Sermon on the Mount 7 - Inductive Study Guide

Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5:21-26

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…

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

So the 6 segments that follow serve a twofold purpose:

(1) To teach what righteousness looks like that surpasses the Scribes and Pharisees and

(2) To describe the righteousness that when lived out in the power of the Spirit gives a proper opinion of our heavenly Father.

Keep this command in mind (to "let your light shine before men") as you meditate on each segment. Ask yourself in each case

"Do my attitudes and actions in this area of my life give others I meet a proper opinion of my Father Who is in heaven?"

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.

Genesis 9:5 "And surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man's brother I will require the life of man. 6 Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man."

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

Exodus 21:12 "He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. 13 But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee. 14 If, however, a man acts presumptuously toward his neighbor, so as to kill him craftily, you are to take him even from My altar, that he may die."

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…

Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? (Hebrew charah = to glow or grow warn, to blaze up and be hot or burn, be kindled, be incensed - a verb perfectly picturing this emotion "blazing up" into a full blown fire) And why has your countenance fallen (this suggests that anger hid itself in Cain’s eyes and with a fallen countenance he avoided looking anyone in the eye preventing others from seeing through the eye gate into his heart!)? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin (this pictures Sin as an evil king that wants to reign in our mortal bodies, exactly what Paul admonished Roman saints about in Romans 6:12-14 - see note) is crouching (picture of a stealthy panther lurking, ready to spring) at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it (If this is God's desire then we know that He made provision for Cain to obey God's will for God's commandments always include His enablements)." And Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. (Genesis 4:6-8)

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.

Matthew 5:22: What is Jesus trying to teach in His warning about calling another "good-for-nothing" (see Raca) or "fool"? (Think about how God felt about man in John 3:16 and Ro 5:6-10)

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

And we are guilty (supreme court = literally the Sanhedrin, fiery hell = Gehenna)

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"…

A Jewish legend tells of a young rabbi named Simon Ben Eleazar who had just come from a session with his famous teacher. The young man felt especially proud about how he handled himself before the teacher. As he basked in his feelings of erudition, wisdom, and holiness, he passed a man who was especially unattractive. When the man greeted Simon, the rabbi responded, “You Raca! How ugly you are. Are all men of your town as ugly as you?” “That I do not know,” the man answered, “but go and tell the Maker who created me how ugly is the creature He has made.” To slander a creature made in God’s image is to slander God Himself and is equivalent to murdering that person. Contempt, says Jesus, is murder of the heart. (MacArthur, J: Matthew 1-7 Macarthur New Testament Commentary Chicago: Moody Press)

Calling someone fool (moros - morally worthless) conveys a worse degree of judgment than Raca.

W E Vine writes that moros

means morally worthless, a scoundrel, a more serious reproach than “Raca;” the latter scorns a man’s mind and calls him stupid; moros scorns his heart and character; hence the Lord’s more severe condemnation

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

Notes: Anger and hatred affect our relationship to God. As long as there is internal sin, outward acts of worship are not acceptable to God. Reconciliation must precede worship because unresolved conflict has priority and must be settled. Settle the breach between you and your brother before you try to settle the breach between you and God. Not to do that is to be a hypocrite by asking for forgiveness without repenting.

It's the responsibility of a Christian who knows that a brother has something against him to go to that brother to be reconciled before making an offering. The Scripture also says that if you have something against your brother to go to him, but here it's somewhat different.

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.

Note: There is a righteous anger, an anger against sin as taught in Ephesians 4:26 where Paul uses the identical Greek verb for "anger" (orgizo). The difference in the anger Jesus is warning against is that emotion which is directed against the sinner, rather than the sin.

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 5:27-30

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.

Pr 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it 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

Proverbs 23:7a: For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. (NKJV)

Matthew 15:18-20: Understand that what you let into your heart will come out.

Mt 15:18 "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, (this also speaks to murder with our mouth, cf ) and those defile the man.

19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.

20 "These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man."

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.

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,

4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

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.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell (not a suggestion, a command to do this continually = present imperative) (middle voice calls for you to initiate the action and participate yourself in the result/effect) on these things.

9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you. (see notes Philippians 4:8-9)

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)

Job 31:1 "I Have made a covenant (the most solemn, binding agreement the ancients could make!) with my eyes. How then could I gaze at a virgin?

Note: "Gaze" is the Hebrew verb which does not refer to a casual glance but means to consider carefully, diligently consider, discern, get understanding, look carefully, observe, paid close attention, pay heed. The Septuagint (LXX) translates this Hebrew word with a verb which means to understand thoroughly or perceive clearly. Job is not talking about a casual glance (cf Joshua 7:21) or an accidental viewing of a sensual woman. Job is saying don't continue looking at a woman because if you do Jesus says you have already committed adultery in your heart (Mt 5:28). Pluck your eye out before you do this! Leave the room if you have to. Switch the channel. Turn off the computer. That's how enslaving this sin can be… so it requires radical surgery and complete extirpation! Don't just biopsy it! Cut it out completely!). (cp Col 3:5, Ro 8:13)

Job 31:9 "If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or I have lurked at my neighbor's doorway,

10 May my wife grind for another, and let others kneel down over her. ("may other men sleep with her" NLT)

11 "For that would be a lustful crime; Moreover, it would be an iniquity punishable by judges. ("For lust is a shameful sin, a crime that should be punished" NLT)

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.

Note: Although some have taken Jesus' teaching literally (and have performed various acts of "self abasement and even mutilation), they have found that their actions were still "of no value against fleshly indulgence" (Col 2:23).

Clearly Jesus is speaking to our hearts for they are the source out of which the lustful looks, flirtatious words, sensual touches proceed. Do whatever it takes to fight the good fight of faith. And remember it is a fight of faith based on grace. The danger is to put yourself under Law which will only arouse your flesh (see Romans 7:5).

If the Internet is tempting and/or stumbling you, then consider subscribing for a small fee to a service known as Covenant Eyes. This system does not reside on your computer but in an offsite computer, which distinguishes it from all other internet monitoring software. Covenant Eyes allows unrestricted access to the internet but monitors every site visited and scores every site especially those that are "off limits". A monthly report of your "score" is sent to your accountability partner (this is what King David lacked in 2Sa 11:1-27!). Covenant Eyes is not failsafe (it can be uninstalled, but an email is automatically sent to the accountability partner) but it is by far the best internet monitoring system available. Also, if you are a parent with young children or teenagers, Covenant Eyes would be an excellent tool to monitor where they are visiting (don't spy -- explain to them what you are doing) and you could have the monthly report sent to your email. In the final analysis, no manmade "system" is perfect.

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 5:31-32

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.

Mt 5:31 "And it was said, 'WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE'; 32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

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…

"When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, 2 and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man's wife, 3 and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, 4 then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance.

This Law was supposed to deter divorce rather than encourage it since it required a “writing of divorcement”, executed in public. The document granted the woman the right to remarry without civil or religious sanction. Divorce could not be done privately. The acceptable reason for granting divorce was “some uncleanness.” Specific types of “uncleanness” had their own penalties. Adultery carried the death penalty by stoning. Although the Law of Moses allowed a man to divorce his wife, the wife was not allowed to divorce her husband for any reason at all. Legally the wife was bound to her husband as long as they both lived or until he divorced her. If the woman was given a certificate of divorce, she was eligible to remarry any man except a priest (Lev. 21:7, 14; Ezek. 44:22). However, remarriage defiled her in respect to her first husband—i.e., he could not marry her again, because she had in effect "committed adultery" against him (cf. Matt. 5:32). In Jesus’ day, there was much confusion about the grounds for divorce. The rabbis could not agree on what constituted the “uncleanness” of Deuteronomy 24:1. There were two opinions. Those following Rabbi Shammai felt adultery was the only grounds for divorce. Those who followed Rabbi Hillel accepted a number of reasons for divorce, including such things as poor cooking. (Adapted from Packer, J., Tenney, M. C., & White, W. Nelson's Illustrated Manners and Customs of the Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

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.

Luke 16:18 "Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.

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)

Malachi 2:13 "And this is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand.

14 "Yet you say, 'For what reason?' Because the LORD has been a witness (God witnessed their making of a the marriage covenant) between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously (denotes deceit or unfaithfulness in a relationship) (Septuagint translates with the Greek word egkataleipo = forsake someone in a state of defeat or helplessness, abandon, desert leave in straits, leave helpless leave destitute, leave in the lurch let one down), though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. (see study of Covenant: As It Relates to Marriage)

15 "But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then, to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously (same Hebrew and Greek words as above) against the wife of your youth.

16 "For (explains the reason for the previous warning) I hate divorce (literally = sending or putting away)," says the LORD, the God of Israel, "and him who covers his garment (here may be used as a symbol of protection = divorce removed the wife's protection and treated her cruelly) with wrong (malicious conduct intended to injure another = summarizes the deliberate, brutal, insensitive infringement of rights & privileges of others)," says the LORD of hosts. "So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously (same Hebrew and Greek words as above)."

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?

Dealing treacherously

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:

"Walk (present imperative) by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh."

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

Note: A study by the Barna Research Group in Ventura, Calif. (circa 2000) says that born-again Christians are more likely to go through a marital split than are non-Christians. Using statistics drawn from a nationwide survey of nearly 4,000 adults, the Barna data show that 11 percent of the adult population is currently divorced but that 25% of all adults have experienced at least one divorce during their lifetime. Among born-again Christians, 27 % are currently or have previously been divorced, compared with 24% among adults who are not born again. Surprisingly, the Barna report said, the Christian group whose adherents have the highest likelihood of getting divorced are Baptists. It said the only group to surpass Baptists were Christians associated with non-denominational Protestant churches. "Of the nation's major Christian groups, Catholics and Lutherans have the lowest percentage of divorced individuals -- 21%. People who attend mainline Protestant churches, overall, experience divorce at the national average of 25%."

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.

Mt 19:7 They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?" He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart (sklerokardia = skleros = hard, not soft and tender but harsh, severe + kardia = heart), Moses permitted (made a concession with regard to God's intention that marriage be lifelong and monogamous) you to divorce (apoluo from apo = marker of dissociation, implying a rupture from a former association + luo = loose) your wives; but from the beginning ("For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave [Hebrew means in essence "stick like glue"] to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24) it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality (porneia), and marries another woman commits adultery."

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.

1Corinthians 7:10-16

10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband

11 (but if she does leave, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not send his wife away.

12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any (believing) brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, let him not send her away.

13 And a (believing) woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, let her not send her husband away.

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.

15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.

16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

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…



Tape 11: What Does God
Say About Divorce?
Tape 12: What Can the
Divorce Do?
CD #13539 #13540
Tape #10077 #10078



Tape 11: Divorce and
Remarriage Part 1

Tape 12: Divorce and
Remarriage Part 2

CD #10095 #10096
Tape #13557 #13558

Matthew 5:33-37

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

Mt 5:33 "Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.'

34 "But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,

35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING.

36 "Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.

37 "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; and anything beyond these is of evil.

Ryrie comments that …

Oaths taken in the name of the Lord were binding, and perjury was strongly condemned in the law (Ex. 20:7; Lev. 19:12; Deut. 19:16-19). Every oath contained an affirmation or promise and an appeal to God as the omniscient punisher of falsehoods, which made the oath binding. Thus we find phrases like "as the Lord lives" (1 Sam. 14:39). The emphasis on the sanctity of oaths led to the feeling that ordinary phrasing need not be truthful or binding. Jesus, however, taught (v. 37) that we should say and mean yes or no and never equivocate. (The Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody Publishers) (Bolding added)

Matthew 5:34-35, 5:36: What does Jesus say the Jews were not to swear by?

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.

Mt 5:34 "But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,

35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING.

36 "Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.

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

May I lose my head (i.e., my life) if what I am telling you is not true, or if I fail to fulfill my promise.”

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)

Leviticus 19:12 And you shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the LORD.

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

"You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. (To take the Name of God in vain is not merely to use it as a curse word but to invoke His Name to support an oath that is not going to be kept)

Nu 30:2 Vow to LORD or pledge under oath must never be broken = must do exactly what he said he would do

Numbers 30:2 "If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

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.

Deuteronomy 23:21 "When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the LORD your God will surely require it of you. 22 "However, if you refrain from vowing, it would not be sin in you. 23 "You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God, what you have promised.

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.

Hebrews 6:13 For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,


15 And thus, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.

16 For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.

17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath,

18 in order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us.

Thomas Constable explains that…

When a person wants to end an argument, one way to do so is to appeal to a higher authority with an oath. For example, some people do this by saying, “I am telling the truth so help me God.” Even God used an oath to guarantee His promise to bless Abraham greatly (Gen. 22:16; cf. Exod. 32:13; Isa. 45:23; Jer. 22:5; 49:13). God swearing by Himself signifies that He binds His word to His character. Thus God gave Abraham double assurance that He would indeed deliver what He had promised. He gave him the assurance of the promise of the God who does not lie and the assurance that God specially guaranteed that particular promise. The two unchangeable things are God’s promise and His oath. (Notes)

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

James 5:12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but let your yes be yes, and your no, no; so that you may not fall under judgment.

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…

"The worse men are, the less they are bound by oaths; the better they are, the less there is need for them. Our Lord does not enjoin the precise terms wherein we are to affirm or deny, but such a constant regard to truth as would render oaths unnecessary."

Matthew 5:38-42
Lex Talionis

(Law of Retaliation)

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.

Mt 5:38 "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 him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.

40 "And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.

41 "And whoever shall force 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.

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

Exodus 21:23-25

23 "(Note Ex 21:22 specifies "as the judges decide") But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

Leviticus 24:17-22

17 'And if a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death.18 'And the one who takes the life of an animal shall make it good, life for life. 19 'And if a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him: 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him. 21 'Thus the one who kills an animal shall make it good, but the one who kills a man shall be put to death. 22 'There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the LORD your God.'"

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!)?

Note that the case is before Jehovah, priests and judges in office

Implication? The individual was not to take it into their hands

False accusers receive punishment they sought for defendant

Purpose? Purge evil and put fear in people to do such evil

Judges were not to show pity in the sense of sparing guilty one from punishment (v21).

What would the impact be on the crime rate in America if justice were meted out this way?

Deuteronomy 19:15-21

15 "A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.

16 "If a malicious (Hebrew = malicious conduct intended to injure another - deliberate, brutal, insensitive infringement of rights and privileges of another) witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing,

17 then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days.

18 "And the judges shall investigate thoroughly; and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely,

19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.

20 "And the rest will hear and be afraid (it would serve as a deterrent against giving false testimony in Israel’s courts) and will never again do such an evil thing among you.

21 "Thus you shall not show pity: (Hebrew means to feel sorry for with the added nuance of sparing them - this the people were not to do in this case) life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot (lex talionis > lex = law + talionis = retaliation)

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

did not allow an individual to take the law into his own hands and apply it personally. Yet that is exactly what rabbinic tradition had done. Each man was permitted, in effect, to become his own judge, jury, and executioner. God’s law was turned to individual license (permit to act, freedom to take a specific course of action), and civil justice was perverted to personal vengeance. Instead of properly acknowledging the law of an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth as a limit on punishment, they conveniently used it as a mandate for vengeance-as it has often been wrongly viewed throughout history. What God gave as a restriction on civil courts, Jewish tradition had turned into personal license for revenge. In still another way, the self-centered and self-asserted “righteousness” of the scribes and Pharisees had made a shambles of God’s holy law. (MacArthur, J: Matthew 1-7 Macarthur New Testament Commentary Chicago: Moody Press) (Bolding and color added for emphasis)

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…

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

The Law gives us rights, but also gives us the liberty to forego our rights so that we might show the righteousness of Christ. We have our rights; our rights are protected by the Word of God. But we also have liberty to forego our rights to manifest the love of Christ. It is not the demanding of his rights that marks a righteous man—but the giving up of his rights that characterizes the man who pleases God. (Pentecost, J. D. Design for living: Lessons in Holiness from the Sermon on the Mount. Kregel Publications) (Bolding added)

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 5:43-48

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…

'You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.

"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

So Jesus raises the standard not just to love one's neighbors but even those neighbors who are enemies. This had been taught in the OT (Proverbs 25:21) quoted below in Romans 12:20

Jesus explained that to love one's enemies and persecutors was a reflection of a righteousness surpassing that of the scribes and Pharisees.

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

Note: God's love manifest in blessings such as those described (sun, rain) is what theologians sometimes refer to as "common grace" which is distinct from God's everlasting love God for the elect (Jeremiah 31:3).

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 those who hates us,

Pray for those who persecute us,

Show kindness to both good and evil men

Perfection is spiritual maturity which enables Christians to imitate God in dispensing blessing to everybody without partiality.

How does Mt 5:43-45, 5:46-48 relate to Ro 13:8-10? How does Jesus' teaching here summarize the rest of what He said about the Law?

Love does no wrong to a neighbor

Love your neighbor as yourself

Love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 13:8-10

8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

9 For this, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."

10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.

How does Mt 5:43-45, 5:46-48 compare to Romans 12:14-21? What insights?

Feed your enemy.

As far as possible with you, be at peace with all men.

Never take your own revenge.

Overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:14-21:

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not.

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.

17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.

18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord.


21 Do not be overcome by evil, but 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)

Luke 10:25-37

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

26 And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?"


28 And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS, AND YOU WILL LIVE."

29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

30 Jesus replied and said, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went off leaving him half dead.

31 "And by chance a certain priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 "And likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

33 "But a certain Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,

34 and came to him, and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 "And on the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.'

36 "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?"

37 And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."

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