Matthew 5:38-42

Denying Yourself


We are living in a day when the majority of people are talking about their rights. People who feel they have been mistreated quickly sue their adversary. The whole attitude is selfish, self-centered and narcissistic (self-admiration). C.S. Lewis in his book, “Mere Christianity” states, “there is a tendency to insist on our own rights, lies deep in the heart of man…so strong is our sense of it that we naturally tend to justify retaliation;” “evening the score or giving the other man what he deserves.” Jesus says this is not the way Christians should live. Paul says the same thing: “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.”

  1. The spirit of Retaliation

  1. Natural response is to hit back.

  1. God of grace is also a God of Law

  2. God restrains evil – Job 1:12

  3. Mosaic legislation – Deut. 19:21

  4. Judges inquisition – Deut. 19:18,19

  1. The Pharisees and Scribes

  1. Personal revenge

  1. Confusion of the text:

  1. This text should not be taken literally – Rom. 13:1-4; I Pet. 2:13-17)

  2. This text is not for the nations and the world.

  3. This text must be applied to Christians – Matt. 16:24

  1. The Control of the Holy Spirit

  1. Self-control one of the fruits of the Spirit – Gal. 5:22-26

  1. Slapping with the back of the hand is insulting. v.39

  2. The Corinthians were saying unkind things to Paul – (I Cor. 3:1-9; II Cor.10:7-18)

  3. When a lunatic and intoxicated man strikes you – (Lloyd-Jones)

  1. Case study:

  1. The case of Jesus’ arrest, standing before the high priest – John 18:22-23

  2. The case of Paul and Silas had been thrown into prison at Philippi – Acts 16:19-40

  1. How do we reconcile these two cases with our Lord’s Sermon?

  1. Both Jesus and Paul are not insisting on their rights.

  2. The Christian is not to be concerned about personal insults and personal defense but when it comes to justice, righteousness and truth, he must protest.

  1. Other Cases:

  1. Lawsuits – v.40 cf. Exo. 22:26,27

  2. Carrying baggage – v.41 cf. Matt. 27:32; II Pet. 18,19

  3. The Borrower – v. 42 cf. II Thess. 3:6-12; I John 3:17,18


  1. The Christian is the only person that can fulfill the attitude and disposition of the Sermon on the Mount.

  2. If you are not a Christian you must repent of your revenge and self-centered life. Christ only can give you a new life by the regenerating you by the Holy Spirit.

Pastor Nick Iamaio

Reformed Presbyterian Church, 207 South First Street, Fulton, NY 13069

Web Site