We're going to speak a little this evening about testing God.
- Deuteronomy 6:12-17
“Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.…” (KJV)
The ESV, says "You shall not put the Lord Your God to the test..."
Tempt = to test thoroughly, entice.
You shall not provoke him by entertaining doubts of his mercy, goodness, providence and truth. They tempted him at Massah - They complained that there is no water. They said, Is the Lord among us or not? They were tempting, or testing God.
After all these things that they had seen with God delivering them from Egyptian bondage and bringing them across the Red Sea they doubted God’s kindness.
- Exodus 17:5-7
There is a sense where we are not to tempt the Lord God.
Jesus quoted this verse from Deut. 6:16 when he was being tempted by Satan.
- Matthew 4:5-7
Again, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” (ESV)
We should not put our self in a dangerous situation to put the love of God to an unnecessary trial. But there is another way in which we can use the term “Testing God”, and that is to try God's way and see if it works.
- Psalm 34:8
He says to give the Lord a test, test His promises to see if He is good.
This is not tempting God or putting His love to the test. But it is testing or trying His way.
Will you try God’s way?
Give and It Will Be Given
- Luke 6:38
We receive by giving. It is not necessarily a promise of return of our gift in kind — and it does not refer only to giving of money. Give and God says you will get back considerably more than you gave out. It's not necessarily talking about money. Some say, if you give a certain amount, you will be given more in return. This is health and waealth doctrine. The Macedonian church shows that this is not so.
You give, and you will receive.
We do gain by giving. An athlete gains in strength in proportion to the energy expended. The investor gains only by investing his money. The farmer reaps only if he sows. Ships that stay in the harbor do not bring in precious cargo.
There is a blessing for the giver.
- Acts 20:35
There is a joy that you receive in giving - a satisfaction that gives the giver more than he gave to others. The giver is happier than the receiver. When you give anonymously, you gain a great feeling, expecting nothing in return. It makes you happy and is something hard to explain.
Test God's rule about giving by giving.
Giving love and kindness, give it to all who need it. Prove your love and kindness by works because love begets love.
- Ephesians 4:32
We give of ourselves, our loving kindness. We give our time, we give by serving.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” — Matthew 6:33
You'll have time to do all you need and want to do.
Ways that we can give:
- Dedicate self to God and His cause
- Give self to serve of God.
- Christianity is my vocation — work to make a living
We've got to practice good stewardship.
- Matthew 25:29
We also, can serve with our posessions. Everything we own is to be used for God's glory.
Money is a possession that truly belongs to the Lord.
- 1 Corinthians 16:1-2
We reap as we have sown.
- Galatians 6:7-8
- 2 Corinthians 9:6
Sparingly means stingily. While bountifully means generously or with largeness.
Giving is God’s way of Living
It matters not what we accumulate in life, the worth of our life will be measured by what we gave to others - a glass of water, encouragement, a helping hand when someone is down, sympathy, truth, good directions, a kind word, etc. It's what we give that really matters.
We all have something to give. Try giving yourself away.
Put God's way of giving to the test and se if He means what He says. You cannot out give God!
Humble Self and God Will Exalt You
- Luke 14:11
God is always abasing the proud and giving honors and glory to the humble.
- Proverbs 16:18
Men and God look upon humiliation as the just punishment of pride. It is a pleasure to give joy to the humble by showing them respect and honor.
Jesus tells this parable of the Pharisee and Publican to illustrate this truth.
- Luke 18:9-14
Two men went into the temple to pray. We see the prayer of pride by the Pharisee. He thought about self and not God. He said, I'm not like other men - then he listed all the good things that he does. He fasts twice in the week, and give tithes. He confessed his virtues rather than his sins.
In comparison, we see the prayer of Humility by the Publican, stood away from the Holy place. Full confession of his sins. He made no excuses, he asked for mercy.
The penitent unrighteous are more acceptable to God than the self-righteous who make no confession of their sin
We must be humble, not like the Pharisee.
I'm glad I'm not like that sinner. I attend church, I give, I pay my debts, I'm a good parent, I'm a good husband/wife. We must confess our sins and our shortcomings rather than our virtues.
What is humility? It is a lowered or afflicted state of mind or spirit that is self inflicted.
It is not to berate oneself. The person who goes around telling other people how useless he is, is merely trying to draw attention to himself like the Pharisee. This is not true humility.
True humility is a recognition of one's dependence upon God. Humility is lowliness of mind. It is man's attitude before God.
- Romans 12:3
We aren't to think of ourselves more than we ought to.
Look around, you see narcissism. Everyone is thinking of themselves. That's not the way we ought to be.
- James 4:10
No one is perfect. We've all sinned and come short of God's glory.
- Romans 3:23
In comparison to the way God wants us to live we're all way down the line. Realize that we all sin, be sorry for this, and ask God to forgive.
God will exalt those who are humble. Try his way and see if God will do it. The way up is down.
Turn the Other Cheek and Love Your Enemy
- Matthew 5:39
- Luke 6:29
A slap is considered as an insult it is not a threat to our life. It is sometimes better to suffer wrong than to retaliate. We must judge when and how to apply this rule.
- John 18:19-23
Jesus did not retaliate and try to get even.
- John 18:23
He didn't threaten or slap back. The principle and spirit that Jesus here gives are against retaliation, and emphasize his statement, "Resist not him that is evil."
In what sense may we not resist? In the sense of doing evil for evil; we are not to oppose violence with violence.
We are not to "fight fire with fire." We are to "be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good," is the method that Christians are to use in opposing evil; our warfare is to overcome, not evil with evil, but evil with good.
Jesus’ conduct when slapped illustrates his meaning. He turned the other cheek.
Rather than resent the first insult, Jesus teaches that we are to submit to a second; he does not mean that we should invite a repetition of the insult, but that we should meekly endure it and suffer another rather than resist evil with evil.
While the law of Moses allowed the injured party to seek revenge, Jesus prohibits his disciples from taking the advantage of this law.
This passage doesn't take into consideration one who is defending himself or others.
- Luke 22:36
This sword was for personal protection, defensively. There is the differnce, between the slap on the face and someone coming after you with a knife intent to harm.
- Romans 12:14-21
When someone persecutes you, bless them. Do not repay evil with evil. Try to live peaceably with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, vengeance belongs to God. Heap coals of fire on the head of your enemy. Make them feel guilty. You aren't doing it to get revenge, but rather it causes their conscience to burn, and may bring about a change of behavior.
“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Love your enemy. The person who slaps you on the cheek must be an enemy. Don't hate or hold a grudge. Don't try to get even. These attitudes of revenge and hate do more harm to you than anyone else.
Love your enemy because it's best for you as well as them. Test God's way about turning the other cheek and see if it works.
The commands of God, when put to the test has never been found wanting.
- Psalms 111:7
God's promises are secure.
- Psalms 18:30
Try God’s Way. Put your trust in Him, it Works!
- Psalms 34:8
We don't have to know everything about God's plans, but we have to trust Him.
Believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He was sent to die for your sins. Repent, of your sins turning to walk a new life, confess that He is the Son of God and be baptized for the remission of your sins. Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Gospel Advocate Commentary on Matt. 5:39 Based on a sermon by Arthur Pigman