THE SECOND MILE

2 Oct

Matthew 5:38-42

38 “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 an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.41 Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

Mt. 5:41…  Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.

. Jesus said this is important for His disciples to get a handle on early in their Christian walk. Vs. 41 is the “Second Mile Verse”. Yet not many Christians apply themselves to this principle today.

To introduce the message today let me begin by explaining some of the wording and customs of the day in which the Scripture was written.

The word “compel” carries with it the idea of “a readiness and willingness to submit to inconvenience or unreasonable demands.”

The Roman mile was 1000 paces or 1520 yards…a little shorter than the English mile.

In context this has reference to the Roman Army; if a Roman soldier demanded that a Jewish man carry his burden a mile, which was what the law specified, then Jesus said that he should carry it twain, or two miles.

But notice the wording that Jesus uses. He doesn’t say anything about a Roman Soldier. He says, “And whosoever shall compel you”. To you and I today this would mean, “If a neighbor” or a “co-worker” or a “church member” would compel us to do a certain thing then we should do twice as much as they expect us to do.

“Go with him two”. This requires a cheerful compliance with the Roman law.

Scripture tells us of another who was “compelled” as Jesus made His way to Golgotha:
Mat 27:32 “And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.”

Simon Cyrene had no choice but to carry the cross, but Jesus says the Second Mile will be up to our own volunteering.

The Second Mile will not be an enjoyable trip unless we do it for the Lord.

There are some things about the “Second Mile” that keep some Christians from traveling it:

THE SECOND MILE IS A LONELY ROAD

(Just the Lord and you.) Are you traveling the Second Mile, or are you the cause of someone else traveling the Second Mile? There are only two types of Christians on this roadway; those who travel the Second Mile willingly, and those who force others to travel it. (The Roman Soldier was the reason for Jewish boys to be traveling the Second Mile.)

It’s not crowded. It gets lonely on the Second Mile. Not many there that you can fellowship with.

But Jesus is there on the second mile.
And Satan is there also.
Lonely…

THE SECOND MILE NEVER ENDS

It has no ending marker. If you are following this radical philosophy of Jesus and someone asks you where you are at in your Christian life, you should answer them, “I am on the Second Mile.” You can’t say, “I am at the halfway point or three-fourths. There is no end to the Second Mile. The Bible never introduces a “Third Mile.” The good news is that if you are a Second Mile Christian you’re never “over the hill!” And the finish line may not be in sight, but we know it’s out there by faith, and will suddenly appear w/ a shout of an angel and the blast of a trump!

Let me ask you, “How long have you been on the Second Mile?” “Are you on the Second Mile?”

A Coast Guard crew was summoned on a stormy night to rescue survivors from a sinking vessel. One member of the crew was fearful: “Captain,” he moaned, “we’ll never get back.” “Our orders aren’t to come back, only to go.”

THE SECOND MILE WILL ALWAYS BE UNDER ATTACK

There will be a lot of land mines on this mile.

From Satan.
1. He will be trying to lure you off to the side somehow.
2. He may use friends.
3. He may use family.
4. He may use fear.

From the “Seated”…We Can Expect Attacks From Those Who Refuse To Go The Second Mile. “Why are you always down there at the church?”  Or, the discouraging attack of the seated as they won’t help, won’t attend, won’t help make things a success. And yet will expect it to get done and complain and point fingers if not! It’s discouraging and lonely enough already, can’t you help?

A carnal Christian has no boundary of what he expects a “Second Mile” Christian to do. They won’t do it themselves, but they think everyone else should.

We give Satan a lot of credit, but we are our 2nd worst enemy as we continue the abuse and neglect of our own!

THE SECOND MILE IS A BURDENSOME ROAD

Gal. 6:2  Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

The Jewish lad was to carry the Roman soldier’s burden for one mile. Jesus changed that and said to carry it two miles.

When I hear all of these energetic people always wanting to do something – go somewhere – put yet another iron on the fire – etc. I think “why aren’t they tired?” The Second Mile is a burdensome road. How can they have so much energy? Then I think, maybe they aren’t on the Second Mile.
But…

THE SECOND MILE LEADS TO JOY.

That First Mile was required by law, but the Second Mile is continued voluntarily.

I hope every person in this room is tuned in right now. I am going to give you the reason why perhaps your life is not as joyful as it should be.

Happiness of the heart never seeks recognition. The happiness of the heart is all the reward a Second Miler needs.

Many church members have that “consumer mentality”. They want to be served…they like it that way.
A Christian is never to even think of being served by anyone

.
Mt. 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Jesus said he came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. We need a contributor mentality, not a consumer mentality.

Christian joy and happiness never comes from being served, but from serving. You won’t find one Scripture that even hints that you should be on the receiving end of serving.

The reason your home may not be as happy as it should be is because someone is not going the Second Mile.

When each family member is willing to be a Second Miler, there will be happiness in the home.

If every married couple in this church would ignore self when it comes to wants and wishes and then go the Second Mile – every home would be much happier. [focus on self when being critical, lest you be “hypo” critical!]

THE SECOND MILE LEADS TO REWARDS

Rewards will only be given to those who travel the Second Mile…and that w/ the right motive.

If you sacrifice in order that you will receive rewards; the rewards will never come, but if you sacrifice because you love the Lord, then your rewards will be immeasurable.

Why should each Christian go the Second Mile? Because the Lord Jesus Christ went all the way to Calvary for us.

Hebrews 11 is filled with Second Milers. (Read)
God’s Word is filled with Second Milers!

THE SECOND MILE IS DIFFERENT FOR EACH ONE.

[this is why we need to bear one another’s burdens, and count our blessings…not all have the same stretch of road ahead of them, and yet:]
Now listen to me very closely…

None will be excused from the second mile because of infirmity.

There is much that can be done and still be in pain. I believe that God expects each Christian to serve through the pain and discomfort. I have not found any scripture that would relieve from duty those who are in pain. I believe God expects each of us to continue on when we may not want to. And nodding heads now testify to the fact that it actually helps to stay focused on something else and stay busy. And God gets great glory when He’s counted worthy of that!

Think about the challenge left by Paul in (Phil 4:4) “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” What did Paul have to rejoice about? How many of you could put the following in your resume, or your diary?
2 Cor. 11:23-28…

23 Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in [b]far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship,through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.

After having many hard experiences, notice what he said:

Phil 3:13-14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” 
We can be sure that Paul had much physical damage to his body from all that happened to him, but he kept on going.

I think what Paul is saying in Vs. 13, is that he doesn’t consider to have gained anything of any value, – no possessions, no attainment. Nothing in his past or present is going to have any control or any determination on his pressing toward the mark for Christ.

I get a little bit discouraged when people skip responsibilities because of some minor ache or pain. Sometimes, when someone calls and says, “I have a splinter in my little pinky, and I can’t come to church today”, I want to tell them, “Cut your finger off, but come on anyway.” You don’t call in but drag in sometimes! Seriously, I’m not talking about genuine providential hindrances, or contagious people running around at handshake time, but the minor things that we’d go to work with or off to our hobbies with, but not to church. When we want an excuse it’s not hard to fine one!

Excuses, Excuses
You hear them everyday
Now the devil he’ll supply them if in church you stay away
When people come to worship God, the devil always loses
So to keep those folks away from church, he offers them excuses
Well in the summer it’s too hot, In the winter it’s too cold
In the springtime when the weather’s just right, find some place else to go
Well it’s up to the mountains or down to the beach or to visit some old friend
Or just stay home and kind of relax and hope the kin folk start droppin’ in

Well those church benches; they’re too hard
And that song leader’s way too loud
Well you know how nervous you get when you’re sittin’ in a great big crowd
Now the doctor told you to watch them crowds, they’ll set you back
But you go to that ol’ ball game ’cause ya say it helps you to relax

Well a headache Sunday morning, And a backache Sunday night
But by work time Monday morning, you’re feeling quite all right
Well one of the children has a cold, pneumonia do you suppose?
Why, the whole family has to stay home! (Just to blow that poor kid’s nose)

I know that I will be labeled as insensitive, but we need to toughen up as Christians. Sometimes we must just grin and bear it. Keep on going down the Second Mile.

I am convinced that many of our hardships and pains might leave us if we would forget them and go on down the Second Mile Road…teach Satan he can’t keep you down that way. Many teach him alright…they’ve taught him to consistently make sure something minor comes up!

None will be excused from the Second Mile because of ignorance

Now, I took swimming lessons when I was a kid the normal way. But there are many I know had only one lesson and that was: Someone would throw you in! If you didn’t swim out real soon they would throw the next one in to rescue the first one, and so on. Finally someone would learn to swim and then rescue the others. It was swim or drown. And they still teach babies to swim that way…if momma will allow it! Pools shouldn’t have steps anyway…the way to get in is to jump in!

That’s how it is in the church. We give effort to training, but we’d never actually do anything if we all didn’t just jump in and start paddling! You can’t use the excuse, “I don’t know how to do that job.” Learn how!

None will be excused from the second mile because of their itinerary [we all have busy schedules today]
Eccl 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might

God expects us to find time to do that which He has assigned us. It may mean that I have to sleep less or play less. It’s all about priorities and putting God first.
Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

The American culture has been over influenced by a life style of ease until we think it is our right. God said, “Man shall earn his living by the sweat of his brow.”

THE SECOND MILE WILL BE TRAVELED ONLY BY THOSE WHO ARE HOLY

No Carnal are On The Second Mile. The carnal dare not enter.
No Complainers are On The Second Mile. The complainers will never begin the Second Mile.
No Jealous are On The Second Mile. Jealousy will keep you from being successful in anything.
No Greedy are On The Second Mile.
No “Hit And Miss Christians” are On The Second Mile.

Isaiah 35:8-9
And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. [9] No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there.

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