Matthew 5:20, NIV 2011. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Learning to walk again will mean we must:
Take steps toward changing the story.(Matthew 5:38-42)
Matthew 5:38-42, NIV 2011 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.”
As we walk along, we have to learn to exercise forgiveness.
William Barclay, “Christians think not of their rights, but of their duties; not of their privileges, but of their responsibilities. Christians are people who have forgotten that they have any rights at all; and those who will ﬁght to the legal death for their rights, inside or outside the Church, are far from the Christian way.”
Three great rules for us as we follow:
We must not resent or retaliate for any insult
We are children of the King, but we cannot exercise that status.
We will be called to serve and we must go above and beyond.
As we walk along, we have to learn over-the-top generosity.
Deuteronomy 15:7-11, NIV 2011
7 “If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 8 Rather, be open-handed and freely lend them whatever they need. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.”
Remember that giving must be two-fold:
Fill the need of those who ask
Erase the shame of having to ask.
Take steps to loving people well. (Matthew 5:43-48)
Matthew 5:43-48, NIV 201143 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
As we walk along, we have to learn ask hard questions.
As we walk along, we have to learn to reflect God’s furious love.
Psalm 145:15-16, NIV 2011
15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
Reflecting God’s furious love will reflect God (children of God) and that we have fulfilled our purpose (perfect).
NT. Wright, Matthew for Everyone, Pt. 1. “The Sermon on the Mount isn’t just about us. If it was, we might admire it as a fine bit of idealism, but we’d then return to our normal lives. It’s about Jesus himself. This was the blueprint for his own life. He asks nothing of his followers that he hasn’t faced himself.”