CHRIST’S SERMON ON THE MOUNT (STUDY 14): RENDER NOT EVIL FOR EVIL
Bible Text: Matt. 5:38-48 | WEEKLY BIBLE STUDY (12/09/19, 19/09/19)
Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement
Topical Study: CHRIST’S SERMON ON THE MOUNT (STUDY 14):
RENDER NOT EVIL FOR EVIL
Text: Matt. 5:38-48
INTRODUCTION: Recall that Sermon On The Mount is Christ’s greatest and most comprehensive recorded sermon. It contains the most critical instructions on the character to be exhibited by a Christian who hopes to have God’s favour in this life and be with Him in hereafter. Our study today which centres on “Render Not Evil For Evil” is one of those tough doctrines of Christ which many rather find difficult to accept and/or practise. But seeing that God’s counsel is immutable, and that we are at the brink of the church age, anyone who does not want to be disappointed eventually must resolve to review his life accordingly, with a view to making all necessary corrections. One who fails to do so now may never again find the time to do it.
Render Not Evil For Evil (Matt. 5:38-48): To the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, these statements of Jesus may have been offensive. For one thing, the law has told them that they could revenge and retaliate (Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21). And for another, having been under the oppression of the Roman government for a long time, they wanted a military leader who would lead them to a revolt and retaliation against their enemies and oppressors. Instead, Jesus came as a Messiah who turns the other cheek, suggesting a new radical response to injustice, where instead of demanding your rights you give them up freely.
If Jesus could stand His ground and preach this doctrine of non-retaliation and love for enemies in spite of the prevailing circumstance, we have no excuse for not accepting, practising and preaching it in our day. The apostles of old accepted, practised and preached it (Rm. 12: 17-21; 1Cor. 6:6,7; 1Thess. 5:15; 1Pet. 3:9-11).
Resist not evil (Matt. 5:39-41): Instead of “An eye for an eye…” Jesus urges us not to resist evil (Matt. 5:39-41). Resist not evil here means “do not retaliate” (Rm. 12:17-21; 1Cor. 6:7: Eph. 5:15; 1Pet. 3:9).
Give to him that asketh thee (Matt. 5:42). Here, Jesus teaches that we should not harden our hearts and shut our bowels of mercy towards the needy both within us and without, but that we should rather show them kindness, mercy and help (cp. Deut. 15:7-11; Col. 3:12; 1Jn. 3:17), as much as we can afford, in justice to the family and personal obligations (cp. Gal. 6:9-10; 1Tim. 5:8).
Love your enemies (Matt. 5:43-47). Knowing that the Pharisees had been interpreting some relevant passages of the Old Testament to mean “Love your friends and hate your enemies” (cp. Lev. 19:18; Deut. 23:6; Ps. 139:19-22), Jesus now teaches “Love your enemies …” (cons. Matt. 5:44-47).
This is indeed supernatural, and only possible for those who yield themselves wholly to God, because only Him can deliver a person from the natural selfishness and give him the strength to love as He (God) does (1Jn. 4:9-11). We must trust in the Holy Spirit to help us show love to those for whom we may not feel love. Before we can show love to them that are hurtful to us, we must first of all forgive them (cp. Lk. 23:33, 34; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12-15). Instead of plan vengeance, like the Master, we pray for them who hurt us. We should not keep scores, we should instead love and forgive.
Be ye perfect (Matt. 5:48). The bottom line of all these instructions is that we should be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. This is possible: in character, we can demonstrate moral perfection and sinless behaviour, if we aspire to be as much like Christ as possible (Phil. 2:15); in purity, we can separate ourselves from the world’s sinful values and devote ourselves to God’s desires rather than our own (1Jn. 3:3); in love, we can seek to love others as completely as God loves us (1Jn. 4:7-11);in maturity, our behaviour can be appropriate for our maturity level -perfect, yet with much room for growth. Just as we expect different behaviours from a baby, a child, a teenager and an adult, so God expects different behaviour from us depending on our stage of spiritual development.
Reward In Return (Deut. 15:10; 1Pet. 3:12-13). If we show pity and help the needy, the Lord will in return hear us when we cry, and help us too. Besides, He will bless us the more (Deut. 15:10). If in obedience to God, we refrain from fighting for ourselves, the Lord will both fight for, and protect us (cp. 1Pet. 3:12-13).
Conclusion: Let’s abandon our own way and begin to go about this Christian life Christ’s way. If we do, we shall rejoice for it both here and hereafter.
Rise and let us pray. Fellowship Songs: HSCF 54 & 55