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Retaliation and Love Your Enemies

Matthew 5:38-48

Retaliation and Love Your Enemies

Matthew 5:38-48

Sermon Notes

Preacher: Joel Fair

Matthew 4:17

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 5:17 & 20 

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them…For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven

Psalm 51:17

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise

Psalm 34:18 

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit

Deuteronomy 6:4-6

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.


Leviticus 24:17-20

Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death. Whoever takes an animal’s life shall make it good, life for life. If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him, fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him.


Leviticus 19:17-18. 

You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. 

Who can walk in the way of the King?

A. Only the king has walked it perfectly

B. Jesus the King was humiliated and suffered it without resisting

C. Jesus bore our sin and shame all the way to the cross. 

1. He was slapped in the face before the High Priest 

2. He was stripped naked and bare by the soldiers outside Pilates court

3. He was conscripted to carry his own cross to his death

4. Even on the cross he was begged of by the dying thief and

he did not withhold but offered grace for his belief

D. Now we too can walk in the way of the King

Hebrews 10:12-14

But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. 

Celebration Song List


Joyful (The One Who Saves)


CONNECT Our Need for Christ

What A Friend We Have In Jesus

COMMUNITY In the Word and Communion

Christ The Sure And Steady Anchor


Forever Reign

You Alone Can Rescue

Community Group Questions


In these two illustrations Jesus is pointing to his fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets from 5:17-20. Jesus begins both illustrations in our text with "You have heard that it was said" (Vs 38 & 43).

Read the following verses together and discuss the OT teachings that Jesus is addressing and how he is fulfilling it in Matthew 5:38-42? Look for what he is exposing in our hearts that shows up when we follow the "letter of the law". Ex. 21:24, Lev. 24:20, Deut. 19:21


Jesus's teaching on retaliation is contrary to our "natural inclination". Share a time recently when you have been humiliated or had your pride wounded and describe how you reacted. If it was a humble and meek reaction rejoice together for the work God is doing in His people to make us his ambassadors! If it was not God honoring, repent and rejoice in the grace of God for the forgiveness of our sin!

I would encourage you to take a few extra moments and discuss what it is we are believing when respond out of the flesh and what we need to be reminded of to respond in a way that is Christ Like.


Read Leviticus 19:9-18 together and discuss the OT teachings that Jesus is addressing and how he is fulfilling it in Matthew 5:43-47? Look for how the original teaching may have been distorted to what was "being heard" when Jesus shows up. How do we tend to distort the teachings of Jesus to love our enemies today? What are the qualifications we have for our neighbors?


Finally, Jesus ends the passage with the statement "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." How has Jesus both loved his enemies and submitted to humiliation perfectly? How is it possible for us to live perfectly in the way of the King?