Sermon Notes from our Pastors

 
 

August 2022 Theme:

Quotes that make no sense, and how the Bible answers them

Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hmm. I wonder what that quote meant?” Or have you ever wondered why some seemingly profound ones actually contradict each other? (Example: “Too many cooks spoil the broth” and “Many hands make light work”?) This month we will look at some quotes that are used rather frequently, but at closer scrutiny, may not make much sense. We investigate how the Bible frequently teaches just the opposite of these idioms.
 

 

August 14

Give Them a Taste of Their Own Medicine

Matthew 5:38-48, Romans 12:17-19

 
Notes for: 9 am & 10:10 am (See 11:11 Notes below)
 

Interestingly this saying seems to imply that medicine is undesirable, or at least what someone gave you and revenge is ok, or at least if it’s in the same form you received it. It’s the ancient form of justice: an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.

And Jesus had plenty to say about revenge. In fact the occasion for revenge was to be an opportunity to show Kingdom love – the kind of love that he showed on the cross when he prayed for his opponents and executioners, “Father, forgive them…”

 

Though Jesus is referring to laws and customs that were specific to his culture, his words do apply to where we live today in the 21st century, because the desire for revenge is as much an issue for us today as it was for those living in the first century. When someone does you wrong, when someone takes advantage of you or bullies you, you want to get even.

There are 3 main points Jesus makes in Matthew 5:

1. Don’t respond to insults.
 

You’ve got to admit, it’s almost automatic. If someone pushes you, the natural response is to immediately push back. Of course, some don’t respond immediately. You’ve heard the saying, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” If they did it to you, you should do it to them — worse! The Bible is asking us to deny our automatic, natural response. Needless to say, this is very hard to do..

We don’t have to verbally respond. Silence is a response. We don’t have to engage in every argument to which we are invited. Jesus advocated peace throughout his ministry. Matthew 5:38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.” We do this by using the Holy Spirit to guide our response, to act with holy patience (not our own) or to walk away. We don’t have to have the last word.

2. Not only don’t retaliate, but actively bless them.
 

So Jesus is trying to teach his disciples about humility, giving all kinds of examples. Jesus said in Mt 18: “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

I can see Peter at this point saying yeah, yeah, but asking, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Wow! Do more than is required to make things right.

As Jesus said in Matthew 5, . “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

3 Treat others with kindness.

Jesus said, “Romans 12:17-19 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] says the Lord.

Be kind. Kindness is something our world is desperate for. With growing fears and anxieties, everyone could just a kind word or gesture. As Christians, God calls us to be the light in the world – to love and be kind to all. But not through our own willingness or strength, lest we become exhausted. Instead by using the Holy Spirit inside of us to love others.

Questions:

Using your faith how can you be less reactionary to insults and arguments?

In what way can you turn the other cheek when you have been hurt?

How can you reach out in faith to someone who is estranged from you?

Notes for 11:11

Give Them a Taste of Their Own Medicine 

Main Point: We are not called to get revenge, but to love—to love God and love people. Jesus calls us to go above and beyond with our love.

Questions & Scripture:

  • What does it mean to “give someone a taste (or dose) of their own medicine”?
  • Have you ever given someone a taste of their own medicine?
  • Is it biblical to give someone a taste of their own medicine?
 

Here’s what Jesus says about this phrase:

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor 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.” – Matthew 5:38-48 (New International Version)

  • What does Jesus mean by “turn the other cheek?”
  • As Christians, are we supposed to let people walk all over and abuse use?

Jesus isn’t saying that we shouldn’t protect ourselves and that we need to let people abuse us. He isn’t saying we should just shrug our shoulders as we watch someone rob us. When He tells us to “turn the other cheek,” He’s not telling us to just look away and accept whatever happens.

What Jesus is actually teaching here is that we shouldn’t seek retaliation or revenge. But, at the same time, turning the other cheek doesn’t mean we have to become a doormat for everyone to walk on. And I think the main thing that Jesus wants us to get from this is that we—as followers of Jesus—should be marked by a spirit of love regardless of the circumstance. People should see our acts of love and that will show them that we are followers of Jesus.

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” – John 13:35 (New Living Translation)

What Jesus is doing in this passage in Matthew is teaching us how to live in the Kingdom of God.  In order to fully live in the Kingdom of God, there needs to be a death to the kingdom of self—a death to our own kingdoms. It needs to become less about us and more about Jesus.

  • How can we make our lives less about us and more about Jesus?
  • What happens to our hate and desire for revenge when we are more focused on Jesus and less focused on ourselves?

In Matthew 5:48, Jesus tells us to be perfect. The good news for us is that we don’t have to do it on our own. In fact, we can’t. But as followers of Jesus, we have the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives that helps us to love as Jesus loved. And when we love God and love people, and people see our love, they will see Jesus in and through us.