Restraint, Not Revenge

Cost of Discipleship

Scott StephanOctober 29, 2023

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Passage: Matthew 5:33


  • Entering God's family is only through adoption, which he paid for fully in Christ - we contribute nothing.
  • But belonging to God's family as disciples costs us our very lives and allegiance to follow Jesus.
  • Jesus redefines "neighbor" to include enemies - his kingdom operates by loving enemies, radical counter to the world.
  • This doesn't deny God's just judgments in the OT, but Jesus ushers in a new way of overcoming evil with good.
  • Loving enemies is the distinguishing mark of Christ-followers - it shows we belong to a radical kingdom.
  • We fail at this - harboring anger rather than understanding for those different than us politically, etc.
  • The Table invites all who trust Jesus despite earthly divisions - it represents the unifying grace of the gospel.
  • Apologizing for representing the kingdom poorly is important - shining Christ attracts, religious superiority repels.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you think Christians have done a good job of "loving enemies" and blessing opponents versus just loving "neighbors"? Why or why not?
  2. What makes it so countercultural to love across sharp political/cultural divides? What tends to happen instead?
  3. How have you wrestled with hard OT passages about destruction of enemies versus Jesus' teaching to love enemies?
  4. Why does love of enemies set Christians apart? How might this kind of radical love overcome evil?
  5. When have you seen "in house" fighting amongst Christians undermine our witness more than unbelievers?
  6. How can we have conviction but communicate it with Christlike grace and patience versus pride or condemnation?
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