Jesus, Retaliation, and Love

What does it look like to love others? More importantly, as the text today explores, what does it look like to love those that hate us and harm us? What does it look like to respond to others with true love rather than react with vengeance or violence? Grab your Bible and join us in Matthew 5:38-48 as we see what Jesus has to say about what true love looks like in the Kingdom of God.

Date: October 15, 2017
Speaker:  Jason Jordan
Series: Jesus Uncensored

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Pastor’s Comment

Thank you so much for listening in here at West Side. We often say that we love the word of God because it points us to the son of God. We hope these messages encourage you and equip you to love Jesus more. We also want you to be apart of a local church, we believe these messages are only supplemental, being apart of a local church is essential. Blessings.

Jason G Jordan

Lead Pastor, West Side Church

Sermon Notes

Jesus, Relation & Love Matthew 5:38-48

INTRO> Napoleon Bonaparte is known in history as being one of the worlds most famous dictators and building a great French empire in the 19th Century. He was a very violent man, what many people don’t know is that he was fascinated with Jesus Christ. He is famous for saying, “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him.”

TRANS> There is by far not a more controversial part of the sermon on the Mount than Jesus’ word to us today. I must confess that i have prayed read, prayed, read and prayed some more about this issue and in God’s sovereignty and timing and the state that our nation is in, I believe that God has a word for us today. “No matter how much we wish to follow Jesus seriously, we discover, sooner or later, that seriously following Jesus entails hard thinking about what he said and what he did not say. We may not come to perfect harmony on all points; but we must agree that absolutizing any text, without due respect for the context and flow of the argument, as well as for other things Jesus says elsewhere, is bound to lead to distortion and misrepresentation of what Jesus means.” D.A. Carson, The Sermon on the Mount pg50-51

APP> I say that to say, I am not going to solve all the tension in this text. Jesus’s word here grind against our very western, rights driven nature. We will dived the text into 3 parts. 1) The Background 2) The Blue Print 3) The Basis.

  1. The Background.
      • Jesus is here quoting the “eye for an eye” passage that is found in a lot of OT passages but primarily in Exodus 21. Turn there in your bibles if you will.
      • “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is not harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine.” Exodus 22-23 Do you notice the context here, Mosses is speaking to the judges or Israel! This was legislation, that’s the context.
      • “If anyone slaps you on the face..” We again have to understand this in it’s context, This is a Middle Eastern way of insulting someone If you where to slap someone with the back of your hand, it was a personal insult.

APP> I say all of that to say this I think this is what Jesus is trying to say first and foremost is that this idea of retaliation is seen in the context of relationships. APP> Kingdom relationships are built upon reconciliation not retaliation.

      • Now there is a great tension here in this text, is this promoting that Christians are just door mats? To be walked all over? Remember Jesus’ words from the beatitudes? “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matt 5:5 and then his words again, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matt 5:8 APP> So what are we to make of this how are we to live?

2) The Blue Print.

I see 3 primary things in the text that give us that blueprint for how to live lives of reconciliation and not retaliation.

A. Give graciously. v39-42 “turn, give, let go” Do you see all these actions verbs that Jesus is using here. You see the great confusion is that people think that Jesus is taking the easy route, which couldn’t be further from the truth! To stand there and not retaliate, takes more power than retaliation itself! APP> Nonviolence is the greatest resistance against evil.

*ILL> I studied one man and 7 of his sermons in preparation for this message and that is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King preached on November 17th, 1957 in Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery Alabama. He spent the nigh before in a jail cell and was beaten so severely that the doctor told him not to preach, but he did anyway. He said these words, “For you see in a real sense, if we return hate for hate, violence for violence, and all of that, it just ends up destroying everybody. And nobody wins in the long run. And it is the strong man who stands up in the midst of violence and refuses to return it. It is the strong man, not the weak man, who stand up in the midst of hate and returns love….Hate begets hate. Force begets force. Violence begets violence. Toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral ending in destruction for everybody.” APP> Now, I know what you are saying, “What if _________” and my question to you is, why are we quick to discuss when this does not apply rather than “Where am I not applying this in my life?” “Would that professing Christians would try more to purge their own hearts, and bring this sole precept into their daily lives, instead of discussing whether there are cases in which it does not apply! There are great tracts in the lives of all of us to which it should apply and is not applied, and we had better seek to bring these under it’s dominion first, and then it will be time enough to debate as to whether any circumstances are outside it’s dominion or not.” Alexander McClaren.

B. Love Unconditionally. v44 “love your enemies” Jesus doesn’t just use any word for love here, he uses the highest word. He uses’s the greek word agapaō which is a super natural love, the highest forum of love.

*ILL> Again, I refer to King’s sermon on loving your enemies. *see separate sheet of paper, pg428 ,

APP> Biblical love is not passive it is active.

C. Pray Relentlessly. “pray for those who persecute you” people often get this confused, they think turn the other cheek is what is so provocative, praying for your enemies is the most provocative?!

APP> Why? Prayer changes the pray-er. It connects you to the divine.

3) The Basis.

    • “ be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect” The word perfect here doesn’t mean sinless, it means mature.

Big Idea> The kingdom of God is seen most when you love people who hate you.

Close with reading from Isaiah 53

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