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GOING THE SECOND MILE!

MATTHEW 5:38-42

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, INTRODUCTION:

I am probably very "unbalanced" in my treatment of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. By that I mean I've not preached it enough.  I lean too much in other directions, Scripturally speaking.

For the next few days I want to help remedy that fact. We're going to study Matthew 5:38-42. It's as "Sermon-on-the-Mount" as you can get!

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." Matthew 5:38-42

A key word in the study of this Text is "balance." In fact "balance" is critical to the study of any Passage of Scripture. One part of God's Word can never contradict another part! Bible Texts must be interpreted in harmony with each other. God never changes!

I once heard an old Preacher say, "Blessed are the balanced." That's a fact we must remember as we approach these five verses.

First, the Lord is not contradicting Mosaic Law. He is merely sharing the Spirit that rests behind the Law. Behind Moses' writing.

The religious experts of Jesus' day, mostly hypocrites too, had taken Mosaic Legislation, the first five Books of the Bible, and perverted them. They had misapplied them. They had overextended them. They had made the Word of God serve their own purposes!

Jesus here is simply straightening out their mistakes!

Our Lord is "rightly dividing" the Word of Truth!

He does nothing to belittle the opening tenth of Scripture, but only enhances and strengthens it!

After all, Jesus is the greatest Teacher Who ever stepped foot on earth! "The officers answered, Never man spake like this man." John 7:46

And Matthew 7:29, from a Sermon on the Mount Chapter too! "For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."

Beginning tomorrow, Lord willing, we are going to examine Jesus' Sermon here. We shall start with "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," quoted word for word form the Old Testament. It's there three times, in fact.

Then we will watch Jesus skillfully and perfectly "balance" this precept with God's marvelous Grace!

Preachers and Bible students, this is a good example of how to interpret the Bible, too!

The Son of God and His Bible!

He knew it better than anyone!

After all, He wrote it!

Anytime you can learn about a book from its very author, I'd say you have reached the pinnacle of information on that subject.

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." Matthew 5:38-42

I am excited!

Lord, we pray the Psalm 119:18 prayer for us in reference to this great Text. "Open thou our eyes, that we may behold wondrous things out of thy law."

Amen!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, AN EYE FOR AN EYE:

We've heard it again and again, three times in the Old Testament alone. "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth."

Moses received these words from God Himself. But Jesus, in His great Sermon on the Mount, may not be directly quoting His Father in Heaven, or Moses on earth, but the Bible-twisting Pharisees around Him at that time.

Notice the way Christ frames His opening statement to our Text, Matthew 5:38-42. "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." He did not say "Ye have read that it hath been said."

These words, when considered as being straight from God, are right and proper and binding on human government. But that's the point, God gave them to help rule mankind, for the use of judges and magistrates and other civic leaders!

They are not for daily personal use!

In each instance, Exodus 21:24 and Leviticus 24:20 and Deuteronomy 19:21, this precept is directed to the government, not to individuals. For example, the Exodus verse appears in this context, "Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them." Exodus 24:1

Judges are to enforce this law, not the common man on the street!

If a man somehow kills an ox, and his wronged neighbor sues him at court, the perpetrator must replace the dead animal with an ox of his own. Hence, "an ox for an ox," in this case.

That's the way the statue was meant to function.

And this is not a hard law, either.

Don't view it that way, not negatively! 

It's a positive law!

Think of it as a way of keeping matters from getting out of hand! "A man killed my ox, my favorite ox. I am going to kill him!"

No!

You can't do that, God forbids "a human life for an ox." Just an "ox for an ox!" If a man knocks our your tooth, you cannot cut off his head!

That's too much!

You can demand one of his teeth, however! In front of the judge. You cannot take matters in your own hands and go knock one of his teeth out of his head, in some rage of vindictive anger!

Jesus said "Ye have heard ...," maybe from some recent religious teacher, take the law into your own hands and go "make things even!"

But, Jesus quickly adds, "I say unto you ...." Then our Lord balances the truth of strict retribution, "eye for eye and tooth for tooth," government business, with His "go the second mile" advice! But on a personal level!

A Christian cannot live his or her life based solely on retribution!

Based on "I'll get even" as a motto!

Based on the old "She will pay" philosophy!

We must learn to love and accept those who have wronged us. To some degree anyway! Even Paul said, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." Romans 12:18

Wow!

If a person defrauds and steals from you, in your business now, your livelihood, you can to take him to court. Press charges. Seek restitution. That's permissible. And the law, once properly having investigated and discerned the truth, can require "proper measures" of action.

Repay the money.

Or years in jail.

Or some combination of both.

But the law is not allowed, under Moses' Law, to put the petty thief to death.

It's just this far, "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe." But no further! Exodus 21:24-25.

The Pharisees had so misapplied and twisted this commandment that they were allowing all kinds of misbehavior. People personally "taking the law into their own hands," becoming "accuser and judge and jury and jailor all at once," things forbidden by God!

Read this precept, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," but just that!

Further read it, "And the judges and officers of the court must decide these things," not you or me in our haste and anger and passion!

Somebody had been interpreting this sentence wrongly, or Jesus would not have had to continue as He did. "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." Matthew 5:38-39

Courtroom rules and living room rules are different!

What the Judge says and what Mom or Dad say can be different. With all three still being right.

Have I made any sense this morning?

If you burn the toast this morning, no one in the family is entitled to make you eat the burned toast. That's misappropriating Moses' words!

However, if you burn the toast every morning, maybe consider buying a new toaster! In the long run, it will save you money, grocery money!

Apply the Decalogue, the Law, publicly.

But not personally!

When it comes to individual face-to-face relationships, other suggestions apply. And Jesus begins to tell us some of them, tomorrow morning, Lord willing.

And even they, as I will show you, have limitations!

These instructions all have Bible mandated exceptions!

"Resist not evil."

"Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

"If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also."

"Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."

"Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."

Each of the preceding quotes is taken from the verses immediately ahead of us! We'll study them one by one, Lord willing.

But again, there are exceptions to these words of Jesus.

Even He says so!

I'll show you.

Still, they generally are the way to live, as Christians, for maximum peace and joy and fulfillment! Even that "second mile" business!

Wow!

The Sermon on the Mount.

Maybe we don't study and preach it more ... because it is so upsetting to our current lifestyles!

"Help us, Lord, as we study these words of Thine, this Sermon you preached one day long ago, to your followers."

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, RESIST NOT EVIL, TURN THE OTHER CHEEK:

Today's Text is difficult, in some ways.

Short, but hard to fully understand.

I heard a Preacher say that if  our interpretation of a Passage of Scripture makes the Word of God look "silly," then our view of that Scripture is wrong! He's correct, I think.

Jesus once said, "Resist not evil."

Matthew 5:39 gives us His words: "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." Wow!

At first I was just going to discuss with you the "Resist not evil" part of our Clause, but the "Turn the other cheek" part of the Verse actually explains the "Resist not" part.

Again, like I said yesterday, these words are written to individuals. Born-again ones at that! Lost people could never live like this! It's hard enough for a Believer to do so!

The verb "resist" is spelled "antistemi," our word "antihistamine" actually! It means "to stand up against" something or someone.

Again let me emphasize the "personal" aspect of this Verse. Governments and Courtrooms and Police Stations cannot operate on this principle! If they did, murderers would go free. Robbers would be allowed to continue stealing and rapists would threaten all womanhood. These officers of the Law just cannot overlook such "evil."

In my life as a single person, however, under some circumstances, I can overlook evil. I can resist it not.

Another exception. I cannot overlook approaching harm, the idea behind "evil" or "poneros," if it is about to attack someone I love! A parent that lets someone hurt his child is really a coward, not a good Christian! A husband who lets an intruder into his home to do all kinds of damage is not much of a man, either!

We do not tolerate "evil" when it threatens a loved one!

But, all that said, still, Jesus' words still stand!

Resist not evil!

"But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

The verb "smite" is "rapizo," meaning "to hit hard." The verb "rep," kin to our verb "rap," means "let fall" a blow on someone, a hard knock! For example, "to slap" someone with a hand!

And look at this. To hit a person on the right cheek, if the perpetrator is right-handed anyway, one would of necessity back-hand that person! A sure sign of contempt and hatred.

Jesus is actually suggesting, it appears, that if someone wants to "hurt" you, especially as in "insulting" you, do not resist it!

Peter gives us an example. "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." 1st Peter 2:21-23

Also David, fleeing Saul, allowed that wicked Monarch to do all kinds of "evil" things to him. Refusing to oppose or even "touch" God's anointed King! That's resisting not evil! That's turning the other cheek!

That's suffering wrong ... for some higher principle.

Here's a man, Shimei, "cursing" David, after he had become King even! When David was running from his rebellious son Absalom, fleeing for his life again! "And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man. Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head. And the king said, So let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son Absalom, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? Let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day. And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill's side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust." David clearly "resisted not evil" here! 2nd Samuel 16:5-13."Let this evil come my way," David reasons. "It may be that God will bless me for the wrong I am enduring!" Also, "I deserve such a thing!" Probably because of his past sins, he thinks.

Wow!

Back to Jesus. "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

There will be times when we must do the same thing!

Just take the "evil" that comes our way.

Enduring it!

Believing that such meekness, such passivity, will help me grow in the Lord. Living like my Savior did much of the time.

Listen to Paul in 1st Corinthians 6:7. He is telling the Believers in that Church that's it's really better not to sue a fellow Christian in a court of law. If possible, anyway. Listen to him. "Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?"

Wow!

He says it's better "to suffer the wrong, to endure the loss" than to hurt the cause of Christ in front of a bunch of heathen judges and juries!

Back to Jesus, again! "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

This is a tough concept to follow.

But you folks have the same Holy Spirit I do.

He can help us know when to apply these words and when not do apply them. Not when a loved one is threatened, for sure. Not when you have just observed a crime, either!

But when we, personally, individually, are involved.

Sometimes it's just best to endure it!

Reaping all kinds of spiritual dividends thereby!

Apparently so.

If someone says something ugly about you today, in certain cases anyway, do not try to say twice as much about them in return, ugly things anyway.

Take the "hit."

Ask God to thereby help you grow in the Lord.

Learn humility.

Learn to love your enemy.

Learn to trust Jesus for protection.

Learn what else?

Only God knows.

Jesus is wiser than me, infinitely so!

"But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." 

Amen, Lord.

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Well,

I've thought of every exception to this rule that I can! When all those are exhausted, I guess we must obey! Jesus lived this way.

Well, most of the time. That day He saw moneychangers polluting His Father's House, the Temple, He did not turn the other cheek! He scared the daylights out of that crowd, scattering them with his scourge of small cords, John 2:13-17.

Brother Bagwell, enough for today.

Folks have to go to work.

"But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." 

So said Jesus.

 

 

LESSON 4, THE COAT AND THE CLOKE TOO:

Today we continue our study of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, a part of it anyway. Matthew 5:38-42, just this one paragraph, contains several dynamic statements.

For example, "And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also." Matthew 5:40

What a thought!

If taken all by itself, not considering other Scripture, a Christian would never be able to use the court system! Just let the aggressor have it all, everything! Roll over and play dead! Be a wet washcloth, with no stamina and strength at all!

But that is not what Jesus is teaching us here!

He's not advocating total passivism! He is not condemning all assertiveness either!

Here's an exception to Jesus' rule here. Taught by our Lord, too, elsewhere in Matthew! "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican." Matthew 18:15-17

That's hardly "turning the other cheek!" If your Christian Brother trespasses against you, do something about it!

Don't roll over and play dead!

And here's a time when Paul "called the law" to a situation. "And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace. But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out. And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans." Acts 16:36-38

The authorities had illegally beaten Paul and Silas, now let these men "face" the error of their deeds! That's hardly giving away your coat along with your shirt!

I think what Jesus is saying here; "and if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also," is that we need not defend ourselves over the finer points of the law.

Do not litigate over non-essential issues!

If a man threatens your house, your job, your very welfare, all such critical things, fight him with all your might!

But if he simply wants a pair of your shoes or one of your shirts, let him have it! God can provide you with another one. Better than the last one, too!

Do not insist upon your own rights in every issue!

Still, Jesus said it. "And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also." And we must deal with His words. We cannot dodge them!

The verbs "sue at law" translate "krino" in Greek, meaning "to take someone before a judge." To expose them to the legal system, in a confrontational way!

The verb "will" is important, too, in this verse anyway. It's "thelo," meaning "to wish, to desire, to want" to do something.

The suit has not yet been filed!

You have just heard of the man's intent.

He plans to "get" your "coat," your "chiton" in Greek, your "undershirt" literally! That which is usually worn next to the skin!

Well, prevent the lawsuit, Jesus seems to be saying.

Settle, in this case, out of court!

Give him the silly undershirt!

Add your "cloke" to the mix, as well! This noun, "imation," means an outer garment, one's visible clothing!

Give him more than he's asking, as long as it's in the area of trivia.

Who knows, Jesus well might be thinking, by so doing you may turn this enemy into a friend!

And let me add this today. Sometimes over small things, when lawsuits are involved, hiring a lawyer and arguing the case may cost more than the item in question is worth!

Court costs alone may have exceeded the worth of a garment or two!

Jesus may be suggesting practicality and common sense here, too.

He is certainly suggesting meekness and humility when it comes to personal possessions!

Maybe the Lord is also teaching us that a person's "rule over our his or her own spirit" is more valuable than any single "coat" or "cloke" one may possess!

He is not forbidding any use of the court system!

He is, apparently, discouraging lawsuits over little things!

Does this make any sense this morning? My comments, I mean?

After all, one's Christian testimony is certainly worth a whole lot more than a shirt or two!

"And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also."

A man or woman who can do this, without bitterness in the heart, already has his or her eyes on Heaven!

She's already living the life described like this. He has obeyed completely. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4

There, in those heavenly realms, "coats" don't matter!

Only Jesus does!

Wow!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, THE SECOND MILE:

The most quoted clause of our whole Text, Matthew 5:38-42, is today's focus. Jesus said, "And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."

It seems that in those first century days, in Israel anyway, any representative of the government, of Rome in other words, could "require" an able bodied citizen, a Jew, to help carry a load of supplies, up to a mile in distance.

A man could literally be "drafted" or "conscripted" to such duty!

By a soldier of the occupational army, by a despised Roman!

An example of this law at work might be the man, Simon of Cyrene, who was requisitioned to carry Jesus' Cross up Golgotha's Hill! See Mark 15:21. "And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross."

Talk about inconvenience!

Not to mention physically exhausting!

Walking side by side with an enemy of one's Country!

An intruder!

Yet Jesus' command is clear. "And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."

And the verb "go" is an imperative, an absolute requirement. Both of the Roman government and now, of the Lord Jesus Christ! "Hupago" means "to go one's way," but here it's the way someone else decides! "Ago" usually means "I lead," except in this case someone else is leading, and the lowly Jew is following, with a load on his back!

"Go with him," Jesus says!

The verb "shall compel" translates "aggareuo," meaning "to press into public service." Or "to employ a courier, a messenger," but here "a load bearer!" Jesus expresses this verb as a future tense, indicative mood, active voice, third person singular. It, this scenario, will happen. The Lord is sure of it! Sometime in the days ahead!

Get ready!

And when that Roman demands your time, your energy, your attention, followers of Jesus, give it to him!

Obey their custom!

Follow their Law, though it's not a Jewish Law!

And get this, Jesus seems to want this man, this intruding soldier, to be obeyed without complaint! "And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him."

Not room for any bickering or hatefulness or hesitancy there!

"Go with him."

But Lord, this man has invaded our Nation!

"Go with him."

He has come uninvited, too!

Still Jesus, "Go with him."

We hate this crowd!

"Go with him."

Rid us of this scourge, Lord!

Still, "Go with him."

Wow!

But what if my boss asks me to do something unpleasant?

Probably Jesus would have the same answer!

"Do it!"

Or the Congress asks for more of my money?

"Give it!"

Or my husband or wife demands more time?

You know the answer already!

Though it involves the loss of some of my personal space?

"Go with him."

Though my "rights" are being violated?

Let's include the ladies now. "Go with her!"

She is your authority, your superior, do what she says, without grumbling!

Carry that baggage, heavy as it is, for this soldier.

But Lord, he has a bad attitude. He's demanding my services! Let me just slap him and be gone.

No!

"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him." 

All right, Lord. You have made Yourself quite clear!

I'll obey.

Then Jesus adds that one word, that last word in the verse! You will see what I mean, instantly!

"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."

"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."

Twain?

Spelled "duo," this little adjective means "two!"

Go two miles, just adding one for extra measure!

Astounding!

Shocking!

Jesus, it's hard enough to take this stuff one mile! I'm in a hurry! Let somebody else have his or her turn!

No!

It's still a command!

"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."

The whole idea is to do more than asked!

This whole Clause has given birth to the centuries-old adage "Going the second mile."

Jesus' point is, I think, the first mile will help you overcome any anger or bitterness or resentment.

And the second mile?

Might help the load bearer reap a little joy, joy in obeying His Lord!

Might teach us a valuable lesson, doing more than is required!

Might even help one make a friend, a new friend, that foreign soldier walking behind you!

Resentment, Jesus condemns!

Giving lavishly, even under adverse circumstances, our Lord here recommends!

Demands, really!

"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."

"She, my Wife, wants me to go to that reunion this weekend!"

"Do it Sir," Jesus enjoins!

And while you're at it, fix that leaky faucet she's been asking about for a month now. Add that to the list, and get it done before the reunion!

"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."

Or something like that!

I once heard a preacher say this. "Walk with him, this soldier,  the first mile and you have obeyed the law. That's all. But go the second mile, unrequired, and you just might have gained a friend!"

Somebody try it today!

Lay aside your "rights" and help someone who needs it, really help them! Maybe even someone undeserving!

Wow!

What a challenge!

I know of a Christian company that right now is encouraging its employees "to go the second mile" until doing so "becomes second nature!"

Now that's customer service!

Jesus style!

What would happen in our churches, our families, our individual lives if we adopted and lived this command every day?

Always doing more, cheerfully and gladly, than is required!

He asked me to cook!

Busy as I am!

Wait a minute!

That "second" mile thing!

I will cook!

That turkey, just the way he loves it too!

And I'm also going to make him that pie he likes!

And the dressing, seasoned to his liking, not to mine!

I'll do it!

Bur Preacher Bagwell, my husband is not grateful for these things.

He expects them.

Almost demands them!

Well.

"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."

See if this doesn't help your attitude!

And if not that, it may help improve his!

What words!

What a concept!

Only Jesus would have said it!

"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."

Yes, Lord.

                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

This Lesson ...

It somehow got a little long! This "second mile" business is that way though! It might take you going "the second mile" to read it all! Much less to practice it!

 

 

LESSON 6, A GIVING SPIRIT:

The Lesson for today is nearly self-explanatory.

Jesus preached, "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." Matthew 5:42

Our Lord always practiced such generosity, too!

He certainly would have us be unselfish.

The verb "give," in Greek "didomi," means "to grant, to bestow, to supply." And Jesus here has framed it as an imperative verb, expressing a direct command.

And the second verb, equally as important, "turn (not) away," translates "apostrepho," sort of a "reversing directions" kind of word. Do not send the borrower away empty-handed!

Jesus never refused a person in need! Not in real need! Or at least He did not commonly do so. He practiced what He preached!

Every miracle!

Every time He fed the hungry!

Or raised the dead!

And sometimes Jesus "gave" without people even asking!

That's really practicing our Text! "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."

But let me ask you this.

If a man should come to you, heavily intoxicated, down-right drunk, asking for fifty dollars, would you give him the cash?

Would Jesus have done so?

I don't think so!

Of course I've given you an "exception" to the general rule. But still, there are cases in which our Text might not apply.

Here's another one. Paul wrote this. "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." Here in 2nd Thessalonians 3:10 the Apostle is saying that if a lazy man, healthy but slothful, comes to you and asks for money or food, or just wants to borrow something, you are not under obligation to continue helping that person! Let him go get a job! And after he has worked a while, guess what? He will have some money! And can go buy his own food, being wiser and healthier thereby!

To give and give and give to that particular person only promotes more lethargy and indolence!

Just keep these things in mind please.

Still, the Bible is clear.

And most Christians I know practice this command of our Lord's. Maybe more so than all the others in our Text. Perhaps more than resisting evil and going the second mile and resisting evil!

Listen to the Apostle John, who was so close to Jesus year after year. "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." 1st John 3:17-18

Clear enough.

And while I'm on this subject, it being Thanksgiving day as well, let Brother Bagwell express heart felt gratitude to each of you who has been so good to me this past year.

Since Sister Bagwell died particularly, January 21, just over ten months ago.

Thank you for your kindness.

And prayers.

And everything else.

You are "living sermons" in reference to Jesus' words today. In your generosity I mean.

Oh, it's true that I have asked for nothing. You will not read of a single "need" Brother Bagwell has, not on these pages.

But still, you all have been so generous!

So much so that I have no doubt that you, whenever the situation arises, obey this great injunction. "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."

I love you all in the Lord.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving!

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Oh, Jesus said this too.

He is always so very consistent. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Luke 6:38

 

 

LESSON 7, CONCLUSION:

There are many who say that our Text, Matthew 5:38-42, does not apply in the day in which we live.

They suspect that it best fits into an age yet to come, the "Millennium" by name.

And while it is true that Jesus is coming again, back to this earth, literally. And that He will reign for a thousand glorious years, from the Throne of David in Jerusalem. And that time will be absolutely amazing, lions and lambs no longer fighting for instance.

And it's also a fact that world government will then rest in Jesus' Hands, King Jesus' hands! No more war, swords having been beaten into plowshares!

Still, I believe that our Verses will "work" today, just as they will when Jesus literally reigns, supremely so.

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." Matthew 5:38-42

We have studied each of these nuggets!

One by one.

And while it is obvious that just anybody cannot obey them, God's people, with the help and touch of the Holy Spirit, can do so!

I just hope that in these Lessons I have not emphasized the exceptions more than the rules!

To live like this, as Jesus did, immediately demands that we yield our "rights" to the Lord!

And we live in a day of "rights!"

Civil rights!

Legal rights!

States' rights!

Ladies' rights!

Children's rights!

My rights!

Jesus in our Text is asking us to lay them aside, these "rights," concentrating instead on the Glory of God!

Such living removes us from the throne, from ruling our own lives!

And places Jesus there, in our place!

That can't be a bad way to live!

Now I didn't say anything about laying aside your husband's rights! Or you wife's, if you're a man.

Or your children's either.

Or your neighbor's.

But a person can voluntarily give us his or her own rights!

And when that's done, yielding everything to the Lord, one will live just like Jesus just taught us.

Passively, under the leadership of God the Holy Spirit!

I suspect the Pastor where I preached last night said this three dozen times, "If God wills."

In other words, "the Lord willing."

Let's quit living for ourselves and start concentrating on others!

Jesus first!

Family next!

Others too!

And, finally, self last!

Such a lifestyle certainly will have us going "the second mile" again and again!

And maybe even "turning the other cheek" occasionally!

Even Proverbs agrees. "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."

Wow!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

What Verses!

 

 

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