Sunday, June 20, 2010

What is Sin - Part 8 : Getting Even

WHAT IS SIN?
Part 8 - Getting Even
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


INTRODUCTION

It is sometimes easy for us to remind ourselves, “vengeance is mine, saith the Lord”, when someone does us wrong.

We may struggle with turning the other cheek when someone does us wrong, but we know what the word says; and what we are “supposed” to do.

Sin can trap us in many ways when someone else does us wrong.

There is the more obvious payback, which is to take revenge into our own hands paying back in deed or action.

Doing evil in turn to the one who did us wrong, many times in ways worse than was done to us.

 Then there is the not so obvious, to pay back in words, speaking evil about or against the one who wronged us, while bragging pride-fully about how we will not return evil for evil.

Then there is the illusive, almost invisible to the consciousness sin of the so-called “righteous lust for God’s vengeance”.

We acknowledging the wrong done against us, then gleefully await God’s punishment on our offenders, even speaking of it and about it, calling on God to “payback” and “seek revenge” for the wrong done to us.

How prideful are we.  So wrapped up in ourselves, and our own conceit, that we believe every little injustice committed toward us must be met with God’s wrath, all the while ignoring our sinfulness against God.

Last week we spoke about the narcissist, and how they are self centered, and lack compassion and empathy for others.

Today we will look at how we may sin in our actions, words or thoughts if we are not mindful, and how our pride and conceit is the beginning for the sin of revenge.

Revenge, is a sin whether actually acted out in deed, spoke of in word or plotted in thought.

For those who do not struggle with your actions of revenge, and perhaps not even with the words, I caution you to the unseen pitfalls of your thoughts.

Perhaps you do not plan revenge in your mind, but welcome the notion of God getting even for you, as if He is a great Genie awaiting your command to seek out and vanquish all who oppose your will.

Do you have the sin of “righteous lust” for God’s vengeance?







SCRIPTURE READING

Romans 12:16-21
16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
   
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
   In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.



I.                   ROMANS 12:16-21
a.       16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

                                                             i.      Before we are warned about revenge...the scriptures tell us a little about what causes us to seek revenge.

1.      Pride and conceit (opposite of humility)

2.      We are to have the same mind toward other people, whether great, small, rich or poor...we are not to classify people...this is judging others!

a.      I hate it when I see followers of Christ treat people differently based on the person’s status.

b.     I have witnessed people treat other persons a certain way, until they found out the other person had money, then the treatment towards them immediately changed.

c.      This ungodly behavior is the sin of pride and conceit.

3.      Words are words, but your actions reveal your heart.

b.      17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
                                                             i.      Our command is followed this warning.

1.      We are to take careful forethought in our behaviors and outward expressions. 

2.      Are you rightly representing Christ?  Are you behaving like a child of God?

c.      18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

                                                             i.      God knows we do not have control over the conduct of other people, but the idea here, is that WE as Follower’s of Christ, are NOT the cause or initiative of disturbing peace.


d.     19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath,

                                                             i.      Leaving room for God’s wrath simply means that, when we take revenge, whether in action, word or thought, we are taking God’s work out of His hand.

1.      In essence, when we take revenge in any form, we are acting as if WE are God.

2.      We do not know how God is working in another person’s life, or where God is growing someone.  We may unintentionally destroy the work God is doing in a person’s life by taking the situation out of God’s hands, and placing it in our own.

3.      Do you want to explain to the Lord why you did not think He was doing a good enough job, and needed YOU to do His work for Him?

e.      it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
                                                             i.      You do not know who is receiving God’s Grace, nor who will receive God’s wrath...it is not your concern.

                                                          ii.      Exodus 33:19 “And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

f.       20On the contrary:
   "If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
   In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

                                                             i.      If you act in kindness simply because you think you are going to “heap burning coals” on the offenders head, then you have just sinned.

1.      How?   We are not commanded by God to act in kindness, and expect the result to be payback...that would make no sense whatsoever.

2.      We are commanded to repay evil with goodness.
a.      In the Temple, coals of fire were taken from the Brazen Altar, which represents the cross, and placed on the Altar of incense.
b.      The cross diverted judgment to intercession, of which the Altar of Incense represents.
c.      By showing kindness to an enemy, we are diverting judgment, and showing mercy which God has shown us.
                                                                                                                                      i.      Do not show kindness in hopes of burning coals being heaped upon someone’s head for payback.
                                                                                                                                   ii.      This would be contrary to the two previous versus and contradictory to all of the commands to abstain from judgment, and vengeance.

g.      21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

                                                             i.      Evil returned will only breed more evil.


II.               WHAT THE WORD SAYS

a.      In the Old Testament
                                                             i.      Leviticus 19:18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

                                                          ii.      Proverbs 24:29 “Do not say, "I'll do to him as he has done to me; I’ll pay that man back for what he did."


b.     In the New Testament
                                                             i.      1 Thessalonians 5:15 “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.”


III.            WHAT DID JESUS SAY AND DO?
a.      What Jesus Said
                                                             i.      Matthew 5:38-45 38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
 43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.

1.      Turning the other cheek is figurative, not literal.
a.      When Jesus was struck in the cheek in John 18:22-23, He did not turn the other cheek to be struck again, but rebuked the assailant.

2.      Love is our command here...

b.     What Jesus Did
                                                             i.      1 Peter 2:23 “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

                                                          ii.      Luke 9:54-55 51As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" 55But Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56and they went to another village.”


IV.            VENGEANCE BELONGS TO THE LORD ALONE
a.      Deuteronomy 32:35 “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
       In due time their foot will slip;
       their day of disaster is near
       and their doom rushes upon them."



CONCLUSION

God commands that we love Him with all of our mind, heart, body and soul.

We are not loving God with all of our heart, mind, body or soul when we sin in action, word or thought.

When we seek revenge for a wrong, whether in deed, or with words or with righteous lust for God’s vengeance, we are not loving our neighbor as ourselves, we are not loving Christ (...if you love me you will obey all that I command.), and we are not loving God with our hearts, mind, body or soul.

This sin of vengeance is a trap that can capture us in many ways, we must remain mindful of our actions, careful of our words, and even more careful of our thoughts as we act in LOVE towards others, that we do not lust and long for God to “pay them back” for the wrong against us.

This thinking is sinful because of revenge, and it’s sinful because when you think in this way, you are filled with pride and conceit.