Sermon on the Mount
This lesson emphasizes how Jesus interpreted the Law in six specific general categories, explaining what the heart of each of these was originally intended to be. He is not abolishing or annulling the law but is explaining the perfect fulfillment of the law in each instance. Thus He ends with the call to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.
As you proceed through this study, let the Spirit of the Living God search your heart and bring to mind any areas in which there is anger, adultery, untruth, desire to retaliate, failure to love and pray for those for whom you don't have a natural desire. Do not let anyone place you under Law… assuming you are in the New Covenant in which the Law is now written on your hearts and you have the promised gift of the indwelling Spirit to enable you to fulfill the Law as Jesus calls us to do in Mt 5:21-48.
What do the "blesseds" of Matthew 5:3-12 describe?
The character of those who enter the kingdom of heaven. All true believers - those poor in spirit, who mourn over sin, who are meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who merciful ("mercy full"), who are pure in heart, who are peacemakers and are those who realize that they are going to be persecuted for His righteousness lived out through their lives, lives that are nevertheless to be salty salt, retarding decay and corruption and bright, clear lights, enlightening the darkness and by their righteous acts pointing the world to our Father Who art in heaven.
Jesus and John the Baptist both preached "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." calling for the religious to change their minds and lives regarding what they thought was the right way to enter the kingdom.
Keep in mind what Jesus had said earlier…
So the 6 segments that follow serve a twofold purpose:
Keep this command in mind (to "let your light shine before men") as you meditate on each segment. Ask yourself in each case
So what is the problem with what the Scribes and Pharisees had taught? The problem is that they were not good inductive Bible students and because of inadequate observation and reliance on the "commentaries" (what the rabbis had taught as "tradition"), they arrived at an inaccurate interpretation of the Law and consequently, and most importantly, they prescribed inappropriate application based on their willfully inept analysis of the OT Scriptures. Their misapplication of the Law led to a liberal attitude toward murder, adultery, divorce, vows, retaliation and love. Therefore Jesus calls His listeners and we the readers of His sermon to exhibit allegiance to a higher standard, a standard of righteousness that far surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees and which shines a beacon of supernatural light that points the lost to the great and mighty supernatural Father of lights, the Heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:16)
In Matthew 5:48 Jesus climaxes this section with the incredible statement to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. Citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven are called to measure themselves not by others but by their Father Who art in heaven. The “sons” are to be perfect, as their heavenly Father is perfect. and as Jesus proceeds to explain, that perfection is absolute perfection and includes our words (notes Matthew 5:33-35, 5:36-37), our responses to injuries (notes Matthew 5:38-39, 5:40-42), and our dealings with our enemies (notes Matthew 5:43-45, 5:46-48).
We are called to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect that the world might see His glory in and through us. This is a "heavy" calling but best of all it is a holy calling which He has enabled citizens under the New Covenant to carry out by virtue of their new hearts upon which the Law is written and the indwelling Spirit Who causes us to walk according to His statutes.
Matthew 5:21: What had the people heard?
You shall not murder
Whoever commits murder is liable to the court
KJV translates it slightly different "Whoever shall kill shall be in danger of the (specific) judgment" which is actually more literal.
What is missing from what the people had heard?
Not just that one is liable to the court but that the murderer must pay with their life
"Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man" Genesis 9:6
Let's look for a moment what the Old Testament Law really did say…
Genesis 9:5-6: What is the penalty for murder (Ex 20:13 "murder" in NAS, "kill" in KJV)? Why?
Some say the Hebrew word for "murder" means to "murder intentionally" but actually in Numbers (eg Nu 35:6, et al) it is used for "manslayer" where it refers to unintentional killing. One has to allow the context to aid determination of the meaning (as is always true in Greek or Hebrew word studies)
One who sheds blood must pay with their life. His blood will be shed by man.
Because man is made in the image of God - to murder is to destroy what God created
Only God has the right of life and death, so to murder is to take the place of God Who Alone has the power of life and death
A person extinguishes a "revelation of God" when he or she murders someone.
God has never countermanded this command. Consequently it is still in force.
Exodus 21:12-14: How does God qualify the sentence for killing another man?
God made a provision of killing the man was accidental
Intentional - no place of escape
Unintentional - God would appoint a place for him to flee
Deuteronomy 19:1-13: What were the cities of refuge?
Safe haven for accidental manslaughter
Deut 19:4, 6, 11 What does Moses associate with killing and how does this relate to Jesus' clarification of the Law in Mt 5:22?
Equates it with absence (Deut 19:4, 6) or presence (Deut 19:11) of hatred
In Genesis we see that hatred (Genesis 37:4, 8) preceded an intentional desire of Joseph's brothers to "kill him and throw him into one of the pits" (Ge 37:20).
One is reminded of God's warning to Cain about his heart attitude (it was not Cain's offering which was the problem but it was the attitude of his heart!) and how when it was left unrestrained, "pounced" on him and led to murder of Abel…
Deut 19:13: What did "capital punishment" for intentional murder accomplish for the nation of Israel (think about America)?
That it may go well with you!
Matthew 5:22: How does Jesus respond (does he concur or counter the "ancients")?
With a contrast "but I say" (In fact in all 6 instances in Mt 5:21-48 Jesus counters what the people had been taught with "but I say to you"… little wonder that He prefaced this section with the "Divine Disclaimer" that He had not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill and neither would He teach anyone to annul the least of the commandments. He is simply explaining the full meaning of the Law, a meaning that was apparent in the "whole counsel" of the Old Testament, if the religious leaders had really desired to find the truth.
Jesus says anger makes one guilty before the court.
Note: KJV has the phrase "without a cause", a phrase not found in most of the modern versions.
Anger which leads to verbal attacks against another comes from the same root as the hate which leads to murder. If one has a new heart under the new covenant, then that heart of stone has been replaced, and he has the Spirit of God within to give the self-control and love which is needed in all situations.
God loved the ungodly, sinners, enemies - this love motivated Him to give His only Son
Jesus therefore adds that insulting their intelligence (Raca) and character (fool) also makes one guilty
When we denigrate others, we deprecate their worth below what God ascribed to them
Calling someone Raca or empty headed or good-for-nothing is speaking to an individual created in the image of God.
Believers (and non-believers have no right to sit in God's place and tell another creation of God he or she is not worth anything.
John MacArthur has the following illustrative story on "raca"…
Calling someone fool (moros - morally worthless) conveys a worse degree of judgment than Raca.
W E Vine writes that moros…
Matthew 5:23-24: What are Jesus' concluding (note He begins with "therefore") instructions to deal with the heart disease of "anger"?
Reconcile if you remember someone has something against you, then present your offering
Matthew 5:25-26: What are Jesus' instructions to counteract "anger"? What is His motivation?
Make friends quickly with your opponent at law - so you won't be judged and sent to prison
You won't come out of prison until you've paid up the last cent
Jesus presents what is to be done when an opponent has something against someone. Make restitution, and make a friend out of the opponent.
Skipping to Jesus' summation in Mt 5:48, we see that we are to be perfect as our heavenly Father. We must view other created beings in the same light and with the same love that God does (cf John 3:16) and must give value to that person just as God does.
Matthew 5:27-28 Why do you think Jesus brought up adultery at this point? What was His reason or purpose?
To commit adultery is to despise God's order and design, the marriage covenant
It is to think less of one's spouse, analogous to one who thinks less of people created in the image of God
Matthew 5:27-28 What constitutes adultery? Where does this sin begin?
look = present tense = continuous or habitual action
Looking (habitually) at another woman to lust (literally to fix your desire upon her) for her
It begins in the heart (see dramatic example of Achan in Joshua 7:21 and read the context to get the full impact)
Adultery is an attitude before its an action
Matthew 5:29-30 How important is it that one control lust?
Jesus says that it is crucial so that the whole body is not thrown into hell
He calls for radical action (not literally plucking an eye or cutting off a hand) - whatever it takes to control the lust
What do the following Scriptures teach about how one can control adultery with the eyes?
Remember that citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven are in a new covenant, and have a new heart.
The Spirit of God within us leads (Gal 5:16-18) us to walk worthy of our calling (cf Ezekiel 36:26-27, Phil 2:12-13).
Proverbs 4:23: Guard your heart, specifically what you let in. For out of your heart flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 23:7a: Guard your mind (and mind), for as you think in your heart and mind so you are
Matthew 15:18-20: Understand that what you let into your heart will come out.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5: Take thoughts captive. Fight the war with spiritual weapons which is possible because of the Spirit and the Word of God.
Philippians 4:8-9: Think on godly things. Control your thought life. Let it live in the atmosphere of God's Word. We are responsible for what we think about. Thinking is as much a choice as doing. Our environment doesn’t push my buttons and make me think a certain way. I choose to think certain ways and about certain things. If it is not true (etc) Paul writes, do not let it enter your mind (or your heart). The Christian who fills his heart and mind with God’s Word will have a “built-in radar” for detecting wrong thoughts. “Great peace have they which love Thy Law” (Ps119:165). Right thinking is no accident but is the result of a conscious choice to make time for daily meditation on the Word of God (see Primer on Biblical Meditation). Don't say you don't have time or can't find the time! If you are too busy to meditate (& chewing cud takes more than the "One Minute Bible" provides!) then simply put, you are too busy! You need to think about eternity rather than the Dow Jones or NASDAQ Indices and then you MUST make time. And don't substitute even good devotional books for the "law of the LORD" which is "pure" and alone truly restores a dry weary soul (Ps 19:7). Note that devotional books are not "bad" but they are not the "best". If you use them, then please, please read the Scriptures they list (not just the chapter and verse annotation). Here is a recommendation if you would like to use a devotional (not all devotionals are "created equal") - place Our Daily Bread on your favorites list and read it in the morning. Begin your day with God. And please read the Scriptures which are linked to the devotional, for that is where the real power lies.
Job 31:1, 9-11: What is Job's preventative for adultery?
Don't look long (or longingly) at women on any medium (in person, television, internet, print)
This covenant with one's eyes has to made before one begins to gaze not after! (cf Ja 1:14-16)
The solution to sexual impurity cannot be external because the cause is not external. Job knew that physical infidelity is first of all a matter of the heart, and that lusting is just as sinful in God’s eyes as the act of adultery.
Job 31:10 the lowest slave did the grinding (Ex 11:5). The last part of the verse means "may others commit adultery with her."
Now in the light of what you have just observed, list some concrete things a person can do in order to control lustful thoughts. Will the things you just listed work? How do you know? What will their success depend on?
Matthew 5:29-30: What is Jesus saying - is He to be taken literally and if not what is the significance of His exhortation? How can we apply His instruction? (cf notes Romans 13:13-14)
Jesus advocates not self mutilation but self control, not in our inner strength but in the strength of the Spirit Who dwells within every believer in the New Covenant (see Ezekiel 36:26-27, cf notes Philippians 2:12-13)
The Spirit will give us the desire ("will and to work according to God's good pleasure" Phil 2:13) And so believers, now not under law but under grace make a conscious choice to get rid of whatever has potential to cause one to sin. Self-control one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) and as we learn to surrender to His sweet will, He empowers us to control our eyes and hands.
Ultimately, sexual purity is a matter of the heart, Each day we must make a conscious, Spirit enabled, choice under grace (not law) to arise and surrender our will to our Lord and Master. Then we must remain sensitive to His Spirit's inner voice (and His warnings) all during the day. As Proverbs 4:23 states we are to remain vigilant like a military guard (who doesn't fall asleep at the post) so that no intruders are allowed into your heart.
|Matthew 5:31: What was the teaching that the Jews had heard? Was it Biblical?
They had heard that all one had to do when they sent their wife away was give her a certificate! By so doing they would be considered "not guilty" of a sin and released from their responsibility. In short, giving the certificate would "make it right" or "righteous". But they were not right but wrong! Yes, the divorce certificate was mentioned in the Old Testament and thus was Biblical truth but it was truth that the scribes and Pharisees had grossly perverted.
Note: Clearly Jesus is countering the teaching of the scribes and Pharisees who taught that divorce (and remarriage) was permissible for any number of various reasons ("She burned the toast this morning!"). This view is difficult to defend from Scripture. What the scribes and Pharisees were saying is that God's primary concern is our happiness (not our holiness)!
Matthew 5:31 is a quotation from Deuteronomy 24:1-4 where we read…
Matthew 5:32 How does Jesus correct the Pharisees' perverted application of the OT passage on a "certificate of divorce"?
He gives only one valid reason for divorce - unchastity
He says that if one divorces a wife it makes her commit adultery
Whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery
Luke 16:18: What detail does Jesus add in this passage regarding divorce?
In Mt 5:32 Jesus says the sender causes his wife to commit adultery
Here in Lu 16:18 Jesus adds that the sender himself also commits adultery if he marries another woman.
What does God says about marriage in the Old Testament book of Malachi, the last book to be written, and one the scribes and Pharisees seemed to have conveniently "misplaced" in their teaching on divorce? (note: this passage is very difficult to interpret/translate and thus there is considerable variation in the various modern translations. Simply observe for those truths that are obvious, including the repeated ideas)
What was taking place in Malachi 2:13-14?
Sacrifices were being offered to the Lord with tears because they were not being accepted because the Lord has born witness between them and the wife of their youth.
What did God equate divorce with three times in four verses?
What do we learn about “treacherous”?
It means to deal with one's wife in an unfaithful, deceitful way.
The priests were sinning and instead of confessing and repenting, persisted in whitewashing their sin thinking that were getting away with it. (cf they forgot the warning in Pr 28:13 that "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.")
Malachi 2:14: How does God describe marriage?
He was a witness The wife of their covenant, the most solemn binding agreement that could be made by two parties, a commitment to be kept & to break it was punishable by death (cf 1Sa 20:15-16, Jer 34:18-20, 1Cor 11:25-30) (see study of Covenant: As It Relates to Marriage)
Malachi 2:15: Why were they dealing treacherously?
They had a problem with their "spirit". They needed to examine the spiritual condition of their hearts (cf the reason God allowed a "certificate of divorce" was because of the hardness of their heart in Mt 19:8, Mark 10:5).
Here in Malachi, God said twice "take heed… to your spirit" and "do not deal treacherously".
In Galatians 5:16 Paul gives a command NT husbands need to heed lest they fall into the same trap:
So if you are walking by the Spirit we are less likely to deal with our wife treacherously.
What is God's attitude toward divorce or sending away of the wife of one's youth?
He hates divorce
What are the exceptions God gives for divorce?
Immorality = unchastity (Greek word = porneia which gives us "pornography")
Unbelieving spouse leaves believer (see 1Cor 7:10-16 below)
Mt 19:7-9: What is the heart of the problem Jesus is addressing?
The heart has always been the problem (cf Jer 17:9, Gen 8:21) = hardening of the heart.
From the beginning, from the creation of Adam and Eve, God's design was that marriage was a permanent covenant.
1 Corinthians 7:10-16: What is Paul's message for believers in verse 10? to believers married to unbelievers in vv 12-16?
Verse 10 is directed to Christians; don't divorce.
But if a wife leaves (divorces), she is to stay unmarried or be reconciled.
This could be the case of life-threatening abuse.
Vv 12-16 believers married to unbelievers.
If the unbeliever wants to stay married, then the believer is not to divorce.
If the unbeliever divorces, then the believer should let him or her leave.
That believer is not under bondage regarding divorce and remarriage.
This is the only other "exception" in the Bible.
For more in depth treatment of this emotional and oft times controversial subject see the Precept Ministries International inductive study entitled Marriage Without Regrets. Perhaps you might just want to listen to the audio messages from this course that pertain to Divorce and Remarriage. There are 2 messages in the Marriage Without Regrets course that address the topic of Divorce and those audio tapes (or compact discs) correspond to Lesson 11 and Lesson 12 (see table below). Each separate tape or CD is $4. They are available for purchase from Precept Ministries International at 1-800-763-8280. There are 2 messages by Kay Arthur and 2 messages by Wayne Barber. The item numbers are listed below for your convenience…
|Men usually swore by someone greater than themselves, and when they did, the confirmation of the oath ended disputes. But Jesus said to say only yes or no.
Was it wrong to make a vow? What were the conditions regarding vows? The short answer that is explained in more detail below is that while the law allowed the use of vows and oaths (Lev. 19:12; Num. 30:2; Deut. 23:21–23), an honest person should not have to rely on them to back up his or her word.
Matthew 5:33: What did the Law state about making vows?
Don't make false vows (do not perjure yourself)
Fulfill your vows to the Lord
Ryrie comments that …
Heaven, earth, Jerusalem, one's head
None of these things are under your control so don't use them to guarantee the truth of what you say.
So the question you may be asking is "Why does Jesus condemn their use of oaths?" Most commentators agree that Jesus is not making a blanket statement condemning oaths per se. What He does condemn is the ruse of the religious leaders who swore oaths that "split theological hairs" by their use of words such as "heaven… earth… Jerusalem". In their perverted logic, they felt they had cleverly avoided the use of God's Name for if they had used His Name or made it to the Lord, it would have been binding. These "pseudo-vows" they reasoned were not inextricably binding and could be broken with (in their way of thinking) no fear of sinning against God. Jesus "nails the coffin shut" on this genre of vow, explaining that the religious leaders were deceiving themselves for the very places they mentioned were all associated with God and thus the oaths associated with those place names were just as binding and unbreakable as they would have been if they used God's Name.
Jesus also condemned swearing by one's own head. What validity does that add to the oath? What they meant by using the expression “by my head” was something like
Jesus logic is that how can they control their life? No man can even change the intrinsic color of his hair. God Alone determines whether at any given moment a hair is black or white. Therefore, it follows that even swearing by one’s head is in the final analysis swearing by God and is just as binding as an oath using the specific name of God.
What is Jesus' point in Mt 5:37?
there's no need for a vow if one means what he says
What do following passages teach about vows?
Oaths were to be kept, period (Nu 30:2, Deut 23:21-23)
Lev 19:12: Shall not swear falsely by God's name (it profanes His name)
The name of the Lord is holy and must never be used in an oath that the person has no intention of keeping but with the intention of cheating or defrauding another - that would be swearing falsely. This is the import of the third commandment Exodus 20:7
Nu 30:2 Vow to LORD or pledge under oath must never be broken = must do exactly what he said he would do
Deut 23:21-23 Vows to Lord represent a commitment to a particular course of action and should be promptly carried out and if not it is sin. Note that vows were voluntary. A man did not have to make a vow to the Lord, but once he made it, he was obligated to pay it.
Note: A vow to God commits one to a particular course of action. This course then becomes a criterion by which a life is judged and held accountable. No one was required to make a vow, but once made it was to be treated as a holy covenant. The principle underlying this admonition concerning a vow between man and God is based upon the covenant in which God promised His eternal faithfulness to Israel and demanded their complete obedience to Him.
Conclusions: The OT did not forbid vows or oaths but when made they were considered as binding agreements. A vow was as if one said something like "I promise to do what I said" regardless of whether the vow was made to God or to man. To take an oath or make a vow in the OT was to pledge one's integrity. In other words, the person who made the vow was saying "I will be faithful to perform what I have said or promised."
Hebrews 6:13-18: What does this passage teach about God and vows?
He made a vow and an oath and kept it. His children are to do the same. Having sworn by His own name, God could not then lie to Abraham, because both His authority and His integrity were at stake.
Thomas Constable explains that…
James 5:12: What does he teach about vows and what is the motive?
Like Jesus he teaches we are not to swear but to speak with integrity that we may not be judged
What general point do you think Jesus was trying to make in Mt 5:33-37?
We should exhibit such integrity of character that we do not have to make any kind of vow in an attempt to substantiate the truthfulness of what we say. People should be able to take every word we speak at face value. Our "yes" should mean "yes" and should express a double meaning. Jesus is saying in essence that all our speech should be as if we were under an oath to tell the truth.
What would others say about your word? Are you a person of your word? Is it "as good as gold"? If you say you will do something do you follow through? Is your word perfect as your heavenly Father's word is perfect? Do you exaggerate (if so what does that say about the truthfulness of your word)? Do you tell someone "I'll pray for you" and then you fail to follow through (only to be reminded of your promise by their phone call "God answered. Thanks so much for praying!" And you say "Uh… Sure… you're welcome", when you know you did not really pray for them! Sin begets more sin.) As Citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, who will one day give account for every word we have uttered, we must choose to be men and women of integrity.
Matthew Henry wrote an excellent summary comment noting that…
Matthew 5:38 What had they heard?
They had heard punishment should be equal to the crime
The Mosaic principle of an eye for an eye was often misapplied as a license for revenge. Thus the scribes and Pharisees used it as a warrant for taking revenge.
What purpose would Matthew 5:38 serve?
Would protect from unjust retribution - to prevent excessive punishment based on personal vengeance and/or angry retaliation.
Another purpose of "an eye for an eye" was to curtail further crime.
Ex 21:23-25, Lev 24:17-22: What do these passages teach concerning "an eye for an eye"?
Each passage teaches the same truth = lex talionis (law of revenge) - life for life, etc
Deut 19:15-21 What does this passage add about "eye for an eye" (note this is the third mention of this law in the Pentateuch!)?
Here are some comments by John MacArthur which help understand how this law was being perverted by the scribes and Pharisees…
MacArthur explains that the rabbinic tradition had perverted lex talionis, an "eye for an eye", which in the OT
Matthew 5:39: What is the general instruction Jesus gives to address the perverted teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees?
Do not resist him who is evil
Note: Jesus does not say Christians are never to resist evil in matters of personal retaliation (and even there we have some exceptions). Jesus is not referring to criminal offenses or acts of military aggression (for more in depth discussion see Matthew 5:39)
Matthew 5:40-42: What 4 illustrations does Jesus present as applications of this principle of "non-retaliation"?
1) Matthew 5:39: Don't retaliate to insults, slaps to one's face being considered a gross insult by the Jews in Jesus' day. Jesus gave us the "example… to follow in His steps" (notes 1 Peter 2:21-25) for when He was slapped in the face, though He could have called in a host of angels, He did not personally retaliate (see Mt 26:67, cf Isaiah 50:6)
2) Matthew 5:40: If you are sued give them not just your shirt (undergarment) but your coat (your valuable outer garment which even the courts could not require you to give). Jesus calling for us to make a full surrender of our personal rights for the sake of the Kingdom. Respected conservative commentator Kent Hughes does make a qualifying statement (which other conservative commentators do not necessarily agree with) that "our Lord is not referring to the average lawsuit so characteristic of our litigation-happy society."
3) Matthew 5:41: Jesus is choosing something that is particularly despicable to His listeners (Jews hated Romans for asking them to carry their load a mile, which by Roman Law they had to do) and stating that citizens of the Kingdom of heaven should go even a second mile willingly and with a right attitude of heart, actions and attitudes that can only come about supernaturally from a new heart controlled by God's Spirit.
Dear Kingdom Citizen, how do you respond when someone "robs" you of your cherished freedom to do what you want to do and ask you to carry their burden ("even the first mile!")? Do you gratefully surrender your rights and "go the extra mile" or do you yield only to the "first mile" and even that only begrudgingly?
4) Matthew 5:42: Jesus does not mean we are to give indiscriminately to panhandlers who take the money and spend it on illicit drink or drugs. So when someone asks us to borrow something we are not to turn them away, with the qualification that they have a genuine, legitimate need. Jesus is not calling for a begrudging acquiescence to the person's request for help, but willing, generous, and loving desire to help. He is calling for genuine generosity that originates in a new heart, which is counter to our natural tendency toward possessiveness. Jesus is not calling for a token external obedience just to assuage one's conscience. We measure our giving by Christ, Who gave everything, rather than by laws or percentages.
Dwight Pentecost beautifully sums up this section quoting from Romans 13:10…
Jesus said to go beyond that just penalty and do kindness to the one who was trying to harm you. He brought the Law back to being a matter of the heart (remembering that in the New Covenant the Law is now written on our new hearts and we have His Spirit to cause us to walk in His ways.) As Jesus taught in the beatitudes, Kingdom citizens are gentle or meek and exhibit meekness, power under God's control. (see Matthew 5:5)
Matthew 5:43-45: How is this statement different?
As with His first statement about murder, something had been added to what the Law actually said, "and hate your enemy."
The first half of this verse is from Leviticus 19:18…
"Hate your enemy" is not an OT command but is how the scribes and Pharisees explained and applied that OT command.
Remember Jesus is explaining what the righteousness looks like that surpasses the Scribes and Pharisees…
Matthew 5:44: How does Jesus say their righteousness is to surpass that of the Scribes and Pharisees?
Not hate your enemy but love your enemies - this love is a matter of will not emotions
Pray for those that persecute you
Matthew 5:45: Why should they love enemies and pray for persecutors?
That they prove themselves sons of the Father in heaven
Don't misunderstand - Jesus is not saying this is the way to become sons of God
This is how sons of God demonstrate to others Who they belong to. (see Matthew 5:14-16)
How are they like their Father in loving enemies and praying for persecutors?
God causes sun to rise on evil and good
He sends rain on righteous and unrighteous
God shows no partiality and neither should we - we should show kindness to friend and foe
Matthew 5:46-47: How does Jesus explain the type of love He is commanding?
There is no reward for loving those who love you - this is natural affection
Even the corrupt, unconverted tax gatherers do that
This love is not manifest by greeting only our brethren - this requires no divine power
Even the unsaved pagan Gentiles do that - there is nothing distinctively Christian about it
Matthew 5:48: What does Jesus command of kingdom citizens?
To be perfect as their heavenly Father is perfect…
Love does no wrong to a neighbor
Love your neighbor as yourself
Love is the fulfillment of the law.
Feed your enemy.
As far as possible with you, be at peace with all men.
Never take your own revenge.
Overcome evil with good.
The Jews had a problem about who their neighbor was.
Who is one's neighbor in Luke 10:25-37?
A neighbor is one offering help to the needy - the ones who show mercy (see Matthew 5:7)
If you are going to have a righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, how are you to respond to men? Who is your pattern? Where is the enablement going to come from? What is our goal?
Jesus is our Example
His Spirit is our Power
His Father's glory is our Goal