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The Jesus Way | Part 4 | The Third Way

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You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.

(Matt. 5:38-41; see also Luke 6:29)

Most Christians have no idea what Jesus, a 1st Century Jew under Roman military occupation, meant when He taught this lesson. This very well may be one of the most important sermons you hear.

Let’s start by defining honor. What is honor?

1 Peter 2:17: Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Romans 12:10: Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

If Martha Steward and Snoop Dog can have a show together, then we can all honor one another and get along.

Dishonor is the sugar that feeds the cancer of disunity. It feels good, but destroys the body of Christ. We aren’t building a culture of agreement, we are building a culture of honor. It’s not “I’ll honor when I agree.” Honor means I value you so much so that even if we disagree, you get to stay powerful in our relationship.

Honor EMPOWERS ONE ANOTHER. Honor allows us to happen in the design God gave us. We don’t have to agree. I punish people who don’t remind me of ME. I love and accept everyone who Jesus gave his life for. I freely receive honor, so I freely GIVE IT.

 

What’s the real meaning of Jesus’ teaching:

  • Turn your cheek 
  • Give your cloak 
  • Go another mile 

Turn your cheek 

The only way to strike the right cheek is a backhand. It’s how you strike a slave, a subordinate. To strike the right cheek first would be a slap with the left hand. Not so. 

The left hand could only be used for unclean practices in Jesus’ Jewish community. 

To gesture with the left hand meant exclusion from the religious meeting and penalty for ten days. In their time, the backhand was used by masters to slaves, husbands to wives, parents to children…it was representative of hierarchy.  In other words, instead of being empowered, a backhand is degrading, or lowering the status of a person. If you teach a 1st century Jewish audience to turn the other cheek, the left one, you’re creating a scenario where the person asserting dominance is forced to fight them as an equal. By turning the cheek, then, the “inferior” is saying: “I’m a human being, just like you. Refuse to be humiliated any longer. I am your equal. I am a child of God. I won’t take it anymore. The way you must strike me now forces you to acknowledge my humanity.” It forces the beginnings of HONOR. 

This is the Jesus way. Don’t fight violence with violence. Fight dishonor with honor. 

Give your cloak 

Jesus’ second example of assertive nonviolence is set in a court of law. A creditor has taken a poor man to court over an unpaid loan. Only the poorest of the poor were subjected to such treatment. 

Deuteronomy 24:10-13 provided that a creditor could take as collateral for a loan a poor person’s long outer robe, but it had to be returned each evening so the poor man would have something in which to sleep.

Nakedness was taboo in Judaism, and shame fell less on the naked party than on the person viewing or causing the nakedness (Gen. 9:20-27). By stripping, the debtor has brought shame on the creditor. Imagine this! There stands the creditor, covered with shame, the poor debtor’s outer garment in the one hand, his undergarment in the other! 

The tables have suddenly been turned on the creditor. A system has been unmasked. 

Go another mile 

Going the second mile, Jesus’ third example, is drawn from the relatively enlightened practice of limiting to a single mile the amount of forced or impressed labor that Roman soldiers could levy on subject peoples.

Such compulsory service was a constant feature in Palestine from Persian to late Roman times. Whoever was found on the street could be coerced into service, as was Simon of Cyrene, who was forced to carry Jesus’ Cross (Mark 15:21)

Whole villages sometimes fled to avoid being forced to carry soldiers’ baggage.

What we have overlooked in this passage is the fact that carrying the pack a second mile is an infraction of military code. With few exceptions, minor infractions were left to the disciplinary control of the centurion (commander of one hundred men). He might fine the offending soldier, flog him, put him on a ration of barley instead of wheat, make him camp outside the fortifications, force him to stand all day before the general’s tent holding a clod of dirt in his hands—or, if the offender was a buddy, issue a mild reprimand.

Normally, soldiers have to coerce people to carry their bags, but this Jew does so cheerfully, and will not stop. Is this a provocation? Is he insulting the legionnaire’s strength? Being kind? Trying to get him disciplined for seeming to violate the rules of impressment?

They have thrown the soldier off balance by depriving him of the predictability of his victim’s response. He has never dealt with such a problem before.

PREDICTABILITY LOSES WARS. Fight or Flight = predictable. 

THE JESUS WAY IS THE THIRD WAY. 

Are we really going to honor ALL people?! Because we’ve been given permission to DIS-empower certain people!  

The wisdom of nonviolent resistance is that when you learn how to love the villain you see in someone else, you’ve begun the path of learning to love the villain in yourself.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

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The Jesus Way | Part 4 | The Third Way

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Jesus People: Part 2 | After Easter

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Jesus People: Part 1 | Palm Sunday

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Jesus People: Part 2 | After Easter

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Revival is here! It’s happening online, through phones and tablets. Revival can happen EVERYWHERE.

“Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” Acts 11:19-26 ESV

 

The Church of Antioch. One of the greatest churches every started by people with no training. The pain of persecution caused believers to move out of Jerusalem into Antioch (and other parts of the known world).

What is the pain of this pandemic pushing you into that you normally wouldn’t have done? How is God causing you to come out of your comfort? 

Jesus asked, “Who wants to follow me?” NOT “Who wants the title of Christian?” We often want a title for prestige or hierarchy, but Jesus solicited ACTION.

What actions can we take as believers right now to expand the Kingdom and take territory?

 

What is a Christian? Is it FANS or FOLLOWERS?

Multiplying the church in our culture = disciples. The spirit of God and the word of God and people are ALL that’s needed.

What is a Christian? The Biblical Definition

Since the Bible is the authority for the Christian faith, let’s see what it says about the word “Christian.” The word is only used 3 times in the New Testament and each instance is referring to the first “Christians” of the early church.

“So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch” (Acts 11:26).

“Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?’” (Acts 26:28).

“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” (1 Peter 4:16).

WHAT ARE THEY LIKE?!

  • They forgive.
  • They are a river, not a reservoir. While everyone else is hoarding, they’re giving.
  • They feel fear, but they don’t surrender to it.
  • When they don’t know what to do, they receive information from the Word.

Jesus said that His true followers are those who have been “born again” by the Spirit of God. When a Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus came to talk with Jesus one night, he declared that God was with Jesus because of all the miraculous signs Jesus performed. Jesus had this penetrating response: “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. … Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:3, 6, NIV). 

The phrase “born again” in Scripture literally means “to be born from above”–a spiritual rebirth. A Christian is a man, woman, or child who has experienced a spiritual new birth through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. That new birth is a gift of God, through Jesus Christ, given by the grace He freely offers to all.

Some believe you can be born into a faith. For example, a child born to Muslim parents is considered a Muslim by many people. A son or daughter born to a Jewish mother is typically considered to be Jewish, and someone born into a Christian family is often assumed to be a Christian. No one, however, is ever automatically a Christian by birth. To be a Christian, you must make a conscious choice to turn from your sins–that’s repentance–and by faith believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who loved us, paid the price of our sins on Calvary’s cross, shed His blood and died, was buried, and was raised to life on the third day.

How do we tell if it’s real in our lives? The Bible says, “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands, … the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3–4).

A Christian, then, is a person who is born again by the Spirit of God as he or she wholeheartedly trusts in Jesus Christ and seeks to follow Him in obedience.

Jesus never asked anyone “Will you be a Christian!” He asked people, “Will you follow me?”. Christian is a title but following is an action. We don’t want titles, we want movement!

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

This free ebook resource, “New Year, New Me” will take you from chaos to clarity.

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The Jesus Way | Part 4 | The Third Way

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Jesus People: Part 2 | After Easter

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Jesus People: Part 1 | Palm Sunday

Passion week is not an obligation, but an opportunity. View this post on Instagram You have…

Jesus People: Part 1 | Palm Sunday

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Passion week is not an obligation, but an opportunity.

John 12:12 : The Triumphal Entry

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

Traditionally called Palm Sunday, Jesus makes His triumphal entry on the 10th day of the month (Nisan) during the celebration of Passover. On this day in the Jewish calendar, families would select the lamb that would be sacrificed on the 14th day of Passover. And on this very day, Jesus, the lamb of God, is riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.

JESUS IS MORE APPEALING THAN RELIGION.

He was then, He is today.

This was their Passover, when they would have celebrated the deliverance of their forefathers from the bondage of Egypt from slavery and a succession of 10 plagues.

BUT EVERY YEAR IT WAS THE SAME THING.

Same prescribed prayers. Same routes to Jerusalem.

They wanted MORE!

Jesus is in town and they spontaneously start worshipping and crying out: SAVE US NOW (Hosanna)!! 

There was a clash between the old and the new here.

 

His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered these things had been written about Him. The crowd that had been with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet Him was that they heard He had done this miraculous thing, this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him.”

JESUS WAS MORE APPEALING THAN RELIGION.

I want my church like I want my coffee– I want it HOT. 

You see a second Jesus movement happening now, it’s those who hate their life that are finding eternal life. 

Religion emphasizes the outward. JESUS EMPHASIZES THE INWARD!

Religion is about what you can’t do.  JESUS IS ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO!

Religion is about prohibition. JESUS IS ABOUT DEMONSTRATION OF POWER!

Religion puts up barriers. JESUS TEARS BARRIERS DOWN!

Non-jewish people would be restricted. They couldn’t even get close to the temple. Physical walls kept people out. Jesus said come unto me ALL who are…

Religion requires working your way to God.  JESUS DECLARES I AM THE WAY TO GOD!

Hosanna is spontaneously being declared. Prophetically being declared. Deliver NOW. Save us NOW. 

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST!!

There was another perspective happening. The religious leaders were watching and saying, “Look, the whole world is going after Him.” The spontaneous worship was a threat to their system of religion. 

Ever notice that everyone has an opinion of Jesus? (Caesarea Philippi)

There’s always going to be a lot of chatter around Jesus.

There are four groups of people observing the same event, but only ONE was really following Jesus (the disciples).

  1. The disciples (vs. 16)- They didn’t understand, but they followed.
  2. The eyewitnesses of Lazarus’ resurrection
  3. The group of people who heard the testimony of Lazarus (vs. 18) 
  4. The religious people, the Pharisees 

They all witnessed the same event. They observed. 

In the same way: Some tune into the V1 Church livestream. They hear testimonies. They experience the miraculous.

But who is going to join me in following Jesus, even when we don’t understand the events unfolding? 

We are realizing that we are the religious ones. Having church in our home is awkward because we only believe it can happen in a building. 

We are the spontaneous worshippers who have had these experiences with Jesus but don’t really follow Him.

We are the people who’ve heard stories of what Jesus can do for others, we’ve heard testimonies, but we’ve never experienced who He could be for us. 

Accept Jesus, be like the donkey who held Jesus up so that the world could declare – Hosanna – Deliver now!

The Donkey BY G. K. CHESTERTON

When fishes flew and forests walked

   And figs grew upon thorn,

Some moment when the moon was blood

   Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry

   And ears like errant wings,

The devil’s walking parody

   On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,

   Of ancient crooked will;

Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,

   I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;

   One far fierce hour and sweet:

There was a shout about my ears,

   And palms before my feet.

The prophesied messiah of  Zechariah 9:9 is on my back and I’m the donkey.

Join Pastor Mike for lunch at noon every day Live on Facebook!

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

This free ebook resource, “New Year, New Me” will take you from chaos to clarity.

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The Jesus Way | Part 4 | The Third Way

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Jesus People: Part 2 | After Easter

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Jesus People: Part 1 | Palm Sunday

Passion week is not an obligation, but an opportunity. View this post on Instagram You have…

The Mystery of God’s Voice

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We’ve been in a three part series on how to hear the voice of God. First, we covered methods. Then we discussed motives. This week, we will talk about mystery.

Matthew 16: 13-18

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (vs.13)

In other words, which disciple can hear the voice of God in an unfavorable situation?  

Who is Jesus in the midst of a global pandemic? Who is Jesus when you physically cannot go to church? How do we answer this question?

Peter answers: The Messiah, the Savior of the World, the KING of the Kingdom. Peter received a revelation from God. He received a mystery of God’s voice. He didn’t understand fully, but received it fully.

Let’s look at some background info on the situation. Caesarea Philippi was a place of pagan worship. There were caves located at the entrance to the district where sexually immoral practices were conducted by the locals in an attempt to lure “gods of fertility” out of the caves. It was believed that their gods of fertility would retreat into the caves and die, and need to be resurrected by the sexual practices of the pagan worshippers. This was a place that no Jewish disciple would have ever approached. Jesus marches the disciples right into Caesarea Philippi and asks the question —-Who do you say I am?

In this passage of Matthew 16, Jesus is referring to the building of His church:

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (vs. 18)

At that time, Jesus had not yet established His church. In fact, this is the first instance of the word “church” in the New Testament. The word church, as used by Jesus, is derived from the Greek ekklesia, (phonetic: EKLAYSEEYA) which means the “called out” or “assembly.”

In other words, the church that Jesus is referencing as His church is the assembly of people who have been called out of the world by the gospel of Christ. (You are watching this now as the EKKLESIA.

You are the called out ones. The Assembly. 

Bible scholars debate the actual meaning of the phrase “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” One of the better interpretations to the meaning of this phrase is as follows. In ancient times, the cities were surrounded by walls with gates, and in battles, the gates of these cities would usually be the first place their enemies assaulted. This was because the protection of the city was determined by the strength or power of its gates.

As such, the “gates of hell” or “gates of Hades” means the power of Hades. The name “Hades” was originally the name of the god who presided over the realm of the dead and was often referred to as the “house of Hades.” It designated the place to which everyone who departs this life descends, regardless of their moral character. In the New Testament, Hades is the realm of the dead, and in this verse, Hades or hell is represented as a mighty city with its gates representing its power.

Jesus refers here to His impending death. Though He would be crucified and buried, (a parallel to the death and resurrection of the pagan fertility god worship, like two opposing kingdoms), He would rise from the dead and build His church. Jesus is emphasizing the fact that the powers of death could not hold Him in. Not only would the church be established in spite of the powers of Hades or hell, but the church would thrive in spite of these powers.

The church will never fail, though generation after generation succumbs to the power of physical death, yet other generations will arise to perpetuate the church. And it will continue until it has fulfilled its mission on earth as Jesus has commanded:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20).

It is clear that Jesus was declaring that death has no power to hold God’s people captive. Its gates are not strong enough to overpower and keep imprisoned the church of God.

The Lord has conquered death (Romans 8:2; Acts 2:24). And because “death no longer is master over Him” (Romans 6:9), it is no longer master over those who belong to Him.

Satan has the power of death, and will always use that power to try to destroy the church of Christ. But we have this promise from Jesus that His church, the “called out” will prevail: “Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19).

WHY would God lead us here? Why would God do this?

In order to establish the church, you have to be willing to step into the places you were told to stay away from. Doctors and nurses are walking into the gates of Hell. The number one need expressed to our church was counseling. Maybe home has been a place you told yourself you will stay away from and now you find yourself at the gates of hell. Quarantined 24/7 with the people you said you wouldn’t spend more than 15 minutes with.

It’s at the gates of hell that Jesus reveals the pure power of the kingdom. 

It’s at the gates of hell that the reality of His promises come true.

This is a gates of hell moment and we need people like Peter to hear the voice of God giving them a revelation of who Jesus is in a quarantine!

https://open.spotify.com/episode/0Vhsb4LeLM1lDyLQGUK8oD

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

This free ebook resource, “New Year, New Me” will take you from chaos to clarity.

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The Jesus Way | Part 4 | The Third Way

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Jesus People: Part 2 | After Easter

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