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What Jesus Thinks About Everything | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 17, 2024 3:00 am

What Jesus Thinks About Everything | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 17, 2024 3:00 am

Anger, lust, keeping your word… Pastor Jonathan Laurie covers these topics and more in this message. 

Notes:

Matthew 5:21–48

1. Anger.

Matthew 5:21–26

Reconciliation.

Matthew 5:24

“Men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth.” —Chuck Norris

2. Lust.

Matthew 5:27–32

It’s been said that it’s not the bait; it’s the bite that is sin.

Hebrews 4:15

“Those who stand for nothing fall for everything.” —Alexander Hamilton

“You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” —Martin Luther

Psalm 119:9–11

3. Keeping Your Word.

Matthew 5:33–37

Matthew 5:37

4. The Heart of Jesus.

Matthew 5:38–48

Romans 12:17–19

Proverbs 1:32–33

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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. Well, congratulations to those of you that got out of bed the extra hour early this morning and rallied for church. I know it was probably a little bit earlier than you were expecting.

I know it was for me. I woke up. It's just one of those things when you know there's going to be a time change. For some reason, this always happens to me the night before Easter, but I wake up like 12 times through the night, checking my clock. Is it close? Is it time to get up yet?

It's just the worst, and you just destroy your night of sleep, and so not fun. Well, I've titled this message, What Jesus Thinks About Everything. What Jesus Thinks About Everything. Don't we need to know what Jesus thinks about everything? I love that idea. I love the idea of being able to just ask Jesus what He thinks about a topic. I'm looking forward to being able to do that in heaven.

But we have the next best thing. We have God's Word, which reveals to us not only His Word, but also His heart, what Jesus thinks about everything. Do you have a person in your life that just won't shut up? Like they don't know how to have a filter, right?

They have no filter. They tell you what they think about everything, from politics to sports to hobbies to how your hobbies aren't the right hobbies, and you should have their hobbies. They tell you about their relationships. They talk to you about your relationships and offer their opinions on it.

It's like, I wasn't asking you. They talk to you about how you drive, how you invest. They talk about the food, the weather, conspiracies, bowel movements. Like, okay, oversharing.

Literally everything. They overtalk. They overshare. And almost like they can't control it, at times they just keep talking and going on and on. And at times they'll actually give you the look like they know that the train has left the station and they can't stop, and they're almost looking at you for some sort of help.

Please, I don't know how to control myself. I know a few people like that. They usually end up having this conversation.

It turns into some sort of dumpster fire, just a complete disaster, derailing the conversation. Now, if you don't know someone like that, if you're thinking, I don't know anybody like that, there is a really good chance that you are that person yourself. If you're sitting next to one of those people right now, why don't you give them a nice little jab in their ribs and we'll blame it on the Holy Spirit. Well, today we're going to be looking at not what Jonathan thinks about everything or what you think about everything or what that person in your life who talks too much thinks about everything or what the culture thinks about everything today, we are looking at what Jesus Christ has to say about everything, because that is what matters most. Our culture needs the words and the person of Jesus now more than ever. Amen? We need the person and the words of Jesus now more than ever.

Joe Rogan, who has the number one podcast in the world, all of us should know who he is at this point, he's huge in pop culture, he said this recently in one of his podcasts. Joe is a pretty vocal, outspoken atheist, even anti-religion, but it seems as the years have gone on, he has definitely softened toward religion. I would even say toward Jesus Christ, and listen to what he said in one of his podcasts. As time rolls on, I think people are going to understand the need to have some sort of divine structure to things, some sort of belief in the sanctity of love and of truth, and a lot of that comes from religion. A lot of people's moral compass and guidelines they use to follow to live a just and righteous life, it comes from religion.

Unfortunately, a lot of intelligent people dismiss all the positive aspects of religion, because they think the stories are mere superstitious fairy tales and have no place in the modern world, and your ethics are based on your own moral compass, and we all have one, and that's not necessarily true. And then Joe goes on and says, we need Jesus, like for real. If he came back now, it'd be great. Like Jesus, if you're thinking about coming back, now is a good time.

Amen, Joe Rogan. That's exactly right. And I will say, he's right, there are positive aspects to religion. There's positive elements to religion, but the difference between religion and relationship with Jesus Christ is religion says, do this, do this, do this, and you'll achieve nirvana, you'll achieve inner peace, you'll get to heaven, and religion, or excuse me, a relationship with Jesus Christ says, it's done.

You don't need to do anything. It was accomplished on the cross when Jesus died at the end of his ministry. He said, tetelestai, it is finished. Today, the tomb of Christ is the only thing in the modern world that people line up to go and look inside and see something that isn't there, right? An empty tomb. Mohammed is dead. Joseph Smith is dead. Charles Darwin is dead. Buddha is dead.

There are 6000 world religions, but there's only one empty tomb. Every other God is an idol, but Jesus Christ is alive. I'll tell you, I've been on the mountaintop and I've been in the valley, and I can tell you, Jesus has been there for me every step of the way, and he can be there for you as well. And so, Joe Rogan hits the nail on the head when he says we need Jesus and we need his return. Well, the good news is this, as we await Jesus' return, he has actually given us something better than his physical presence.

That's hard to believe, and that's not my words. That's Jesus' words, because Jesus said in John 16, he says, it is better that I should go away, because when I leave the Holy Spirit, the Helper will come in my place, and he will teach you all things and bring to memory the words of Jesus, and we have the Holy Spirit today. We need the way, we need the truth, and we need the life of Jesus now more than ever. And so that brings us to our text in Matthew, chapter five, again, our message title, what Jesus thinks about everything, we're going to be looking at the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew, chapter five, starting in verse 21, I'm reading from the New Living Translation, if you'd like to follow along.

Matthew 5, 21. Jesus said these words, you have heard it said that you must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment. But I say to you, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment.

If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the temple, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar, go and be reconciled to that person, and then come and offer your sacrifice to God. When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly, otherwise your accuser may hand you over to the judge who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison.

And if that happens, you surely won't be free until you have paid the last penny. That brings us to point number one, anger, anger. Verses 21 to 26, Jesus specifically deals with anger and hatred and unforgiveness. It's something that everybody struggles with. If you live here in Southern California and you drive on the freeway, you have dealt with hatred and murder in your heart. Come on, be honest. Someone cuts you off, blocks you from changing lanes, paces you, and then gives you a hand gesture. Oh, come on, don't tell me that doesn't get your blood boiling.

Now we're cooking. The Greek word used for anger here in Matthew 5 is the word orge, orge. It is defined as the lavish swelling of sap and vigor. The lavish swelling of sap and vigor, thrusting and upsurging. In nature originally, it says the impulsive nature of man or beast, especially the impulsive state of the human disposition.

I think that's interesting. The lavish swelling of sap and vigor. Vigor is just like that, oh, I'm right. This self-righteousness, I was wronged. I know what is right.

They are wrong and you have this explosion of energy, but then you also have the sapping of that energy simultaneously. Have you ever gone into a rage and at the end of it you're just like, oh, that was exhausting. That was fatiguing. I feel terrible afterwards. I feel like I just got into a fist fight.

Maybe you did. You're physically exhausted though afterwards. Anger in general is not a sin.

It's not. Anger in general is not a sin because we see that God himself experiences something called righteous indignation. Jesus himself got angry. Anger in its right place can be appropriate. A holy and righteous anger motivated by the things that are evil and wrong. That is the positive sense that anger can be used. A tool to drive us towards righting a wrong or stopping someone from hurting an innocent person.

These are appropriate ways to display anger. It's like a fire in a fireplace, right? A fire in a fireplace is a wonderful tool. It can heat your home. You can cook over it. It's nice to look at. It sits there.

It belongs there. But you bring the fire into the bathroom or you bring the fire into the jacuzzi or your fire onto your bed, it's a destructive force. It can burn things down. It can incinerate your home. I was cooking last night and I was using some alcohol in the food and, you know, the whole thing just erupted in a fire and thankfully I didn't put water on it. That's the last thing you should do.

I just put the lid over it. But it's like, man, that could be a really scary thing if you don't know how to deal with it. Fire can be destructive, but fire in its right place is appropriate. The anger that Jesus is referring to is that of a sudden emotional surge of strength and resolve and self-righteousness that then is expressed in such a volatile and abrupt way that it saps you of all your strength. Thrusting and surging. Think of waves in the sea when two of them come together.

We call that backwash. When two waves come and smash into each other and they erupt way high up into the air. Or how about the exploding energy like an erupting volcano? That's the type of anger Jesus is referring to in condemning. We could just call it losing your temper, right? Losing your temper.

Now generally I think that this is an area that men tend to struggle with more than women. Would you agree? Losing their temper? No, just me? Okay, great.

Thanks for that affirmation. It's a more explosive type of anger. It tends to come on kind of quickly. You get this emotional impulse, this strong feeling of disrespect or something you were wronged and it's emotional. There's an outburst. Usually words are said or an action or something.

You pound something or hit the table, whatever it might be. And that tends to be what guys do and it can, of course, manifest itself in different ways. But generally it is guys that are duking it out in a parking lot of a Chuck E. Cheese over a parking spot that was stolen from them. I'm not sure if there's an intentional connection between orge, the Greek word, and the word that we use today and have seen in movies, different things, ogre. They're spelled almost the same way, orge and ogre.

And so I don't know if Jesus was thinking about Shrek when he said this, but he's a decent example of the type of anger that he's talking about. Now ladies, don't think I'm letting you off the hook here. Yes, men do do that. They are. That's right, Jonathan. Preach it.

Okay. But ladies, I think the ladies tend to struggle with a different type of anger that is more of a cool, simmering struggle with an unforgiveness, slower building, right? It sits.

It plots a little bit more. It's not always hot. It can accumulate. Whereas a guy might erupt over something small and then move on, sometimes the ladies will come home and they'll see a mess that was made in their recently cleaned kitchen. And then a couple days later, the husband forgets the anniversary of your dog's death. And then the in-laws come over for dinner and they take a dig at your parenting and your homemaking skills and your husband doesn't stand up for you. And externally, you're keeping it all together, but these things are simmering in the back of your mind. But then it all happens. Your husband puts the toilet paper roll on backwards in the bathroom. And all hell breaks loose. Talk about the straw that broke the camel's back, right? And he's like a deer caught in the headlights.

Absolutely no idea what is happening. You don't appreciate what I do. I clean, I take care of the kids. You don't stand up for me.

You never loved sniffles. You're such a jerk. And meanwhile, your poor husband is just trying to figure out how you got all of this from a backwards toilet paper roll.

Am I right here? Okay. That's not good either. That's anger. And that's unforgiveness and harboring resentment.

And again, those emotional outbursts that are not constructive. And so, what is the answer? Well, Jesus tells us in verse 24.

He says this. Leave your gift before the altar and go your way. And first be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift. Be reconciled. Reconciliation is the answer. Leave your gift at the altar.

Go your way. And first be reconciled to that person. Jesus is actually saying stop what you are doing. Whatever act of service you think you are performing for God is not as important as you being reconciled to your brother or your sister or to your friend or to your spouse or even to your children. Stop what you're doing and be reconciled.

Now this is a humbling thing to do at times if we're honest, right? We feel like we're right. We feel like we were wronged. But we lost our temper and something we said was maybe not good and so going to that person and expressing your regret for what you did is the right thing to do, Jesus says.

Apologizing, asking for forgiveness, be reconciled. Chuck Norris, he said men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth.

Isn't that true? You know, steel, it has to be tempered in order for it to be strong. The way they temper is they put it in a super, super hot furnace and the hotter that furnace gets before it gets to the boiling point, the melting point of steel, it makes it stronger. If we lose our temper as men and we allow every little thing, oh that guy cut me off, oh the kids didn't say hello to me the right way, oh dinner wasn't ready, you burned dinner, you're late, you're this, you're that, you're losing your temper, what good is that? Your anger should be reserved for the holy and righteous indignation, righting a wrong, stopping things that are good. I found that sometimes we'll get mad at the wrong things and then things we should be getting mad at, we don't. That's the complete opposite of the type of anger that God has. He gets angry at the right things. Now if you struggle with anger like I have and daily, sometimes hourly, have to ask God for help, you need to recognize it.

You need to ask God to help you with it and confess it to him. And when you make mistakes, own it and ask for forgiveness and commit it to the Lord. We see here in these verses that God not only cares about our conduct and our actions, he deeply cares about our hearts. That's what we see here in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus talks about yeah, here's the law, but here's the heart of God and the heart of God is what we all must go after.

Yeah, killing people is wrong, newsflash, but hating people is also wrong because it's the hatred that leads to the murder. So don't even have hatred in your heart. Don't even harbor resentment, Jesus says. And so he shows us the heart of God. That brings us to number two, lust.

Number two, lust. We continue in Matthew chapter five, verse 27. Jesus says you have heard the commandment that says you must not commit adultery. But I say anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. And so if your eye, even your good eye, causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away.

There's a picture for you. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand, even your good hand, causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.

It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Verse 31, you have heard the law that says a man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce. But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.

Let's stop there. Adultery, lust. What is adultery?

The Oxford English Dictionary puts it this way. Adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse. Adultery is sex with anyone other than your spouse. This means premarital sex, extramarital sex, sex with someone other than your spouse who you are currently married to is adultery and is sin.

Okay, are we clear on that, all right? Engagement is not marriage. Betrothal is not marriage.

Dating is not marriage. And I would say that any behavior that acts on the intention of sexual arousal with someone other than your spouse is adultery, or at the very least is what Jesus is saying the heart of the problem. Sex was designed by God for two people married to each other for the purpose of intimacy, expressing love, procreation, joy, bonding.

It is a gift from God that is a sort of glue that completes or consummates that union between a man and a woman. And so Jesus now furthers that, and he tells us that if you merely look upon a woman with lust in your heart, basically if you are a human being with a pulse, you have likely experienced temptation in this area. But it's not the sexual temptation that we can only fall into. There's other types of temptation. Lust is the desire for something that we know is outside of God's will and the pursuit of attaining it.

Let me say that again. Lust is the pursuit, excuse me, lust is the desire for something that we know is outside God's will and the pursuit of attaining it. We can lust after possessions. We can lust after jobs. We can lust after influence, after wealth. We can lust after someone else's wife, their social media following, their family, their vacations. Again, lust is the belief that we know better than God does, something that is outside of God's will that we know is not his will for us, or we know that God has not given to us.

It is the belief that we know better than him. And what Jesus is teaching here is not, again, just the rules of God, but the heart of God. Temptation will happen in the life of the believer. You will find yourself lusting after something that God has not given to you.

He has not promised to you. But we know that with temptation, it's not the bait, it's the bite that is the sin. It's not the bait that is the bite. Temptation will happen in the life of the believer, and each of us need to be on guard. Jesus himself was tempted. Hebrews 4.15, we read, This high priest of ours, Jesus, understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations that we do, and yet he did not sin.

Wow. Jesus was tempted. Jesus was tempted. It is not a sin to be tempted. James even tells us that we should count all joy as we experience temptation.

Why? Because it gives us the opportunity to develop endurance and be able to endure these things, and we should count it as a sort of joy. It's a type of spiritual exercise. When we have these things, here's an opportunity for me to show my resolve, to endure temptation, to say no to lust, and to say yes to God.

It's a spiritual exercise. Alexander Hamilton said, Those who stand for nothing will fall for everything. If you will not stand strong in your faith, if you will not plant your feet and grit your teeth and say no, I'm not turning away, I'm not gonna go after this lust, I'm not gonna fall into temptation, then you will fall for everything. If you do not learn how to endure temptation and effectively resist it, you will not grow in your faith. If you do not learn how to endure temptation and effectively resist it, you will not grow in your faith. Every temptation, every little whiff, every little breeze that comes along blows you off course.

Friend, you're gonna have a really hard time growing in your relationship with God. Resisting temptation comes down to saying yes to the right choices and no to the wrong ones. Resisting temptation comes down to saying yes to the right choices and no to the wrong ones. It was Martin Luther who said, You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest.

I love that picture. The same is true with temptation. You can't keep a bird from flying over your head, but can you stop it from building a nest in your hair?

Of course you can. You can't stop a lustful thought from entering your mind. And a lot of times, they'll enter at the most inopportune moments, be in the middle of prayer, be in the middle of worship, and you get some thought about, Oh, I really wanna get that thing. You know, that would be so cool if I could have that. Oh, the lottery is up to a billion dollars now. Wouldn't it just be so great, man? What would I buy? Oh, I would do so many good things with that money.

You start entertaining this thought. What good is it gonna do for you? What's it gonna accomplish for you?

Having that thought. You're not gonna win the lottery. It's a waste of time.

It's a waste of money. You're gonna end up having that just dwell in your mind. You're gonna put your hopes up. What's gonna happen when you don't win? You're gonna be disappointed. Oh, maybe the next lottery.

Mega millions, whatever it might be. That temptation comes into your mind. You can keep yourself from dwelling on it and allowing it to build a nest inside of your mind and having a stronghold in your hearts. You could be in the middle of prayer and some tempting thought comes into your head.

It's almost impossible nowadays to go anywhere without having some sexually suggestive advertisement or innuendo or billboard or social media post rubbed in your face. But taking that thought for a test drive, developing a plan, allowing it to dwell in your mind, allowing that bird to proverbially build a nest in your hair, you do have control of that, don't you? You do.

You have control of that. And what was Jesus' approach to dealing with temptation? Do you remember? Each time that he was tempted, he rebuked the devil and he quoted scripture. He quoted scripture. He said, it is written, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God.

It is written, it is written, it is written. One of the first verses I memorized as a new believer was Psalm 119 nine to 11 and these verses are near and dear to my heart. They say, how can a young man cleanse his way? How can a young man live a clean life by taking heed according to your word? With my whole heart I have sought you. Oh, let me not wander from your commandments. Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.

I love that last part. Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you. Having God's word on call at any times to quote out loud. Listen, you wanna know what the best way to resist temptation is? You have that lustful thought. You rebuke it in Jesus' name and then you quote scripture to yourself to remind yourself who is in control and who is your God and who you are following after. Listen, I tell you this. You will endure that temptation if you were able to follow that and quote scripture. Man, it is a great and wonderful gift that God has given to us.

That brings us to number three, moving along. Keeping your word, keeping your word. This brings us to verse 33 of Matthew five. Jesus says this. You have also heard it said to our ancestors that you must not break your vows. You must carry out the vows you make by the Lord. But I say to you, Jesus says, do not make any vows. Do not say by heaven because heaven is God's throne and do not say by earth because the earth is his footstool and do not say by Jerusalem for Jerusalem is the city of the great king and do not even say by my head for you can't turn one hair white or black.

Just a simple yes I will or no I won't. Anything beyond this is from the evil one. I love the way the New King James renders verse 37. Jesus says, let your yes be yes and your no no for whatever is more than these is from the evil one. I love that. Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. Someone needs to hear that today. They're constantly promising this or swearing on that. Whatever it might be.

Just let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. In Jesus' day, the people did not read the scriptures for themselves. Many were illiterate and the majority in Jesus' day actually spoke Aramaic and not Hebrew which is what the scriptures were written in. And so they went to the temple.

They went to the synagogue and they would hear the religious leaders read a text in Hebrew and then expound on it in the language that they understood in Aramaic. But the religious leaders began to treat the word of God as a set of rules and a set of laws to find loopholes and to benefit themselves. Rather than a road map leading them to the heart of God, they saw it as a rule book to try and find loopholes and try and dance around. Jesus said in verse one, you must not break your vows. You must carry out the vows you make to the Lord. That is not a phrase you will find anywhere in the Bible. So what Jesus is commenting on is not the scripture itself but on the teaching of the scripture, the commentary of the scripture that the Pharisees offered up. We would assume that these Pharisees were offering an interpretation of the third commandment which is not to take the Lord's name in vain. So here's what the Pharisees would do.

Being the legal experts of the day, the Pharisees, the religious leaders, they found a loophole. They would swear, and we see Jesus referencing this in verse 34, they would swear and the Pharisees would use all kinds of tricks to sidestep the truth and manipulate the situation. They would avoid using the holy name of God and so they would swear on anything else. They would swear upon the city of Jerusalem, they would swear by heaven, they would swear by earth or some part of the body and they would break those oaths because in their minds, they believed that they were not holy like God's name was holy. So they would say, I swear by Jerusalem that I would do this, that I will uphold justice and I would do this thing for you and then they would break it because they felt no obligation to fulfill that oath because it wasn't God's name, okay?

So a little insight there. But if they swore to God or by the name of God, they would fulfill it because they did not want to break the third commandment of taking the Lord's name in vain. This is why Jesus said to the Pharisees and the religious leaders, you strain it a nap and you swallow a camel. He was telling me, you're missing the whole point here. Jesus is saying, don't make vows on anything. Don't make these weird vows, oh, I promise on heaven that I'll do this. Oh, but I didn't say God and so therefore I don't even have to do it. It's not as big of a deal if I break that commandment or that promise to you as if I had done it promising to God.

And Jesus is saying, don't promise to anything. Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. Are we really that different?

Are we really that different? Those in positions of authority will so often bend the law or interpret it to benefit themselves. Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no, Jesus says. Don't promise or commit to something you have no intention of doing. I've heard people swear on all kinds of crazy things. I swear on my mother's grave.

Good Lord, what is wrong with you? I swear on the lives of my children, seriously. I swear on a stack of Bibles. I swear to God, I swear to Jesus.

I swear to any source of power that they might think will lend them credibility. But honestly, it's gross, right? And it makes me trust them less when they do that. That's the reality. It's repulsive. To hear someone say that actually has the opposite effect. I trust them far less than if they just said, yes, I will do that or no, I will not do that.

Have such integrity that people will believe what you say. Again, Jesus is showing us the heart of God, not just the legalism, not just the rules of God. And that brings us to number four. Lastly, the heart of Jesus, Matthew 5, verse 38.

Let's look together. Jesus says, you have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, do not resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.

If you were sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles, give to those who ask and don't turn away from those who want to borrow. You have heard the law that says love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.

If you're kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Man, those last 10 verses in this chapter have got to be the most groundbreaking, earth-shattering, culture-shifting sayings ever uttered by a human on this earth.

Jesus, flipping the whole world upside down. I think we see here the most clear demonstration of how much Jesus' way of thinking and operating is in contrast to the world's way, right? Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek. It's no secret that some of the best movies of all time have to do with exacting beautiful revenge on the bad guy, right?

Some of the best movies ever made, Gladiator, Tombstone, The Patriot, Payback, Equalizer, Equalizer 2, Equalizer 3, Equalizer 4, I'm pretty sure a fifth one's coming out. But Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile, that if they take your shirt to give him your jacket too, to pray for your enemies, wow. Have you ever met somebody that deals with unforgiveness? They hold a grudge against somebody and they just carry it around with them everywhere they go. It usually defines who they are. You know they have a vendetta. You know they have some unforgiveness against maybe a police officer or an ex-wife or a coworker, whatever it might be, but they're just consumed by it.

It defines who they are. They're consumed by the wrongs that were done to them and they're usually waiting for the opportunity to exact their wrath on the person that they were hurt by. Maybe that's you. I had someone once tell me that they forgive me for what I did, but they'll never forget. I feel sorry for a person that feels that way. Listen, I've been wronged too and I've wronged people. I've had horrible things said about me. I've had horrible things said about my family, about my brother, about my family on the internet, about people. I've had people stab me in the back. I've had people steal from me.

I've had people pretend to be my friend. Hello, welcome to the human experience. We've all had this happen to us, haven't we? It's hard. I'm not a perfect forgiver at all. I struggle with resentment. I struggle with unforgiveness. I struggle with revenge like anybody, but I have learned in what little obedience that I've engaged in that giving it to God is life-giving. Giving that unforgiveness, giving that resentment to God and giving it back to Him is life-giving. It's been said that unforgiveness is like eating poison and waiting for the rat to die.

That's a good picture, isn't it? Unforgiveness is like eating poison and waiting for the rat to die. Rat doesn't know what's going on. You're mad at somebody. You're just, oh, every time you see them, your blood pressure goes up. Meanwhile, they're walking by completely carefree. They could care less about that thing that they said to you. They're not even thinking about you. You don't even exist in their mind. And you're so angry. You're so frustrated about that thing that they did. It's like that's hurting you, not them.

That's hurting you. We read in Matthew, excuse me, in Romans chapter 12, the apostle Paul comments on these words of Jesus. He says, never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the scripture says, I will take revenge. I will pay them back, says the Lord. Revenge belongs to God.

It belongs to him. It's not for us to exact. It's up to us to forgive. Talk about an opportunity to grow in our faith. That unforgiveness that we're harboring, we need to forgive. We need to forget.

We need to move on. In Matthew chapter six, Jesus continues in the Sermon on the Mount and he talks about how to pray. This is where we find the Lord's Prayer. And he tells us that we are to forgive as we have been forgiven. We are to forgive as we have been forgiven. Listen, this life, it's a vapor.

It's here one moment and it's gone the next. Our life here, our time here, it's a test. And so the question we must ask ourselves is will we follow the heart of God who created us and gave his son to save us and his Holy Spirit to guide us or will we live the way that we feel is best because we really know the right way, you know? We're so wise, we're so smart. We've experienced all these things and we know how to operate and react. Never mind the fact that God is eternal.

He gives us these truths that are absolute, these commands, these will for our lives that we might succeed and prosper in our life here. Lusting, retaliating, swearing, divorcing, hating. Will you operate that way because people deserve it? It's true. People do deserve it. People deserve to be hated. People deserve to have retaliation exacted upon them but so do you. So do you.

Here's the reality. The thousands and even millions of sins that you have committed in your life are ultimately against a holy and righteous God. It doesn't matter if it's done in secret or against other people. All sin is against God because all sin is rebellion against his commands. And friend, that's some bad news.

That's some bad news. You have offended God himself. You have, all of us have. We've offended God himself, a perfect and holy and righteous God. You have revoked your chance to go to heaven and experience his hand of blessing in this life when you sinned.

You revoked it. And you have ultimately invited his righteous judgment to exact the payment due. And the payment due for your sin is your life, is your soul, is your eternity. But what was God's response to our rebellion?

It was love. It was forgiveness. The ultimate picture of turning the other cheek and extending a plan is when God extended a plan of salvation that would spare us from the most terrifying revenge and justice of all, which is complete separation from God and eternal torment in hell. We should never demand give us what we deserve because we don't deserve forgiveness. We deserve hell.

That's the reality. In Proverbs 1, it says, simpletons turn away from me to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency, but all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm. Listen, God loves you. He made a plan for you. He made a way for you.

Jesus came not only to pay for your sin, but to give you life and life more abundantly. We see in these teachings that he gives to us that this is a master plan for joy and success and happiness in life. If we follow after all the things that the world tells us to do, we've all experienced it.

We've all found it to be true firsthand. It's gonna let us down. It's gonna leave us depressed. It's gonna leave us angry and bitter and raged. It's not good for anything, and that is why God gave us not only the forgiveness for our sin, but he gave us the plan so we could have a wonderful and beautiful life.

And in closing today, I would like to extend that opportunity to you now. There are some here who haven't yet put their faith in Jesus Christ. They haven't called out to him and asked him to be their Lord and their Savior. Listen, you are at enmity with God. You are at odds with God himself. You have offended this holy and righteous God, and you know what?

His justice is perfect, and his memory is eternal. There's no way you're gonna get to heaven on your own. There's no way that you're gonna be good enough or do enough good things to outweigh the bad things that you've done. You can't do it.

You can't do it. And that is why God sent Jesus to be the payment, the propitiation, the exact amount that was due for your sin, for the sins of mankind, and it was the blood of his son Jesus. Jesus' blood was payment for our sins. It was the atonement for us. And all we have to do to receive that forgiveness is call out to him in faith and believe that we are a sinner and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died in our place. Receive that forgiveness, and you can be born again.

You become a new creation, and you can have the heart of God and the Holy Spirit inside of your life. Would you like to have that today? Would you like to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Would you like to have your sin forgiven, have that burden of guilt and shame removed off of your life, and walk out of this place a new creation?

You can do it. He did it for me, and he's done it for so many else here today. If you'd like to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, respond to this invitation now. Let's pray together. Heavenly Father, we thank you for your love for us.

We thank you, Lord, that you sent Jesus to show us how to live and then give us the life that we need and the forgiveness that we need. Lord, we have fallen short as we look at the Sermon on the Mount, and we see these commands, and we see these principles. Lord, it's so clear time after time after time.

I know I've fallen short. I've messed up in those things, but Lord, I'm so thankful for your grace, for your forgiveness, for your restoration. Lord, you have been so good to me. You've been good to so many in this church, and Lord, we thank you that you just wanna expand the family of God and invite more and more people into a relationship with you. Lord, you are so good. You have not returned because you are being patient for their sake.

You want as many people as possible to come into a relationship with you. You are not mad at us. You are mad about us. Lord, we love you. Well, our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed, and we're praying here together. If that's you, if you'd like to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior and be forgiven for your sin, wherever you are, whatever campus you're joining us from, whatever service you're at, just pray this prayer out loud after me.

Mean this in your heart. Pray this prayer out loud wherever you are. Dear God, I know I'm a sinner, but I know Jesus is the Savior who died on the cross for my sin, and I turn from that sin now and I turn to you as the Lord of my life. I want to follow your plan for my life and not my own, not the culture's, not social media's, not the politician's. I want to follow your way, Jesus. Would you help me? Would you fill me with your Holy Spirit from this moment forward?

In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to Harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to Harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-17 04:31:54 / 2024-03-17 04:50:22 / 18

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