Worship Service 19 February 2017
Delivered By
Pastor Doug Groen and LaVerne Wiginton Accompanist
Delivered On
February 19, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Central Passage
Matthew 5:38-48
Subject
Loving as Christ Does!
Description

Scriptures:

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18;

Psalm 119:33-40;

I Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23;

Matthew 5:38-48

Leviticus 19:1-2                                New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Ritual and Moral Holiness

19 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy

Leviticus 19:9-18                                New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.

11 You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. 12 And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the Lord.

13 You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. 14 You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

15 You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go around as a slanderer[a] among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood[b] of your neighbor: I am the Lord.

17 You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

 

Psalm 119:33-40                                      New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes,
    and I will observe it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
    and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
    for I delight in it.
36 Turn my heart to your decrees,
    and not to selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
    give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise,
    which is for those who fear you.
39 Turn away the disgrace that I dread,
    for your ordinances are good.
40 See, I have longed for your precepts;
    in your righteousness give me life.

1 Corinthians 3:10-11                             New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has

 

1 Corinthians 3:16-23                              New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?[a] 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

18 Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,

“He catches the wise in their craftiness,”

20 and again,

“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
    that they are futile.”

21 So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

Matthew 5:38-48                                New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Concerning Retaliation

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 

Pastor's Summary of Matthew 5:38-48

The Pharisees and the scribes kept Mosaic law diligently, and taught it. Jesus has said this is not enough; one must exceed the requirements of the Law (v. 20). He fleshes out its meaning fully (v. 17). For example (vv. 21-22), God expects us to refrain not only from the act (e.g. murder) but from even thinking thoughts that may lead to it (e.g. nursing anger).

In v. 38, Jesus reminds his audience of two laws. They did limit retaliation to one for one. By Jesus' time the authorities often commuted the penalty to a fine. Jesus goes further: avoid physcial violence (v. 39). To strike "the right cheek" with the back of the hand was particularly dishonoring; shame your opponent into a change of heart. Avoid litigation (v. 40); overcome greed with generosity to the wrong-doers. The "coat" was the inner garment, a short-sleeved knee-length tunic held in at the waist by a girdle; the "cloak" was the outer garment. Now v. 41: a soldier could force a civilian to carry his pack. The Greek words traslated "forces" and "mile" reflect the imperial messenger service, a courier service using relays of horses. To "go...the second mile" would be to avoid another civilian being compelled. Be generous, even under duress.

"Love your neighbor" (v. 43) is in Leviticus 19:18. People generally thought that outsiders were "enemies" and should be hated. V. 44 is wise advice for overcoming persecution. To be "children of" (v. 45) God is to pattern one's attitudes after God's; he provides for all, both good and evil people. In v. 46, Jesus thinks of both earthly and heavenly "reward". "Tax collectors" worked under contract with the Romans. to meet their stipulated target, they often extorted money; they collaborated with the occupiers. Being morally suspect, their reward was seen as being only earthly. A greeting (v. 47) in the Near East, then and now, is a prayer for blessing on the one greeted. "The Gentiles" were at the time mostly pagan. What distinguishes your love from that of unbelievers? "Be perfect" (v. 48), conform to the divine ideal, as God does: love everyone!