Matthew Chapter Five
Note: The following covers chapters 5-7.
He then gathers around Him those who were definitively to follow Him in His ministry and His temptations; and, at His call, to link their portion and their lot with His, forsaking all beside.
The strong man was bound, so that Jesus could spoil his goods, and proclaim the kingdom with proofs of that power which were able to establish it.
Two things are then brought forward in the Gospel narrative. First, the power which accompanies the proclamation of the kingdom. In two or three verses,  without other detail, this fact is announced. The proclamation of the kingdom is attended with acts of power that excite the attention of the whole country, the whole extent of the ancient territory of Israel. Jesus appears before them invested with this power. Secondly (chaps. 5-7) the character of the kingdom is announced in the sermon on the Mount, as well as that of the persons who should have part in it (the Father's name withal being revealed). That is, the Lord had announced the coming kingdom, and with the present power of goodness, having overcome the adversary; and then shews what were the true characters according to which it would be set up, and who could enter, and how. Redemption is not spoken of in it; but the character and nature of the kingdom, and who could enter. This clearly shews the moral position which this sermon holds in the Lord's teaching.
It is evident that, in all this part of the Gospel, it is the Lord's position which is the subject of the teaching of the Spirit, and not the details of His life. Details come after, in order fully to exhibit what He was in the midst of Israel, His relations with that people, and His path in the power of the Spirit which led to the rupture between the Son of David and the people who ought to have received Him. The attention of the whole country being thus engaged by His mighty acts, the Lord sets before His disciples-but in the hearing of the people-the principles of His kingdom.
This discourse may be divided into the following parts:--  The character and the portion of those who should be in the kingdom (v. 1-12). Their position in the world (v. 13-16). The connection between the principles of the kingdom and the law (v. 17-48).  The spirit in which His disciples should perform good works (chap. 6:1-18). Separation from the spirit of the world and from its anxieties (v. 19-34). The spirit of their relation with others (chap. 7:1-6). The confidence in God which became them (v. 7-12). The energy that should characterise them, in order that they might enter into the kingdom; not however merely enter, many would seek to do that, but according to those principles which made it difficult for man, according to God-the strait gate; and then, the means of discerning those who would seek to deceive them, as well as the watchfulness needed that they might not be deceived (v. 13-23).
Real and practical obedience to His sayings, the true wisdom of those that hear His words (v. 24-29).
There is another principle that characterises this discourse, and that is the introduction of the Father's name. Jesus puts His disciples in connection with His Father, as their Father. He reveals to them the Father's name, in order that they may be in relation with Him, and that they may act in accordance with that which He is.
This discourse gives the principles of the kingdom, but supposes the rejection of the King, and the position into which this would bring those that were His; who consequently must look for a heavenly reward. They were to be a divine savour where God was known and was dealing, and would be a spectacle to the whole world. Moreover this was God's object. Their confession was to be so open that the world should refer their works to the Father. They were to act, on the one hand, according to a judgment of evil which reached the heart and motives, but also, on the other, according to the Father's character in grace-to approve themselves to the Father who saw in secret, where the eye of man could not penetrate. They were to have full confidence in Him for all their need. His will was the rule according to which there was entrance into the kingdom.
We may observe that this discourse is connected with the proclamation of the kingdom as being near at hand, and that all these principles of conduct are given as characterising the kingdom, and as the conditions of entrance into it. No doubt it follows that they are suitable to those who have entered in. But the discourse is pronounced in the midst of Israel,  before the kingdom is set up, and as the previous state called for in order to enter, and to set forth the fundamental principles of the kingdom in connection with that people, and in moral contrast with the ideas they had formed respecting it.
In examining the beatitudes, we shall find that this portion in general gives the character of Christ Himself. They suppose two things; the coming possession of the land of Israel by the meek; and the persecution of the faithful remnant, really righteous in their ways, and who asserted the rights of the true King (heaven being set before them as their hope to sustain their hearts). 
This will be the position of the remnant in the last days before the introduction of the kingdom, the last being exceptional. It was so, morally, in the days of the Lord's disciples, in reference to Israel, the earthly part being delayed. In reference to heaven, the disciples are looked at as witnesses in Israel; but-while the only preservative of the earth-they were a testimony to the world. So that the disciples are seen as in connection with Israel, but, at the same time, as witnesses on God's part to the world (the kingdom being in view, but not yet established). The connection with the last days is evident; nevertheless their testimony then had, morally, this character. Only the establishment of the earthly kingdom has been delayed, and the church, which is heavenly, brought in. Chapter 5:25 evidently alludes to the position of Israel in the days of Christ. And in fact they remain captive, in prison, until they have received their full chastisement, and then they shall come forth.
The Lord ever speaks and acts as the obedient man, moved and guided by the Holy Ghost; but we see in the most striking manner, in this Gospel, who it is that acts thus. And it is this which gives its true moral character to the kingdom of heaven. John the Baptist might announce it as a change of dispensation, but his ministry was earthly. Christ might equally announce this same change (and the change was all-important); but in Him there was more than this. He was from heaven, the Lord who came from heaven. In speaking of the kingdom of heaven, He spoke out of the deep and divine abundance of His heart. No man had been in heaven, excepting Him who had come down from thence, the Son of man who was in heaven. Therefore, when speaking of heaven, He spoke of that which He knew, and testified of that which He had seen This was the case in two ways, as shewn forth in Matthew's Gospel. It was no longer an earthly government according to the law; Jehovah, the Saviour, Emmanuel, was present Could He be otherwise than heavenly in His character, in the tone, in the essence, of His whole life?
Moreover, when He began His public ministry and was sealed by the Holy Ghost, heaven was opened to Him. He was identified with heaven as a man sealed with the Holy Ghost on earth. He was thus the continual expression of the spirit, of the reality, of heaven. There was not yet the exercise of the judicial power which would uphold this character in the face of all that opposed it. It was its manifestation in patience, notwithstanding the opposition of all around Him and the inability of His disciples to understand Him. Thus in the sermon on the Mount we find the description of that which was suitable to the kingdom of heaven, and even the assurance of reward in heaven for those who should suffer on earth for His sake. This description, as we have seen, is essentially the character of Christ Himself. It is thus that a heavenly spirit expresses itself on earth. If the Lord taught these things, it is because He loved them, because He was them and delighted in them. Being the God of heaven, filled as man with the Spirit without measure, His heart was perfectly in unison with a heaven that He perfectly knew. Consequently therefore He concludes the character which His disciples were to assume by these words: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." All their conduct was to be in reference to their Father in heaven. The more we understand the divine glory of Jesus, the more we understand the way in which He was as man in connection with heaven, the better shall we apprehend what the kingdom of heaven was to Him with regard to that which was suitable to it. When it shall be established hereafter in power, the world will be governed according to these principles, although they are not, properly speaking, its own.
The remnant in the last days, I doubt not, finding all around them contrary to faithfulness, and seeing all Jewish hope fail before their eyes, will be forced to look upward, and will more and more acquire this character, which, if not heavenly, is at least very much conformed to Christ. 
There are two things connected with the presence of the multitude, v. 1. First, the time required that the Lord should give a true idea of the character of His kingdom, since already He drew the multitude after Him. His power making itself felt, it was important to make His character known. On the other hand, this multitude who were following Jesus were a snare to His disciples; and He makes them understand what an entire contrast there was between the effect which this multitude might have upon them, and the right spirit which ought to govern them. Thus, full Himself of what was really good, He immediately brings forward that which filled His own heart. This was the true character of the remnant, who in the main resembled Christ in it. It is often thus in the Psalms.
The salt of the earth is a different thing from the light of the world. The earth, it appears to me, expresses that which already professed to have received light from God-that which was in relationship with Him by virtue of the light-having assumed a definite shape before Him. The disciples of Christ were the preservative principle in the earth. They were the light of the world, which did not possess that light. This was their position, whether they would or no. It was the purpose of God that they should be the light of the world. A candle is not lighted in order to be hidden.
All this supposes the case of the possibility of the kingdom being established in the world, but the opposition of the greater part of men to its establishment. It is not a question of the sinner's redemption, but of the realisation of the character proper to a place in the kingdom of God; that which the sinner ought to seek while he is in the way with his adversary, lest he should be delivered to the judge-which indeed has happened to the Jews.
At the same time the disciples are brought into relationship with the Father individually-the second great principle of the discourse, the consequence of the Son being there-and a yet more excellent thing is set before them than their position of testimony for the kingdom. They were to act in grace, even as their Father acted, and their prayer should be for an order of things in which all would correspond morally to the character and the will of their Father. "Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come,"  is, that all should answer to the character of the Father, that all should be the effect of His power. "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" is perfect obedience. Universal subjection to God in heaven and on earth will be, to a certain point, accomplished by the intervention of Christ in the millennium, and absolutely so when God shall be all in all. Meanwhile the prayer expresses daily dependence, the need of pardon, the need of being kept from the power of the enemy, the desire of not being sifted by him, as a dispensation of God, like Job or Peter, and of being preserved from evil.
This prayer also is adapted to the position of the remnant; it passes over the dispensation of the Spirit, and even that which is proper to the millennium as an earthly kingdom, in order to express the right desires, and speak of the condition and the dangers of the remnant until the Father's kingdom should come. Many of these principles are always true, for we are in the kingdom, and in spirit we ought to manifest its features; but the special and literal application is that which I have given. They are brought into relationship with the Father in the realisation of His character, which was to be displayed in them by virtue of this relationship, causing them to desire the establishment of His kingdom, to overcome the difficulties of an opposing world, to keep themselves from the snares of the enemy, and to do the Father's will. It was Jesus who could impart this to them. He thus passes from the law,  recognised as coming from God, to its fulfilment, when it shall be as it were absorbed in the will of Him who gave it, or accomplished in its purposes by Him who alone could do so in any sense whatever.
 It is striking that the whole ministry of the Lord is recounted in one verse (23). All the subsequent statements are facts, having a special moral import, shewing what was passing amongst the people in grace onward to His rejection, not a proper consecutive history. It stamps the character of Matthew very clearly.
 In the text I have given a division which may assist in a practical application of the sermon on the Mount. With respect to the subjects contained in it, it might perhaps, though the difference is not very great, be still better divided thus:- Chapter 5:1-16 contains the complete picture of the character and position of the remnant who received His instructions-their position, as it should be, according to the mind of God. This is complete in itself. Verses 17-48 establish the authority of the law, which should have regulated the conduct of the faithful until the introduction of the kingdom; the law which they ought to have fulfilled, as well as the words of the prophets, in order that they (the remnant) should be placed on this new ground; and the despisal of which would exclude whoever was guilty of it from the kingdom; for Christ is speaking, not as in the kingdom, but as announcing it as near to come. But, while thus establishing the authority of the law, He takes up the two great elements of evil, treated of only in outward acts in the law, violence and corruption, and judges the evil in the heart (22, 28), and at all cost to get rid of it and every occasion of it, thus shewing what was to be the conduct of His disciples, and their state of soul-that which was to characterise them as such. The Lord then takes up certain things borne with by God in Israel, and ordered according to what they could bear. Thus was now brought into the light of a true moral estimate, divorce-marriage being the divinely given basis of all human relationships-and swearing or vowing, the action of man's will in relationship to God; then patience of evil, and fulness of grace, His own blessed character, and carrying with it the moral title to what was His living place-sons of their Father who was in heaven. Instead of weakening that which God required under the law, He would not only have it observed until its fulfilment, but that His disciples should be perfect even as their Father in heaven was perfect. This adds the revelation of the Father, to the moral walk and state which suited the character of sons as it was revealed in Christ. Chapter 6. We have the motives, the object, which should govern the heart in doing good deeds, in living a religious life. Their eye should be on their Father. This is individual. Chapter 7. This chapter is essentially occupied with the intercourse that would be suitable between His own people and others-not to judge their brethren and to beware of the profane. He then exhorts them to confidence in asking their Father for what they needed, and instructs them to act towards others with the same grace that they would wish shewn to themselves. This is founded on the knowledge of the goodness of the Father. Finally, He exhorts them to the energy that will enter in at the strait gate, and choose the way of God, cost what it may (for many would like to enter into the kingdom, but not by that gate); and He warns them with respect to those who would seek to deceive them by pretending to have the word of God. It is not only our own hearts that we have to fear, and positive evil, when we would follow the Lord, but also the devices of the enemy and his agents. But their fruits will betray them.
 It is important however to remark that there is no general spiritualisation of the law, as is often stated. The two great principles of immorality amongst men are treated of (violence and corrupt lust), to which are added voluntary oaths. In these the exigencies of the law and what Christ required are contrasted.
 We must always remember that, while dispensationally Israel has great importance, as the centre of God's government of this world, morally Israel was just man where all the ways and dealings of God had been carried out so as to bring to light what he was. The Gentile was man left to himself as regards. God's special ways, and so unrevealed. Christ was a light, to reveal the Gentiles, Luke 2:32.
 The characters pronounced blessed may be briefly noted. They suppose evil in the world, and amongst God's people. The first is not seeking great things for self, but accepting a despised place in a scene contrary to God. Hence mourning characterises them there, and meekness, a will not lifting up itself against God, or to maintain its position or right. Then positive good in desire, for it is not yet found; hungering hence and thirsting after it, such is the inward state and activity of the mind. Then grace towards others. Then purity of heart, the absence of what would shut out God; and, what is always connected with it, peacefulness and peace-making. I think there is moral progress in the verses, one leading to the next as an effect of it. The two last are the consequences of maintaining a good conscience and connection with Christ in a world of evil. There are two principles of suffering, as in 1 Peter, for righteousness' and Christ's sake.
 Those who are put to death will go up to heaven, as Matthew 5:12 testifies, and the Apocalypse also. The others, who are thus conformed to Christ, as a suffering Jew, will be with Him on Mount Sion; they will learn the song which is sung in heaven, and will follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth (on earth). We may also remark here, that in the beatitudes there is the promise of the earth to the meek, which will be literally fulfilled in the last days. In verse 12 a reward in heaven is promised to those who suffer for Christ, true for us now, and in some sort for those who shall be slain for His sake in the last days, who will have their place in heaven, although they were a part of the Jewish remnant and not the assembly. The same are found in Daniel 7: only, remark, it is the times and laws which are delivered into the beast's hands, not the saints.
 That is, the Father's. Compare Matthew 13:43.
 The law is the perfect rule for a child of Adam, the rule or measure of what he ought to be, but not of the manifestation of God in grace as Christ was, who in this is our pattern-a just call to love God and walk in the fulfilment of duty in relationship, but not an imitating of God, walking in love, as Christ has loved us and given Himself for us.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Matthew》
Christ's sermon on the mount. (1,2) Who are blessed. (3-12) Exhortations and warnings. (13-16) Christ came to confirm the law. (17-20) The sixth commandment. (21-26) The seventh commandment. (27-32) The third commandment. (33-37) The law of retaliation. (38-42) The law of love explained. (43-48)
Commentary on Matthew 5:1,2
(Read Matthew 5:1,2)
None will find happiness in this world or the next, who do not seek it from Christ by the rule of his word. He taught them what was the evil they should abhor, and what the good they should seek and abound in.
Commentary on Matthew 5:3-12
(Read Matthew 5:3-12)
Our Saviour here gives eight characters of blessed people, which represent to us the principal graces of a Christian. 1. The poor in spirit are happy. These bring their minds to their condition, when it is a low condition. They are humble and lowly in their own eyes. They see their want, bewail their guilt, and thirst after a Redeemer. The kingdom of grace is of such; the kingdom of glory is for them. 2. Those that mourn are happy. That godly sorrow which worketh true repentance, watchfulness, a humble mind, and continual dependence for acceptance on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, with constant seeking the Holy Spirit, to cleanse away the remaining evil, seems here to be intended. Heaven is the joy of our Lord; a mountain of joy, to which our way is through a vale of tears. Such mourners shall be comforted by their God. 3. The meek are happy. The meek are those who quietly submit to God; who can bear insult; are silent, or return a soft answer; who, in their patience, keep possession of their own souls, when they can scarcely keep possession of anything else. These meek ones are happy, even in this world. Meekness promotes wealth, comfort, and safety, even in this world. 4. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are happy. Righteousness is here put for all spiritual blessings. These are purchased for us by the righteousness of Christ, confirmed by the faithfulness of God. Our desires of spiritual blessings must be earnest. Though all desires for grace are not grace, yet such a desire as this, is a desire of God's own raising, and he will not forsake the work of his own hands. 5. The merciful are happy. We must not only bear our own afflictions patiently, but we must do all we can to help those who are in misery. We must have compassion on the souls of others, and help them; pity those who are in sin, and seek to snatch them as brands out of the burning. 6. The pure in heart are happy; for they shall see God. Here holiness and happiness are fully described and put together. The heart must be purified by faith, and kept for God. Create in me such a clean heart, O God. None but the pure are capable of seeing God, nor would heaven be happiness to the impure. As God cannot endure to look upon their iniquity, so they cannot look upon his purity. 7. The peace-makers are happy. They love, and desire, and delight in peace; and study to be quiet. They keep the peace that it be not broken, and recover it when it is broken. If the peace-makers are blessed, woe to the peace-breakers! 8. Those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake are happy. This saying is peculiar to Christianity; and it is more largely insisted upon than any of the rest. Yet there is nothing in our sufferings that can merit of God; but God will provide that those who lose for him, though life itself, shall not lose by him in the end. Blessed Jesus! how different are thy maxims from those of men of this world! They call the proud happy, and admire the gay, the rich, the powerful, and the victorious. May we find mercy from the Lord; may we be owned as his children, and inherit his kingdom. With these enjoyments and hopes, we may cheerfully welcome low or painful circumstances.
Commentary on Matthew 5:13-16
(Read Matthew 5:13-16)
Ye are the salt of the earth. Mankind, lying in ignorance and wickedness, were as a vast heap, ready to putrify; but Christ sent forth his disciples, by their lives and doctrines to season it with knowledge and grace. If they are not such as they should be, they are as salt that has lost its savour. If a man can take up the profession of Christ, and yet remain graceless, no other doctrine, no other means, can make him profitable. Our light must shine, by doing such good works as men may see. What is between God and our souls, must be kept to ourselves; but that which is of itself open to the sight of men, we must study to make suitable to our profession, and praiseworthy. We must aim at the glory of God.
Commentary on Matthew 5:17-20
(Read Matthew 5:17-20)
Let none suppose that Christ allows his people to trifle with any commands of God's holy law. No sinner partakes of Christ's justifying righteousness, till he repents of his evil deeds. The mercy revealed in the gospel leads the believer to still deeper self-abhorrence. The law is the Christian's rule of duty, and he delights therein. If a man, pretending to be Christ's disciple, encourages himself in any allowed disobedience to the holy law of God, or teaches others to do the same, whatever his station or reputation among men may be, he can be no true disciple. Christ's righteousness, imputed to us by faith alone, is needed by every one that enters the kingdom of grace or of glory; but the new creation of the heart to holiness, produces a thorough change in a man's temper and conduct.
Commentary on Matthew 5:21-26
(Read Matthew 5:21-26)
The Jewish teachers had taught, that nothing except actual murder was forbidden by the sixth commandment. Thus they explained away its spiritual meaning. Christ showed the full meaning of this commandment; according to which we must be judged hereafter, and therefore ought to be ruled now. All rash anger is heart murder. By our brother, here, we are to understand any person, though ever so much below us, for we are all made of one blood. "Raca," is a scornful word, and comes from pride: "Thou fool," is a spiteful word, and comes from hatred. Malicious slanders and censures are poison that kills secretly and slowly. Christ told them that how light soever they made of these sins, they would certainly be called into judgment for them. We ought carefully to preserve Christian love and peace with all our brethren; and if at any time there is a quarrel, we should confess our fault, humble ourselves to our brother, making or offering satisfaction for wrong done in word or deed: and we should do this quickly; because, till this is done, we are unfit for communion with God in holy ordinances. And when we are preparing for any religious exercises, it is good for us to make that an occasion of serious reflection and self-examination. What is here said is very applicable to our being reconciled to God through Christ. While we are alive, we are in the way to his judgement-seat; after death, it will be too late. When we consider the importance of the case, and the uncertainty of life, how needful it is to seek peace with God, without delay!
Commentary on Matthew 5:27-32
(Read Matthew 5:27-32)
Victory over the desires of the heart, must be attended with painful exertions. But it must be done. Every thing is bestowed to save us from our sins, not in them. All our senses and powers must be kept from those things which lead to transgression. Those who lead others into temptation to sin, by dress or in other ways, or leave them in it, or expose them to it, make themselves guilty of their sin, and will be accountable for it. If painful operations are submitted to, that our lives may be saved, what ought our minds to shrink from, when the salvation of our souls is concerned? There is tender mercy under all the Divine requirements, and the grace and consolations of the Spirit will enable us to attend to them.
Commentary on Matthew 5:33-37
(Read Matthew 5:33-37)
There is no reason to consider that solemn oaths in a court of justice, or on other proper occasions, are wrong, provided they are taken with due reverence. But all oaths taken without necessity, or in common conversation, must be sinful, as well as all those expressions which are appeals to God, though persons think thereby to evade the guilt of swearing. 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.
Commentary on Matthew 5:38-42
(Read Matthew 5:38-42)
The plain instruction is, Suffer any injury that can be borne, for the sake of peace, committing your concerns to the Lord's keeping. And the sum of all is, that Christians must avoid disputing and striving. If any say, Flesh and blood cannot pass by such an affront, let them remember, that flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God; and those who act upon right principles will have most peace and comfort.
Commentary on Matthew 5:43-48
(Read Matthew 5:43-48)
The Jewish teachers by "neighbour" understood only those who were of their own country, nation, and religion, whom they were pleased to look upon as their friends. The Lord Jesus teaches that we must do all the real kindness we can to all, especially to their souls. We must pray for them. While many will render good for good, we must render good for evil; and this will speak a nobler principle than most men act by. Others salute their brethren, and embrace those of their own party, and way, and opinion, but we must not so confine our respect. It is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press towards perfection in grace and holiness. And therein we must study to conform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father, 1 Peter 1:15,16. Surely more is to be expected from the followers of Christ than from others; surely more will be found in them than in others. Let us beg of God to enable us to prove ourselves his children.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Matthew》
 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
And seeing the multitudes — At some distance, as they were coming to him from every quarter.
He went up into the mountain — Which was near: where there was room for them all.
His disciples — not only his twelve disciples, but all who desired to learn of him.
 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
And he opened his mouth — A phrase which always denotes a set and solemn discourse; and taught them - To bless men; to make men happy, was the great business for which our Lord came into the world. And accordingly he here pronounces eight blessings together, annexing them to so many steps in Christianity. Knowing that happiness is our common aim, and that an innate instinct continually urges us to the pursuit of it, he in the kindest manner applies to that instinct, and directs it to its proper object. Though all men desire, yet few attain, happiness, because they seek it where it is not to be found. Our Lord therefore begins his Divine institution, which is the complete art of happiness, by laying down before all that have ears to hear, the true and only true method of acquiring it. Observe the benevolent condescension of our Lord. He seems, as it were, to lay aside his supreme authority as our legislator, that he may the better act the part of: our friend and Saviour. Instead of using the lofty style, in positive commands, he, in a more gentle and engaging way, insinuates his will and our duty, by pronouncing those happy who comply with it. 3.
Happy are the poor — In the following discourse there is, 1. A sweet invitation to true holiness and happiness, verse 3-12. Matthew 5:3-12. 2. A persuasive to impart it to others, verse 13-16. Matthew 5:13-16. 3. A description of true Christian holiness, verse 17; chap. ii,12, Matthew 5:17; Matthew 7:12. (in which it is easy to observe, the latter part exactly answers the former.) 4. The conclusion: giving a sure mark of the true way, warning against false prophets, exhorting to follow after holiness.
The poor in spirit — They who are unfeignedly penitent, they who are truly convinced of sin; who see and feel the state they are in by nature, being deeply sensible of their sinfulness, guiltiness, helplessness.
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven — The present inward kingdom: righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, as well as the eternal kingdom, if they endure to the end. Luke 6:20.
 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
They that mourn — Either for their own sins, or for other men's, and are steadily and habitually serious.
They shall be comforted — More solidly and deeply even in this world, and eternally in heaven.
 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Happy are the meek — They that hold all their passions and affections evenly balanced.
They shall inherit the earth — They shall have all things really necessary for life and godliness. They shall enjoy whatever portion God hath given them here, and shall hereafter possess the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
They that hunger and thirst after righteousness — After the holiness here described. They shall be satisfied with it.
 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
The merciful — The tender-hearted: they who love all men as themselves: They shall obtain mercy - Whatever mercy therefore we desire from God, the same let us show to our brethren. He will repay us a thousand fold, the love we bear to any for his sake.
 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
The pure in heart — The sanctified: they who love God with all their hearts.
They shall see God — In all things here; hereafter in glory.
 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
The peace makers — They that out of love to God and man do all possible good to all men. Peace in the Scripture sense implies all blessings temporal and eternal.
They shall be called the children of God — Shall be acknowledged such by God and man. One would imagine a person of this amiable temper and behaviour would be the darling of mankind. But our Lord well knew it would not be so, as long as Satan was the prince of this world. He therefore warns them before of the treatment all were to expect, who were determined thus to tread in his steps, by immediately subjoining, Happy are they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. Through this whole discourse we cannot but observe the most exact method which can possibly be conceived. Every paragraph, every sentence, is closely connected both with that which precedes, and that which follows it. And is not this the pattern for every Christian preacher? If any then are able to follow it without any premeditation, well: if not, let them not dare to preach without it. No rhapsody, no incoherency, whether the things spoken be true or false, comes of the Spirit of Christ.
 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
For righteousness' sake — That is, because they have, or follow after, the righteousness here described. He that is truly a righteous man, he that mourns, and he that is pure in heart, yea, all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution, 2 Timothy 3:12. The world will always say, Away with such fellows from the earth. They are made to reprove our thoughts. They are grievous to us even to behold. Their lives are not like other men's; their ways are of another fashion.
 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Revile — When present: say all evil - When you are absent.
 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Your reward — Even over and above the happiness that naturally and directly results from holiness.
 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Ye are the light of the world — If ye are thus holy, you can no more be hid than the sun in the firmament: no more than a city on a mountain - Probably pointing to that on the brow of the opposite hill.
 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
That they may see — and glorify - That is, that seeing your good works, they may be moved to love and serve God likewise.
 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Think not — Do not imagine, fear, hope, that I am come - Like your teachers, to destroy the law or the prophets.
I am not come to destroy — The moral law, but to fulfil - To establish, illustrate, and explain its highest meaning, both by my life and doctrine.
 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Till all things shall be effected — Which it either requires or foretells. For the law has its effect, when the rewards are given, and the punishments annexed to it inflicted, as well as when its precepts are obeyed. Luke 16:17; 21:33.
 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
One of the least — So accounted by men; and shall teach - Either by word or example; shall be the least - That is, shall have no part therein.
 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees — Described in the sequel of this discourse.
 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
Ye have heard — From the scribes reciting the law; Thou shalt do no murder - And they interpreted this, as all the other commandments, barely of the outward act.
The judgement — The Jews had in every city a court of twenty-three men, who could sentence a criminal to be strangled. But the sanhedrim only (the great council which sat at Jerusalem, consisting of seventy-two men,) could sentence to the more terrible death of stoning. That was called the judgment, this the council. Exodus 20:13.
 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
But I say unto you — Which of the prophets ever spake thus? Their language is, Thus saith the Lord. Who hath authority to use this language, but the one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.
Whosoever is angry with his brother — Some copies add, without a cause - But this is utterly foreign to the whole scope and tenor of our Lord's discourse. If he had only forbidden the being angry without a cause, there was no manner of need of that solemn declaration, I say unto you; for the scribes and Pharisees themselves said as much as this. Even they taught, men ought not to be angry without a cause. So that this righteousness does not exceed theirs. But Christ teaches, that we ought not, for any cause, to be so angry as to call any man Raca, or fool. We ought not, for any cause, to be angry at the person of the sinner, but at his sins only. Happy world, were this plain and necessary distinction thoroughly understood, remembered, practised! Raca means, a silly man, a trifler.
Whosoever shall say, Thou fool — Shall revile, or seriously reproach any man. Our Lord specified three degrees of murder, each liable to a sorer punishment than the other: not indeed from men, but from God.
Hell fire — In the valley of Hinnom (whence the word in the original is taken) the children were used to be burnt alive to Moloch. It was afterward made a receptacle for the filth of the city, where continual fires were kept to consume it. And it is probable, if any criminals were burnt alive, it was in this accursed and horrible place. Therefore both as to its former and latter state, it was a fit emblem of hell. It must here signify a degree of future punishment, as much more dreadful than those incurred in the two former cases, as burning alive is more dreadful than either strangling or stoning.
 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Thy brother hath aught against thee — On any of the preceding accounts: for any unkind thought or word: any that did not spring from love.
 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Leaving thy gift, go — For neither thy gift nor thy prayer will atone for thy want of love: but this will make them both an abomination before God.
 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
Agree with thine adversary — With any against whom thou hast thus offended: while thou art in the way - Instantly, on the spot; before you part.
Lest the adversary deliver thee to the judge — Lest he commit his cause to God. Luke 12:58.
 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
Till thou hast paid the last farthing — That is, for ever, since thou canst never do this. What has been hitherto said refers to meekness: what follows, to purity of heart.
 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
Thou shalt not commit adultery — And this, as well as the sixth commandment, the scribes and Pharisees interpreted barely of the outward act. Exodus 20:14. 29, 30. If a person as dear as a right eye, or as useful as a right hand, cause thee thus to offend, though but in heart. Perhaps here may be an instance of a kind of transposition which is frequently found in the sacred writings: so that the 29th verse may refer to 27, 28; and the 30th to verse 21, 22. Matthew 5:29,27,28,30,21,22 As if he had said, Part with any thing, however dear to you, or otherwise useful, if you cannot avoid sin while you keep it. Even cut off your right hand, if you are of so passionate a temper, that you cannot otherwise be restrained from hurting your brother. Pull out your eyes, if you can no otherwise be restrained from lusting after women. Matthew 18:8; Mark 9:43.
 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Causeth her to commit adultery — If she marry again.
 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
Our Lord here refers to the promise made to the pure in heart of seeing God in all things, and points out a false doctrine of the scribes, which arose from their not thus seeing God. What he forbids is, the swearing at all, 1, by any creature, 2, in our ordinary conversation: both of which the scribes and Pharisees taught to be perfectly innocent. Exodus 20:7.
 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
For thou canst not make one hair white or black — Whereby it appears, that this also is not thine but God's.
 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Let your conversation be yea, yea; nay, nay — That is, in your common discourse, barely affirm or deny.
 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
Ye have heard — Our Lord proceeds to enforce such meekness and love on those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake (which he pursues to the end of the chapter) as were utterly unknown to the scribes and Pharisees.
It hath been said — In the law, as a direction to judges, in ease of violent and barbarous assaults.
An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth — And this has been interpreted, as encouraging bitter and rigorous revenge. Deuteronomy 19:21.
 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
But I say unto you, that ye resist not the evil man — Thus; the Greek word translated resist signifies standing in battle array, striving for victory. If a man smite thee on the right cheek - Return not evil for evil: yea, turn to him the other - Rather than revenge thyself. 40, 41. Where the damage is not great, choose rather to suffer it, though possibly it may on that account be repeated, than to demand an eye for an eye, to enter into a rigorous prosecution of the offender. The meaning of the whole passage seems to be, rather than return evil for evil, when the wrong is purely personal, submit to one bodily wrong after another, give up one part of your goods after another, submit to one instance of compulsion after another. That the words are not literally to be understood, appears from the behaviour of our Lord himself, John 18:22,23.
 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Thus much for your behaviour toward the violent. As for those who use milder methods, Give to him that asketh thee - Give and lend to any so far, (but no further, for God never contradicts himself) as is consistent with thy engagements to thy creditors, thy family, and the household of faith. Luke 6:30.
 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour; And hate thy enemy — God spoke the former part; the scribes added the latter. Leviticus 19:18.
 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Bless them that curse you — Speak all the good you can to and of them, who speak all evil to and of you. Repay love in thought, word, and deed, to those who hate you, and show it both in word and deed. Luke 6:27,35.
 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
That ye may be the children — That is, that ye may continue and appear such before men and angels.
For he maketh his sun to rise — He gives them such blessings as they will receive at his hands. Spiritual blessings they will not receive.
 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
The publicans — were officers of the revenue, farmers, or receivers of the public money: men employed by the Romans to gather the taxes and customs, which they exacted of the nations they had conquered. These were generally odious for their extortion and oppression, and were reckoned by the Jews as the very scum of the earth.
 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
And if ye salute your friends only — Our Lord probably glances at those prejudices, which different sects had against each other, and intimates, that he would not have his followers imbibe that narrow spirit. Would to God this had been more attended to among the unhappy divisions and subdivisions, into which his Church has been crumbled! And that we might at least advance so far, as cordially to embrace our brethren in Christ, of whatever party or denomination they are!
 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Therefore ye shall be perfect; as your Father who is in heaven is perfect — So the original runs, referring to all that holiness which is described in the foregoing verses, which our Lord in the beginning of the chapter recommends as happiness, and in the close of it as perfection. And how wise and gracious is this, to sum up, and, as it were, seal all his commandments with a promise! Even the proper promise of the Gospel! That he will put those laws in our minds, and write them in our hearts! He well knew how ready our unbelief would be to cry out, this is impossible! And therefore stakes upon it all the power, truth, and faithfulness of him to whom all things are possible.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Matthew》
The version of the Beatitudes:
Happy are the pushers, for they get on in the world.
Happy are the hard-boiled, for they never let life hurt them.
Happy are they who complain, for they get their own way in the end.
Happy are the blase, for they never worry over their sins.
Happy are the slave drivers, for they get results.
Happy are the knowledgeable men of the world, for they know their way around.
Happy are the troublemakers, for they make people take notice of them.
――J.B. Phillips《When God was Man》
Jesus stressed the positive effect we can have on others when he said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” But if sin dims our testimony so that our “light” is no longer visible, some of those w might have influenced for Christ may drift on in spiritual darkness.
On a dark and stormy night, with waves piling up like mountains on Lake
Erie, a boat rocked and plunged near the
But, in the darkness, he missed the channel and the vessel was dashed to pieces on the rocks. Many lives were lost in a watery grave. This incident moved Philip P. Bliss to write the familiar hymn, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning.”
Young Dnny was praying at Mother’s knee. “If I should die before I wake…If I should die…”
“Go on, go on, Danny,” said his mother. “You know the rest of the prayer.”
“Wait a minute,” interrupted the small boy. Scrambling to his feet, he hurried downstairs. In a short time, he was back. Dropping to his knees once again, he took up the petition where he had left off.
Finally his mother questioned him about the episode and issued a loving rebuke. Danny explained: “Mom, I did think about what I was saying, but I had to stop and put all of Ted’s wooden soldiers on their feet. I had turned them on their heads just to see how mad he’d be in the morning. If I should die before I wake, I wouldn’t want him to find them like that. Lots of things seem fun if you are gonna keep on living, but you don’t want them that way if you should die before you wake.”
“You’re right, dear,” said his mother with a quiver in her voice. She thought of herself and many other grown-ups who should have stopped in the middle of their prayers to undo some wrong against another before proceeding.
Chapter 5. Sermons on the Mount
I. The Secret of the Beatitudes
II. Four Parables of Function
III. The Cost of Holiness
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Introduction To The Sermon On The Mount (5:1-2)
1. In Matthew 5-7, we have recorded the most famous sermon that has
ever been preached...
a. Commonly referred to as "The Sermon On The Mount"
b. It has touched more hearts, and in turn has sparked more sermons
than any other
2. In Mt 5:1-2, the setting for the sermon is given...
a. He saw the multitudes that were following Him - Mt 4:25
b. He therefore ascended a mountain
1) Many believe this refers to a natural amphitheater between the
"Horns of Hattin", on a slope that arises above
(Believers' Study Bible)
2) This may be the same occasion as "The Sermon On The Plain"
- cf. Lk 6:17-49
c. When His disciples came to Him, He sat down and began to speak
1) It was common to speak while sitting, rather than standing as
we do today
2) Cf. Mt 13:1-2; Jn 8:2
3. What is Jesus talking about in this sermon?
a. What is the main "THEME?"
b. What is the "CONTENT" of this sermon?
[In this study we shall introduce "The Sermon On The Mount" by seeking
to answer these two questions. To begin, let's determine...]
I. THE "THEME" OF THE SERMON
A. NOTE THE "SETTING" LEADING UP TO THE SERMON...
1. In Mt 3:1-3, we read of the preaching of John the Baptist
a. Who was sent to prepare the way of the Lord
b. The theme of his preaching concerned "the kingdom of
2. In Mt 4, we read of the beginning of Jesus' ministry
a. After His temptation, Jesus preaches a message similar to
John's - Mt 4:17
b. His preaching in
Galileepertained to the "gospel of the
kingdom" - Mt 4:23
-- Could Jesus' theme be "the kingdom of heaven"?
B. NOTE A "PHRASE" USED THROUGHOUT THE SERMON...
1. "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:3
2. "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:10
3. "...shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:19
4. "...shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:19
5. "...will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:20
6. "Your kingdom come" - Mt 6:10
7. "But seek first the
" - Mt 6:33 kingdomof God
8. ". . . shall enter the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 7:21
-- Isn't Jesus talking about "the kingdom of heaven"?
[Both the setting and His repeated use a particular phrase should lead
us to conclude that the "theme" of Jesus' sermon on the mount is:
"THE GOSPEL OF THE
" KINGDOMOF HEAVEN
With this in mind, let's briefly consider the "content" of the sermon
as I offer the following outline...]
II. THE "CONTENT" OF THE SERMON
A. THE "CITIZENS" OF THE KINGDOM...
1. Their character and blessedness - Mt 5:3-12
a. Qualities to be found in those who will be citizens of this
b. The blessings enjoyed by these citizens
2. Their relation to the world - Mt 5:13-16
a. They are the salt of the earth
b. They are the light of the world
B. THE "RIGHTEOUSNESS" OF THE KINGDOM...
1. In contrast to the "traditional interpretations and
applications" of the Law - Mt 5:17-48
a. Jesus has not come to destroy or show disrespect to the Law
1) It will not pass away until it is fulfilled
2) Those who violate it teach contrary to it (while it
exists) will be least in the kingdom
b. Jesus does require that the righteousness of those in the
kingdom exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and
c. He illustrates by a series of contrasts concerning:
1) Murder and anger
4) The swearing of oaths
5) The taking of revenge
6) The treatment of enemies
-- In each case His teaching is consistent with the Law,
but not the traditional interpretations and applications
of the Law
2. With respect to man's relation to God - Mt 6:1-33
a. Charitable deeds
3. With respect to man's relation to man - Mt 7:1-12
a. Judging others
b. Asking, seeking, knocking
c. The golden rule
C. THE "EXHORTATION TO ENTER" THE KINGDOM...
1. The "beginning" of the way - Mt 7:13-14
a. It will be narrow and difficult
b. Not many will find it
2. The "progress" along the way - Mt 7:15-20
a. Beware of false prophets who are wolves in sheep's clothing
b. You will know them by their fruits
3. The "end" of the way - Mt 7:21-27
a. In which "sayers" will be contrasted with "doers"
b. In which "hearers" will be contrasted with "doers"
1. In view of its content, we can appreciate why this sermon has been
a. The Magna Carta of His Kingdom
b. The Manifesto of the King
2. Our next study will begin a look at the sermon in closer detail...
a. With the first of two lessons on "The Beatitudes" - Mt 5:3-12
b. In which we examine the character and blessedness of those who
are citizens of the kingdom of heaven
Have you responded to the exhortation to enter the kingdom? Remember
the words of our Lord to Nicodemus...
Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you,
unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old?
Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"
Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is
born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."
Have you been born again of water and the Spirit? - cf. Mk 16:16; Ac
The Beatitudes - I (5:3-12)
1. As we begin to take a closer look at "The Sermon On The Mount," we
notice first that section known as "The Beatitudes" - Mt 3:3-12
a. The word "beatitude" means "supreme blessedness or happiness"
b. We find Jesus discussing the blessedness of those who possess
2. It is as though Jesus was answering two questions people might have
a. Who will be the citizens of "the kingdom of heaven"?
b. What benefits do they receive?
3. My treatment of this passage will be somewhat different than normal
a. Most examine each beatitude in detail before going on to the next
b. But I will look at the entire section in an overall fashion twice
1) Looking at it from two different perspectives
2) Taking two lessons to do so
4. In this lesson, let's consider "The Beatitudes" from the viewpoint
of the question:
"Who will be the citizens of the kingdom?"
[In other words, what is the character required of the citizens of the
I. THEIR CHARACTER INVOLVES INTER-RELATED QUALITIES
A. THEY WILL POSSESS ALL OF THESE GRACES...
1. Only those who have all of the qualities described will truly
be citizens of the kingdom
2. For it should be evident that some may be...
a. "Poor in spirit," but do not "hunger and thirst after
b. "Mournful," but are not "pure in heart"
c. "Meek," but are not "peacemakers"
d. "Persecuted," but not "for righteousness' sake"
B. THESE GRACES ARE INTER-RELATED...
1. It takes all of these qualities, working in conjunction with
2. In this the passage is similar to 2 Pe 1:5-11
a. Where various qualities are also listed
b. Where each are needed in conjunction to one another ("add
to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge...")
3. Only then can one have "an entrance will be supplied to you
abundantly into the everlasting kingdom"
[How the qualities are inter-related becomes apparent as we consider
II. THEIR CHARACTER INCLUDES EIGHT QUALITIES
A. THEY ARE "POOR IN SPIRIT"...
1. "To be poor in spirit is to have a humble opinion of
ourselves; to be sensible that we are sinners, and have no
righteousness of our own; to be willing to be saved only by
the rich grace and mercy of God" (Barnes)
2. I.e., convicted of one's own spiritual poverty
a. Exemplified by the tax collector in Lk 18:13
b. Such people God will accept into His good favor - Isa 57:
3. The opposite of "poor in spirit" would be "proud of heart,"
and those who are such are more like:
a. The Pharisee in Lk 18:9-14
b. The Laodiceans in Re 3:17-19
B. THEY "MOURN"...
1. But do so in a specific sense: over one's own spiritual
poverty, one' sinfulness
2. Like David did after his adultery with Bathsheba - Psa 51:3-4
3. Note the relationship between these first two characteristics
a. Unless one is first "poor in spirit"
b. They will not "mourn" over their spiritual poverty
C. THEY ARE "MEEK"...
1. This means gentle, easy to be entreated
a. They would rather suffer injury than inflict it
b. Not out of weakness, but out of humility, realizing one's
own poverty of spirit, one's own sinfulness
2. A good example of meekness is Moses
a. He was certainly not a weak or timid man - Exo 32:19-20;
b. But when personally attacked, he was very humble - Num
D. THEY "HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS"...
1. They look for the righteousness which will meet:
a. Their spiritual poverty
b. Their mourning over the same
2. To "hunger and thirst" suggests not a half-hearted search, but
one exemplified by:
a. David in Psa 42:1-2; 19:12-14
b. Paul in Ph 3:7
E. THEY ARE "MERCIFUL"...
1. Loving towards those in misery (e.g., the "Good Samaritan")
2. Possessing a forgiving spirit toward those who sin against
a. As Jesus had toward those crucifying Him - Lk 23:34
b. As Stephen had toward those stoning him - Ac 7:60
3. Jesus stressed this characteristic on several occasions...
a. Later in this sermon, in teaching on prayer - Mt 6:14-15
b. In His parable of "The Unforgiving Servant" - Mt 18:21-35
4. This virtue grows "out of our personal experience of the mercy
of God." (Lenski)
F. THEY ARE "PURE IN HEART"...
1. Defined as "singleness of heart, the honesty which has no
hidden motive, no selfish interest, and is true and open in
all things." (Lenski)
2. Refers to one who is sincere, honest, without hypocrisy
3. That such a quality is necessary to see God, see Psa 24:3-4
G. THEY ARE "PEACEMAKERS"...
1. They devote their lives to making peace by following the
Prince of Peace
a. Making effort to be at peace with all men - Ro 12:18-21
b. Helping others to be at peace with God by proclaiming the
gospel of peace - cf. Ro 5:1; Ep 6:15
2. "At peace with God and thus themselves filled with sweet
peace, they live in peace, if possible, with all men and work
to keep and to make peace where peace is threatened or lost.
Theirs is the work of true Christians who follow in the
footsteps of the Prince of Peace." (Lenski)
H. THEY ARE "PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS' SAKE"...
1. "The tense and voice of the verb (passive perfect) may be
regarded as permissive:
a. "Who have allowed themselves to be persecuted, or have
b. "The idea is that they did not flee from it but willingly
submitted to when it came to them." (LENSKI)
2. In what way, is explained in verse 11, and includes being:
a. Reviled or reproached
c. Slandered falsely
-- All for Jesus' sake
3. That such persecution would often afflict those who are
citizens of the kingdom, see Ac 14:21-22; Ph 1:29-30; 2 Ti
1. Such are the characteristics of those who will be citizens of the
kingdom of heaven:
a. They are poor in spirit (realizing their sinfulness)
b. Thus they mourn (for their sins)
c. Thus they are meek (gentle toward God and others)
d. Thus they hunger and thirst for righteousness (which they
e. Thus they are merciful (for they know they need mercy)
f. Thus they are pure in heart (seeking to please God with
singleness of heart)
g. Thus they are peacemakers (making peace with others, having found
peace with God)
h. Thus they are persecuted for the kingdom of heaven (misunderstood
by the proud and arrogant who are still in their sins)
-- Eight graces, all inter-related and working together to produce
the right kind of character
2. Such is the character of the citizens of the kingdom of heaven...
a. Involving eight graces, all inter-related
b. Working together to produce the right kind of character
3. Is the kingdom of heaven worth whatever effort might be involved in
developing this kind of character?
a. We shall see the answer to this question in our next study.
b. As we view "The Beatitudes" from the viewpoint of another
"What benefits do the citizens of the kingdom receive?"
But if you are poor in spirit, mourning for your sins, hungering for
the righteousness that God provides only in Christ, what are you
waiting for? As Ananias told Saul of Tarsus:
"And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash
away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Ac 22:16)
The Beatitudes - II (5:3-12)
1. At the beginning of "The Sermon On The Mount," we find that section
of Scripture commonly referred to as "The Beatitudes" - Mt 3:3-12
a. The word "beatitude" means "supreme blessedness or happiness"
b. We find Jesus discussing the blessedness of those who possess
2. As suggested in the previously lesson, it is as though Jesus was
answering two questions people might have been asking:
a. Who will be the citizens of "the kingdom of heaven"?
b. What benefits do they receive?
3. In our previous study, we looked at the "The Beatitudes" from the
viewpoint of the question: "Who will be the citizens of the
a. We saw that their character would involve eight inter-related
b. We saw that they would be poor in spirit, mourning for their
sins, meek, hungering for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart,
peacemakers, and willing to suffer persecution
4. In this study, we shall look at "The Beatitudes" from the viewpoint
of the question: "What benefits do they receive?"
a. Is the kingdom of heaven worth the effort to develop such
qualities of character?
b. Is the kingdom of heaven worth whatever persecution we might
[I believe the answer is a resounding "Yes!" This becomes apparent as
we take time to consider the blessedness of the citizens of the
I. THEIR BENEFITS SUMMARIZED IN ONE WORD
A. THAT WORD IS "BLESSED"...
1. It is the first word of the sermon
a. Just as it is the first word of the Psalms - Psa 1:1
b. Just as it is found in the beginning words of Revelation
- Re 1:3
2. It is used nine times in nine verses (which is why this
section is called "The Beatitudes")
B. THIS WORD INVOLVES GREAT JOY AND GLADNESS...
1. It can literally mean, "how very happy!" is the one described
2. We can also infer this from Mt 5:12
a. "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad..."
b. Or as found in Luke: "Rejoice in that day and leap for
joy!" - Lk 6:23
[The benefit of being in the kingdom of heaven is the condition of
blessedness, a state of true happiness! To understand why, let's now
II. THEIR BENEFITS ARE BOTH PRESENT AND FUTURE
A. "THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"...
1. As defined in a previous lesson (cf. Mt 4:17), those who
receive the kingdom...
a. Are under the kingly rule of God
b. Are in a spiritual kingdom
1) Which today involves being in the "church," the present
manifestation of the "kingdom of heaven" - Mt 16:18;
Co 1:13; Re 1:9
2) Which will involve the "new heavens and new earth" in
the kingdom's future and eternal manifestation - Mt 25:
34; 2 Pe 1:10,11; 3:13; Re 21-22
2. Note that the first (5:3) and last (5:10) beatitudes include
a. Which I take to imply that the blessings in between
likewise apply to those in the kingdom
b. Just as the kingdom is both present and future, we shall
observe that the blessings described involve both present
B. "THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED"...
1. This is in reference to those who mourn over their sins and
2. They are comforted even now - 2 Co 1:3-5
3. They shall be comforted in the future - Re 21:1-4
C. "THEY SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH"...
1. In one sense, they inherit it now
a. As a result of putting the kingdom of God first - Mt 6:33;
b. Though they may have less than some who are wicked, God
enables them to enjoy it more! - Ecc 5:19-6:2
c. This explanation seems to be consistent with the context of
Psalms 37, from which the phrase was taken - Psa 37:1-11,
2. But in another sense, there yet remains a promise concerning a
"new earth" for those in the kingdom now - 2 Pe 3:10-13
D. "THEY SHALL BE FILLED"...
1. That is, with the righteousness which we so desperately need,
found only in Christ - Ph 3:8-9
2. Received presently, through the precious blood of Christ
- Ro 5:9
3. Received in fullness when adorned in the white linen of
righteousness in preparation for the marriage of the Lamb
- Re 19:5-9
E. "THEY SHALL OBTAIN MERCY"...
1. Those in the kingdom enjoy the forgiveness of sins now through
the blood of Jesus - Re 1:5-6
2. They shall also be shown mercy in the future by escaping the
righteous wrath of God in the Day of Judgment - Ro 5:9
F. "THEY SHALL SEE GOD"...
1. Presently, citizens of the kingdom can see God through their
Lord Jesus Christ - Jn 14:6-7
2. But in the future, we shall see him face to face - Re 21:3;
G. "THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF GOD"...
1. Even now we are called the sons of God - 1 Jn 3:1-2
2. How much more so, in the future! - Re 21:5-7
1. Perhaps we can better understand why those in "the kingdom of
heaven" are truly called "Blessed", for while...
a. Poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
b. Mourning for their sins, they shall be comforted!
c. Meek in their relation to God and man, they shall inherit the
d. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness, they shall be filled!
e. Merciful to others, they shall obtain mercy!
f. Pure in heart, they shall see God!
g. Makers of peace, they shall be called sons of God!
h. Persecuted for righteousness' sake, theirs is the kingdom of
2. Certainly the benefits of the kingdom outweigh anything this world
has to offer, or any persecution it might inflict!
a. For there are blessings now "in this life"
b. And there are blessings "in the age to come" - Mk 10:28-30
2. But the "blessedness" of the citizens is only for those who have the
"characteristics" of the citizens in ever-increasing measure...
a. Do we have the qualities described in "The Beatitudes"?
b. If not, do not the blessings described in "The Beatitudes"
encourage us to develop such qualities?
May this sermon of Jesus motivate us to examine our attitudes, to see
if there is not room for improvement in our relationships with both God
and our fellow man!
The Influence Of The Kingdom (5:13-16)
1. In "The Beatitudes" (Mt 5:3-12), we saw...
a. The character of those who would be citizens of the kingdom
b. The blessedness of the citizens described
2. In the final beatitude, Jesus implied the attitude the world would
often display towards the citizens of the kingdom - Mt 5:10-12
a. The world would revile and persecute those in the kingdom
b. The world would say all kinds of evil against them falsely for
c. The world would persecute them just as it persecuted the prophets
-- Thus the influence of the world upon the kingdom would often be
one of persecution
3. Jesus then proceeded to describe the opposite...
a. The influence of the kingdom upon the world
b. The impact the kingdom was designed to have upon those in the
[He uses two metaphors in doing so. The first, in Mt 5:13, involves the
figure of salt...]
I. "YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH"
A. SALT HAS SEVERAL CHARACTERISTICS...
1. It is white, enhances flavor, preserves, etc.
2. Based on the context, it is probably salt's ability to enhance
flavor to which Jesus refers in his illustration
a. Notice: "...but if the salt loses its flavor..."
b. Salt has the ability to give flavor to that which is
c. Job mentioned this ability in Job 6:6
B. THROUGH THE METAPHOR OF "SALT"...
1. Jesus depicts the relationship of the citizens of the kingdom
to the world as one of:
a. Making the world palatable (bearable) to God, and possibly
to others as well
b. Perhaps making it possible for God to continue to bear with
this world and its "distasteful" wickedness
2. The idea that the "righteous few" can make it is easier for
God to forbear the many wicked is illustrated:
a. In Abraham's conversation with God over Sodom - Gen 18:
b. In God's dealing with Jerusalem - Jer 5:1
-- So from God's point of view, the citizens of the kingdom give
the world what good "flavor" it has!
C. JESUS WARNS AGAINST LOSING OUR FLAVORING ABILITY!
1. With pure salt...
a. It actually never loses its flavor
b. But when mixed with impurities salt can lose its ability to
2. We too might lose our ability to be a "flavoring agent" for
a. By allowing "impurities" into our lives - 1 Co 15:33
b. Therefore, we need to keep ourselves from sin - Ep 5:3-7
D. IF WE LOSE OUR "FLAVOR"...
1. How are we going to be "seasoned"? (impurities prevent us from
2. We will be thrown out!
a. Is Jesus teaching the possibility of losing our salvation?
b. He certainly does elsewhere! - Mt 13:40-43; Re 3:15-16
[First of all, then, we are told of the relationship of the kingdom to
the world FROM GOD'S POINT OF VIEW: "You are the salt of the earth."
In Mt 5:14-16, we find Jesus teaching concerning those in the kingdom
as to their PRIMARY FUNCTION in the world...]
II. "YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD"
A. USED BY GOD TO TRANSMIT HIS GLORY TO THE WORLD...
1. They are "lights" in a dark world - Ph 2:14-15
2. Their purpose: to proclaim the praises of God! - 1 Pe 2:9;
B. THEY ARE NOT A "LIGHT" IN AND OF THEMSELVES...
1. Only in the Lord - Ep 5:
2. Christ is the "true" or "original" light - Jn 8:12
3. Citizens of the kingdom are simply "luminaries" reflecting The
One True Light, just as the moon reflects the sun - 2 Co 4:6
C. THEIR TWOFOLD RESPONSIBILITY AS "THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD"...
1. They must be visible
a. Implied by Jesus in His use of a "city" and a "lampstand"
b. Jesus therefore expects His followers to be seen by the
world - e.g., Jn 13:35; 17:21
2. They must radiate (give light)
a. This principle conveyed by the idea of the lamp
1) Designed to shine on a lampstand
2) Not put under a basket
b. This principle explicitly stated in "let your light SO
SHINE before men"
-- The purpose of such visible radiation: so men may glorify the
Father in heaven - e.g., 1 Pe 2:11-12; 2 Co 9:12-13
1. The influence and impact that the citizens of the kingdom are to
have on the world can be simply stated...
a. "You are the salt of the earth"
b. "You are the light of the world"
2. Why make the effort to be salt and light? Because of He who is
described as "your Father who is in heaven"!
a. An expression which should remind us that God is both:
1) Tender (He is our "Father"; a term of tenderness)
2) Majestic (He is "in heaven")
b. Such a Majestic Being, willing to be our Father, makes Him:
1) Worthy to be pleased!
2) And worthy to be praised!
3. We who claim to be the children of God, citizens of the kingdom, are
a. Pleasing to our Father (by being "the salt of the earth")?
b. Praising Him (by being "the light of the world")?
If not, then may the prayer of David in Psa 51:10-15 become our own:
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed,
O God, The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
Jesus And The Law (5:17-19)
1. Up to this point, Jesus has been describing the "citizens" of the
a. Their character and blessedness - Mt 5:3-12
b. Their influence on the world - Mt 5:13-16
2. The next section details the "righteousness" of the kingdom...
a. The righteousness conduct Jesus would expect of His disciples
b. In contrast with the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees
3. He begins by correcting any false impression some may have had about
His relationship with the Law of Moses and the Prophets...
a. Had He come to destroy the Law and the Prophets?
b. Are His teachings contradictory to the Law and the Prophets?
[In Mt 5:17-19, we find His answer to such questions. Our first
observation is that...]
I. HE CAME NOT TO DESTROY, BUT TO FULFILL
A. SOME MAY HAVE THOUGHT JESUS INTENDED TO TOTALLY DISREGARD THE
1. That His coming and teaching would regard the Old Law in a
2. For the expression "to destroy" means literally to "to destroy
utterly, to overthrow completely" (VINE)
B. ON THE CONTRARY, HIS PURPOSE WAS TO "FULFILL" THE LAW AND THE
1. For they foretold the coming of the Messiah (Christ)
a. There are approximately 330 prophecies concerning the
Christ found in the Law and the Prophets
b. For example, Deu 18:15,18-19; Isa 53:1-12
2. For they foretold the coming of the kingdom of God
a. One example is Dan 2:44
b. Jesus proclaimed the fulfillment of that prophecy was now
at hand - Mk 1:14-15
3. For they also foretold the establishment of a new and
different covenant for the people of God
a. See Jer 31:31-34
b. That Jesus brought in this new covenant is confirmed in
C. THEREFORE, UNTIL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS WERE FULFILLED, JESUS
1. The Law would be as permanent as the heavens and the earth
- Mt 5:18
a. As He said in Lk 16:17, "It is easier for heaven and earth
to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail."
b. There would be no change at all, until it was fulfilled
c. Not even a "jot" or a "tittle" (Hebrew grammatical
markings, similar to the dotting of an "i" or the crossing
of a "t")
2. A person's treatment of the Law (while still in force) would
affect their standing in the kingdom - Mt 5:19 How so...?
a. Remember that the kingdom has a future aspect - Mt 7:21-23
b. Those who lived before the coming of the kingdom in its
present sense (i.e., the church) could still be in the
kingdom in its future sense
1) Note what is said about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob - Mt 8:11
2) But then notice what was said about the "sons of the
kingdom," those Jews who by the Law had the right to
inherit the kingdom but did not appreciate its
fulfillment in the coming of Jesus Christ! - Mt 8:12
-- Thus, one's standing in the kingdom (in its future sense)
would be affected by their treatment of whatever Law of God
was in effect when they were alive!
D. AN IMPORTANT QUESTION: "DID JESUS FULFILL THE LAW?"
1. If He did not...
a. He failed His purpose in coming to this earth! - Mt 5:17
b. We had better observe the Law in its strictest sense!
- Mt 5:18-19 (including circumcision, and not eating
2. If He did...
a. He accomplished His purpose! (notice Jn 17:4)
b. We should not be surprised to find a NEW Law or Covenant
governing God's people today
3. Indeed, Jesus must have fulfilled the Old Law...
a. For there has been changes:
1) In the priesthood - He 7:11-14
2) In the Law itself - He 7:18-19,22
b. As the Law itself foretold, it has been replaced by a New
Law - He 8:6-13
[Though Jesus ultimately fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, at the
time He was preaching this sermon they had not been fulfilled. So,
true to His statement in verse nineteen, He taught His disciples to be
faithful to God's Law as it then stood.
But what about the contrasts found in Mt 5:21-48? Are not these to be
viewed as comparisons between the Old and New Law? Here are some
thoughts along these lines...]
II. THE CONTRAST MADE BY JESUS
A. MANY UNDERSTAND JESUS WAS CONTRASTING THE "OLD" AND "NEW"...
1. I.e., comparing the "Law of Moses" with the "Law of Christ"
which would govern His kingdom
2. This in essence has Jesus teaching:
a. That the "Old Law" only condemned the outward actions
b. But that the "New Law" introduced by Jesus condemned the
inner conditions which lead to the outer actions
B. HOWEVER, I UNDERSTAND THE CONTRAST TO BE DIFFERENT...
1. It was a contrast between:
a. The "traditional interpretation and application" of the Law
b. The "righteousness of the kingdom" Jesus would require of
2. In fact, Jesus demonstrated that the righteousness of the
a. Was not only contrary to the manner many had interpreted
and applied the Law
b. But was in harmony with the original spirit of the Law as
given to Moses and the Israelites
C. REASONS FOR SUCH A VIEW...
1. The other view would seem strange in light of verse 19
a. Jesus had just warned against any alteration of the
commandments of the Law!
b. The first view has Jesus doing the very thing He had just
2. If Jesus was referring to what Moses had commanded in the Law
itself, it is likely different wording would have been used
a. At other times, when Jesus was definitely referring to what
the Law actually said, He prefaced it with things like:
1) "Moses commanded" - Mt 8:4
2) "It is written" - Mt 4:4,7,10
b. Instead, we find Jesus repeatedly using phrases more likely
to refer to ORAL teachings and interpretations rather than
the WRITTEN Word of God:
1) "You have heard that it was said to those of old"
- Mt 5:21,27
2) "Furthermore it has been said" - Mt 5:31
3) "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old"
- Mt 5:33
4) "You have heard that it was said" - Mt 5:38,43
3. In two of the contrasts, Jesus refers to statements not even
found in the Law of Moses!
a. "...and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment"
- Mt 5:21
b. "...and hate your enemy" - Mt 5:43
-- Here, Jesus reacted, not to the Law itself, but to the way
it was often used!
4. We should also remember that the "Law and the Prophets" were
just as concerned with the inner thoughts of the heart as the
Law of Christ is - cf. Deu 6:4-7; Isa 29:13-14
1. So Jesus came...
a. Not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill the Law
b. Which He did, by fulfilling its many prophecies
-- That Law has now been replaced by the New Covenant of our Lord
2. In illustrating the righteousness expected of those under the New
Covenant, Jesus will...
a. Contrast it with the traditional interpretations and applications
orally handed down
b. Demonstrate how our righteousness must indeed exceed that of the
scribes and Pharisees!
In our next lesson, we shall begin looking at the righteousness Jesus
Righteousness Of The Scribes And Pharisees (5:20)
1. As Jesus prepares to contrast the righteousness of the kingdom with
the traditional interpretation and application of the Law, He does
so with a strong warning to those who would enter the kingdom of
2. Found in Mt 5:20, Jesus warned that...
"unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes
and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven"!
[To appreciate and apply what Jesus said, it might help if we first
I. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES
A. THEY WERE KNOWN TO "SAY AND DO NOT" - Mt 23:1-4
1. Though they often taught the truth, they did not often
practice what they preached!
2. From them many parents got the saying "Do as I say, not as I
B. THEY WERE KNOWN TO DO THINGS TO BE SEEN OF MEN - Mt 23:5-7
1. They enjoyed wearing religious garments that separated them
from others, and delighted in places and titles of honor
2. Does this sound like any religious leaders today?
C. THEY WERE KNOWN TO NEGLECT PARTS OF GOD'S LAW - Mt 23:23-24
1. In their case, they would emphasize the "lighter" matters of
the law, while neglecting the "weightier" commands
2. Or as we would say today, they "majored in minors and minored
D. THEY WERE KNOWN TO BE LOVERS OF MONEY - Lk 16:13-15
1. "Mammon" was their god, though they would be quick to deny it
and try to justify themselves before men
2. Does this sound like any "prosperity preachers" we see and
[Such was the level of "righteousness" the scribes and Pharisees as a
group. Not all scribes and Pharisees were guilty of such things (e.g.,
Nicodemus, Jn 3:1; 7:45-52; 19:38-42).
Why must our righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees?
The righteousness of the kingdom demands more!]
II. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE KINGDOM
A. WE LEARN IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT THAT...
1. We cannot "say and do not" - Mt 7:21
2. We cannot "do things to be seen of men" - Mt 6:1
3. We cannot "neglect" ANY commandments of God's law - Mt 5:19
4. We cannot be "lovers of money" - Mt 6:24
B. THIS SHOULD SERVE AS A WARNING TO ANY WHO THINK THEY CAN BE
FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS, BUT DO NOT...
1. Combine their profession of faith with suitable deeds - cf.
Ja 2:14-17; 1 Jn 2:4-6; 1 Jn 3:18
2. Keep their personal, private lives consistent with their
public appearance and profession - cf. Mk 4:22
3. Make diligent effort to observe ALL that Jesus commanded - cf.
Mt 28:20; Jn 8:31-32; 2 Jn 9
4. Remain free from the enticement of materialism - cf. 1 Ti 6:
9-10; 1 Jn 2:15-17
1. Without question, our righteousness as citizens of the kingdom must
exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees
2. But how can our righteousness be consistent with that demanded by
our King? It is possible only by the grace of God...
a. Whereby His mercy provides forgiveness to those in Christ - 1 Jn
b. Whereby His strength makes it possible to live according to the
"righteousness of the kingdom of heaven"! - Ph 4:13
In our next study, we will begin to notice the various examples Jesus
gave as to how our righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and
The Anger That Kills (5:21-26)
1. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus challenges us to attain to a high
level of righteousness...
a. To exceed "the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees"
- Mt 5:20
b. He illustrates what is meant through a series on contrasts
1) Between what they had heard from those of old
2) And what He was now declaring to them
2. The first contrast (Mt 5:21-26) pertains to properly understanding
a. The Sixth Commandment
b. I.e., "You shall not murder" - cf. Exo 20:13
[How should the sixth command be understood and applied? Is the actual
act of murder the only thing we need to be concerned about? Before we
consider what Jesus taught, let's look at...]
I. THE "TRADITIONAL" INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION
A. NOTE THAT I SAY "TRADITIONAL"...
1. Jesus is responding to traditional interpretations of the Law,
not the Law itself
a. I.e., what had been taught by the "traditions of the
elders" - cf. Mt 15:2
b. Note His preparatory remarks: "You have HEARD that it was
c. Referring to oral traditions rather than the written Law
(cf. earlier lesson on "Jesus And The Law")
2. Which traditions had likely been accepted by the scribes and
B. THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION...
1. Is seen in the phrase "whoever murders will be in danger of
2. The term "judgment" likely refers to the local courts of their
day (see below)
3. This interpretation may sound fine, but evidently did not go
far enough in how the Law should have been interpreted and
a. Was the Law only concerned about the actual act of murder?
b. Should the disciples of Jesus also limit their concern to
actual acts of murder?
[To answer these two questions, let's now take a closer look at...]
II. THE TEACHING OF JESUS
A. JESUS PRONOUNCED JUDGMENT ON ANGER...
1. As found in Mt 5:22...
a. One angry without a cause should be in danger of the
1) I.e., the local courts through Palestine
2) Which were normally reserved for common criminals
b. One who calls his brother "Raca!" (stupid, empty-headed)
should be in danger of the "council"
1) I.e., the Sanhedrin council
2) Which was the high court normally reserved for special
c. One who says "You fool!" would be in danger of "hell fire"
1) I.e., Gehenna
2) The place of everlasting torment - Mk 9:43-48
-- The judgment normally accorded to murderers, Jesus deemed
worthy of those whose anger led to just verbal abuse!
2. Jesus' teaching was in harmony with the Law regarding anger
- cf. Pro 6:16-19
a. "Hands that shed innocent blood" (murder) are an
abomination to the Lord
b. So also a "heart that devises wicked plans" and "one who
sows discord among brethren" (due to anger)
-- This being true, the Law should have been interpreted and
3. Thus the traditional interpretation and application of the Law
fell far short
a. The "righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees" only
condemned murderers when those with hateful emotions were
just as guilty!
b. While the righteousness of the kingdom would be in harmony
with the original intent of the Law
1) The Law taught to forsake wrath and anger - Psa 37:8
2) So does the righteousness of the kingdom - cf. Ga 5:19-
21; Ep 4:31
B. JESUS ILLUSTRATED THE SERIOUSNESS OF ANGER...
1. We should not try to worship God when we are "at odds" with a
brother - Mt 5:23-24
a. Repair strained relationships with a brother before
b. Just as a husband must treat his wife with understanding if
he desires to have his prayers heard - 1 Pe 3:7
-- Wrong emotions toward others can "kill" our relationship
2. We should be quick to "make amends" lest uncontrolled anger
cause us to wind up in court, possibly prison! - Mt 5:25-26
a. Many "hot-heads" let anger prompt them to do things that
send them to prison
b. But note how those in the kingdom are to act - Ro 12:18-21
-- Wrong emotions can "murder" our relationships with man as
1. In His first contrast between the "righteousness of the kingdom" and
the "traditional treatment of the Law", Jesus:
a. Declared that the ancients did not go far enough in applying the
b. Illustrated how it should be applied by those seeking to surpass
the "righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees"
-- The "righteousness of the kingdom" is actually in harmony with
2. Jesus also reminds us that there is "The Anger That Kills"...
a. Improper anger toward our fellow man can "kill" our relationship
b. It can "murder" our relationships with our fellow man, and ruin
our lives in the process
-- One does not have to be guilty of actual murder to do this!
Thus Jesus calls upon us to deal with the anger that often leads to
murder, if we desire to truly be His disciples! This requires that we
be "born again"... - cf. Jn 3:5; 1 Pe 1:22-23
Nipping Adultery In The Bud (5:27-30)
1. Though our society takes adultery lightly, it is a serious offense
in the eyes of God...
a. He listed it right after murder in the Ten Commandments - Exo 20:
b. He made it a capital offense in the Old Testament, worthy of the
death penalty - Lev 20:10
c. God has promised to judge those who are adulterers - He 13:4;
1 Co 6:9-10
-- It destroys friendships, marriages, and families, contributing to
the destruction of many children's lives!
2. How can one avoid the sin of adultery?
a. Is the solution one of just making sure that you don't commit the
b. Or is there way that one can "nip it in the bud"?
3. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus challenged His disciples...
a. To exceed "the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees"
- Mt 5:20
b. He illustrated what He meant through a series on contrasts
1) Between what they had heard from those of old
2) And what He was now declaring to them
4. In the second contrast (Mt 5:27-30), Jesus addressed the issue of
a. In which we learn where adultery really begins
b. And what steps can be taken to ward off committing such a serious
[On the subject of adultery, let's first note the contrast between...]
I. JESUS AND THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION
A. THE "TRADITIONAL" INTERPRETATION...
1. The oral traditions of the Scribes and Pharisees certainly
repeated the written commandment found in the Law - Mt 5:27
2. But they evidently stressed that as long as one did not commit
the actual act, one was not guilty
3. Thereby emphasizing the "letter" of the Law, but not
appreciating the "spirit" behind the Law as well
B. JESUS TAUGHT DIFFERENTLY...
1. One does not have to commit the "act" to be guilty of adultery
2. One is just as guilty when one "looks at a woman to lust for
her" - Mt 5:28
3. Note: Not the "looking" per se, but looking "to lust" for her
is what is wrong
a. "to lust" means to have a strong desire for, to possess and
b. A person may look at another with admiration for beauty and
not be guilty of "lust"
C. JESUS' INTERPRETATION WAS IN HARMONY WITH THE LAW...
1. Notice that the Tenth Commandment condemned coveting a
neighbor's wife - Exo 20:17
2. Even in the time of Job, to "look at a woman to lust for her"
was considered wrong - Job 31:1
[So the problem begins in the heart (cf. Mk 7:21-23). If we can
prevent the lusting in the heart (or the "lustful eye"), the problem of
adultery is "nipped in the bud"! Jesus goes on to say what we should
do with respect to the lustful eye or any other stumbling blocks...]
II. JESUS' PROGNOSIS FOR LUSTFUL EYES AND OTHER STUMBLING BLOCKS
A. "PLUCK IT OUT AND CAST IT FROM YOU..."
1. That Jesus is not being literal should be obvious, for one
could still stumble with the left eye or hand
2. The key to understanding this passage is found in Mt 18:7-9
a. The "eye" and "hand" represent "offenses"
b. Offenses are "stumbling blocks" that lead a person to sin
c. These would be enticements to do wrong, beguiling
B. THE MEANING OF JESUS' TEACHING...
1. "Take drastic action in getting rid of whatever in the natural
course of events will tempt you to sin" (Hendriksen)
2. Such should be the case in regards to ALL sin, as well as the
sin of adultery
[As we contemplate Jesus' words, there are several...]
III. IMPORTANT LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
A. THE PRESENT IS NOT OUR ONLY LIFE; WE ARE DESTINED FOR ETERNITY!
1. The future holds the possibility of "hell" (Greek, GEHENNA,
the place of everlasting torment)
2. What we do or not do in the present will determine our place
in the future
B. NOTHING, NO MATTER HOW PRECIOUS, SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO DOOM OUR
1. God's goal for us is the "kingdom of heaven" in all its
2. What on "earth" (such as an adulterous relationship) can be
worthy of losing that?
C. SIN, BEING A VERY DESTRUCTIVE FORCE, MUST NOT BE PAMPERED!
1. Do we need to be convinced that sin (like adultery) is
destructive to those around us?
2. Sin is to the soul what cancer is to the body
a. Delay can be deadly!
b. Halfway measures, halfhearted efforts, only give sin time
to wreak havoc!
2. "Radical surgery" is what's necessary to treat the "cancer" of
a. Cut off those things that might lead you to look upon
others to lust after them
b. How much better to dwell upon such things as mentioned in
c. Remove all stumbling blocks that encourage you to sin!
1) Such as certain books, movies, pictures
2) Or possible companions, associates - cf. 1 Co 15:33
-- As Paul exhorted the Corinthians , and Joseph illustrated
by example, "flee sexual immorality"! - 1 Co 6:18; Gen 39:
1. Our families, our friends, our lives, and especially our souls are
too precious to allow the sin of adultery to destroy them!
2. But if we desire to "nip it in the bud", we cannot be content with
the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees...
a. Who may have faithfully quoted the Law to others
b. But were unwilling to deal with the real problem, which is one of
3. In view of the reality of hell, the eternal abode of impenitent
a. Let us be willing to tackle the "cancer" of sin seriously
b. Performing whatever "radical surgery" might be necessary!
While one may not be able to rebuild the lives destroyed by the sin of
adultery, for the penitent adulterer there is still the hope of
salvation in Christ Jesus, as there is for all... - cf. 1 Co 6:9-11
The Treachery Of Divorce (5:31-32)
1. We live in an age of easy divorce...
a. Many if not all states have "no-fault" divorce laws
b. In some cases, all it takes is for one person to decide to have a
divorce, and their spouse can do nothing to prevent it
2. What does God think about divorce?
a. What was His view of divorce in the Old Testament?
b. What does He think of it now?
3. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus addressed the issue of divorce...
a. As He taught His disciples concerning the righteousness of the
b. In which He described the effects of divorcing one's spouse
[In this lesson, "The Treachery Of Divorce", we shall use Mt 5:31-32 as
our text. To understand Jesus' comments in their context, let's first
determine what was...]
I. THE "TRADITIONAL" INTERPRETATION
A. "WHOEVER DIVORCES HIS WIFE, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF
DIVORCE" - Mt 5:31
1. This was the "traditional" interpretation of Deu 24:1-4;
handed down orally
2. In applying the Law, they had focused on the idea of giving
certificates of divorce
3. They concluded divorce was permissible as long as a
certificate of divorce was given
B. IS THIS WHAT THE LAW ACTUALLY SAID?
1. Please read Deu 24:1-4 carefully...
a. Verses 1-3 simply describe a particular situation
1) WHEN a man is displeased with his wife and gives her a
certificate a divorce and sends her out of the house...
2) WHEN she has left and becomes another man's wife...
3) IF her second husband detests her and gives her a bill
of divorcement and sends her out of his house, or if the
second husband dies...
b. It is in verse 4 that Moses actually commands what must not
1) Which was: "her former husband who divorced her must not
take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled;
for that is an abomination to the Lord"
2) This passage is simply forbidding a man to remarry his
wife after she had been married to another - cf. Jer 3:1
2. Note also Paul's understanding of the Law - cf. Ro 7:1-3
a. A woman was bound by the Law to her husband as long he
b. If she married another while her first husband was still
living (implying a certificate of divorce was given), she
became an adulteress (i.e., defiled)!
[So the scribes and Pharisees had interpreted the Law to permit divorce
as long as a certificate of divorce was given to the wife. We have
tried to point out that was not the case. What does Jesus say?]
II. JESUS' INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION
A. "WHOEVER DIVORCES HIS WIFE FOR ANY REASON EXCEPT SEXUAL
IMMORALITY CAUSES HER TO COMMIT ADULTERY" - Mt 5:32
1. The only acceptable grounds for divorcing a wife is SEXUAL
2. Otherwise, divorcing a wife "causes her to commit adultery"
3. How? By placing her in a position where she is likely to
remarry, in which she becomes an adulteress
4. This is what the Law implied in Deu 24:4 and Jer 3:1
a. That is why the first husband couldn't take her back
b. Even if her second husband had died!
c. Because the wife had become "defiled"!
5. Notice these comments by KEIL & DELITZSCH...
"The second marriage of a woman who had been divorced is
designated by Moses a defilement of the woman...a moral
defilement, i.e., blemishing, desecration of the sexual
communion which was sanctified by marriage, IN THE SAME SENSE
IN WHICH ADULTERY IS CALLED A DEFILEMENT in Lev 18:20 and Num
"Thus the second marriage of a divorced woman was placed
implicit upon a par with adultery, and some approach was made
towards the teaching of Christ concerning marriage (Mt
"If the second marriage of a divorced woman was a moral
defilement, of course the wife could not marry the first again
even after the death of her second husband...because the
defilement of the wife would be thereby repeated, and even
increased, as the moral defilement which the divorced wife
acquired through the second marriage was not removed by a
divorce from the second husband, nor yet by his death."
6. Jesus simply made clear what the Law itself implied: To
divorce a woman for any reason other than sexual immorality
would cause her to be defiled (when she remarried)!
7. Therefore, I believe that a careful study of the Law
concerning divorce reveals...
a. That Jesus' teaching was really in harmony with the Law
b. But the "traditional interpretation and application" of the
Law had missed the mark by placing emphasis upon the
mention of giving a certificate of divorce
B. "WHOEVER MARRIES A DIVORCED WOMAN COMMITS ADULTERY"
1. Jesus goes on to say that anyone who marries a person who has
been divorced (lit., "put away") also commits adultery!
2. Jesus does not use the definite article in reference to one
put away, therefore He seems to refer to ANY "put away"
person! In other words...
a. A person put away for reasons OTHER than adultery cannot
1) Because such would "cause them to commit adultery"
2) Or to put it in O.T. terms: "become defiled"
b. Nor can a person "put away" for the reason of adultery
1) For such a person is an "adulteress" or "adulterer"
2) As such, is "defiled" and would thereby cause anyone who
married that person to commit adultery!
1. Jesus later taught more concerning the subject of divorce and
remarriage - Mt 19:3-12
a. Defining who has the right to divorce their spouse and remarry
b. Indicating that some might need to "make themselves eunuchs" for
the sake of the kingdom of heaven
2. But in our text (Mt 5:31-32), Jesus reveals "The Treachery Of
a. A man who divorces his wife for any cause other than sexual
immorality causes her to commit adultery (by placing her in a
situation where she is likely to remarry and become defiled;
i.e., an adulteress)
b. Whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery
-- The harmful effect of divorce is seen in that it creates
situations where adultery is committed!
3. Perhaps we can better understand why God hates divorce - Mal 2:13-16
a. When we put away our spouses, we treat them treacherously!
- Mal 2:14
b. When we divorce our spouses, we cover our garments with violence!
- Mal 2:16
4. Making divorce "legal" does not change the facts of the matter...
a. The one put away still becomes defiled (commits adultery) if they
b. Whoever marries the one put away still commits adultery
-- It is still a "treacherous" act!
As difficult as Jesus' teaching on the subject of divorce might seem in
today's permissive and immoral society, those who respect the authority
of Jesus Christ will abide by His teaching.
Have you found yourself in an adulterous relationship? There is hope
in Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Co 6:9-11)! Yet true repentance requires that
you stop committing adultery, even if it means becoming a "eunuch" for
the sake of the kingdom of heaven (cf. Mt 19:11-12).
The Swearing Of Oaths (5:33-37)
1. Are you a man or woman of your word?
a. When you say "yes" or "no", do people take it as "gospel" (i.e.,
b. Are you someone whose word is questioned, unless confirmed with
2. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus dealt with the issue of swearing
a. In which He set a high standard for His disciples to follow
b. A standard that exceeded that of the scribes and Pharisees, and
exceeds the standard followed by many people today
3. In this lesson, "The Swearing Of Oaths", we shall consider what
Jesus taught from the viewpoint of four questions:
a. What did the Law of Moses actually teach concerning the swearing
b. How had the Jews, and in particular the Scribes and Pharisees,
traditionally interpreted and applied the Law?
c. What did Jesus teach in response to this abuse of the Law
d. Did Jesus forbid even those oaths made in court?
[To answer the first question, "What did the Law of Moses actually
teach concerning the swearing of oaths?", let's take a moment to
I. THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE SWEARING OF OATHS
A. THREE PASSAGES MAKE VERY CLEAR THE TEACHING OF THE LAW...
1. "And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you
profane the name of your God; I am the LORD." - Lev 19:12
2. "If a man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind
himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he
shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth."
- Num 30:2
3. "When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay
to pay it; for the LORD your God will surely require it of
you, and it would be sin to you." - Deu 23:21
B. THE EMPHASIS WAS ON TRUTHFULNESS AND FAITHFULNESS...
1. A person must be truthful when he swears an oath; he must
truly mean it
2. He must also be faithful in keeping the oath; he must carry
out his word
C. THIS EMPHASIS ON TRUTHFULNESS "IN THE HEART" WAS STRESSED BY THE
PSALMS AND PROPHETS AS WELL...
1. In the Psalms - Psa 15:1-2; 24:3-4
2. The Prophets often bemoaned the lack of truth in the heart
- Jer 5:1-2; Hos 4:1-2
[So the teaching of the Law was clear: Vows to the Lord should be kept,
and truthfulness in all things was expected.
This leads to our second question: "How had the Jews, and in particular
the Scribes and Pharisees, traditionally interpreted and applied the
II. THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION
A. IT APPEARS THE EMPHASIS HAD SHIFTED...
1. FROM truthfulness in all things
2. TO honoring only those vows sworn "to the Lord"
-- As implied by Jesus comments in Mt 5:34-36
B. IN APPLICATION, ONLY VOWS "TO THE LORD" WERE BINDING...
1. That the Jews had made such arbitrary distinctions between
their vows is seen in Mt 23:16-19
2. Because of this distinction, daily conversations were often
spiced with meaningless oaths to make impressions; e.g.,:
a. "I swear by heaven"
b. "I swear by the throne of God"
c. "I swear...by the earth...by Jerusalem...by the altar...by
the temple...by my head..."
[By shifting the emphasis from truthfulness to honoring only those vows
made to the Lord, the Pharisees in their application of the Law
justified the use of meaningless vows.
Now to our third question: "What did Jesus teach in response to this
abuse of the Law concerning oaths?"]
III. THE TEACHING OF JESUS
A. HE EXPOSED THE HYPOCRISY IN SUCH ARBITRARY DISTINCTIONS...
1. Mt 23:20-22 clearly shows that when one swears by...
a. "the temple"
b. "the throne of God"
...he is swearing by the LORD also!
2. Mt 5:34-36 likewise teaches that one cannot swear by these
things without involving God
a. Heaven is the throne of God
b. Earth is His footstool
c. Only God can change our hair color (without the use of
-- Therefore, any oath is an oath "to the Lord"!
B. HE ENJOINED "TRUTHFULNESS IN THE HEART"...
1. Let your "yes" mean "yes"
2. Let your "no" mean "no"
-- Any more than this is evil, and would be contrary to speaking
"truth in his heart" (Psa 15:1-2)
[In exposing the hypocritical distinctions made by the scribes and
Pharisees in their oaths, and in commanding us to speak simply and
truthfully, the words of Jesus have led many to ask our fourth and
final question: "Did Jesus forbid even those oaths made in court?"]
IV. MAKING OATHS IN JUDICIAL MATTERS
A. ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT OF SWEARING JUDICIAL OATHS...
1. Both Jesus and James qualified their statements concerning
a. Mt 5:34ff - "swear not at all" is immediately qualified by
Jesus to refer to flippant and hypocritical oaths commonly
voiced by the people
b. Ja 5:12 - the command "do not swear" is also qualified by
James to refer to the same kind of meaningless oaths
2. Also, consider the following points:
a. God has sworn an oath to us - He 6:16-18
b. Jesus was willing to answer under oath before the Sanhedrin
court - Mt 26:63-64
c. Paul made solemn oaths in his epistles - 2 Co 1:23; Ga 1:20
d. An angel of God swore an oath - Re 10:5-7
B. IN LIGHT OF THESE ARGUMENTS...
1. Some understand Jesus and James to condemn only the flippant,
profane and hypocritical oaths...
a. Used to make impressions
b. Used to spice daily conversations
...but were never intended to be kept
2. Therefore the EXCEPTION to not swearing oaths can be:
a. Solemn oaths made in judicial circumstances
b. Those oaths on occasions of solemn religious importance (as
in the case of Paul)
C. I PREFER TO TAKE THE "SAFE" COURSE...
1. In other words, to "swear not at all"
2. Fortunately, in this country we are allowed the option to
-- But I would not judge brethren who themselves solemnly and
honestly "swear oaths" in judicial circumstances
1. The righteousness of the kingdom is to exceed that of the scribes
a. They would often spice their statements with vows and oaths in
order to be believed...
b. Christians are to be so truthful, their "yes" means "yes" and
their "no" means "no"
-- So truthful and trustworthy are the disciples of Christ to be, it
would not be necessary for them to swear oaths or have to say "I
promise" in order to be trusted
2. Can this be said of us, when people know that we are Christians?
a. Can others "bank" on our words?
b. When we say we will do something, is it as good as done?
May the words of our Lord remind us that even our speech reflects
either honor or dishonor upon the God we serve!
Responding To Evil (5:38-42)
1. When someone treats you wrong, how do you respond?
a. Do you react in kind, treating evil with evil?
b. Do you just stand there and take whatever abuse is given?
-- What is the proper way to respond to evil?
2. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus taught concerning the
righteousness of the kingdom...
a. He did so by contrasting it with the righteousness of the scribes
1) Noting how the Law had often been interpreted and applied
2) Declaring what He expected of His disciples
b. We have seen Jesus contrast this righteousness in such matters
1) Murder and anger - Mt 5:21-26
2) Adultery - Mt 5:27-30
3) Divorce - Mt 5:31-32
4) Swearing Oaths - Mt 5:33-37
[In this lesson, we shall look at what Jesus taught concerning
"vengeance" (Mt 5:38-42) as we discuss "Responding To Evil". First,
I. THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION
A. CONCERNING "AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH"...
1. It is found in Exo 21:24-25
2. A parallel passage is Deu 19:21
B. THESE STATEMENTS WERE LAWS FOR CIVIL COURTS TO APPLY...
1. Notice carefully Deu 19:15-21; Exo 21:22-23
2. They were given to guide the priests in meriting out proper
C. WHAT THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES HAD DONE...
1. Interpreted these statements so as to justify personal
2. Applied them by frequently taking matters of revenge into
their own hands
-- Just as many people do today!
D. THE LAW REPEATEDLY FORBID "PERSONAL" VENGEANCE...
1. Consider Lev 19:18; Pro 20:22; 24:29
2. In both Old Testament and New Testaments, the matter of
vengeance was to be left up to God and His duly appointed
agent: civil government! - cf. Ro 12:19; 13:1-4
[There really is no difference between the Law and what we find in the
New Testament in this regard: Personal vengeance has no place in the
lives of those who are the children of God!
Now let's examine more closely...]
II. THE PROPER RESPONSE TO EVIL
A. JESUS PROCLAIMED TWO PRINCIPLES...
1. Do not resist an evil person (
a. Not only should you not take vengeance into your own
b. But don't even oppose (resist) the evil person when the
evil is being done!
2. Respond to evil by doing good! (39b-42)
a. Jesus illustrates this principle with several examples...
1) Responding to physical abuse (39b)
a) "Turn the other cheek"
b) This may refer to offering the other cheek as an
expression of love
2) Responding to a civil suit, by giving more than what the
person is suing! (40)
3) Responding to government oppression, by offering to do
more than what is being demanded of you! (41)
4) Responding to those asking for help, by giving them what
they ask! (42)
b. In each case, the principle is the same
1) We are not to resist the person...
a) Who would mistreat us
b) Who would try to deprive us of our possessions
2) Instead, respond in a positive manner...
a) Demonstrate love towards them
b) Do so by freely giving them more than they were
hoping to gain by force, oppression, or manipulation!
B. IS THIS TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY?
1. Why not?
a. We have several O.T. examples...
1) Joseph, in forgiving his brothers - Gen 45:4-15
2) David, in sparing the life of Saul - 1 Sam 24:8-15
3) Elisha, in feeding the army of the Arameans - 2 Kin 6:
b. We also have several N.T. examples...
1) Jesus, our prime example - 1 Pe 2:20-23
2) Stephen, when he was being stoned - Ac 7:59-60
3) The Hebrew Christians, who "joyfully accepted" the
plundering of their goods - He 10:32-34
c. We have the clear teaching of Paul in Ro 12:19-21...
a. We are not to avenge ourselves
b. We must seek to overcome evil with good
2. If not, then how do we apply these words of Jesus?
a. What does Jesus mean?
b. Give some examples of how to apply these teachings... ???
C. ARE WE TO APPLY IT "UNCONDITIONALLY"?
1. I.e., must we decide who is "worthy" to receive this kind of
a. Jesus does not give us any indication that we are to use
b. Paul does give some qualifying instructions (e.g., 2 Th
1) But it applies to those who are Christians
2) And we have a responsibility to "judge" those in the
church, leaving those outside to God - 1 Co 5:9-13
2. I do find striking the attitude of Christians in the second
a. "Do good, and give liberally to all who are in need from
the wages God gives you. Do not hesitate about to whom you
should not give. Give to all. For God wishes gifts to be
made to all out of His bounties." (Hermas,
b. "And he said to love not only our neighbors but also our
enemies, and to be givers and sharers not only with the
good but also to be liberal givers towards those who take
away our possessions." (Irenaeus,
c. "Do not judge those who is worthy and who is unworthy, for
it is possible for you to be mistaken in your opinion. In
the uncertainty of ignorance it is better to do good to the
unworthy for the sake of the worthy, than by guarding
against those who are less good not to encounter the good.
For by sparing and trying to test those who are
well-deserving or not, it is possible for you to neglect
some who are loved by God, the penalty for which is the
eternal punishment of fire. But by helping all those in
need in turn you must assuredly find some who are able to
save you before God." (Clement of Alexandria,
-- These statements were written at a time when Christians
were constantly mistreated, abused, and manipulated by
3. The teachings of Jesus in this passage are admittedly
a. It is opposed to what we might call "human nature"
b. But we are called upon to be "partakers of the divine
nature" (2 Pe 1:4); in other words, to be more like God
4. As we will see in the next lesson, it is in order to be truly
"sons of your Father in heaven" that Jesus teaches a standard
of righteousness that far exceeds...
a. That of the scribes and Pharisees
b. That of most people today!
5. At the very least, let us expend as much energy...
a. In seeing how we can apply this passage to lives...
b. ...as many do trying to explain how it doesn't really mean
what it appears to say!
1. Summarizing the teaching of Jesus concerning "Responding To Evil"...
a. We are not to resist evil
b. We are to respond by doing good in turn
2. We may never face the exact situations Jesus used to illustrate His
a. But the principles can be applied to so many things we do face
b. E.g., how people treat us at work, in our communities, in our own
families, in the church
Whenever mistreated, take the challenge to see how you might overcome
evil with good. Then your "righteousness" will exceed that of the
scribes and Pharisees!
Acting Like Our Father (5:43-48)
1. When Jesus spoke about "Responding To Evil", He laid down two
a. Do not resist an evil person - Mt 5:
b. Respond to evil by doing good - Mt 5:39b-42
2. This is certainly a challenging task Jesus put before His
a. It is tempting to respond to evil in kind
b. Especially when the mistreatment comes from an enemy!
3. But in the text for this lesson (Mt 5:43-48)...
a. We find Jesus teaching concerning the treatment of our enemies
b. We are told why we ought to act in the manner described in Mt 5:
[Keeping in mind the context of the sermon on the mount, let's first
I. THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION
A. THE LAW DID NOT SAY "HATE YOUR ENEMY"...
1. It did teach to "love your neighbor as yourself" - Lev 19:18
2. But it also taught kindness was to be shown to your enemy
- Exo 23:4-5; Pro 25:21-22
B. THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION HAD MISAPPLIED THE LAW...
1. Though it did enjoin the command to "love your neighbor"...
2. It inferred from this command one had the right to "hate your
enemy" - Mt 5:43
a. "This phrase is not in Leviticus 19:18, but is a rabbinical
inference which Jesus repudiates bluntly. The Talmud says
nothing of love to enemies." (Word Pictures In The New
Testament, Vol. I, Robertson)
b. "The rabbis corrupted Lev. 19:18, which sums up the Law of
Israel, by adding `and hate your enemy.' By thus tampering
with Scripture, they intended to define their neighbors to
include only Jews and to exclude Samaritans and Gentiles."
(Believers' Study Bible)
[Having noted the difference between what the Law actually taught and
the wrong interpretation given by the scribes and Pharisees, let's now
consider what Jesus taught on...]
II. HOW TO TREAT OUR ENEMIES
A. JESUS REQUIRES THAT WE...
1. "Love" our enemies
a. Not hate them
b. Rather, show "active good will" towards them
2. "Bless" those who curse us
a. They may speak evil of us
b. But in response we are to speak kindly of them
3. "Do good" to those who hate us
a. They may either ignore us or do evil things to us
b. Yet we are to treat them kindly in either case
4. "Pray" for those who spitefully use us and persecute us
a. Notice, we are to pray FOR them, not just about them
b. I.e., pray for their well-being, salvation, etc.
B. THIS IS AN EXPANSION OF THE PRINCIPLES IN VERSES 39-42...
1. Don't seek vengeance!
2. Don't resist an evil person!
3. Instead, react by manifesting aggressive love!
[Why should we respond to our enemies in this way? Jesus goes on to
III. REASONS TO REACT IN THIS WAY
A. "THAT YOU MAY BE SONS OF YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN"...
1. That is, to demonstrate ourselves to be truly His children!
- Mt 5:
2. What is our Father like?
a. He gives material blessings to both the evil and the good,
both the righteous and the unrighteous - Mt 5:45b
b. He is kind to the unthankful and evil - Lk 6:35-36
c. He offered His Son while we were yet sinners and enemies!
- Ro 5:8,10
d. He loved us before we loved Him - 1 Jn 4:10
3. As taught elsewhere, we are to imitate our Heavenly Father
- 1 Jn 4:11; Ep 4:31-5:2
B. TO BE DIFFERENT THAN "TAX-COLLECTORS"...
1. In Jesus' day, they were despised by the Jews, because they
made themselves rich by collecting taxes from their fellow-men
for the Roman government
2. And yet, these tax-collectors would...
a. Love those who loved them
b. Greet cordially those who greeted them
3. We are no different if our love is limited to our "brethren"
or "friends"! - Mt 5:46-47
C. TO BE "PERFECT" AS OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT...
1. The word "perfect" means "brought to completion, full-grown,
2. In this context, it has reference to the matter of showing
love and mercy; note the parallel passage:
a. "Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is
merciful." - Lk 6:36
b. "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in
heaven is perfect." - Mt 5:48
3. When we display love and mercy to our enemies...
a. We are "complete," "full-grown" in demonstrating love
b. Just like our Father when He shows kindness to evil and
1. If we really want to be...
a. "sons of your Father in heaven"
b. "perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect"
2. It is imperative that we be influenced...
a. More by the teachings and example of the Son of God
b. Than by the attitudes and example of the "tax-collectors"!
Are you "Acting Like Our Father" who is in heaven? Or do you emulate
the most carnal people around us? May the "sayings" (cf. Mt 7:28) of
our Lord provoke us to consider the proper way to respond to our
enemies and to any who might abuse us!