Studies in the Sermon on the Mount | Page 154 of 351

Author: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 944 Views | Add a Review

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' As Christians, our state of mind and spiritual condition should be such that no power can insult us.

There are thousands of Christian people who are in this position today in occupied countries, and we know not what

may be coming to us. It may be that we shall be subjected ourselves some day to a tyrannous power which we naturally hate and which will compel us to do things we dislike. This is the way in which you are to behave in such circumstances, says Christ.

You do not stand up for your rights; you do not show the bitterness of the natural man. You have another spirit. We must get into that spiritual state and condition in which we are invulnerable to these attacks which come upon us in different ways.

There is one qualification which must be added. This injunc tion does not say that we are not entitled to a change of government. But this must always be done by lawful means. Let us change the law if we can, as long as we do it constitutionally and in a lawful manner. It does not say that we must take no interest in politics and in the reform of law. Certainly, if reform seems necessary, let us seek to achieve it, but only within the framework of the law.

If we believe that a particular law includes injustices, then in the name of justice, not for our own personal feelings, nor for our own private gain, let us try to change the law. Let us be certain however that our interest in the change is never personal and selfish, but that it is always done in the interest of government and justice and truth and righteousness.

The last point, which we can only touch upon, is the whole question of giving and lending. `Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.'

Of course, this again could be interpreted in a mechanical and literal manner so as to make it ridiculous. But what it really means can be put in this form. It is this denial of self once more.

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.

Let us now go immediately to the qualification, realizing that that is the principle. Our Lord does not encourage us here to help frauds or professional beggars or drunkards. I put it like this plainly because we all have these experiences. A man comes to you under the influence of drink and asks you to give him some money. Although he says he wants it for a night's lodging you know he will go immediately and spend it upon drink. Our Lord does not tell us to encourage or help such a man. He is not even considering that. What He is considering is the tendency of a man because of self, and a self-centred spirit, not to help those who are in real need. It is this holding on to what is mine that He is concerned about. We can therefore put it like this. We must always be ready to listen and to give a man the benefit of the doubt. It is not something we do mechanically or thoughtlessly.

We must think, and say: Ìf this man is in need, it is my business to help him if I We must think, and say: Ìf this man is in need, it is my business to help him if I am in a position to do so. I may be taking a risk, but if he is in need I will help him.' The apostle John gives us a perfect exposition of this. `But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth' (i Jn. iii. 17, 18). That is the way we are to follow. `Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother

have need.' The man under the influence of drink who asks us for money is not in need, neither is the man who lives by this sort of thing and is too lazy to work.

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