|John Goh||012 207 email@example.com|
|Dr Lee Fook Sin||019 230 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Moh Ee Lin||019 273 email@example.com|
|Ng Cho Hoo||012 878 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Susanah Ng||012 email@example.com|
Kindly contact any of these Gamma Facilitators. They will be hosting Zoom meetings for Discussions every Wednesday starting from April 1, 2020.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS – STUDY 8
Please look at the questions and discuss the answers. The case histories are designed to let you apply what theoretical knowledge you have gleaned from the study. There are intentionally many more questions and case histories than you can manage in one session but this is designed to
cover the many and varied needs of the individuals in the church hence please pick and choose which ones to discuss as long as it gets people sharing and applying the Word to real life situations. Never feel obligated to finish all the questions. The answers will be posted on the web the next day
The original intent of this universal law was to establish required retribution and equitable retribution in society to preserve justice and societal order so that evil will not flourish. It was meant for Israel as a theocracy and the state to mete out justice. The Jews has used it to justify their petty feuds and take personal revenge.
1. Jesus fulfills the law hence he will not contradict the law. It is the context of the abuse of the laws that he is addressing here. He is unmasking the error of common wisdom. His purpose was to forbid personal revenge, not to encourage injustice, dishonesty or vice.
2. Look at all the nature of the personal illustrations that Jesus uses ..of turning the other cheek or carrying the soldiers back pack the extra mile they are all specifically targeted at personal insults and slights to one’s self esteem. None of the examples are examples that would entail substantive loss or even loss of life. Jesus never said if a robber came into your house to threaten your family you are not to resist him. Some people extrapolate the not resisting evil to that ridiculous extent. If Jesus meant the non resistance to evil in a global sense then out of the three examples he would have escalated the magnitude of the cases but he didn’t and instead the three examples are occasions for petty fueds involving insubstantial loss mainly of dignity and face more than loss of life. They are the common occasions for nursing personal hatred and retaliation that would perpetuate the violence and hatred in society by taking matters into their own hands which was what the OT law was specifically designed to prevent.
3. It would also be inconceivable for the disciples of Jesus who love righteousness not to oppose or resist evil Matthew 5 beatitudes had already established this. If the non opposition of evil principle were to be applied globally without thinking then thieves and murderers would thrive and society would break down.
4. Non opposition to evil people would not be loving your neighbour because the evil one would be torturing your neighbour or your family hence.
What Jesus was then attempting to do here was to challenge the societal norms. How can those who seek as their first priority the extension of God’s righteous rule at the same time contribute to the spread of unrighteousness? True love, caring for both the individual and society, takes action to deter evil and to promote good.
He teaches the forbearance which renounces revenge. Authentic Christian non-resistance is nonretaliation.
The heart of the matter was do not be a vengeful, vigilante, self-justified distributor of justice. There is a righteousness greater and more beautiful than self-justice—letting God be the judge and righteousness maker, the one who puts the world to right. This strong language shocks and jolts us into seeing the situation in a new way.
The logic and basis of non retaliation is that there will be an ultimate judge in our disputes and Jesus is our example who suffered the greatest injustice being the righteous person who suffered. Every insult and sin against us has been personally paid by Jesus as has our own sins and insults against others. The scales are balanced because of what He has done and we have no right to pursue revenge or retaliation even if it is our right because others would have the same right against us but all our sins have been paid by Christ. At the foot of the cross there are no more demands only submission to the One who paid it all. There is not one single person who can stand on his or her righteousness and demand his or her pound of flesh, it has been paid.
Loving your neighbour does not mean giving into every request as Paul outlines in his letter to the Thessalonians . He he pointed out that even Paul had a right to accept support from the church which he voluntarily renounced to provide the good example and not to promote freeloading which must have been an issue at that particular church. His command not to
provide aid to those who would not work was because it would encourage them to continue in their idleness and continue to sin and disrupt the community which would not be the most loving thing to do.
2 Thess 3: 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
Hence before you give you need to ask if this is the most loving thing you can do for him. However in general , Jesus is opposing a mercenary, tight-fisted, penny-pinching attitude which is the financial counterpart to a legalistic understanding of “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” Don’t be asking yourself all the time, “What’s in it for me? What can I get out of it?” The legalistic mentality which dwells on retaliation and so-called fairness makes much of one’s rights.
A. It is a reflection of our true nature as sons of God because God treats everyone in the world with love causing the sun to shine both on good and evil people because all men are made in the image of God and judgement is reserved for after a man’s life is completed as God’s forbearance allows him time to repent and be saved. So we can never write someone off before his death no matter how bad he is and we can never decide to treat each one according to how good or bad he is as God doesn’t. Our behaviour reflects our true nature.
B. Just loving our friends and family is prejudicial love and is a form of self love. It is not loving our neighbour as loving the people who only love you serves to bolster your own good and this kind of prejudicial love is found in all sectors of society. There is this loyalty amongst thieves ,or drug dealers or corrupt politicians who give contracts to their own cronies because in the end there is a quid pro quo which is a form of self benefit. Loving our enemies completely breaks this norm of self love and displays to the world that our nature has truly been transformed and that we are the sons of the living God. It displays the kind of transforming love Jesus had for us as He died on the cross.
It cannot mean that we are to be sinless because
1 John 1: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
In this life we will always struggle with sin hence we cannot say we are perfect in the sense of sinless we deceive our selves to think we can earn our salvation. It is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin. We are to admit our sin and confess our sin. So what does Jesus means when he said we are to be perfect ? ..Jesus meant that the way they lived should go beyond the superficial adherence to the law. Pharisees ignored the spirit of the law which was loving God and neighbour in order to earn salvation. Pharisee righteousness was a perversion of the TORAH because it was outward and legalistic only out of fear Jesus could have used the Leviticus passage and said holy as He is holy but instead he used telios which meant “complete” because he was countering the one sided superficial legalistic righteousness of the Jews with true righteousness which is inside as well as outside They would not commit adulterous in actions but their heart they would do it all the time. They would not kill but they would have anger and hate. Outside inside did not match. True Christianity is whole or complete like the Father.
Johnny was best buddies with Patrick as they were both deacons in the church but one day they had a fight over who was to prepare the elements for the Lords supper. The next day Patrick just walked past Johnny and did not acknowledge her which was a tremendous insult to Johnny who then decided that he will have nothing to do with Patrick from then onwards. He stuck to his own narrow circle of friends and quietly retaliated by
complaining to them about how Patrick treated him and how stupid he was. This group of friends then avoided Patrick as well and soon the rift in church got bigger and bigger as Johnny too did the same thing. Then one day someone accused Patrick of adultery and the elders investigated the case but found no evidence of it but the rumours had spread throughout the church. Johnny’s group of friends continued to perpetuate the accusations
as they thought that the accusations were completely consistent with their unhappiness with Patrick.
1. What do you think should have been done by Johnny’s friends right from the beginning to have prevented the escalation of the feud? Look at Phil 4:2-3 , Col 3:12-13.
2. Even if Patrick was in the wrong, what should Johnny have done? Matt 5:23-24, 43-45
3. How does Matt 5 : 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God, apply here?
4. Why is taking sides in any dispute detrimental to peace? Why are our personal loyalties to our allies more important than hungering for righteousness which means getting to the truth of the matter? What does this reveal about our own self esteem and our walk with God?
5. The fact that sin is embedded in the lives of Christians and Non Christians will mean conflict will be no surprise to both groups. How will the way we resolve conflict within the church serve our calling to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world?
Mother Theresa anwsered the call to mercy and dedicated her life to the poor and in the recent biography here are some of the ways in which Mother Teresa calls us to love in action which have been gleaned from a life time of service.
1. Together, we can do something beautiful for God.
2. Give the needy their due dignity, love, and tender care.
3. Never send away a hungry person.
4. Poor people are Jesus suffering today.
5. Uphold the importance, value, and dignity of every human life.
6. Keep your heart open to share in the suffering of others.
7. When you meet anyone, greet him with a smile.
8. Always be the first one to say sorry.
9. Pray that God preserves the world.
What do you think of these take a way principles in the light of the Sermon on the Mount and how can we practice this.
Answers are available now