• Matt Beaney

#334 – GIVE TO THE ONE WHO ASKS (22/4/21)


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 teaches us to “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Does this mean that we are to give any and all our possessions away to anyone who asks for anything? Are we simply to say yes to every request on our finances and possessions? Again, as with all of the examples of Kingdom generosity in this text, it is a call to be radical, but it’s not a call to be irresponsible. A Christian is to reflect the gospel - Jesus’ death for sinners - in the way that they give.


The early church were generous, but they also taught how to be responsible. For example, here is an excerpt on some directions on generosity to the poor (it’s worth reading all of it).

‘Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.’ (1 Timothy 5:3-4)

Clearly, the church is not to have an irresponsible approach to how we help the poor. Each of us, and those who have responsibilities for the church’s finances, need to seek to respond to every request in a way that they feel is loving and honouring to God.


RESPONSE

We can only be generous if we are not being wasteful and are budgeting so as to be generous. Christians are able to be generous because they don’t waste what God gives to them.

Let’s ‘stop, look and listen’ when opportunities to meet a need present themselves. Here is a text that’s well worth meditating and praying through.

‘One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.’ (Proverbs 11:24-25)

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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