cast into hell.
3) Divorce - Matthew 5:31-32 - It hath been said, Whosoever shall put
away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever
shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her
that is divorced committeth adultery.
4) Swearing Oaths - Matthew 5:33-37 - Again, ye have heard that it
hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
[In this Sermon, we shall look at what Jesus taught concerning “vengeance” (Matthew 5:38-42
- Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to
him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him
have thy cloke also. And
whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee,
and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.) as we discuss “Responding To Evil”.
First, let’s compare...]
I. THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION
A. CONCERNING “AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH”...
1. The statement is found in Exodus 21:24-25 - Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand,
foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
2. A parallel passage is Deuteronomy 19:21 - And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot
B. THESE STATEMENTS WERE LAWS FOR CIVIL COURTS TO APPLY...
1. Notice carefully Deuteronomy 19:15-21 - One witness shall not rise
up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth
of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; Then both the men, between whom the controversy is,
shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; And the judges shall make diligent
inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness,
and hath testified falsely against his brother; Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought
to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you. And those which remain shall hear, and fear,
and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you. And thine eye shall not pity; but
life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. ;
Exodus 21:22-23 - If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from
her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and
he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief
follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
2. They were given to guide the priests in meriting out proper punishment
C. WHAT THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES HAD DONE...
1. Interpreted these statements so as to justify personal retribution!
2. Applied them by taking matters of revenge into their own hands (as many do today!)
D. THE LAW REPEATEDLY FORBID PERSONAL VENGEANCE...
1. Consider Leviticus 19:18 - Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children
of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. ; Proverbs
20:22 - Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save
thee. ; Proverbs 24:29 - Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according
to his work.
2. In both Old Testament and New Testaments, the matter of vengeance was to be left up to God and His
duly appointed agent: civil government! - cf. Romans 12:19 - Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is
mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. ; Romans 13:1-4
- Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For
there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the
ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but
to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For
he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in
vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
[There really is no difference between the Law and what we find in the New Testament in this regard: Personal
vengeance has no place in the lives of those who are the children of God! Now let’s examine more closely...]
II. THE PROPER RESPONSE TO EVIL
A. JESUS PROCLAIMED TWO PRINCIPLES...
1. Do not resist an evil person (Matthew 5:39a - But
I say unto you, That ye resist not evil:)
a. Not only should you not take vengeance into your own hands...
b. But don’t even oppose (resist) the evil person when the evil is being done!
2. Respond to evil by doing good! (Matthew 5:39b-42 - but whosoever
shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy
coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel
thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would
borrow of thee turn not thou away.)
a. Jesus illustrates this principle with several examples...
1) Responding to physical abuse (Matthew 5:39b - but whosoever
shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.)
a) “Turn the other cheek”
b) This may refer to offering the other cheek as an expression of love
2) Responding to a civil suit, by giving more than what the person is suing! (Matthew 5:40 -
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.)
3) Responding to government oppression, by offering to do more than what is being demanded of you!
(Matthew 5:41 - And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.)
4) Responding to those asking for help, by giving them what they ask! (Matthew 5:42 - Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.)
b. In each case, the principle is the same
1) We are not to resist the person...
a) Who would mistreat us
b) Who would try to deprive us of our possessions
2) Instead, respond in a positive manner...
a) Demonstrate love towards them
b) Do so by freely giving them more than they were hoping to gain by force, oppression, or manipulation!
B. IS THIS TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY...?
1. Why not?
a. We have several O.T. examples...
1) Joseph, in forgiving his brothers - Genesis 45:4-15 - And
Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am
Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither:
for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before
you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it
was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh,
and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him,
Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not: And thou shalt dwell in the land
of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds,
and all that thou hast: And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine;
lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty. And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother
Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you. And ye shall tell my father of all
my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither. And he fell upon his
brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them:
and after that his brethren talked with him.
2) David, in sparing the life of Saul - 1 Samuel 24:8-15 - David
also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind
him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself. And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men's words,
saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee to day
into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee:
but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for
he is the LORD'S anointed. Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my
hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there
is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take
it. The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. As saith the
proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. After whom is the king
of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea. The LORD therefore be judge, and judge between
me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.
3) Elisha, in feeding the army of the Arameans - 2 Kings 6:8-23 - Then the king of Syria
warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall
be my camp. And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither
the Syrians are come down. And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved
himself there, not once nor twice. Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called
his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?
And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel,
telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber. And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is
in Dothan. Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city
about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with
horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they
that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened
the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots
of fire round about Elisha. And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray
thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will
bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria. And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that
Elisha said, LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the LORD opened their
eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. And the king of Israel
said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them? And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those
whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink,
and go to their master. And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and
they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.
b. We also have several N.T. examples...
1) Jesus , our prime example - 1 Peter 2:20-23 - For what glory is
it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For
even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened
not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
2) Stephen, when he was being stoned - Acts 7:59-60 - And they stoned Stephen, calling
upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with
a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
3) The Hebrew Christians, who “joyfully accepted” the plundering of their goods - Hebrews
10:32-34 - But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of
afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions
of them that were so used. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing
in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
c. We have the clear teaching of Paul in Romans 12:19-21 - Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves,
but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is
mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing
thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
1) We are not to avenge ourselves
2) We must seek to overcome evil with good
2. If not, then how do we apply these words of Jesus?
a. What does Jesus mean?
b. Give some examples of how to apply these teachings... ???
C. ARE WE TO APPLY IT UNCONDITIONALLY...?
1. I.e., must we decide who is “worthy” to receive this kind of treatment?
a. Jesus does not give us any indication that we are to use “discretion”
b. Paul does give some qualifying instructions (e.g., 2 Thessalonians 3:10 - For even when we
were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.)...
1) But it applies to those who are Christians
2) And we have a responsibility to “judge” those in the church,
leaving those outside to God - 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 - I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then
must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother
be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without
God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
2. I do find striking the attitude of the Christians of the second century, A.D....
a. “Do good, and give liberally to all who are in need from the wages God gives you. Do not hesitate
about to whom you should not give. Give to all. For God wishes gifts to be made to all out of His bounties.” (Hermas,
b. “And he said to love not only our neighbors but also our enemies, and to be givers and sharers
not only with the good but also to be liberal givers towards those who take away our possessions.” (Irenaeus, 185
c. “Do not judge those who is worthy and who is unworthy, for it is possible for you to be mistaken
in your opinion. In the uncertainty of ignorance it is better to do good to the unworthy for the sake of the worthy, than
by guarding against those who are less good not to encounter the good. For by sparing and trying to test those who are well-deserving
or not, it is possible for you to neglect some who are loved by God, the penalty for which is the eternal punishment of fire.
But by helping all those in need in turn you must assuredly find some who are able to save you before God.” (Clement
of Alexandria, 190 A.D.)
-- These statements were written at a time when Christians were constantly mistreated, abused, and manipulated
3. The teachings of Jesus in this passage are admittedly challenging...
a. It is opposed to what we might call “human nature”
b. But we are called upon to be “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4 -
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine
nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.); in other words, to be more like God than men
4. As we will see in the next lesson, it is in order to be truly “sons of your Father in heaven”
that Jesus teaches a standard of righteousness that far exceeds...
a. That of the scribes and Pharisees
b. That of most people today!
5. At the very least, let us expend as much energy...
a. In seeing how we can apply this passage to lives...
b. ...as many do trying to explain how it doesn’t really mean what it appears to say!
1. Summarizing the teaching of Jesus concerning “Responding To Evil”...
a. We are not to resist evil
b. We are to respond by doing good in turn
2. We may never face the exact situations Jesus used to illustrate His point...
a. But the principles can be applied to so many things we do face
b. E.g., how people treat us at work, in our communities, in our own families, in the church
Whenever mistreated, take the challenge to see how you might overcome evil with good. Then your righteousness
will exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees!
Matthew 28:19-20 - Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Mark 16:15-16 - And
he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Lord I truly thank You for giving me the opportunity to present these words to my brethrens. I pray that You will
give them Your eternal blessings and accept them into Your heart - this I pray
in the name of Thy Son, Jesus, the Messiah, Your only begotten son which Ye sent to save mankind from themselves. Amen
6:23-24 - Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
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