Chardon church of Christ

Sermons from the Chardon church of Christ

Showing Your Better Side

Posted by Chardon in Matthew 7

Showing Your Better Side  

Luke 6:31  and  Matthew 7:12

 INTRODUCTION: A truck driver is sitting in a crowded roadside diner ready to eat his lunch. It’s not just ANY diner and ANY lunch.
It’s his FAVORITE diner on the road and his FAVORITE lunch.
Just as the waitress brings the truck driver’s meat loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans to his table, a motorcycle gang swaggers in the door.
Most of them seat themselves at the table next to the truck driver but there’s not room at that table for all of them. The gang members left standing turn to the truck driver and bark, “Move! We want that table!”
The truck driver calmly says, “I haven’t finished my meal.”
One of the motorcycle toughs takes his dirty finger, swipes it through the mashed potatoes and gravy, sticks his finger in his mouth and says, “Hey, not bad grub.” Another gang member takes the trucker’s cup of coffee and slowly pours it over the remaining food on the plate and snarls, “You’re finished now!”
The trucker stands, takes his napkin, wipes his mouth, walks to the cash register,
pays for his meal, and silently walks out the door. All the bikers are laughing now.
One of them says, “Ain’t much of a man, is he?”
The waitress says, “And he’s not much of a truck driver, either. He just backed his rig over your motorcycles.”
How do you react to people who make life difficult for you?
We all encounter people who are hard to live with.
--How do you treat the “jerks” in your life?
We have some direct instruction on this particular issue
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus raised the bar for those who followed Him.
a. Don’t resist an evil person.
b. Don’t try to get even.
c. Turn the other cheek.
Jesus taught His followers that they should respond differently than the world and counter to their own carnal instincts.
--You have to admit the teachings of Jesus in this section are very tough to keep
unless we are energized by the power of the Holy Spirit within.
Preachers have stated that Jesus’ words recorded in
Matt. 5:38-48, are in contrast to how his audience lived their lives and certainly what they expected to hear.
Nevertheless, His words are wise and His way is right. If we will only give them a chance, we will discover how true and – yes, once again – how simple His advice really is.”
The key to understanding this section of the Sermon on the Mount is that Jesus’ words have to be interpreted in light of other Scripture.

--God’s Word does not contradict itself. Rather, it is the best interpreter of itself.
With this principle in mind, let’s look at this section that talks about how we treat people who are difficult to live with.
--Mt. 5:38-39 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’[a] 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.”

“An eye for an eye” was the Old Testament system of justice.
--It was the principle of exact retribution – mentioned in Deuteronomy 19:21.
It was meant to prevent crime, establish justice, and avoid overreaction.
prevent crime – by providing the knowledge of punishment before the crime occurs
establish justice – the prescription given was not for personal retribution but was designed to be administered by legal authorities such as judges and other governmental leaders
avoid overreaction – provided fair and reasonable punishment
By Jesus’ time it had been replaced by monetary penalties.
But Jesus raised the bar.
--He said, “I tell you, don’t resist an evil person.”
This needs to be taken in light of other scriptures
We’re admonished to resist evil in our society and to resist the devil

This command doesn’t apply to self-defense
Some groups use this particular scripture to say we should be pacifists and never fight back
However, the striking on the right cheek Jesus talks about is actually an insult

--Most people are right handed and you cannot strike someone on the right cheek with your right hand except with a backhand slap

I like the story of an Irishman who was a boxer but left the ring to become a preacher. He was setting up his tent in one particular town. Some of the local toughs began to jeer and sneer as the preacher set about his business.
Eventually, one of them came over and physically challenged the preacher to a fight. The preacher said, “So, you’d like to take a swing at me, would ya?” The local tough guy just sneered. So the preacher stuck out his jaw on the right side and said, “All right then, have at it.”

At that the local tough took a swing, connected his fist with the preacher’s jaw, and the preacher went down to a knee. The preacher stood up, shook his head to clear the cobwebs,
and turned his left jaw to his opponent and asked,
“Would ya like to try it again?”
The local tough takes another swing,
connects with the preacher’s jaw, and the preacher went down on his other knee.
Then the preacher stood up, took of his suit coat, rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, and said, “The Lord has not given me any more instruction.” As the local tough guy took his next swing, the preacher taught him a little bit about boxing and the nuances of endeavor he just encountered.
I’m not exactly sure that’s what Jesus was talking about
--I am sure that He meant that we would be more Christ-like if we absorb insults rather than always retaliating.
If all we ever did was to continually seek retribution from those who injure us with insults, we’d all be walking around blind and toothless
--Mt. 5:40 – 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.
In Jesus’ day, there was a difference between the tunic and the cloak.

The tunic was the garment worn closest to the skin
The cloak was the outer garment that doubled at night as a blanket.
Exodus 22 teaches that every person had an absolute right to his cloak, since it was vital to existence.
It was not permissible to sue for another’s cloak and even if you did, the Mosaic Law required you to give it back before nightfall.
Jesus said if some adversary wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
If he’s that desperate, give up your basic rights.
Don’t demand your rights all the time.
That kind of thinking goes absolutely contrary to our gut instinct.
It’s inborn to protect yourself.
--Get even. Don’t let him get by with it.
Jesus is talking about civil matters.
He’s not saying that Christians should refuse to participate in the criminal justice system.
What Jesus is saying is don’t always insist on your rights
--There are four “rights” mentioned in commentary on this passage:
1). My “right” to dignity ... to be treated without insult
2). My “right” to comfort ... to cling to what pleases me
3). My “right” to privacy ... to do only what I prefer
4). My “right” to possessions ... to keep all I wish.
Jesus says that as His followers, we shouldn’t focus so much on our rights as our responsibilities as His subjects in the kingdom of God

Someone has paraphrased this passage to say: “If someone sues for the shirt off your back, gift-wrap your best coat and make a present of it.”
I read a story about a traveler, who between flights at an airport, bought a small package of cookies. She then sat down in the busy snack shop to glance over the newspaper. As she read she became increasingly aware of a rustling noise. Peeking over her newspaper, she was shocked to see a well-dressed gentleman sitting across from her, helping himself to her cookies. Half-angry and half-embarrassed, she reached over and gently slid the package closer to her as she took one out and began to munch on it.

A minute or so passed before she heard more rustling. The man had gotten another cookie! By now there was only one left in the package. Though beside herself, she didn’t want to make a scene so she said nothing.
Finally, as if to add insult to injury, the man broke the remaining cookie into two pieces,
pushed one piece across the table to her with a frown, gulped down his half and left without even saying thank you. She sat there dumbfounded. “Of all the nerve!”
Some time later when her flight was announced, the woman opened her handbag to get her ticket. To her shock, there in her purse was her package of unopened cookies. And somewhere in that airport was another traveler still trying to figure out how that strange woman could have been so forward and insensitive!
--But he didn’t insist on his right to eat the cookies he bought. He shared with someone who demanded that she eat them.
--Mt. 5:41 – 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
The word “forces” is a word that means, “press into service.”
There was a Roman law that gave their soldiers the right to force civilians into service for a period.
--You couldn’t refuse or you would be severely punished
But there were limitations.
--For example, a Roman soldier had a right to make you carry his pack for one mile, but not any further.
Jesus said, “If a soldier demands you carry his equipment for a mile go with him two miles.”
We all have people who have authority over us.
If they are infatuated with their power they can make life miserable.
The natural instinct is to find some way to resist.
But Jesus raised the standard, don’t just go a mile, go two miles.
It’s amazing how much better we feel about ourselves when we go the extra mile.
It’s amazing how quickly most relationships are smoothed over when we do more than expected.
What a testimony to the work of Christ in our life when we perform the extra-mile service with a smile instead of grumbling and complaining the whole time and stop at the exact mile marker.

You have several exemptions as a Christian.
1. First you are not to do anything unethical or illegal.
2. You have a right to confront and not just be run over

--Acts 22:25-29 – As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?” When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.” The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” “Yes, I am,” he answered. Then the commander said, “I had to pay a big price for my citizenship.”
“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied. Those who were about to question him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.
--Mt. 5:42 – “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
We’re quick to point out that there’s a difference between Jesus’ day and ours.
In Jesus’ time people begged on the streets as their only means of survival.
But Jesus said, Give to those who ask, don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
--If we work hard to find a reason not to give, it’s probably because we want to follow our natural instincts rather than walking by the Spirit
There are some qualifiers to this command however.
You don’t give children everything they ask for.
We are not to loan to people at an excessive interest.
--If you know they can’t repay it, give them a gift with no expectation of repayment.
We are instructed not to give to a person who can work but refuses to work.

--2 Thess. 3:10 – For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
We shouldn’t give money to a person we’re sure will spend it on something destructive. (However, we can still help them)
-- example of man, wife and kids that came to the church building asking for money ... but when we offered to go with them to buy food for the kids they declined ... they were really only interested in money ... not feeding the kids!
Matthew 5:43-48 – 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Even the best of Christians are going to have some enemies.
Jesus said, “Beware when all men speak well of you.”
Gal. 5:11 says that the gospel is going to offend some people.
But not all of our enemies are because of the gospel
Rom. 12:18 – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Some people are just mean, nasty, and hateful
--Not much you can do about it but be a good servant of Christ and to pray for them
Jesus said, treat your enemies with compassion.
Your instinct tells you to lash out and do to others before they do it to you.
On the contrary
--Rom. 12:20-21: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this,
you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
a). If an enemy refuses to speak to you, smile and speak anyway.
b). If an enemy cuts at you behind your back, you be positive in return.
c). If someone tries to hurt your reputation, you respond with kindness.
d). If an enemy tries to undermine your business, you find some way to help him.
Hate is such powerful thing.
--It destroys your life both inside and out.
Hate should not be a common thing in your life.
--We should hate evil. We should hate sin.
Loving an enemy means choosing to let our love OVERRIDE our feelings of disgust.
Granted we do not love our enemy the same way we love God, our spouse, our children, our fellow church members, or our friends, but we must love them..
When you show mercy and grace, you’ll remind people of your Father in heaven.
-- I came across a story about a burly platoon sergeant who had at one time lived a life of drinking, cursing, swearing, and sexual immorality. He could be arrogant and rude to his soldiers.
However, he had become Christian and turned his life around.
When asked about what made the difference, he told about a private in his platoon that was courageously Christian in his outlook and behavior.

This private was frequently harassed by other but was faithful to Christ.
One night the private came into the barracks quite late. It was a very rainy night. Before getting into his bunk, he knelt, as was his custom, to pray.
The sergeant in a foul mood picked up one of his own boots, which was heavy with wet mud, threw it across the room and hit the private in the side of the head. The private said nothing. He wiped the mud from his face and crawled into bed.

The next morning, however, when the sergeant woke up, he found his muddy boots cleaned and polished by his bedside.
The Sargent then stated : “It broke my heart.”
Jesus requires us to pray for those who behave like enemies toward us
Lk. 6:28 – “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Pray for you enemies.”
It has been said that: “Prayer is the forerunner of mercy. ”
We’re also told to forgive one another
--Eph. 4:31-5:2 – “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

CONCLUSION: Jesus Himself is the perfect example for us to follow.
1. He was arrested, roughed up, insulted by the police.
2. The authorities spat on Him, blindfolded Him, and slapped Him in the face.
3. Then the Roman soldiers mocked Him by crowning Him with thorns and putting a
purple robe on Him, and a weak reed in His hand as a make-believe scepter.
--They jeered at Him, “Hail King of the Jews!” Then they scourged Him.
Jesus had the power to strike them blind, to paralyze their hand, to choke them on their own spit, to condemn them to hell, but, with the divine dignity, He held His peace.

1 Pet. 2:23 – When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he
suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly”
Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them.”
--He didn’t return evil for evil, but He silently turned the other cheek. He did all that for you;
And, he asks you to follow in His steps.

Withstanding the Pressure of Being a Christian

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag, Matthew 7

Withstanding the Pressure of Being a Christian

Matthew 7:13-14

“13. "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14. "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”    In these verses we find Jesus basically divides the world into two categories.  There is a broad way, or path and there is a narrow way and you're on one of these two ways.  Make no mistake about it.   Everybody on the face of the earth falls into one of these two categories.  

There are two ways; there is the broad way and the broad way that leads to destruction.

He states in the reality of the world there will be many that go this way.    The truth of the matter is the vast majority of mankind has always traveled the broad way that leads to destruction.

Then He tells us about another way.   Jesus says it's a narrow way.  It's a difficult way but this narrow, difficult way leads to eternal life.  In describing this narrow, difficult way, He says there are few that find it.


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