Sunday Morning Nov. 20, 2011

Posted by Sherry

NO PERSONAL VENGEANCE

Romans 12:19-21

CBC 11/20/11 SM


V14 Picture of our interaction w/ one another

  • bless, rejoice, associate w/ the lowly, live peaceably...

READ TEXT begin w/ v14

Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them.

15Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others' joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others' grief].

16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits.(A)

17Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone.(B)

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

19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God's] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord.(C)

20But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.(D)

21Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good.

  • that’s against our very nature
  • we delight in vengeance
  • movie lines “go ahead, make my day”
  • bad guy all bad, all the time, nothing redeemable, so in the end u can rejoice when a human life is taken
  • soldiers coming home from war are seeing people’s faces in their dreams of people they have killed...we weren’t designed to kill people
  • Paul says, DO NOT AVENGE YOURSELVES”
  • Paul didn’t say, “Do Not Defend Yourselves, loved ones, borders”
    • that’s not what is called for,
  • Some think there should be NO RETRIBUTION AT ALL
    • that’s why they have a problem with the place called HELL
    • They don’t think God should take vengeance on the wicked
    • slap those people & before they think they will slap you back (exacting vengeance...)
    • all three institutions God gave authority have instruments of retribution
      • home - rod - spanking
      • church - keys - excommunication
      • civil government - sword - execution
  • Not talking about acting in our “institutional capacity”, carrying out the justice that is required
    • Is talking about taking vengeance when someone has wronged me
    • Police Officer - must determine if the offender has offended the “law” or the “officer”
      • Officer must enforce the law
      • Officer is not to avenge personal offenses
  • Def. Vengeance - the infliction of pain upon another in return for an injury or offense. Such infliction when it proceeds from malice or mere resentment and is not necessarily required for the purposes of justice is revenge and a most heinous crime. When such infliction proceeds from a mere love of justice and the necessity of punishing offenders for the support of the laws, it is vengeance, and is warrantable and just. In this case vengeance is a just retribution, recompense or punishment.
    • we tend to live as if someone offends us, because we are the center of the universe, somebody is gonna pay
    • when we avenge ourself it is “sinful”
  • Vengeance in the right sense is the vindication of God’s Righteousness
    • vindication of God’s justice
    • it is necessary, required, holy, righteous & good

Revelation 19:11-16

Revelation 20:7-10; v13-15

That is Vengeance - it’s Holy, Right, Required & Good...BUT IT A’INT YOU!...IT’S JESUS!!

  • WHAT’S WRONG WITH AVENGING YOURSELF?
    • 1. Avenging ourselves means viewing ourselves in the place of God
      • there is only one that is “righteous” and needs to be vindicated & that’s God
      • if I believe I need to be vindicated then I must think I’m “Righteous”
      • king David - against You and You alone have I sinned
      • in a sense we can only sin against God, not another human being
      • our sin against God can “involve” another human being
      • we can sin against God through our actions toward another human being
      • but human beings are “sinful creatures”
      • If I believe I am worthy of exacting vengeance upon another
        • then I’m putting myself at the center of the universe
        • putting myself as the “standard” of living
        • putting myself as the one against whom people commit sins
        • so that I am Right when I speak & Justified when I judge
        • & that is BLASPHEMY! of the highest order
    • 2. If I avenge myself means I’m satisfied with a finite (limited) punishment when an infinite (unlimited) on is what is deserved
      • when someone sins, say it is against me, what satisfies me is IF I GET TO PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE
      • so I feel that they have received from me, punishment, significant enough to satisfy the “RIGHTEOUS REQUIREMENT”
      • God disagrees!
      • He says SIN is worse than that.
      • Sin deserves a greater punishment than we can muster up on this earth

James 1:19,20 Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.

20For man's anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires].

  • We cannot repay evil
    • our anger is insufficient
    • our retribution is insufficient
    • our vengeance is insufficient
    • 3. Third problem is considering our sin worthy of forgiveness and theirs worthy of wrath
      • someone sins against us and we feel we need to exact justice from them
      • truth is as we stand there and speak, our anger is worthy of death and hell
      • we’re such hypocrites that we don’t even see it

WHAT SHOULD OUR RESPONSE BE AS BELIEVERS IF WE ARE WRONGED?

  • First, remember we are as guilty as our fellow man
    • Next, insisting on vengeance is a hypocritical act based on the “grace” we have received
    • Romans ch 1-11 calls us to remember who we are ...forgiven sinners
    • we, ourselves have sinned greater against God than anyone will ever sin against us, don’t forget that
    • we are breathing borrowed air
    • God doesn’t let us live b/c we make Him feel warm and fuzzy on the inside
    • We live b/c God killed His Son for us
  • Second, Know that God is serious about sin and He will make all things right
    • that will change our attitude about vengeance
    • if you have no hope there is a just God, then in your mind, it’s up to you to settle the score
    • when your trust is in God, you don’t have to live w/ an overwhelming desire to make things right
    • when you exact vengeance the byproducts are sleepless nights & guilt...NOT SATISFACTION

V19 Beloved (happy, fortunate & to be envied), never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God's] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord.

  • Do you believe that?
    • when you avenge yourself you testify that you don’t believe that
    • you don’t believe God can do it right
    • world justice wants to punch them in the face ourselves
    • God takes sin so seriously He crushed and killed His own Son
    • God will make all things right
    • Jesus was crucified to prove that
    • We’re not the Hatfields & McCoys...we are the REDEEMED
  • Third, Must have a desire to see our fellow man experience forgiveness as provided by Jesus on the cross
    • Two ways that sin can be paid for
      • in an eternity in torment, separated from God
      • or it can be paid for at the cross
      • our desire, as Christians, should be to see it taken care of at the cross
      • if you want to “SEE THEM BURN IN HELL”...are you sure you’re a Christian
        • you don’t want them to hear the Gospel
        • you don’t want to see their sin washed in the blood of Christ
        • you want them to pay an eternal price
        • you want to speak words that hurt them
        • you want to punch them in the face
        • you want to take their life b/c they hurt you b/c the death of Christ wasn’t enough
        • sounds like it’s ALL ABOUT YOU!!!!
        • b/c God’s satisfaction was complete in the death & resurrection of His Son
        • what made you special to be “saved” and them not special and condemned?
        • might want to check your salvation experience...not much Christian fruit in that

v 20 (to the contrary) But if your enemy is hungry, feed him;(do you want them to starve?) if he is thirsty, give him drink;(do you want them to die of thirst?) for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.

  • you show kindness in the HOPE that kindness will lead them to repentance
    • God doesn’t show His wrath immediately
    • God is longsuffering
    • God not willing that any should perish
    • refusal of the Christian is an important testimony the Holy Spirit uses to convict the errant sinner
    • when they wrong us, they in effect have WRONGED GOD
    • You and I wronged God...and He showed us mercy...
    • they have the opportunity to repent, JUST LIKE US
    • When we want to avenge ourselves we “theologically” want to ADD TO CHRIST’S DEATH ON THE CROSS
    • are you Better than Christ?
  • Fourth: Our desire should be to see God purge that anger/hatred response from us when we are wronged
    • that response is actually a sin as bad as what happened to us
    • that’s a reminder that we think too much of ourself
    • we don’t think God’s wrath is enough
    • we don’t want Christ to have the reward for repaying evil, WE WANT THE REWARD & SATISFACTION
    • THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU GO TO THE CROSS????? WE WEREN’T WORTHY
    • we need to repent of that sinful response of feeling anger & hatred & revenge

v 21 Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good.

  • the desire to avenge myself is a sin for which Christ died
    • we need to lay it down every time it rises up
    • being overcome by evil is that incorrect response when we are wronged
      • that desire for revenge
    • overcome that evil desire...BY DOING GOOD!
      • confessing our weakness
      • remembering that Jesus said He has overcome the world
      • remember that we are more than conquerors IN CHRIST
      • request to be used of God to win this person to Christ & lead them to salvation

Matt 5:38-42You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.(A)

39But I say to you, Do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too.

40And if anyone wants to sue you and take your undershirt (tunic), let him have your coat also.

41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two [miles].

42Give to him who keeps on begging from you, and do not turn away from him who would borrow [[a]at interest] from you.

  • This is about us and personal retribution
    • this doesn’t do away with the Rod, Keys & Sword
    • this doesn’t do away with the institutions God has put in place to avenge wrong doing
    • this is about us (personally) and how we respond to people

I Thess. 5:15 See that none of you repays another with evil for evil, but always aim to show kindness and seek to do good to one another and to everybody.

I Peter 3:9 Never return evil for evil or insult for insult (scolding, tongue-lashing, berating), but on the contrary blessing [praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them]. For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God--that you may obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection].

  • to give place to wrath is to give to the LORD the right of Judging
    • we step in front, and take away His right, when we seek to avenge ourselves
    • last SN we read where Jesus had to tell Peter, “get the BEHIND me Satan, you’re in my way”
    • it is a SIN to usurp the authority of God, who do we think we are?

CONCL:

  • Do you believe that God is just...or do you not?
  • if you believe He is just...do not anticipate His judgment, He knows more than us
  • don’t jump the gun and try to do now what God will do at the appointed time
  • this is not about self-defense or the authority He has given to His appointed institutions
  • God is the Judge & God is the Avenger
  • remember, even the judgments & avenging of the appointed institutions are mere foreshadows of judgment to come
  • NOTE: if you are an “officer” in one of those institutions (home, church, government)...
    • do your job, but NEVER AVENGE YOURSELF!
    • avenging yourself shows “arrogance and hypocrisy”
    • sin against us from someone is proof positive, THEY NEED JESUS!
    • GOD is the only one that needs vindication...and He’s capable of taking care of that Himself!

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