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Apr 14, 2019

Killing me softly with his song

Killing me softly with his song

Passage: Matthew 5:38-42

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: The Highest Good

At first glance these four instructions of Jesus--two of them expressing some famous ideas like turning the other cheek and going the extra mile--seem to have nothing in common. Look closer and we find not only their coherence but the underlying sickness each represents a healing of. Think longer about Who’s saying it, and we have the remedy that heals the sickness.

Order of Worship

Pre-Service Text: 1 Peter 2:21-22
Call To Worship: from Zechariah 9:9, Psalm 118:26
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9
New Testament Reading: Luke 19:28-40
Sermon: Killing me softly with his song
Central Text: Matthew 5:38-42
Benediction: Jude v24-25
Post-Service Text: Matthew 5:41

04.14.19 Sermon Notes


Les Miserables - Back To God

Readings & Scripture

Pre-Service Text: 1 Peter 2:21-22
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.

Call To Worship: from Zechariah 9:9, Psalm 118:26
LEADER: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!

ALL: Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!

LEADER: Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,

ALL: humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

LEADER: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

ALL: We bless you from the house of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9
4 The Lord God has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught.
5 The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious;
I turned not backward.
6 I gave my back to those who strike,
and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;
I hid not my face
from disgrace and spitting.
7 But the Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
8 He who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who is my adversary?
Let him come near to me.
9 Behold, the Lord God helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment;
the moth will eat them up.

New Testament Reading: Luke 19:28-40
28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

Central Text: Matthew 5:38-42
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Benediction: Jude vv24-25
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Post-Service Text: Matthew 5:41
41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Related Scriptures:

  • Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21
    Deuteronomy 15:8
  • Isaiah 50:4-9
  • Luke 19:28-40
  • Psalm 37:21
  • Lamentations 3:30
  • Matthew 4:8-11
  • 1 Corinthians 4:3
  • 1 Corinthians 6:5-8
  • Romans 12:17
  • 1 Peter 2:21-23
  • 1 John 3:17, 18

Discussion Questions & Applications:

  1. When’s a time you were harmed, or accused, or demanded of in unjust ways? What was your first response, and was the way you began to respond the way you finally ended up responding? Why? What was most at stake in that moment in the way you responded?
  2. Why do Jesus’s instructions here seem so contrary to nature or sense?
  3. What else do we know from Jesus’s words and life that might suggest Jesus’s words here are more dramatic than literal--even though there is definitive instruction in them? (For instance, consider how Jesus defends those whom others were seeking to condemn in thought--Luke 7:39f--or in lethal fashion--John 7:53-8:11. Or how we’re to respond to someone who has offended us--Matthew 18. Or how Paul speaks of authorities as those who are given authority to restrain evil--Romans 13:4)?
  4. In contrast to other passages in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus mentions no reasons or purposes for why to do what He asks here (though reasons may be tied to a later verse). What might be the reasons or purposes for each of these instructions?
  5. How did Jesus himself follow His own teaching in this passage? What was it a demonstration of? How is His obedience meant to influence what He calls of us here?


  • There was a day when I died, utterly died, died to George Müller and his opinions, preferences, tastes and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends; and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God.  - George Müller
  • “Well,” says Buck, “a feud is this way: A man has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then that other man’s brother kills HIM; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then the COUSINS chip in—and by and by everybody’s killed off, and there ain’t no more feud. But it’s kind of slow, and takes a long time.” - Buck to Huck in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • This word is too high and too hard that anyone should fulfill it. This is proved, not merely by our Lord’s word, but by our own experience and feeling. Take any upright man or woman. He will get along very nicely with those who do not provoke him, but let someone proffer only the slightest irritation and he will flare up in anger... if not against friends, then against enemies. Flesh and blood cannot rise above it.  - Martin Luther
  • I've seen too much hate to want to hate, myself, and every time I see it, I say to myself, hate is too great a burden to bear. Somehow we must be able to stand up against our most bitter opponents and say: We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you.... But be assured that we'll wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves; we will appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory. - Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Evil will become powerless when it finds no opposing object, no resistance, but, instead, is willingly borne and suffered. Evil meets an opponent for which it is not a match.  - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • At the heart of the cross is Christ’s stance of not letting the other remain an enemy and of creating space in himself for the offender to come in.  - Miroslav Volf
  • When peace with our neighbor is banished [from] the heart on the matter of worldly possessions, it is plain that our estate is more loved than our neighbor.  - Gregory the Great
  • Don’t just do something, stand there. - Simone Weil
  • It is just our Lord’s way of saying that the spirit which says, “What I have I hold, and what is mine is mine; and I cannot listen to the request of those other people because ultimately I may suffer” is completely wrong. He is rebuking the wrong spirit of those who are always considering themselves, whether they are being struck on the face, or whether their coat is being taken, or whether they are compelled to carry the baggage or to give of their own goods and wealth to help someone in need. . . . It is all a question of this attitude towards self. - David Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  • . . .the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less. Tim Keller, The Freedom of Blessed Self-Forgetfulness



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