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February 14, 2022 12:00 am
Early in His ministry, those who followed Jesus had expectations for Him. They expected their messiah to wage war against Rome, free Israel, and brings God's kingdom to earth during their lifetime. But Jesus had different intentions, and He challenged His followers to conform to His will, not try to make Him conform to theirs. Jesus' sermon on the mount, transcribed in Luke's Gospel, will be just as difficult and challenging for us today as it was for the Jewish patriots and nationalists in Jesus' audience.
As you wish that others would do you do so to that as you wish that others would do to you by this and not at this point I met somebody out of the audience here is beginning to think everybody now this is not the way it works. The golden rule out here are is you scratch my back and I will scratch your back to their Messiah to wage war against Rome expected political freedom expected the Messiah to set up God's kingdom and rule over the earth but Jesus had different intentions. He challenged his followers to conform to his will not try to make him conform to the affairs Jesus preached a sermon about this.
That is just as difficult and challenging for us today as it was for the Jewish patriots in his audience.
This is wisdom for the heart. Today Stephen baby has a message for you called a different Bill of Rights. In his sermon on the plateau for Jesus is in the process of turning everything upside down. And if I correctly preach his sermon today going to do the same thing. In short, very brief statement after a statement Jesus rocks the expectations of Jewish patriots long to be free from Roman oppression to take the sword is regarding discovery of the series is in effect the sort of truth it is to cut through centuries of religious tradition is going to demand that the motives and attitudes be given a higher priority than ritual and religiosity is what author wrote many years ago.
Jesus is delivering a series of bombshells they are explosive, counter cultural peacemaking shocking, bizarre, uncomfortable statements for those who will follow him as his disciples is effectively delivering them. The Constitution for the citizens of his kingdom. I couldn't help but compare Jesus's description of what a believer should surrender with our own constitutional rights. Today we have a Constitution today in this country and the opening amendments called the Bill of Rights, ratified in 1791, very grateful for that Bill of Rights grateful to be in a country that has a democracy in the Constitution like Iris… I am proud to be an American Bill of Rights is a wonderful just document the problem is, it is becoming more and more apparent to me that the church at large seems to of baptized the Bill of Rights into church doctrine.
The average Christian today believes Cy fair that God has guaranteed us those rights those rights, you know, should now be fought for and argued by Christians that the Bill of Rights are the biblical rights for believers. Nothing could be further from the truth.
While I appreciate our Constitution. It is not inspired Scripture the is understanding the tremendous benefit of this Bill of Rights. Many countries around the world today with the law to be so greatly benefited by these personal liberties so describe however the Bill of Rights is being debated more and more being rewritten an application is being eroded in the reaction of the world is not my issue. The reaction of the Christian and the church is concerning to me. I'm hearing from more and more Christian leaders in our community more and more Christian who are considering everything from the creation of communes to taking up arms to refusing to pay taxes. The anger and the rhetoric and the demands are ratcheting up more and more, and they are revealing to me deeply held error in the church. One particular leader of a movement nuances.
He says to renew America.
Recently someone send me the blog I looked it up and that the researcher read it for myself.
The quoted Matthew 1618 were Jesus said I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it with anyone on to interpret this text to mean that Jesus was calling Christians now to band together and fight against the forces of hell that are now entrenched in government, education, etc. etc. in order. He said the church to survive.
That's not what Jesus said what Jesus said was nothing less than a promise that he would successfully build his church and that hell has already lost. I have come to believe that what Jesus is preaching in the sermon would be absolutely unwelcome in many evangelical congregations today. He would never be invited back if he delivered the sermon, I'm convinced because he's about to preach the people who are deeply patriotic, deeply nationalistic.
This Jewish audience who want to change in government who who who wants a wrong move there tired of being taxed and marginalized and mistreated. They want a leader that can rally behind who will uphold their personal rights and all other religious freedoms will much at all on your hat because Jesus is about to deliver a different Bill of Rights to them and do us to take your Bibles if you dare enter the chapter 6 again where we find ourselves working through the sermon.
As we were through the I want to structure our thoughts around eight different rights that Jesus promised his followers here are your rights as citizens of his kingdom write number one you have the right to love those who disagree with you. He says here in verse 27, as it opens but I say to you here. Love your enemies, I think it's at this point, Jesus is now identified as units, growing in his audience is tuning him out want to change the channel to begin addressing those he says not really want to listen. I've got some things to say something apply their people. But at this point are not going to want to listen. By the way, the reason for we dive in.
The reason Jesus is sermon is creating much of an impact in the Christian community today is either because we really don't believe he's speaking to us or we really don't know what they say but everything by the way, Jesus is going to deliver here will be affirmed by additional passages as you work your way through the New Testament. The first right for believers and by the way that sets the stage for all of here it is again. Love your enemies, the verb is from that family of words we refer to as agape is not a feeling word necessarily leads to feelings. This is a willingness to love. This is a conscious decision to love. This is choosing to love a couple walks down the aisle to Mary and according to God's word. It is because they fallen in love, but because they are choosing to love the word used for the love between a husband and wife is the love described as from God toward sinners. In Romans chapter 5 verse eight. It's the word used to describe the love of Christ for his church.
This is the love for someone who does not merit who doesn't deserve there is anything about the church that merits the love of Christ. The reason anything about your love, your your life for my as well. Now I deserve God's love. Are we glad he gets it to us even when we don't deserve it. This is the word used here so Jesus is saying that the believer has the right to love people who do not merit that love who do not deserve that love Jesus, by the way he uses the word here enemies, love your enemies, you could translate that would only hostile ones like those who are hostile toward you. They don't barely see on friendly toward you. They really are friendly toward you netted Jesus his audience.
The law has already made it clear they know the law with chapter 19 that there are no love their neighbor will eventually get to a text where Jesus redefines neighbor the Jews during this day to find someone's neighbor as someone who has a similar opinion live close who think like you do all that's that's that's easy and that's kind convenient I can love people who share my opinion I think they're pretty bright people who share my opinion. But the idea of enemies here one New Testament scholar writes this definition. And he wrote this decades ago that this this is apply to anyone who does not share our opinions personally, religiously and politically will and you want to respond really to be honest, that person would be hard to love this happens to be your right as a citizen of the kingdom you have the right to love those who are hostile in their disagreement with you. Write number two you have the right to serve those who hate you, Jesus is your verse 27, love your enemies. Now notice good to those who hate you I want you to notice the progression. First we have the attitude that the action you not have the right attitude. The actual matter go pick up on just doing it you love them. I do it all right. I'll do it. There, that's not it. The attitude is right, then the action is right and get this is essentially telling you that you don't get to avoid those people you don't change classrooms to get out from underneath that professor you don't quit your job because people around you hate you ever thought about the fact that it is impossible to serve somebody physically lapping next to them what he's talking they hate you, but you will find ways to do good. What that is because that word means inherently good. Everybody knows what good is whatever that is to be a couple coffee to be alive to work it could be a kind hello to be help with homework to be a bag of groceries.
The Old Testament effectively said the same thing.
Moses wrote this. If you come across your enemies box or donkey wandering off. Be sure to return it said that the rejoice. There goes their goal. This is fantastic. Looking at the writing of the walk, consider either work put it in today's economy. Your your writing to work one morning and there should be on the side of the road was a flat tire. What you gonna do. I know you going to do well.
I know what I would want to do all I probably would I write by wave and say God is so good, so good that I deserved it. Three flat tires before he gets off I would be so natural, so Jesus is a citizen of the kingdom has a super natural response happens and ability by means of the Holy Spirit is producing for.
Remember in our lives. Even though what someone did good. Who hates write number three you have the right to be gracious to those who curse you, Jesus is here in verse 28 bless those who curse you, I mean you hardly need an explanation for that company to explain it to you so here goes the work for curse means to call down divine affliction on someone.
There was a time when this was more literal. I can remember in the Middle East standing there looking at different fragments, parchment fragments where demand translation there, but people were were literally writing out there.
Curses and giving them at the shrines of their God's where they were praying. His work is range of prayer requests calling on their God to bring down a pledge and it was specify what these guys crops. The words I want disease I want something – community literally wrote about in some ways this is this is the same thing is, as someone who is asking God to damn you there there there will some kind of affliction to come down and they can't give a general don't they want God to do. Jesus says here you might be tempted to back is Howard Hendricks used to say to us in seminary, you might be tempted to give them a piece of your mind, you cannot afford to lose notice we been given. Instead, the right to respond with blessing. Bless those who curse you, bless you like that they we we get our word eulogy from that he's saying that the weather alive speak well of them and and to them.
But wait a second I got I got a bill of rights to gives me freedom of speech I can say what ever you want to say that the right to speak my mind. Don't you get in the way that that's my First Amendment right Jesus as different Bill of Rights for you citizen are you.
You now have the right to bless those who curse you write number four that we doing you have the right to pray for those who hurt you Jesus goes on. Now in verse 20 to say pray for those who abuse you word for abuse here refers to this treatment most likely related to persecution, Jesus says our reaction to mistreatment discrimination. Persecution is not to shout louder. It's not demand our right to the free exercise of religion and the right to peaceably assemble that's in our Bill of Rights. It's not in the Bible, and Christians today around the world are meeting in secret would know nothing of this right Jesus's words here in this sermon would be deeply encouraging the Christians today in Afghanistan and Turkey and North Africa in Iraq and North Korea see when you interpret a verse of Scripture correctly would you remember that it will work for them over there just like it will hear. I feel we tend to Americanize the Bible.
What that means is this and they would never apply over their life. My manager and translator for our media ministry is currently leading an underground church in China. I had lunch a while back with he and other brothers who come here and every one of those pastors had spent at least three years in prison that they said to me that they don't even really consider a prison sentence worth anything if it's less than three years what you got to give me the right to do what I want to do it three minutes. Jesus is preaching to a church that will soon be hiding in the catacombs of Rome as the Lions are carded into the arena is wanting then add us to focus on the eternal destiny as you are hating and cursing and mistreating us pray for what's gonna happen to them after this brief life. I want to those in the one of the most persecuted believers ever is writing a letter to a young pastor listen to his perspective that is eternally mimics the Bill of Rights delivered by Jesus, the apostle Paul writes this. First of all, that I urge the supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people for kings and all who are in high positions that get this that we may lead a life it's noted by this peacefulness, quietness, godliness and dignity in every way that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. Does that sound like your Facebook posts. Does that sound like your twitter account godly dignified peaceful quiet. Can somebody say he disagrees with you.
You know what I know about that guy is one of those Christians, but I gotta tell you, I can tell you spring for country.
I can tell you spring for leaders.
I get angry at him.
He never responds that way back. You have the right to pray for those who mistreat write number five, you have the right to refuse revenge.
Jesus now says in verse 29 to one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.
Matthew chapter 5 delivers a couple of additional words that are helpful. It's the right cheek. This is the idea of a backhanded slap. It's a metaphor for being insulted. This is not a recommendation here that you let the neighborhood bully have one more shot at no rhyme. However, this has to do with reacting supernaturally instead of naturally.
The natural thing is to strike back. You and so may want to give you a better insult to get the last word, revenge, and if you're bigger than him in the literal sense to me slap you. Will you take this handoff. That's the American way. See, this is essentially a command to refuse they had back physically or verbally to never get even to never top their insult with a bigger one.
Count on typing it out to be vindicated when he is not riots.
Jesus effectively says here you have the right to live with never being vindicated anywhere on earth but in the sight of God alone write number six, you have the right to be robbed of personal possessions Jesus as of the end of verse 29 from one he takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic.
Either the cloak here is the row heavier material that reach to the ground. It typically served not only as an outer rope but is a blanket it might affect along the Old Testament required. It was taken is applied yet to return it by that evening. Otherwise they would be told they would lose their blanket tunic was the undershirt worn next to the skin.
I agree scholars differ. It's possible that Jesus could be referring here to robbery. It's also possible that this is a reference to legal action taken against the believer that is unjust, and so this is a this is a metaphorical phrase. In fact we use to this very day.
Talk about somebody who lost their sure we talk about somebody that they call we have a Bill of Rights to protect our privacy and our possessions are houses, papers and property bound up in the amendments four and five but again she's delivering a different Bill of Rights. He says we have the right to lose everything and nothing.
So, will we trust him that he will take care of us even when we are unjustly treated and left out in the cold.
Now you need to understand Jesus is not diminishing the blessing of just long for those who uphold it is sacred calling is essentially telling his disciples here to live with the attitude that those possessions that shirt that wrote its temporary hold was held loosely.
Thanks for joining us today. This is wisdom for the heart. Stephen's message today is entitled different Bill of Rights. In addition to being our Bible teacher.
Stephen is also the president of the seminary. How would your life be changed if you set aside one year to study God's word experience authentic community growing discipleship take a trip to do some study in Israel and earn your Masters degree in theological studies all in one year.
The school Stephen leads offers a special one-year program called shepherds Institute where you can experience all that I just described this unique one-year program offers a life-changing opportunity to all believers no matter your vocation. We've had men and women join us right out of college and before entering their career they spent one year in God's word earned her Masters degree and then enter the workforce better equipped to serve God in both their church and community. We've also had men join us, who believed they were called to be a pastor.
They did this program and then jumped into our Master of Divinity program invest one year of your life to equip yourself for the rest of your life. Stephen and the world-class faculty are eager to invest in you can learn email@example.com by the way, you can study at Sheppard seminary without relocating to this area because most of the classes are available live online as well as in person. Thanks for listening. If we can help you today. Call 86 648. Join us for our next Bible lesson tomorrow right here on wisdom