Temple Baptist Church - 3-27-2016
1 Thessalonians 5:15
A. As Paul continues in his exhortation to the church, he deals with the subject of “Getting Even.”
1. If any man ever had a right to “get even,” the Apostle Paul did. Rejected of Christians that were Jews because of his past and distained, castigated, ostracized, abused, beaten, imprisoned everywhere he went because of his present.
2. In the days of my youth, I often heard “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Today, it is “I don’t get mad, I get even!” “Do unto others as others do unto you” is a famous misquote that is often used. Some even say, “Do unto others before they do unto you!”
B. The Jewish Law was broken down into three distinct categories:
1) The Moral Law the Law of Holiness The moral law of the Ten Commandments is an expression of God’s character; it is the standard of all righteousness, an expression of His will. The moral law is the embodiment of two great principles: a) Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength b) love thy neighbor as thyself. It is called the Royal Law.
Mark 12:30-31 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (31) And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
2) The Civil Law or Law of Retribution. A body of the laws of God regulating both civil and private matters along with the penalty for breaking them.
3) The Ceremonial Law or Law of Worship. Ceremonial laws were given by God to Israel, and they pointed forward prophetically to their fulfillment in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These laws made a distinction between what was clean and unclean; set forth the holiness of God; and set up the Old Testament priesthood along with how sinful men were to approach a thrice holy God.
C. In Exodus 20, we find the Moral Law as God gave the Ten Commandments. In Exodus 21, we find the Civil Law as God commanded justice in the form of Retribution. Exodus 21:1 Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.
Exodus 21:18-25 And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed: (19) If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed. (20) And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. (21) Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money. (22) If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. (23) And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, (24) Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, (25) Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
D. An ”eye for eye, tooth for a tooth” was never intended for personal retribution, it was the Civil Law to be dispensed by those in authority, not by the one injured.
1. The Civil Law of Israel was one of retribution, not incarceration. You find no Jewish prisons. The first mention of prison was found in Genesis 30 and referred to the prison in Egypt. In the New Testament, all prisons were Gentile, both Roman and otherwise.
2. Though our system of Civil Law is both retribution and incarceration, it still reflect the Civil Law of the Old Testament.
3. A good example of the retribution of an “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” is found in the Book of Judges:
Judges 1:4-7 And Judah went up; and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand: and they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men. (5) And they found Adonibezek in Bezek: and they fought against him, and they slew the Canaanites and the Perizzites. (6) But Adonibezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes. (7) And Adonibezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.
4. The Apostle Paul suffered the retribution of injustice at least 5x at the hands of the Jews.
2 Corinthians 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
E. Now, the message is very simple tonight. “See that none render evil for evil unto any man!”
1. Realize that people are going to do you evil and, if you are living for God, persecute you! Life is hard, God is despised, and you will not be popular with the world! 2 Timothy 3:10-12 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, (11) Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. (12) Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
2. Learn to forgive if they apologize to you or not. Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (Those that Jesus forgave continued on as they were.)
3. Overcome evil with good. Romans 12:20-21 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. (21) Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
4. Put the past in its proper perspective, the past. Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
5. Learn to act, not react. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (32) Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: (33) Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.