• Matt Beaney

#332 – GIVE YOUR COAT ALSO (20/4/21)



On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we are looking at Jesus’ teaching regarding retaliation.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 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. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:38-42)

Jesus tells us, “And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” Does this mean that if someone asks for any of my possessions, I am to give it to them? My car? My house? My…? Is Jesus teaching some form or extreme socialism?

The aim of Jesus’ teaching is evangelism. The way that Christians live is to attract people to the gospel. He said earlier in the chapter,

‘Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’ (Matthew 5:16).

In other words, the right application of this section should reveal the goodness of God and the superior outcomes for those who will listen to Jesus.


Give your coat also

When we are in a dispute with someone that may involve their taking legal action against us, we are to ‘stop, look and listen’: ‘Stop’ to think rather than just rushing to our defence; ‘Look’ at the consequences of our response; and ‘listen’ to Jesus and follow His example on how to respond. ‘Giving your coat also’ is about the application of the gospel in our disputes; it’s about giving goodness to people who deserve our vengeance.

This does not mean that we plead guilty to every accusation - that would not reveal the goodness and wisdom of God! Rather, we are to be prepared to suffer injustice and loss if that will lead to the best outcomes.


RESPONSE

Are we prepared to ‘give our coat also’ - give beyond what someone deserves if we know that it will lead to the best outcome? Take a moment to meditate and pray through the following text,

‘For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.’ (1 Peter 2:19-23)

COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN

Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Particularly, this Sunday is a special gift day. Let's be praying as to how we will respond to this. Our target is £30,000.


Suggested opener/Ice-breaker

Nearly every film and story has an element of the ‘underdog’ winning a victory by reaping revenge on those unjust villains. What film or book comes to your mind when you think of revenge on an evil person or group getting justice?


Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we are looking at Jesus’ teaching regarding retaliation.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 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. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:38-42)

Jesus begins this section by pointing out our legitimate rights of revenge. Yes, you can have an ‘eye for eye, and tooth for tooth…’. People would probably pat you on the back for standing up for your rights! Nearly every film and story has an element of the ‘underdog’ winning a victory by reaping revenge on those unjust villains. However, Jesus makes it clear that people who have received the gospel message and entered the Kingdom of God have a very different approach to retaliation.


Put very simply, Christians are not to give to people according to what they deserve. Rather, they are to be generous with people as God has been generous to them in the gospel.


Jem encouraged us, in every opportunity for retaliation or generosity, to ‘stop, look and listen’.

i) ‘Stop’ to think; we are to be patient and prayerful before taking action.

ii) ‘Look’ at the consequences of our response. Count the cost. Will my response lead to love and peace or division and escalation?

iii) ‘Listen’ to Jesus and follow His example on how to respond. Consider how the message of the gospel -God's love for sinners' - is going to be reflected in your decision.


Discussion questions

1. Did God speak to you about anything in particular from Sunday's message or the blogs this week?

2. What does it mean to 'turn the other cheek', and have you got any practical examples of doing this?

3. What does it mean to 'hand over your coat as well', and have you got any practical examples of doing this?

4. What does it mean to 'go the extra mile', and have you got any practical examples of doing this?


Serving, Investing and inviting

The way that we refuse to take vengeance speaks of the gospel. Let's take a moment to share and pray about this.

1) How do you deal with conversations that are vengeful?

2) The 'extra mile' principle is a massive way that we 'serve, invest and invite' How are you going the extra mile in your non-Christian relationships?

2) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?

2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?




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