The Gospel Of The Second Mile

Listen | Watch | Matthew 5:38-42

The Gospel of the Second Mile

Introduction

Was there, or is there, anything wrong with the OT law? The answer to that question is an emphatic NO! Why? Because the Bible says,

“The law of the Lord is perfect,” Psalm 19:7

What we find in Scripture is, there’s not a problem with the law, instead there’s a problem with us! In fact, the Bible tells us,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

“For you were like sheep going astray,” 1 Peter 2:25

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

There’s something wrong with us. There’s something wrong with the human heart.

  1. But notice what Jesus does here in the sermon on the mount – He changes the conversation from the outward to the inward:
    1. Jesus begins to talk about attitudes (inward)
    2. He begins to focus on being instead of doing
  2. Here’s what Jesus begins to teach:
    1. Be willing to suffer loss your yourself for the benefit of others
    2. Jesus begins to talk about our willingness to suffer rather than cause another to suffer
    3. Jesus is teaching us as individuals – don’t focus on the battle, but focus on the peace
    4. Jesus is teaching – it is better to be harmed on the outside, than to suffer harm on the inside
    5. Jesus is teaching that the strong person can love while at the same time suffer hurt
      1. You may persecute me, but I still love you
      2. You may bring harm to my life, but at the same time I desire the best for you
      3. You may mistreat me, but at the same time, as a Christian, I still care

      These things are impossible for someone who does not know the Lord! These things are impossible for the person who has not had a heart change (change on the inside).

  3. Allowing the self to suffer for the benefit of someone else
    1. The Bible says God rewards this
    2. For example, Jesus said,

      “Blessed (happy) are the peacemakers” Matthew 5:9

The Lord said to Abram,

“Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever.” Genesis 13:14-15

Why had God been so generous with Abram? The answer is Abram was a peacemaker. Listen to the words of Scripture,

“So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers.” Genesis 13:8

“The Giver of peace is delighted when His children seek it. If you deny self for peace sake – the result is a boundless blessing from the Almighty”
Charles Spurgeon

This is a difficult concept for our narcissistic culture of today. But we’re talking about a Christian world view. You have heard of drug sniffing dogs? What if we had some narcissistic sniffing dogs? What if we not only said no to drugs, but what if we said no to narcissism?

Background

  1. Rome had occupied Palestine for about 100 years
    1. And they forced their subjects to do menial tasks
    2. They could do this because this was the law
  2. For example: A Roman soldier could command a Jewish boy to carry his weapons and knapsack for a mile – it was humiliating
    1. The Jews hated this with a passion
    2. It was said, “Every Jewish boy had marked off a mile post from his house – he knew exactly how far it was.”
    3. So he would carry that burden a mile, but not one step further

It was  said, “The Romans loved it!” But now Jesus comes along and says, “Go a Second mile?” What’s Jesus doing? What kind of Messiah is Jesus?

  • Jesus is the kind of Messiah that says, “Make your motivation love for sinners, so they might see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
  • Jesus is the kind of Messiah that would teach kingdom principles. Principles concerning our purpose as kingdom citizens.

“Our purpose (as kingdom citizens) on earth is to advance His kingdom for His glory.”
Dr. Ken Hemphill

The Principle of the Second Mile

The Principle of the Second Mile

  1. The principle is very simple, it’s MORE.
    1. We say, “More for Christ.” Notice Matthew 5:20,

      “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

    2. Notice the principle of “More.” One pastor said,

      “The Pharisee had just what many people have today, a minimum morality.”

      They were the “do.”

      They were the “do” versus the “be”.

      They had a  “loveless morality.”

  2. I think about the “do” crowd today…do this 5 times a day, go here during this time of the year, give up this, pray in this direction, after you have performed this – you’re done. Those who practice a performance based religion, without a heart change, will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

    “Many will say to Me (meaning Jesus) on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'” Matthew 7:22-23

  3. Jesus was teaching that you will need more than a loveless legalism. What you need to be able to do is love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you. You will have to be able to suffer the humiliation of going the second mile.
  4. You say, “Impossible!” I say, “Exactly, without having a born again experience the Constitution of the kingdom makes zero sense.”
  5. Please do not get me wrong: I am NOT saying that a born again Christian should become a doormat, should be passive, or should not stand up for their rights.
  6. But here is what I am saying, “Obey God and leave the consequences to Him.”
    • I am saying – If you will be Christians, God has promised to care. Listen to Romans 12:19-20,

      “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

    • Does this mean we excuse misdeeds? Absolutely not! But, it does mean that we acknowledge our enemy as a person. And as a person we are ready to forgive them, to pray for them, and to love them unconditionally. Why? Because if we are a child of God, we have been forgiven, because we are being interceded for, and because we are loved unconditionally.

I have been talking to some parents lately. Parents concerned about the behavior of their children. My advice – does not just work on the externals. Help your children to be more than “do”. Help your children to “be”. When I talk about “be” I’m talking internal. When we talk internal we are talking character. Lead your children to Christ. Lead them to have a genuine born again experience. Remember, the Christian life is inside out!

“Be proactive in teaching your family to give when others take, love when others hate, and help when others abuse.”
The Family Foundation

It is called Christian discipline. Christian discipline is not a behavior. Christian discipline is an attitude.

Wrong Attitude Positive Attitude
Disrespect Thoughtfulness
Selfishness Sharing
Greed Generosity
Pride Consideration

The Practice of the Second Mile

The Practice of the Second Mile

What is the practice of the second mile? It is not just to give to those that ask but to give MORE than they ask. You say preacher, “that’s not natural.” I say, “you’re right – it’s supernatural” It is God that gives us the ability to love as He loves.

You might be relieved to know that in the flesh, there have been times that people ought to have gotten on their hands and knees and thanked the Almighty that I am not God. In my flesh, I might not have killed them, but in the words of Ethel Goff,

“I would have just ‘winged’ them a little bit.”

In other words, I would have made them hurt! But that is the flesh, and the Bible tells me that I am to crucify my flesh.

So, in the spirit I have learned to know who my enemies are and to put them at the very top of my prayer list – I pray for them first. In the flesh, it is impossible. But in the Spirit it’s possible (God’s indwelling).

In the spirit, God has made it possible to repay insults, injustices, and inconveniences with love. In the Spirit we practice the “Gospel of the Second Mile.”
The Power of the Second Mile

The Power of the Second Mile

  1. Guess who benefits from the gospel of the second mile? The believer does!
  2. When you pray, forgive, and love your enemies;
    • You sleep better
    • Your health is better
    • Your attitude is better
    • Your outlook on life is better

“It’s a power you gain no other way.”
Adrian Rogers

1st Mile 2nd Mile
The slave mile The smile mile
You’re the victim You’re the victor
You have to You get to
Makes you bitter Gives you joy
You are conquered You are the conqueror

Conclusion

  1. So today, in Jesus’ name – endure the pain outside
    • Put Jesus first
    • Put Others second
    • Put Yourself last
  2. The gospel of the second mile;
    • Love your enemy
    • Pray for your persecutor
    • Forgive your debtors
  3. You say, “why?” The answer is;
    • He loves us
    • He prays for us
    • He forgives us
  4. And the goal is to become like Him

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