Jesus And Prayer

Prayer

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

INTRODUCTION

We will be on the subject of PRAYER Lord willing for the next three weeks: Today will be an introduction so to speak. Today we want to talk to you about the PRACTICE OF PRAYER and the PLACE OF PRAYER. Next week, we will get into the PATTERN FOR PRAYER.

I. FIRST LETS TALK ABOUT THE PRACTICE OF PRAYER

Prayer should be a NATURAL

Prayer is spiritual breath: it is to the spirit what oxygen is to the body. Every living being breaths. Prayer is simply conversation with God and Jesus assumed that every believer would practice prayer daily. Notice what He says in verses 5,6,7… “When you pray!” Jesus didn’t say, “If you pray.”

Prayer should become a PASSION

Prayer begins as a DISCIPLINE, then it becomes a habit and after months and months of practice, PRAYER WILL BECOME A PASSION. You don’t become an Elijah over night.

Prayer must be a PRIORITY

Jesus said, “When you pray…”When suggest a time. When do you pray? Do you say a quick prayer after a day of activity and then jump in bed. Prayer must be a PRIORITY. If you don’t put it first, you will not do it. The devil doesn’t want you praying and as long as you are undisciplined: he will use that to keep you out of the prayer closet. YOU MUST ESTABLISH A PRAYER TIME!

Set A time to pray but don’t time your prayer

Don’t be concerned about how long you pray. Jesus was not impressed by long prayers. We are not on a point system: you don’t get extra points for praying longer. When you’re in an intimate conversation with someone you love, do you look at your watch? It takes months to make PRAYER A HABIT and it take years to make it a PASSION.

II. LET’S TALK ABOUT THE PLACE OF PRAYER

You need a TIME and a PLACE

Without a TIME and PLACE, prayer will never become a passion.

This place needs to be a SECRET PLACE

I don’t mean clandestine. My place of prayer is my little building about 150 feet from the house. It can be a closet: for years I used an upstairs closet and I was behind three doors and I locked them all.

Pharisees like to pray in public

It is no sin to pray in public. Jesus prayed in public and so did the apostles. There are many great prayers recorded in scripture and all were prayed in public. BUT you can not be intimate with the FATHER in public and the bulk of our praying should be done in private.

Don’t be like the hypocrites

Don’t misunderstand the term hypocrite. Some people think failure makes them a hypocrite. NO, not at all, we all fail: it is pretending that we do not fail that makes us a hypocrite. A hypocrite is a person who prays in public but never in private. A hypocrite prays for the wrong reason: he/she is trying to impress people. They are trying to convince people that they are better than what they actually are.

I can tell when someone is talking to God or trying to impress the congregation. I was at a conference years ago and one of our friends was on the program: he was to pray the benediction: he prayed a prayer that rhymed. He said something like, “LORD chill us, fill us and thrill us.” I had another preacher friend that would pray alliterated prayers. I would go to him when he finished and say, “That was a good sermon, the best I’ve ever heard as a prayer.” God is not impressed with poetry or alliteration. When people start giving information in their prayers, I want hollow stop: you can’t inform God. Are you talking to him or us?

God cannot be informed or impressed

I don’t know this for sure but I imagine the Father enjoys hearing the children pray more than He does us. Their prayers are simple and from the heart.

Intimacy requires privacy

Folks, I love my quiet time, my time alone with the FATHER. There is nothing like it. I don’t attempt to hide anything from Him. Nothing, there are no deep dark secrets with HIM. He knows me inside out and that is important to me. He knows me and yet He loves me. He want to hear what I have to say. He cares about my cares. Listen folks, I did this pray thing wrong for years and I’m telling, the SECRET PLACE is where it is at: it is where He is.

Perhaps your prayer today should be the sinner’s prayer…LORD I have sinned and fallen short of the perfection I see in Christ. Please forgive me for my part in His death.

Psalm 20–The Anointed King

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
    may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and grant you support from Zion.

3 May he remember all your sacrifices
    and accept your burnt offerings.

May he give you the desire of your heart
    and make all your plans succeed.

5 May we shout for joy over your victory
    and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.

6 Now this I know:
    The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
    with the victorious power of his right hand.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

They are brought to their knees and fall,
    but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king!
    Answer us when we call!

INTRODUCTION

I want to approach this Psalm from a slightly different angle: [1] From the Historical Context, then [2] A Personal Context and [3] From a Prophetic Context.

I. THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT

This Psalm was used before battle. David and Israel are preparing themselves to face the enemy.

PRAYER FROM THE PEOPLE

The first five verses is a prayer from the people for David their anointed leader.

V.1– May the LORD answer you when you are in distress. This word is translated ‘trouble’ in the NASB; it can be translated adversary, adversity, affliction, anguish, distress, tribulation, trouble. Means to be caught in a pinch, in a strait, restricted, no place to turn.

V. 1–May the name of the God of Jacob protect you. Obviously protection is a huge issue in battle. We need to pray that our leaders will be protected.

V.2–May He send you help from the sanctuary and support from Zion. A prayer for supernatural enablement.

V.3–May He remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. Worship be sincere.

V.4–May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

V.5–May we shout for joy over your victory.

V.5–May the LORD grant all your request.

WORD FROM THE KING

V. 6–The LORD Gives victory to His anointed {He has power in prayer}

V.7–We trust in the LORD, not weapons, or human strength {Perspective}

V.8–Our enemies will fall and we will stand firm. {Confidence}

Benediction

V.9–Benediction–LORD, give victory to the KING!

II. THE PERSONAL CONTEXT

Look at verses 1-2…Obviously, we are not in a literal battle. We are not soldiers preparing to fight as was David and his men. We are in a battle of a different sort. This battle may be being fought in our own mind: a spiritual conflict that is real. We have troubles and perhaps a troubled soul. We too need protection from discouragement and maybe even despair. May the LORD protect us and deliver us from trouble.

Verse 4 would make a good daily prayer… May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. This reminds me of Psalm 37:4 which is one of my favorites… “Take delight in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

LESSONS FROM DAVID

  • DAVID UNDERSTOOD THAT GOD WAS IN CONTROL–ALWAYS
  • DAVID RELIED ON GOD FOR GUIDANCE AND VICTORY–HIS FAITH WAS IN GOD, NOT IN HIMSELF.
  • DAVID BELIEVED IN THE POWER OF PRAYER: EVERY BATTLE PLAN WAS SATURATED IN PRAYER. {May be why he never lost}

III. THE PROPHETIC CONTEXT

This is exciting: David is a type of Christ. David was Israel’s anointed king: Christ is our Anointed KING. Israel won their battles through David their king. If David was victorious, Israel was victorious. Jesus is our KING and our victory is in HIM. If He is victorious, we are victorious.

We we think of enemies, we may think of the Russians, Muslims, communist or socialist but the enemies I think of most are the devil, death, sickness, pride, lust, greed, addictions–these are the enemies of the soul.

As you look at the world we live in, the enemies of the soul are strong and intimidating to us but we have a GREAT KING who was not in the least intimidated by any of these things. He mocked death calling it sleep. He raised the dead, He healed the sick, He made the lame walk and opened the eyes of the blind. Even the elements and the demons obeyed HIM.

Before the battle, the elders, the priest gathered: at a distance was the women and children. All these people were depending on David the mighty warrior king. Their hope of victory was in him. OUR HOPE IS IN CHRIST!

Hypocrisy

Matthew 6:1-4, NIV

1 Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward.”

INTRODUCTION

Jesus and the word “Hypocrite.”

No one other than JESUS uses the word “hypocrite” in the New Testament and He used it often. The word comes from the stage and acting. In ancient times, acting on stage was not a popular vocation. Actors were so hard to find that many of them played more than one part. They were able to do this by wearing a different face. Bro. Inman use to say, “A hypocrite is a person with two faces.” It describes a person who is not real or authentic; a person who pretends to be something he or she is not. Sometimes we pretend to be better than we actually are: this is what happened to Ananias and Sapphira. It wasn’t their gift that offended God, it was their pretense.

The Pharisees and their code of conduct

The Pharisees, Scribes, Jewish religious leaders had done what the secular humanist are doing today: THEY HAD DEVISED THEIR OWN CODE OF CONDUCT. They were attempting to establish their own human based righteousness a part from any relationship or dependence on God. Their firm and absolute rejection of Jesus proves the point. All of them were sure that they were God’s chosen and on the way to heaven but not by way of Jesus. Of course, like all hypocrites, they were self-deceived.

The Big Three Point Producers

The big three POINT PRODUCERS were [1] ALMS GIVING, [2] PRAYER [3] FASTING.

Today we begin with ALMS GIVING and the first thing I want to say….There is nothing wrong with giving…

I. GIVING IS IMPORTANT

You have to understand that these were days when there was no welfare programs of any kind and the handicapped had no choice except to beg. The LORD had commanded the Israelites to give to the poor but it was the way they were doing it that Jesus is addressing.

In Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount: Jesus is quoted as saying…

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

This is not a suggestion: this is an imperative command.

Two Kinds of Givers

In our churches we have two kinds of people: [1] Those who give and [2] Those who make excuses for not giving. Everyone can give something. Jesus commended a widow who gave less than a nickle and yet Jesus said she gave more than all the rest. No one, other than Jesus, noticed her gift because it was small but isn’t He the One we want to please.

If you don’t want to give, one excuse is as good as another.

II. THE MANNER IS IMPORTANT

Alms giving was a Charity not a tithe

Here Jesus is not talking about your tithe; he is talking about charitable gifts to those in need. Jesus said, “Be careful,” don’t make a spectacle out of a simply act of charity. The Pharisees were ostentatious in their giving. They had a vain motive and they gave no consideration to the person receiving.

Charitbile Giving must consider the reciever

There is a right way and a wrong way to give to a person in need: I know because I have done it the wrong way.

When June and I were in Seminary, we ran slap out of money one week. We had less than a dollar. We were attending the Williams Bulevard Baptist Church in Kenner and the pastor was Buford Easely. When the offering plate came around, I looked at June and said, we may as well put everything we have in the plate because we don’t even have enough to get a hamburger. We put our 85 cents into the plate. As I was walking out of the building, I reached to shake Buford’s hand. When his hand touched mine, I felt a piece of paper but I did not look. As Tim Keenum says, “We preachers know what money feels like.” When we got outside, I saw that it was a $20 bill. Twenty then would be like $200 now. Gas was 40 cents a gallon. We went straight to McDonald’s and got a hamburger and then you could get more than one for less than a dollar. That was when McDonald’s was a family restaurant and not a political arm of the democratic party.

III. THE MOTIVE IS IMPORTANT

The Pharisees were ostentatious: they gave but they gave the wrong way and for the wrong reason. Both their motive and their manner is called into question.

If the Motive is wrong: Gifts are unacceptable to God

Listen to what Jesus says in John gospel, chapter 5… “I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

Look also in Luke 16…The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.

Did you pick up on that? What did the Pharisees love and who were they trying to please. They loved money and the praise of men. They were playing to the audience. They had no thoughts of pleasing God.

Some have misunderstood this passage and they teach that all charitable giving must be anonymous if you are to get a reward. This is not the case: go back to Matthew 5:16...“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Some have misunderstood this passage and they teach that all charitable giving must be anonymous if you are to get a reward.

You can’t cut a widow woman’s yard in the dark and you sure can’t visit a nursing home after dark: being seen is not the issue–THE MOTIVE IS THE ISSUE.

As a follower of Christ you are to be seen doing good things but you are not to do good things to be seen.

So the first thing of major importance is the MOTIVE…our intent and the second is the response desired...PRAISE OF MEN or PRAISE OF GOD. I grew up with the term “glory hog,” but one of my secretaries {Tracey} referred to it them as “Credit Hogs.” Some folks will work themselves to death if you keep praising them. I got in hot water in my first church out of Seminary. I hadn’t been there long until one of the deacons had a talk with me. He said, “Preacher, you are doing this all wrong. You have to stroke these people, pat them on the back every now and then. The last pastor got a new washer and dyer for doing just that. These folks will be as good to you if you will just pat them on the back.” Does anyone want to guess what my answer was?

CONCLUSION

Laws can be kept by anyone who disciplines themselves morally but nothing that Jesus teaches in the sermon on the mount can be done a part from a relationship with HIM.

Loving Your Enemies

Matthew 5:43-48

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 sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and 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 If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Introduction

Some people approach the bible with a cafeteria mind set…they pick and choose the passages they like and they pass over the ones they don’t like. A good example is Romans chapter one. A lot of so called Christians leaders are passing over Romans one because it condemns homosexuality. Romans one is not in the political correct version.

Jesus never sugar coated anything. If you can’t handle the Truth, you don’t need to hang out with Jesus–He is the TRUTH SPEAKER, for He Himself is TRUTH.

Jesus said, You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

  They had heard it said but they did not read it from OT scripture for nowhere in scripture are we commanded to ‘hate our enemies.’ This was yet another instance where the Jews had perverted the law.

The way the Jews circumvented the injunction to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR was to define NEIGHBOR. A NEIGHBOR to a Jew was a fellow Jew; to a Pharisee, it was a fellow Pharisee. This, in their thinking, gave them the right to hate all Gentiles or in the case of the Pharisees, anyone who wasn’t their kind, or like them. The Jews were notorious for despising others. In Jesus own life and times, the Jewish hatred for the Samaritans was off the charts. Any racism you have seen in America pales in comparison. We are talking about pure hate: the Jews wished them to be dead. They would not lift a finger to help them under any circumstance.

Transition

Here is today’s message in a nutshell: God loves everyone and He expects us to love everyone

I. GOD LOVES EVERYONE

Jesus said, He, [the Father] causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 

We call this common grace…God is good to everyone. Paul said to the Jews in Romans two…

Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? {Ro.2:4}

God is good to all because He loves all…FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD.

I John 2:2… He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

2 Peter 3:9 clearly states.. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

II. GOD DOES NOT LOVE AS MAN LOVES

The Greeks had four words for love but Jesus used ä-gä-pä’-ō which is UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. I call it “The Love From Above.” It is not a merited love. A-gä-pä’-ō is the ability to love the unlovely. This is illustrated in several places in the OT but one of favorite stories is of the prophet Hosea. His wife Gomer was unfaithful. To put it bluntly, she was a tramp who had no morals. She had relations with men without number. We could call her a harlot which sounds better than the modern word. Hosea was a good man and he felt a tinge of guilt about loving such a wayward woman. God told him, “Go ahead and love her. I know how you feel. Israel has also played the harlot and I still love them.”

How many times did Israel fail God? How many times were they unfaithful?

A-gä-pä’-ō is not only UNCONDITIONAL, it is based on the character of the one who loves, not on the one who is being loved. Joseph’s love for his sorry lowdown good for nothing brothers was based on his character, not their’s: they didn’t have any character.

Do our enemies deserve our love? NO! Are they going to love us back if we love them? Probably not! A-gä-pä’-ō is not a requiting love…you don’t always get it back. This is what makes it so unique. Eros is highly conditional and demands love in return. Agape simply loves with no strings attached.

III. GOD EXPECTS US TO LOVE AS HE LOVES

Look at the last verse… Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Does Jesus actually expect us to be perfect? The Greek word is te’-lā-os which means complete, consummated, finished, mature or perfect. What is our goal as followers of Christ, as believers? Isn’t it to be like the Father, to love like the Father. This verse had been grossly misunderstood. No one is perfect. None of the apostles reached a state of perfection. This is simply a challenge from Jesus for you and I to be like the Father who loves everyone.

This brings us right back to verse 44… But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven

There are three things that Jesus tells us to do in regard to our enemies… [1] LOVE them [2] PRAY for them [3] TREAT them cordially [greet them].

One and three are hard for all of us; the place to start is with two…PRAY FOR THEM. Prayer is an antidote to bitterness. Prayer will release the poison of bitterness, ill will and envy. We cannot and will not love our enemies if we refuse to pray for them.

You say…I DON’T HAVE ANY ENEMIES! Yeah, right and I am a nuclear physicist. Your first enemy is PRIDE. You don’t need to pray for it, you need to confess it. The logic to such wrapped thinking is…“I such a good person, no one would dislike me.” Listen Einstein, Jesus was much better than you and He was hated by thousands then and millions now.

Whether or not you are sane enough to be aware of your enemies, you have them. When you get ready to be real or to be honest, remember that Jesus said to pray for your enemies. In the meantime pray for yourself: you are in denial. That’s not a river, it is a delusional state of mind.

Psalm 19–God’s Glory

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Introduction

As you can see in verse one, the theme or subject of this Psalm is the GLORY OF GOD. I don’t know about you, but “glory” is a hard word for me to wrap my mind around. The OT word for glory came from a word that means ‘heavy.’ It came to mean heavy in terms of ABUNDANCE, RICHES, HONOR, SPLENDOR and REVERENCE. Again, the word ‘Splendor’ is hard for me to define. Mr. Webster says that splendor is magnificence, grandeur, impressiveness, opulence, luxury, riches, lavishness, ornateness, glorious in beauty and elegance. My best analogy is Solomon in all his glory: his opulence, lavishness, ornateness, and elegance took the Queen of Sheba’s breath away. To my knowledge, no film or movie has ever come close to recapturing the glory of Solomon’s reign.

There are two ways to look at God’s glory. First there is His innate or inherent glory which is the sum total of all His attributes: holiness, goodness, mercy, omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience. And then there is the glory due Him. You and I are to give Him glory. You see this ascribing Glory to God all through scripture and the prophets all tell us that when judgment comes, God will get glory from men.

God is a jealous God and He will not allow us to give His glory to idols or other things…

“I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images. ” [Isaiah 42:8,11]

Speaking of worshiping idol or other gods, the LORD said through Moses… “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…”

Timothy Keller says…Idolatry is foundational to what is wrong with the human race, and I agree.

I want to call your attention to what Paul said in Romans 1…a chapter in the bible that many folks want to remove.

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Most Scholars agree that every man has two witnesses: CREATION and CONSCIENCE. Even those in the most remote places on earth have these two witnesses so that people are without excuse. But what have we discovered about these primitive tribes when we discover them: they are worshiping idols instead of God… Paul said…

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

I rejoice tonight that God has revealed HIMSELF to mankind in CREATION, CONSCIENCE, SCRIPTURE, and the INCARNATION [CHRIST]. Of this final and perfect REVELATION, the writer of Hebrews says…

1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

I. GOD’S GLORY IN CREATION

First: God glory is obvious; it is not hidden. All you have to do is walk outside on a clear night and look up. You have to know there is a CREATOR. When you see a GARDEN, it is obvious that there is a GARDENER.

Second: God’s glory is constant, day unto day and night unto night…it is always there to behold.

Third: God’s glory is communicated without words. Deep in the heart of man, there may be a hidden longing to see the glory of God. Why do people visit Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon? Is it to boost their self-esteem?

Fourth: God’s glory is universal. The witness of CREATION can be seen all over the earth.

The revelation of God’s glory is demonstrated by the SUN.

  1. The Sun is a revealer…a light that enables us to see.
  2. The Sun is a healer… Human skin can make large amounts of vitamin D when lots of skin is exposed and the sun is high in the sky. Your body is designed to get the vitamin D it needs by producing it when your bare skin is exposed to sunlight. The part of the sun’s rays that is important is ultraviolet B (UVB).
  3. The Sun is an life giving energy source.
  4. The Sun is the center of our solar system, everything revolves around the Sun.
  5. The Sun works relentlessly day and night.
  6. The Sun has a universal and constant influence whether visible or invisible.
  7. The Sun is too glorious to behold…you cannot look at it with the naked eye.
  8. The Sun is a consuming fire.
  9. The Sun cannot be seen for it’s glory. Actually the sun is as black as tar. You and I have never seen the sun, we see only the atmosphere surrounding the sun.
  10. The Sun is amazing. One million earths could be put inside the sun. It seems impossible but the sun makes up 99% of the mass of this solar systems. All the planets are dwarfs compared to the sun. The sun is a nuclear power plant. The temperature on the inner atmosphere of the sun can reach 27 million degrees Fahrenheit.

II. GOD’S GLORY IN SCRIPTURE

FIRST: The word of God is perfect [v.7]

SECOND: The word of God is Trustworthy [v.7] The Hebrew word is ‘aman’ and it means firm, sure, lasting, confirmed, established, sure, verified, and reliable. The word can make a simple man wise.

THIRD: The precepts [mandates, commands] are right giving JOY to the heart.

FOURTH: The commands of the LORD are radiant {Hebrew…bar–clean, pure or clear}. They give us light and guidance.

FIFTH: The decrees {Judgments} of the LORD are firm [true, right}. God knows what He is doing and His word can be trusted.

III. GOD’S GLORY IN MAN

God’s glory in man is properly seen in the incarnation: Jesus was the PERFECT MAN.

John 1:14…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Hebrews 1:3…The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

But what about mankind in general; is God’s glory revealed in us?

Psalms 8:6-6…What is mankind that You are mindful of them, that You care for them. You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet.

Hebrews 2:6-8… “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him?  You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.”

Romans 8:18… I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

The GLORIFICATION of the Saint…Colossians 3… Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life,appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Lex Talionis

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 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. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Introduction

This is a difficult passage to say the least and I certainly do no want to make it more difficult. Again Jesus is teaching us to live by an attitude, not by the legal code of the law. He gives us five brief imperative commands:

[1] If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. [2] If someone sues for your shirt, give them your coat also. [3] If a soldier forces you to carry his back pact one mile, carry in two. [4] When people asks you for something, give it to them. [5] When they want to borrow, don’t turn them away.

My first response was: “LORD surely you don’t expect me to do these things.” Actually, I think He does but we need to understand the context and what it really is that He is asking us to do.

First of all, let me clarify the law of limited revenge {Lex Talionis}. It is the law that demands that punishment must be equal to the crime. This law is stated in Exodus 21:23-25…

2But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

Before Moses gave this law, there was no law to govern revenge. A tribesman could slip into another village and kill a man and then that village might arm themselves and wipe out the man’s entire tribe. You can see where this law was an advancement.

The Jews did not literally apply the law because that could create more injustice. There goal was to make the punishment equal to the crime and they considered: pain, injury, time lost from work, expenses for treatment and indignity suffered. The Jews believed in retribution and the criminal, not the community or state, was to pay for the damages. We do this all wrong here in the US. The tax payer gets robbed and then he is charged for the incarceration of the thief, plus he is never compensated for his property loss. The current DRUG EPIDEMIC has made this problem worse.

Transition

So let us look carefully and prayerfully at these five injunctions…

I. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

The first problem is verse 39… do not resist an evil person

The KJV reads “Resist not evil.” We know this is not what Jesus meant. In Romans 12, the scripture commands us to abhor evil and to overcome evil with good. In I Thessalonians 5:22, the scripture says, “Abstain from every form of evil.” Jesus commended the church at Ephesus for not tolerating evil.

One of the keys is to understand the word translated evil: it is ponērós and it can be translated hard, harsh, harassing, annoying, perilous, hurtful, diseased, evil, wicked, bad, grievous, harmful or malicious. Guess what, all of these are characteristic of the devil and many times, twice in the sermon on the mount, it is translated “Evil One.” But it can also refer to a hurtful or injurious person and this fits the context of the passage.

Has anyone slapped you on the cheek lately? Think about it…. Jesus is speaking figuratively…He is talking about insults. Has anyone insulted you lately? How did you respond? Sometime we respond to an insult with another insult…we retaliate and this is what Jesus is telling us not to do.

II. Is Someone Sues for your Shirt–Give them your coat also

Again, you must understand that Jesus is talking about an attitude that is superior to living by the code of the law. In the Jewish legal system, you could not sue a man for his coat. The coat [outer robe] was also used at night for a blanket. If you took a man’s coat, he might freeze to death. Again, Jesus is telling us not to claim our legal rights but to go beyond what the law requires by showing kindness, grace and mercy. Just because it is legal, doesn’t make it right. If you are intelligent, you will do everything possible to stay out of court.

III. If a Soldier forces you to carry his back pack one mile, carry it two.

Same principle as above: Roman law governed the land and by law a soldier could force a civilian to carry his backpack but only for a mile. Jesus said, “Why not go the extra mile?” When you go the extra mile, you are in charge…you are doing it not because the law requires it but because you want to…you can lay it down anytime you choose. The soldier is no longer in control.

[Hang on, it gets tougher]

IV. Give to the one who asks you

I’m not going to lie, this one has puzzled me for years but I think I have figured it out. Obviously, Jesus is not talking about indiscriminate giving. The key component to our giving is NEED. Is there a legitimate need? We are not to be tight fisted and selfish in face of need.

We give in relationship to NEED but never MERIT. The wrong question is…DO THEY DESERVE IT? Think about this… What if Jesus took this approach toward us? Do we deserve His love and forgiveness?

Ministry is never based on merit.

I heard a woman say once, “I am not attending that persons shower because they never give to anyone else.” We do not let another persons selfishness control our giving. God is to control our giving, not others.

V. Don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Our kids and grandkids should never use the term borrow because they don’t mean it…they are not going to pay you back. I guess it is my fault for letting them borrow but we are learning. Again, this is determined by NEED. We are talking about two totally different economies or ways of life. The Jews lived in an agricultural society and the peasants lived from day to day. I’ve been getting paid once a month for the last 30 years but this was impossible for them. The peasants were paid daily by the barons and land owners. So we are talking about legitimate need.

We are not talking about a loan to get a new truck or tractor. I don’t have to have either.

Conclusion

I. CHRISTIANS DO NOT RETALIATE

II. CHRISTIANS DON’T DEMAND THEIR RIGHTS

III. CHRISTIANS DON’T PUT THEIR RIGHTS BEFORE THE NEEDS OF OTHERS

There is only one way you can live like this: You have to know and love Jesus!