If you were to take the sum total of all the authoritative articles ever written by the most qualified of psychologists and psychiatrists on the subject of mental hygiene—if you were to combine them and refine them and cleave out the excess verbiage—if you were to…have these unadulterated bits of pure scientific knowledge concisely expressed by the most capable of living poets, you would have an awkward and incomplete summation of the Sermon on the Mount. ――James T. Fisher
"THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT"
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. But what is Jesus talking about in this sermon?
a. What is the "THEME?"
b. What is the "CONTENT" of this sermon?
3. As we begin this series of lessons on "The Sermon On The Mount,"
these are some of the questions we shall try to answer
[To begin, let's try to determine the "THEME" of the sermon...]
I. THE "THEME"
A. 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 begins preaching a message
similar to John's - Mt 4:17
b. His preaching in
Galileepertained to the "gospel of the
kingdom" - Mt 4:23
B. A "PHRASE" USED REPEATEDLY 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
[Both the SETTING and the use of 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
II. THE "CONTENT" AND ITS BASIC DIVISIONS
A. THE "CITIZENS" OF THE KINGDOM...
1. Their character and blessedness - Mt 5:3-12
2. Their relation to the world - Mt 5:13-16
B. THE "RIGHTEOUSNESS" OF THE KINGDOM...
1. In contrast to the "traditional interpretations and
applications" of the Law - Mt 5:17-48
2. With respect to man's relation to God - Mt 6:1-33
3. With respect to man's relation to man - Mt 7:1-12
C. THE "EXHORTATION TO ENTER" THE KINGDOM...
1. The "beginning" of the way - Mt 7:13-14
2. The "progress" along the way - Mt 7:15-20
3. The "end" of the way - Mt 7:21-27
a. Contrasting "sayers" with "doers" 21-23
b. Contrasting "hearers" with "doers" 24-27
[In view of its "CONTENT," we can appreciate why some have called this
sermon of Jesus "THE MAGNA CARTA OF HIS KINGDOM;" and by others, "THE
MANIFESTO OF THE KING."
Before we examine the sermon any closer, it may be helpful to define
the expression "
" so we can better appreciate and KINGDOMOF HEAVEN
apply the teachings of Jesus found in this sermon...]
III. DEFINING "THE
" KINGDOMOF HEAVEN
A. COMPARING IT WITH "THE
"... KINGDOMOF GOD
1. Some try to make a distinction (e.g., Scofield Reference
2. But a quick comparison of the gospels indicate that the terms
refer to the same thing
a. Cf. Mt 4:17 with Mk 1:14-15
b. Cf. Mt 5:3 with Lk 6:20
c. Cf. Mt 13:31 with Mk 4:30-31
3. We find that Matthew used the expression "kingdom of heaven"
almost exclusively, while the other gospel writers used the
" kingdomof God
4. It may be that since Matthew wrote his gospel to the Jews, he
chose to used the phrase "kingdom of heaven"...
a. Because of the Jews' reluctance to use the name of God (out
b. Because of the Jews' misconception of the coming kingdom
1) Many anticipated a physical kingdom
2) The expression "heaven" (literally, "heavens") would
emphasize a spiritual kingdom
B. THE "
" INVOLVES FOUR INTER-RELATED CONCEPTS... KINGDOMOF HEAVEN
1. God's Kingship, Rule, or Recognized Sovereignty
a. The term "kingdom" as used by the Jews often stressed the
abstract idea of rule or dominion, not some geographical
area surrounded by physical boundaries
b. Possibly used this way by Jesus in Lk 17:21
c. It is used this way by Jesus in Mt 6:10 ("Thy kingdom
come; thy WILL be done . . .")
-- Thus, the "kingdom of heaven" is wherever the God of heaven
is allowed to RULE in the hearts of men
2. It Is Spiritual In Nature
a. Not a physical kingdom - Jn 18:36
b. But one that is spiritual - Ro 14:17
3. Its Visible Manifestation Today Is In The Form Of The Lord's
a. Which is the community of souls in whose hearts God is
recognized as Sovereign
b. That the church constitutes the kingdom on earth, consider:
1) How the term "church" and "kingdom" were used
interchangeably - Mt 16:18
2) Comments made to those who were in the church
- Co 1:13; 1 Th 2:12
3) The description of those in the churches of Asia
- Re 1:4,6,9
4. It Also Involves The "New Heavens And New Earth"
a. The "kingdom of heaven" has a future element as well as a
b. Its future aspect is spoken of by:
1) Jesus in Mt 25:34
2) Paul in 1 Co 15:50; 2 Ti 4:18
3) Peter in 2 Pe 1:10-11
c. Peter described the coming of its future state in
2 Pe 3:10-13
C. SO IT IS TO PROPER THINK OF THE "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN" IN BOTH A
"PRESENT" AND "FUTURE" SENSE...
1. In the PRESENT sense...
a. It is found wherever the SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD is accepted in
the hearts of men
b. It is a SPIRITUAL KINGDOM, for God rules in the hearts of
c. Its outward manifestation today is the LORD'S CHURCH
d. The kingdom was "INAUGURATED" on the Day of Pentecost in
2. In the FUTURE sense . . .
a. The kingdom will be "CULMINATED" with the coming of the
b. It will be that "NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH" described by
Peter and John
c. It will be experienced only by those in the church who are
submitting to God's will - Mt 7:21-23; 2 Pe 3:13
1. With this understanding of the "kingdom of heaven," we will more
a. Appreciate the CHARACTER and BLESSEDNESS of the citizens of the
kingdom (Mt 5:3-16)
b. Understand the need for the RIGHTEOUSNESS expected of its
citizens (Mt 5:17-7:12)
c. Respond to the EXHORTATION TO ENTER the kingdom if we have not
done so (Mt 7:13-27)
2. Our next study will concentrate on "THE BEATITUDES" (Mt 5:3-12),
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 in Jn 3:3-5...
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."
The Beatitudes (Mt 5:3-12)
1. As we begin to take a closer look at "The Sermon On The Mount," we
notice first that section referred to as "The Beatitudes"
a. In verses 3-12, we find Jesus discussing the blessedness of
those who possess certain qualities
b. It is almost as though Jesus was answering two questions the
people might have been asking:
1) Who are the citizens of this "kingdom of heaven"?
2) What benefits do they receive?
2. My treatment of this passage will be somewhat different than normal
a. Most approach this passage by examining each beatitude in detail
before moving on to the next
b. But we will look at the entire section in an overall fashion
twice, from two different perspectives
[First, let's look at "The Beatitudes" from the viewpoint of the
question: "WHO ARE THE CITIZENS OF THE KINGDOM?"
In other words...]
I. THE CHARACTER REQUIRED OF THE CITIZENS OF THE KINGDOM
A. ONE WHICH INVOLVES SEVERAL INTER-RELATED QUALITIES...
1. Only those who possess ALL of these qualities are truly
citizens of the kingdom of heaven
2. For it should be evident that some...
a. May be "poor in spirit," but do not "hunger and thirst
b. May "mourn," but are not "pure in heart"
c. May be "meek," but are not "peacemakers"
d. May be "persecuted," but not "for righteousness' sake"
3. It takes ALL of these qualities, and in this sense the passage
is similar to 2 Pe 1:5-11
a. Where various qualities are also listed
b. Where each of them are needed IN CONJUNCTION to assure that
"an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the
B. THEREFORE, CITIZENS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN ARE THOSE WHO...
1. ARE "POOR IN SPIRIT"
a. "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)
b. I.e., convicted of one's own spiritual poverty
1) Exemplified by the tax collector in Lk 18:13
2) Such people God will accept into His good favor
- Is 57:15; 66:1-2
c. The opposite of "poor in spirit" would be "proud of heart,"
and those who are such are more like:
1) The Pharisee in Lk 18:9-14
2) The Laodiceans in Re 3:17-19
a. But to do so in a specific sense: over one's own spiritual
poverty, one' sinfulness
b. Like David did after his adultery with Bathsheba
- Ps 51:3-4
c. Note the relationship between these first two character-
1) Unless one is first "poor in spirit"
2) They will not "mourn" over their spiritual poverty
3. ARE "MEEK"
a. I.e., gentle, easy to be entreated
1) Would rather suffer injury than inflict it
2) Not out of weakness, but out of humility, realizing
one's own poverty of spirit, one's own sinfulness
b. A good example of meekness is Moses
1) He was certainly not a weak or timid man
- Ex 32:19-20; 30-34
2) But when personally attacked, he was very humble
- Nu 12:1-3
4. "HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS"
a. I.e., looking for the righteousness which will meet:
1) Their spiritual poverty
2) Their mourning over the same
b. To "hunger and thirst" suggests not a half-hearted search,
but one exemplified by:
1) David in Ps 42:1-2; 19:12-14
2) Paul in Ph 3:7
5. ARE "MERCIFUL"
a. Loving towards those in misery (e.g., the "Good Samaritan")
b. Possessing a forgiving spirit toward those who sin against
1) E.g., Jesus in Lk 23:34
2) E.g., Stephen in Ac 7:60
c. Jesus stressed this characteristic on several occasions...
1) Later in His sermon, in teaching on prayer
- Mt 6:14-15
2) In His parable of "The Unforgiving Servant"
- Mt 18:21-35
d. This virtue grows "out of our personal experience of the
mercy of God." (LENSKI)
6. ARE "PURE IN HEART"
a. "singleness of heart, the honesty which has no hidden
motive, no selfish interest, and is true and open in all
b. Refers to one who is sincere, honest, without hypocrisy
c. That such a quality is necessary to see God - cf. Ps
7. ARE "PEACEMAKERS"
a. These are those who devote their lives to making peace by
following the Prince of Peace
1) Involves effort to be at peace with all men
- Ro 12:18-21
2) Involves helping others to be at peace with God by
proclaiming the gospel of peace - cf. Ro 5:1 and
b. "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)
8. ARE "PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS' SAKE"
a. "The tense and voice of the verb (passive perfect) may be
regarded as permissive:
1) "Who have allowed themselves to be persecuted, or have
2) "The idea is that they did not flee from it but
willingly submitted to when it came to them." (LENSKI)
b. In what way, is explained in verse 11, and includes
1) Reviled or reproached
3) Slandered falsely
-- All for Jesus' sake
c. That such persecution would often afflict those who are
citizens of the kingdom, see Ac 14:21-22; Ph 1:29-30;
2 Ti 3:12
[Such are the CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CITIZENS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
But is it worth it?
To answer that, let's now look at the "The Beatitudes" from the
viewpoint of another question: "WHAT BENEFITS DO CITIZENS OF THE
KINGDOM RECEIVE?" In other words...]
II. THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE CITIZENS OF THE KINGDOM
A. THEIR CONDITION CAN BE SUMMED UP IN ONE WORD: "BLESSED"
1. This word stands at the beginning of the sermon, and is used
nine times in nine verses
2. It can literally mean, "how very happy" is the one described
3. We can infer from verse twelve that "blessed" involves great
joy and gladness ("rejoice and be exceedingly glad")
B. THEIR BLESSEDNESS IS UNDERSTANDABLE IN LIGHT OF THE BENEFITS
1. "THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"
a. As defined in the previous lesson...
1) They are under the kingly rule of God
2) They are in a spiritual kingdom
a) Which today involves being in the "church," the
PRESENT manifestation of the "kingdom of heaven"
b) Which will involve the "new heavens and new earth"
in the kingdom's FUTURE and eternal manifestation
b. Note that the first (5:3) and last (5:10) beatitude
include this expression, which I take to imply that the
blessings in between likewise apply to those in the
c. Just as the kingdom is both present and future, we shall
observe that the blessings described involve both the
present and future
2. "THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED"
a. This is in reference to those who mourn over their sins
and spiritual poverty
b. They are comforted even NOW - 2 Co 1:3-5
c. They shall be comforted in the FUTURE - Re 21:1-4
3. "THEY SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH"
a. In one sense, they inherit it now
1) As a result of putting the kingdom of God first
- Mk 6:33; Mk 10:29-30
2) Though they may have less than some who are wicked, God
enables them to enjoy it more! - Ec 5:19-6:2
3) This explanation seems to be consistent with the context
of Psalms 37, from which the phrase was taken
- Ps 37:1-11, 16-29
b. But in another sense, there yet remains a promise
concerning a "new earth" for those in the kingdom now
- 2 Pe 3:10-13
4. "THEY SHALL BE FILLED"
a. That is, with the righteousness which we so desperately
need, found only in Christ - Ph 3:8-9
b. Received presently, through the precious blood of Christ
- Ro 5:9
c. Received in fulness when adorned in the white linen of
righteousness in preparation for the marriage of the Lamb
- Re 19:5-9
5. "THEY SHALL OBTAIN MERCY"
a. Those in the kingdom enjoy the forgiveness of sins through
the blood of Jesus - Re 1:5-6
b. They shall also be shown mercy in escaping the righteous
wrath of God in the Day of Judgment - Ro 5:9
6. "THEY SHALL SEE GOD"
a. Presently, citizens of the kingdom can see God through
their Lord Jesus Christ - Jn 14:6-7
b. But in the future, we shall see him face to face
- Re 21:3; 22:3-4
7. "THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF GOD"
a. Even now we are called the sons of God - 1 Jn 3:1-2
b. 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."
2. Certainly the benefits of the kingdom outweigh anything this world
has to offer, or any persecution it might inflict!
3. But the "blessedness" of the citizens is only for those who have the
"characteristics" of the citizens in ever-increasing measure. DO
4. Our next study will look at the citizens of the kingdom in their
relation to the world (Mt 5:13-16)
Salt And Light (Mt 5:13-16)
1. In "The Beatitudes", the CHARACTER AND BLESSEDNESS of the
citizens were described
2. In the final beatitude, Jesus described the attitude the world
would often display towards the citizens of the kingdom (10-12)
3. Jesus now proceeds to describe the opposite: The influence of
the kingdom upon the world.
4. He does this by using two metaphors: "salt" & "light"
I. "YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH" (Mt 5:13)
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 illustrates that the relationship of the citizens of
the kingdom to the world is 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 GOES ON TO WARN 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 enhance flavor
2. We too might lose our ability to be a "flavoring agent" for
a. If we allow "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 being useful)
2. We will be thrown out!
a. Is Jesus teaching the possibility of losing our
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 citizens
of the kingdom to the world FROM GOD'S POINT OF VIEW: "You are the
salt of the earth."
Continuing, we find Jesus teaching concerning the citizens of the
kingdom as to their PRIMARY FUNCTION in the world...]
II. "YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD" (Mt 5:14-16)
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. CITIZENS OF THE KINGDOM HAVE A TWO-FOLD 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"
3. 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. Why be concerned with being "the salt of the earth" and "the light
of the world"?
2. Because of the One Who is described as "YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN
a. This expression should remind us that God is both:
1) TENDER (a term of tenderness)
2) and MAJESTIC (He is "in heaven")
b. Such a Majestic Being Who is 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,
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 Ps 51:10-15 become our own:
10 Create in me a clean heart, O
God; and renew a right spirit within
11 Cast me not away from thy
presence; and take not thy holy
spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy
salvation; and uphold me [with thy]
13 [Then] will I teach
transgressors thy ways; and sinners
shall be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from
bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of
my salvation: [and] my tongue shall
sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and
my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
Jesus And The Law (Mt 5:17-19)
1. Having described the CITIZENS of the kingdom, Jesus now proceeds to
describe the RIGHTEOUSNESS of the kingdom, which takes up the bulk
of His sermon
2. He begins by correcting a false impression some may have had about
His relationship with the Law of Moses and the Prophets...
I. "I DID NOT COME 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, De 18:15,18-19; Is 53:1-12
2. For they FORETOLD THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
a. One example is Da 2:44
b. Jesus was preaching that 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 (LAW) FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD
a. See Je 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 - cf. Mt 8:11 (e.g., Abraham,
c. Their standing would be affected by their treatment of
whatever Law of God was in effect when they were alive!
d. For example, notice what Jesus said would happen to 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
D. AN IMPORTANT QUESTION TO CONSIDER: "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 unclean
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. Even 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 the 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 Law and the NEW Law?
Here are some thoughts along these lines...]
II. THE NATURE OF THE CONTRASTS MADE BY JESUS
A. MANY UNDERSTAND JESUS TO CONTRAST THE "OLD" WITH THE "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 led to the outer actions
B. I UNDERSTAND THAT THE CONTRAST JESUS MADE IS DIFFERENT...
1. Rather, it was a contrast between:
a. The "TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION" Of The Law
b. And the "RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE KINGDOM" that Jesus would
require of His disciples
2. And that in fact Jesus demonstrated that the righteousness of
a. Is not only contrary to the manner Jewish leaders of old
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 more likely different wording would have been
a. At other times, when Jesus was definitely referring to what
the Law actually said, He would say 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 revealed 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 was reacting, not to the Law itself, but to the
way the Law 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. De 6:4-7; Is 29:13-14
1. In this study we have stressed two things:
a. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, and He did!
b. That the contrasts to follow in Mt 5:21-48...
1) Are between the traditional interpretations and applications of
the Law of Moses and righteousness expected of those in the
kingdom of heaven
2) Not between the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ!
2. Jesus has more to say about the righteousness of those in the
kingdom, which will be considered in our next study
The Righteousness Of The Scribes & Pharisees (Mt 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 them 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 be able to apply what Jesus said, it might help to
define "the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees"...
I. THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES DEFINED
A. THEY WERE KNOWN TO "SAY AND DO NOT" - Mt 23:1-4
1. Though they were often teaching 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 do"
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 having 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 in
D. THEY WERE 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 hear
[Such was the level of "righteousness" the scribes and Pharisees had as
a group! 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, CITIZENS OF THE KINGDOM, "BUT"...
1. DO NOT combine their profession of faith with suitable deeds
- cf. also Ja 2:14-17; 1 Jn 2:4-6; 1 Jn 3:18
2. DO NOT keep their personal, private lives consistent with their
public appearance and profession - cf. Mk 4:22
3. DO NOT make diligent effort to observe ALL that Jesus commanded
- cf. Mt 28:20; Jn 8:31-32; 2 Jn 9
4. DO NOT remain free from the enticement of materialism - cf.
also 1 Ti 6:9-10; 1 Jn 2:15-17
1. Without question, then, 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 examples Jesus gave as to
HOW our righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees...
Murder And Anger (Mt 5:21-26)
1. In what way is our righteousness to exceed the "righteousness of the
scribes and Pharisees" (Mt 5:20)?
2. Jesus now begins to illustrate how through a series of contrasts, the
first concerning Murder And Anger (Mt 5:21-26)
[We notice first...]
I. THE "TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION" CONCERNING THE
SIXTH COMMANDMENT (ON MURDER) - Mt 5:21
A. NOTICE THAT I SAY "TRADITIONAL"...
1. In other words, that which had been taught by the "traditions of
the elders" (cf. Mt 15:2)
a. That Jesus is referring to such is in view of His preparatory
remarks: "You have HEARD that it was SAID to those of old"
b. Referring to ORAL traditions rather than the WRITTEN Law
(cf. earlier lesson on "Jesus & The Law")
2. Which traditions had likely been accepted by the "scribes and
B. THE "TRADITIONAL" INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION OF THE SIXTH
1. Is seen in the phrase "whoever murders wil be in danger of the
2. The term "judgment" likely refers to the local courts of their
3. This interpretation may sound fine, but evidently did not go
far enough in how the Law should have been interpreted...
II. THE TEACHING OF JESUS AND "KINGDOM RIGHTEOUSNESS"
A. JESUS APPLIES THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT AS THE LAW ORIGINALLY
INTENDED (AND TAUGHT ELSEWHERE IN THE LAW)...
1. Not only is murder wrong, but the emotions which often lead to
murder as well - cf. Pr 6:16-19
a. Not only are "hands that shed innocent blood" (murder) an
abomination to the Lord
b. But also a "heart that devises wicked plans" and "one who
sows discord among brethren" (due to anger)
2. This being true, the Law should have been interpreted and
3. This Jesus does in Mt 5:22...
a. One who is angry with his brother without a cause should be
in danger of the "judgment"
1) I.e., the local courts through Palestine
2) Which were normally reserved for common criminals
b. One who says to his brother "Raca!" (blockhead!) 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
4. In this way, the "traditional interpretation and application"
of the Law fell far short of what it should have been
a. The "righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees" had just
been condemning murderers when those with hateful emotions
were just as guilty!
b. The "righteousness of the kingdom" is in harmony with the
original intent of the Law - notice Ga 5:19-21
B. JESUS CONTINUES TO EMPHASIZE THE SERIOUS NATURE OF SUCH EMOTIONS
BY ILLUSTRATING HOW THEY AFFECT OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH GOD AND
MAN (Mt 5:23-26)...
1. We should not try to worship God when we are "at odds" with a
a. Repair your strained relationship with a brother before
worshipping God - Mt 5:23-24
b. Otherwise, it won't do us any good - cf. 1 Jn 4:20-21
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" have let their anger prompt them to do
things that sent them to prison!
b. But notice how those in the kingdom are to act - Ro 12:18-21
1. In the first contrast between the "righteousness of the kingdom" and
the "traditional treatment of the Law", Jesus has:
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"
2. We have seen that the "righteousness of the kingdom" is actually in
harmony with the Law and the Prophets!
In the next lesson, we shall consider what Jesus taught in regards to
the matter of adultery...
Concerning Adultery (Mt 5:27-30)
1. As we continue our study of "The Sermon On The Mount" we find Jesus
still discussing "The Righteousness Of The Kingdom"
2. Having dealt with the subject of "murder," He now addressed the
subject of "adultery" (27-30)
3. As we consider His words on this subject (and the ones to follow
concerning divorce), it may be that we find His teachings hard to
a. But Jesus DID warn us (in verse 20) that the righteousness
expected of those who would be citizens of His kingdom is one
with very high standards
b. Therefore, if we truly desire to be citizens of that kingdom, we
must be willing to accept whatever Jesus requires of us!
[On the subject of adultery, notice that...]
I. JESUS GOES BEYOND THE "TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION"
OF THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT (28-30)
A. THE "TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION"...
1. Evidently stressed that as long as one did not commit the
actual act, one was not guilty
2. Thereby emphasizing the "letter" of the Law, but not apprecia-
ting the "spirit" behind the Law as well
B. BUT JESUS INTERPRETS AND APPLIES THE LAW 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
3. Note: Not the "looking" only, but "to lust" for her is what
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 KEEPING WITH WHAT THE LAW OF MOSES
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 serious is such "lusting," Jesus goes on to say what we should do
with respect to the lustful eye or any other stumblingblocks...]
II. JESUS' PROGNOSIS FOR THE LUSTFUL EYE AND OTHER STUMBLINGBLOCKS
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"
1) Offenses are "stumblingblocks" that lead a person to sin
2) 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"
2. Such should be the case in regards to ALL sin, as well as the
sin of adultery
[As we contemplate upon 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
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 eternal
2. What on "earth" can be worthy of losing that?
C. SIN, BEING A VERY DESTRUCTIVE FORCE, MUST NOT BE PAMPERED!
1. 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. Such stumblingblocks might be certain books, movies,
c. How much better to dwell upon such things as mentioned in
1. The affect of what Jesus taught is certainly challenging!
2. But if it wasn't possible, Jesus would not require it of us - cf.
Mt 11:28-30; 1 Jn 5:3
3. Of course, in our efforts we are not alone, for God and Jesus are
with us! - cf. Ph 2:12-13; 4:13
It is important to keep this in mind, especially in our next study on
the subject of divorce...
The Effects Of Divorce (Mt 5:31-32)
1. As we continue our study of "The Sermon On The Mount," we find Jesus
in our text still discussing "The Righteousness Of The Kingdom"
2. Having dealt with the subjects of "murder" (21-26) and "adultery"
(27-30), He now addresses the matter of "divorce" (31-32)
3. The effect of what Jesus teaches on this subject is even more
challenging than His comments on adultery, but please keep in mind...
a. Jesus DID warn us in verse 20 that the righteousness of those who
would be citizens of His Kingdom is one with very high standards
b. If we truly desire to be citizens of that kingdom, we must be
willing to accept whatever Jesus may require of us
c. We should take courage from the fact that we are not alone in our
efforts to do God's Will, and that whatever strength is needed
will be provided (cf. Ph 2:12-13; 4:13)
[On the subject of divorce, then, consider first...]
I. THE "TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION" OF THE LAW (31)
A. "WHOEVER DIVORCES HIS WIFE, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF
1. This was the "traditional" interpretation of Deu 24:1-4
2. In applying the Law, they had focused in on the mention of
giving a certificate of divorce
3. I.e., they concluded divorce was permissible as long as a
certificate of divorce was given to the wife
B. BUT IS THIS WHAT THE LAW ACTUALLY SAID?
1. Please read Deu 24:1-4 carefully...
a. Verses 1-3 are simply describing a particular situation
b. It is in verse 4 that Moses actually commands what must not
c. 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"
d. This passage is simply forbidding a man to remarry his wife
after she had been married to another (cf. Jer 3:1)
2. But the scribes and Pharisees had interpreted it to permit
divorce as long as a certificate of divorce was given to the
a. Is this a proper interpretation and application?
b. What does Jesus say?
II. JESUS' INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION OF THE LAW ON DIVORCE (32)
A. "WHOEVER DIVORCES HIS WIFE FOR ANY REASON EXCEPT SEXUAL
IMMORALITY CAUSES HER TO COMMIT ADULTERY"...
1. The only acceptable grounds for divorcing a wife is ADULTERY
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 "defiled" (cf. Deu 24:4)
4. Isn't that what the Law stated 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 5:13,14..."
"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
"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. Therefore, Jesus was simply making very clear what the Law
itself implied: THAT TO DIVORCE A WOMAN EXCEPT FOR SEXUAL
IMMORALITY WOULD CAUSE HER TO BE DEFILED (WHEN SHE REMARRIED)!
7. This interpretation and application of the Law by Jesus is in
harmony with 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 lived
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)!
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!
a. I.e., a person "put away" for reasons OTHER than adultery
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. Elsewhere (Mt 19:3-12) Jesus elaborates as to who has the right to
divorce their spouse and be free to remarry - i.e., an innocent
spouse who divorces their guilty spouse because of fornication
2. But in this passage, Jesus teaches that the righteousness of the
a. That a man cannot divorce his wife without causing her to commit
adultery (by her subsequent marriage), unless she has already
b. That whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery
-- WHAT IS SAID ABOUT A MAN DIVORCING HIS WIFE WOULD ALSO BE TRUE
ABOUT A WOMAN DIVORCING HER HUSBAND, IN VIEW OF Mk 10:11-12
3. Therefore, I believe that a careful study of the Law concerning
a. That Jesus' teaching was really in harmony with the Law itself
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
4. As difficult as Jesus' (and the Law's) 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,
knowing all the while...
a. That He provides forgiveness for any failures to live by His
teachings in the past!
b. That He provides whatever strength we may need to live by His
teachings in the future!
Our next study will concern Jesus' teaching on the matter of oaths...
The Swearing Of Oaths (Mt 5:33-37)
1. We have examined the teachings of Jesus concerning murder, adultery,
2. Now, as we consider verses 33-37 of Matthew 5, we find Jesus dealing
with the swearing of oaths
3. We will look at what Jesus taught from the viewpoing of four
[The first is: "What did the Law of Moses actually teach concerning
the swearing of oaths?"]
I. THE TEACHING OF THE LAW
A. THREE PASSAGES MAKE VERY CLEAR THE TEACHING OF LAW CONCERNING
THE SWEARING OF OATHS OR VOWS...
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. IN EACH CASE, THE EMPHASIS WAS ON "TRUTHFULNESS" & "FAITHFULNESS"
1. A person must be truthful when he swears an oath; he must truly
2. He must also be faithful in keeping the oath; he must carry out
C. THIS EMPHASIS ON TRUTHFULNESS "IN THE HEART" WAS STRESSED BY THE
PSALMS AND PROPHETS AS WELL
1. In the Psalms we read:
a. "LORD, who may abide in your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
"He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;" - Ps 15:1-2
b. "Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
"He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully." - Ps 24:3-4
2. The Prophets often bemoaned the lack of truth in the heart:
a. "Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem;
See now and know;
And seek in her open places
If you can find a man,
If there is anyone who executes judgment,
Who seeks the truth,
And I will pardon her.
"Though they say, 'As the LORD lives,'
Surely they swear falsely." - Jer 5:1-2
b. "Hear the word of the LORD,
You children of Israel,
For the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of
'There is no truth or mercy
Or knowledge of God in the land.
By swearing and lying,
Killing and stealing and committing adultery,
They break all restraint,
With bloodshed after bloodshed.'" - Ho 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.
Our second question is this: "How had the Jews, and in particular the
Scribes and Pharisees, traditionally interpreted and applied the Law?"]
II. THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION
A. FROM JESUS' COMMENTS IN VERSES 34-36, IT APPEARS THE EMPHASIS
1. FROM truthfulness in all things
2. TO honoring only those vows sworn "to the Lord"
B. SO THAT IN APPLICATION, VOWS MADE NOT "TO THE LORD" WERE NOT AS
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; for example:
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 Jews in their application of the Law justified the
use of meaningless vows.
This leads 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 THEIR HYPOCRISY IN MAKING 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 dyes)
3. THEREFORE, ANY OATH IS AN OATH "TO THE LORD"!
B. INSTEAD OF MAKING SUCH OATHS, JESUS ENJOINED A PRACTICE IN
HARMONY WITH THE LAW CONCERNING "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" (Ps 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 CHRISTIANS SWEARING OATHS UNDER CERTAIN
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 believe that Jesus and James were only condemning 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. And that 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. PERSONALLY, 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
"confidently affirm" in judicial matters
-- But I would not judge those brethren who themselves solemnly
and honestly "swear oaths" in judicial circumstances
1. Again we see that the "righteousness of the kingdom" exceeds that of
the scribes and Pharisees
a. Whereas they would often spice their statements with vows and
oaths in order to be believed...
b. Citizens of the kingdom are to be so truthful that their simple
"yes" means "yes" and their "no" means "no"
2. 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" to be trusted
3. Can this be said of us?
a. Can others "bank" on our words?
b. When we say we will do something, is it as good as done?
Our next study examines the teaching of Jesus concerning vengeance...
Taking Revenge (Mt 5:38-42)
1. As we continue our study of Jesus' "Sermon On The Mount," bear in
mind that we are still discussing the "The Righteousness Of The
2. We have seen Jesus contrast this "righteouseness" to that of the
scribes and Pharisees, in how they interpreted and applied the Law
to such matters as:
a. Murder (21-26)
b. Adultery (27-30)
c. Divorce (31-32)
d. Swearing Oaths (33-37)
3. In this lesson, we shall consider what Jesus taught concerning
[First, by comparing...]
I. THE LAW OF MOSES AND "THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION"
A. CONCERNING THE STATEMENT: "AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A
1. It is found in Exo 21:24-25
2. A parallel passage is Deu 19:21
B. FROM THE CONTEXT, IT IS SEEN THESE STATEMENTS WERE ACTUALLY LAWS
FOR THE 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. IT APPEARS THAT THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES HAD...
1. Interpreted these statements so as to justify PERSONAL
2. Applied them by frequently taking matters of revenge into their
-- JUST AS MANY PEOPLE DO TODAY!
D. BUT THE LAW OF MOSES REPEATEDLY FORBID "PERSONAL" VENGEANCE...
1. Consider Lev 19:18; Pro 20:22; 24:29
2. Both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, the matter of
vengeance was to be left up to God and His duly appointed
agents: CIVIL GOVERNMENTS - cf. Ro 12:19; 13:1-4
[Therefore, there is really no difference between what the Law taught
and what we find in the New Testament; there is no place for personal
vengeance in the lives of those who the children of God.
Now let's examine more closely...]
II. THE "RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE KINGDOM" AS TAUGHT BY JESUS
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. REACT TO THE EVIL BEING DONE, BY DOING GOOD! (39b-42)
a. This principle is illustrated by Jesus with several
1) Reacting to PHYSICAL ABUSE (39b)
a) "Turn the other cheek"
b) This may refer to offering the other cheek as an
expression of love
2) Reacting to a CIVIL SUIT, by giving more than what the
person is suing for! (40)
3) Reacting to GOVERNMENT OPPRESSION, by offering to do
more than what is being demanded of you! (41)
4) Reacting to THOSE ASKING FOR HELP, by giving them what
ask for! (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, react in a positive manner...
a) Demonstrate love towards them
b) Do so by giving them freely 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
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 3:
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 find striking the attitude of the Christians of 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
1. Summarizing the teachings of Jesus concerning vengeance...
a. Do not resist evil
b. Respond to evil by doing good in turn
2. The teachings of Jesus in this passage are admittedly challenging,
and opposed to what what we might call "human nature"
3. But we are called upon to be "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Pe
1:4); in other words, to be more like God than men
4. And 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 that of the Scribes, Pharisees, and
most people today!
At the very least, let us expend as much energy in seeing how we can
apply this passage to lives, as many spend in trying to explain it
doesn't really mean what it appears to say!
Treatment Of Enemies (Mt 5:43-48)
1. The last section on the subject of "vengeance" (38-42) contained
teachings of Jesus that are certainly challenging
2. Taken literally, it would require radical conduct on the part of
those who are Christians
3. Perhaps we can glean some insight into why we should act in such a
manner, when we consider what Jesus says in this section concerning
the "treatment of enemies" (43-48)
[First, let's examine...]
I. THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE "TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION"
A. NOTICE THAT THE O.T. DID NOT REALLY SAY "HATE YOUR ENEMY" (43)
1. It did teach to "love your neighbor as yourself" - Lev 19:18
2. But, it also taught that kindness was to be shown to your
enemy - Exo 23:4-5; Pro 25:21-22
B. AGAIN, THE TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATION HAD MISAPPLIED THE LAW!
1. Though it did enjoin the command to "love your neighbor"...
2. It inferred from this command that one had the right to "hate
[In contrast, consider...]
II. THE "RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE KINGDOM" AS TAUGHT BY JESUS
A. IT DEMANDS THAT CONCERNING OUR "ENEMIES"... (44)
1. We "love" our enemies (i.e., show "active good will" towards
2. We "bless" those who curse us (i.e., speak well of them)
3. We "do good" to those who hate us (i.e., treat them kindly)
4. We "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 PRINCIPLE ILLUSTRATED IN VERSES 39-42
1. Don't seek vengeance!
2. Instead, react by manifesting aggressive love!
[Why respond to our enemies in this way? Jesus explains...]
III. THE UNDERLYING REASON TO REACT IN THIS WAY
A. "THAT YOU MAY BE SONS OF YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN" (45)
1. That is, to demonstrate ourselves to be truly His children!
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. OTHERWISE, WE ARE NO DIFFERENT THAN THE "TAX-COLLECTORS" (46-47)
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, they 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
C. ONLY THEN WILL WE BE "PERFECT, JUST AS YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS
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 (cf. the parallel passage in Lk 6:36)
3. When we display love and mercy to our enemies...
a. We are "complete," "full-grown" in demonstrating love
b. Just as our Father in heaven is when He shows kindness to
evil and unthankful men!
1. This section of Scripture is just another vivid demonstration of how
the "righteousness of the kingdom" EXCEEDS the "righteousness of the
scribes and Pharisees"
2. The principles presented in this sermon are certainly challenging to
our understanding, and to the application of them in our lives
3. But if we really want to be:
a. "sons of your Father in heaven"
b. "perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect"...
4. ...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"!
In the next lesson, we shall begin to consider the righteousness of the
kingdom "with respect to man's relation to God" (Mt 6:1-33)
Charitable Deeds (Mt 6:1-4)
1. In chapter five, we found Jesus contrasting the "righteousness of the
kingdom" with what the scribes and Pharisees were TEACHING
2. As we enter chapter six, we find the contrast to be with what they
3. The entire chapter expounds upon the "righteousness of the kingdom"
WITH RESPECT TO MAN'S RELATION TO GOD, especially in the practice of
certain acts of righteousness...
[In verse one, we find...]
I. THE BASIC PRINCIPLE GOVERNING OUR ACTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (1)
A. PRELIMINARY THOUGHTS CONCERNING THIS VERSE...
1. Some manuscripts, upon which the KJV and NKJV are based, have
the Greek word eleemosunen
a. Translated "alms", or "charitable deeds"
b. Which would make verse one refer specifically to almsgiving,
or charitable deeds
2. Older manuscripts, upon which the ASV and NASV are based, have
the Greek word dikaiosunen
a. Translated "righteousness"
b. Which would make verse one speaking in general terms,
establishing the principle to be applied to ALL acts of
-- Textual support seems strongest for dikaiosunen, making verse
an INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT concerning all righteous acts
B. THE BASIC PRINCIPLE (
1. Note: It is NOT to completely avoid ANY practice of righteous-
ness before men (cf. Mt 5:16)
2. Rather, it is to avoid the doing of such JUST TO BE SEEN OF MEN
3. Therefore, it is proper to do good works before men...
a. When we are trying to secure praise for GOD
b. But NOT when we are trying to secure praise for ourselves!
C. CONSEQUENCES OF IGNORING THE BASIC PRINCIPLE (1b)
1. If, in the innermost being of your heart, you do not mean to
please and glorify God, HE WILL NOT REWARD YOU!
2. What reward you may have (cf. Mt 6:2,5,16), will be limited
to the praise of men
[Consider how Jesus applies this to the matter of charitable deeds...]
II. CONCERNING CHARITABLE DEEDS (2-4)
A. WHAT "NOT" TO DO (2)
1. Don't be like the "hypocrites" (literally, "actors")
a. Who sound trumpets in the synagogues and streets
b. Who are looking to be honored by MEN
2. "They have their reward"
a. I.e., they receive exactly (and ONLY) what they wanted: the
praise of men
b. But remember verse one...
1) They have no reward from the Father in heaven
2) Neither in the present or in the future!
B. CHARITABLE DEEDS DONE PROPERLY (3
1. "Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing"
a. This involves avoiding not only the praise of others, but
SELF praise as well
b. Some thoughts by others on what this metaphor means:
1) "The right [hand], [represents] me with my good deed;
the left, me with my good opinion about my deed."
2) "The expression probably refers to the fact that as much
as possible a person must keep his voluntary contribution
a secret not only to others but even to himself; that is,
he should forget about it, instead of saying in his
heart, 'What a good man, woman, boy, girl, am I!'"
d. How can one develop the ability to give in this way?
1) Perhaps by giving so often it becomes "second nature"?
2) So that you do it without much thought (just as with
anything done repeatedly)?
2. NOTE: Jesus is not condemning public giving PER SE (cf. Ac 2:
a. He is condemning the spirit which seeks publicity
b. He is teaching "secret-giving" in the sense of "secret to
3. "The true Christian cares not how much men hear of his public
charities, nor how little they hear of his private ones."
C. THE FATHER'S REWARD FOR PROPER CHARITABLE DEEDS (4b)
1. "Your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly."
2. The reward may experienced to some degree in this life - Ps
3. Without a doubt it will be experienced on the day of judgment
- Eccl 12:14; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Ti 6:17-19
1. Christians who have been blessed materially have been given a charge
to be "rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share" - 1 Ti
2. The teaching of Jesus ASSUMES that His disciples would engage in
"charitable deeds" (cf. Mt 5:42), and in this section He has
directed His words to the spirit and manner of such deeds
Our next study will examine Jesus' application of the basic principle
concerning the practice of righteousness to the subject of PRAYER...
Prayer (Mt 6:5-15)
1. The entire sixth chapter expounds upon the "righteousness of the
kingdom" WITH RESPECT TO MAN'S RELATION TO GOD, especially in the
practice of certain ACTS of righteousness
2. Remember that verse one likely provides an introductory statement
concerning all acts of righteousness: "Take heed that you do not do
[them] before men, to be seen by them..."
a. We have seen this principle applied to charitable deeds
b. Now we shall consider how Jesus applied it to the practice of
[First, we find...]
I. WHAT "NOT" TO DO IN REGARDS TO PRAYER (5)
A. DO NOT BE LIKE THE "HYPOCRITES"
1. Who love to pray...
a. Standing in the synagogues
b. On the corners of the streets
2. This they do "that they may be seen of men"
B. "THEY HAVE THEIR REWARD"
1. That is, they are indeed seen by men
2. But that is the extent of their reward (the praise of men)
3. They will have no reward or blessing from God!
C. JESUS IS NOT CONDEMNING "ALL" PUBLIC PRAYING...
1. This is evident from the fact He Himself prayed in public
- Mt 11:25; Jn 11:41
2. So did Paul - Ac 27:35
[The emphasis is the same as stated in verse one, "do not do your
[deeds of righteousness] before men, TO BE SEEN BY THEM."
How, then, are we to pray as to be heard by God...?]
II. ELEMENTS OF PROPER PRAYER (6-15)
A. MUST BE DONE "TO BE SEEN OF GOD," NOT MEN (6)
1. This is the main idea being "praying in secret"
2. "The sincere and humble worshiper, one who is not interested
in making a public display for the sake of enhancing his
prestige, will find the secluded nook or den to be most
appropriate for his devotions." (unknown)
3. The person who prays much in secret is praying to be seen of
God, not men!
B. MUST BE DONE "TO BE HEARD OF GOD," NOT MEN (7)
1. By avoiding the use of "vain repititions"
a. As was often practiced by the heathen religions
b. "The heathen tried to tire out their gods with such endless
prayers. Mere formulas were repeated over and over again;
the Jews had such prayer formulas, Catholics also have them
in the form of their rosary." (LENKSI)
2. Since "the Father knows the things you have need of before you
ask Him," prayers to be heard by God do not have to be filled
with superfluous words
C. MUST BE PATTERNED AFTER THE MANNER JESUS DESCRIBED (9-13)
1. The phrase "in this manner"...
a. Suggests that "The Lord's Prayer" is a PATTERN for praying
b. I.e., not a liturgical exercise as sometimes practiced
2. The PATTERN of proper prayer:
a. First, SIMPLICITY
1) Notice the word "therefore"
a) It connects what follows with what was said before
b) Jesus' pattern for prayer is an "illustration" in
contrast to the "many words" used by the heathen
2) In the prayer itself, note the brevity of words
b. Then, in its CONTENT, proper prayer includes...
1) Reverence for God and His "Name" (that is, His Being and
character) - 9
2) Praying for the progress of God's Kingdom and His Will
on the earth - 10
3) Asking for physical necessities - 11
4) Also, our spiritual needs
a) Forgiveness of sins - 12
b) Protection and deliverance from evil - 13
5) Praising God - 13
D. MUST BE OFFERED WITH A MERCIFUL SPIRIT (14-15)
1. As indicated in the pattern prayer itself - 12
2. Otherwise, we cannot expect mercy for ourselves - cf. Mt 18:
21-35; Ja 2:13
3. This must be a very important point to Jesus, for this is the
only part of the pattern prayer upon which He elaborated!
1. The privilege of prayer is one of the most important blessings to be
enjoyed by the children of God in this life
2. How important, then, that we be sure to pray in such a manner as to
be seen and heard by our Father in heaven!
Next, we shall examine what Jesus says about fasting...
Fasting (Mt 6:16-18)
1. In this section, Jesus continues to expound upon the "righteousness
of the kingdom" WITH RESPECT TO MAN'S RELATION TO GOD, especially in
the practice of certain ACTS of righteousness
2. Remember that verse one provides an introductory statement concerning
all acts of righteousness...
a. We have seen this principle applied to charitable deeds and to
b. Now we shall consider how Jesus applies it to the practice of
[Again, we find a clear contrast; this time, it is...]
I. FASTING TO BE SEEN OF MEN vs. FASTING TO BE SEEN OF GOD (16-18)
A. FASTING "TO BE SEEN OF MEN" (16)
1. As practiced by the hypocrites of Jesus' day, it involved:
a. Doing so with a "sad countenance"
b. Doing so with "disfigured faces" (perhaps by applying
2. The only good such fasting might do them is win the praise of
men, but certainly not of God!
B. FASTING TO BE "SEEN OF GOD" (17-18)
1. To be done without any outward appearance of fasting
a. Therefore, it should include "anointing your head"
b. Also, "washing your face"
2. By doing this, only God will see your fasting and He will
reward you openly (perhaps by answering those prayers that
were offered while fasting)
[The teaching of Jesus concerning fasting is easy to understand, but a
question often raised today is this: SHOULD CHRISTIANS FAST TODAY? IF
SO, WHY, WHEN AND HOW?
Let's examine these questions a little further...]
II. FASTING BY CHRISTIANS TODAY
A. SHOULD CHRISTIANS FAST TODAY?
1. CONSIDER THE EXAMPLE AND TEACHINGS OF JESUS...
a. He fasted during his forty day period of temptation in the
wilderness - Lk 4:1-2
b. In His teaching on the subject of fasting:
1) He assumed His disciples would fast -- He said "when,"
not "if" - Mt 6:16-17
2) He said they would fast when He was gone - Mt 9:14-15
3) He taught:
a) How to fast so as to incur God's good pleasure - Mt
b) When done properly, fasting WOULD incur God's good
pleasure Mt 6:18b
c) Fasting should be done only when the occasion right-
fully calls for it - Mt 9:16-17
d) There would be occasions when prayer joined with
fasting would be called for - Mt 17:20-21
2. CONSIDER THE EXAMPLES OF THE CHURCH FASTING...
a. The brethren at Antioch - Ac 13:1-3
1) Fasting in their service to the Lord
2) Fasting and praying as they send out Paul and Barnabas
b. The churches in Galatia - Ac 14:21-23
1) Done in EVERY church
2) When appointing elders
3. CONSIDER THE EXAMPLE OF PAUL FASTING AS A MINISTER OF CHRIST...
a. He listed fasting among those things which proved him as a
minister of Jesus Christ - cf. 2 Co 11:23-28
b. Are we not commanded to imitate him, even as he imitated
Christ? - 1 Co 11:1 (and both fasted in their service to
[At the very least, we can say that it is not inappropriate for
Christians to fast today. Unless we have medical reasons not to
fast, we have very good examples to motivate us TO fast!
But to be sure that we fast for the right reason, we raise another
B. WHY SHOULD CHRISTIANS FAST?
1. PEOPLE OFTEN FAST TODAY FOR VARIOUS REASONS...
a. Some do it solely for health reasons
b. Others do it only in times of grief and sorrow
c. Still others do it as a way to gain self-control
-- But these are not reasons Christians should fast in their
service to God (cf. Co 2:20-23)
2. CHRISTIANS SHOULD FAST WHEN FACED WITH SITUATIONS REQUIRING
a. This is consistent with the majority of fasting in the Old
Testament; people of God fasted...
1) In times of war, or at the threat of it (Israel)
2) When loved ones were sick (David)
3) When seeking God's forgiveness (Ahab, Daniel)
4) When seeking God's protection (Ezra)
b. This is consistent with the examples of fasting in the New
Testament; fasting occurred...
1) When dealing with temptations (Jesus)
2) When serving the Lord (the church at Antioch)
3) When beginning a work for the Lord (again at Antioch)
4) When selecting and appointing elders (in Galatia)
c. Such fasting should be done in conjunction with prayer
1) For fasting, when done properly...
a) Humbles the soul - Ps 35:13
b) Chastens the soul - Ps 69:10
2) And the prayers of a humble person are more likely to be
heard! - Ezra 8:21-23
[This being true, then let's look more specifically at...]
C. WHEN SHOULD CHRISTIANS FAST?
1. WHENEVER OCCASIONS ARISE REQUIRING DIVINE HELP...
a. These may be occasions on an individual level
1) When faced with difficult temptations
2) When faced with the serious illness of a loved one
b. These occasions might be on a congregational level
1) As when appointing elders
2) As when sending out missionaries
2. WHATEVER OCCASIONS MIGHT CALL FOR PERSISTENT PRAYING WOULD CALL
FOR FASTING JOINED WITH PRAYER...
a. Are we not taught that God is more likely to answer our
prayers if we are persistent? - cf. Lk 18:1-8
b. Also if we fast in the proper way? - Mt 6:17-18
[So whenever there is a matter requiring much prayer, fasting in
conjunction with such prayer would be appropriate.
Finally, let's take a look at...]
D. HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS FAST?
1. NOT TO BE SEEN OF MEN...
a. As our text pointed out - Mt 6:16-18
b. Whether fasting as individuals or with others, it is
important that we not do it to impress others
2. NOT AS SOME REGULAR RITUAL...
a. This point Jesus made in Mt 9:14-17
b. It should be done only when the occasion calls for it (such
as situations where you would already be spending much time
3. NOT WITHOUT TRUE REPENTANCE...
a. Cf. Is 58:3-9
b. All the praying, all the fasting, is of no avail if it is
not accompanied with penitent obedience on our part
4. SOME PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS...
a. Don't go out and fast just because it sounds like "a neat
thing to do"
1) Take the subject seriously and prayerfully
2) Fast only when the occasion is a serious one
3) One in which you desperately desire God's help
b. If you have never fasted before...
1) Start slow, fast only for brief periods of time
2) End slow, gradually breaking your fast with fresh fruits
and vegetables in small amounts
c. Fast when you have time to spend in prayerful meditation
1) Remember the purpose for fasting
2) To humble oneself in God's sight; to seek a favorable
answer to prayer for some important plea
1. There is much more that could be said on this subject
2. But I hope that this suffices to stimulate our thinking on a subject
which has often been neglected in both study and practice
3. But implied in Jesus' teachings in "The Sermon On The Mount" is that
His disciples WOULD fast; and so it is important that we do it in a
way to be seen of God, and not by men
Our next study will examine how Jesus deals with the problem of
Materialism (Mt 6:19-24)
1. Jesus continues to expound upon the "righteousness of the kingdom"
WITH RESPECT TO MAN'S RELATION TO GOD...
2. In this section and the one to follow (concerning anxiety), we learn
that man must have his priorities concerning material things properly
aligned if his relationship with God is going to be what it should
[To keep our priorities straight, Jesus taught several principles and
illustrations which should govern our lives...]
I. LAY UP YOUR TREASURES IN HEAVEN (19-21)
A. IN HEAVEN, NOT ON EARTH...
1. For on earth:
a. Moth and rust destroy (i.e., material things are perishable)
b. Thieves break in and steal (material things are subject to
2. But in heaven:
a. Neither moth nor rust destroys (our treasures are imperish-
able - 1 Pe 1:3-4)
b. Thieves do not break in and steal (our treasures are secure-
ly guarded - 1 Pe 3:4-5)
B. BECAUSE WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE YOUR "HEART" (AFFECTIONS,
HOPE, DREAMS) WILL BE ALSO!
1. If your treasure is on EARTH, your heart will experience much
a. As the things for which you have affection decay or are one
day destroyed by fire
b. As the things in which you find your primary joy are
suddenly gone through things like theft
2. But if your treasure is in HEAVEN, your heart will not suffer
a. For your treasure is "incorruptible, undefiled, and does not
b. Nothing can take your treasure away from you, for it is
"reserved in heaven for you...kept by the power of God
3. With treasures laid up in heaven, whatever happens on earth
will not devastate you! - cf. the Hebrew Christians in He 10:
4. When these words of Jesus are taken to heart and applied, how
true His words in Mt 7:24-27 will be!
a. The "storms" of life will not overwhelm us
b. Because we have built our foundation upon such words of
Jesus as found in our text!
C. HOW CAN WE LAY UP TREASURE IN HEAVEN?
1. First, by becoming children of God, and thereby "joint-heirs
with Christ" - Ro 8:16-17
2. Then, by using material wealth which we may have to bless those
a. As Jesus instructed the rich young ruler, in order to "have
treasure in heaven" - Mt 19:21
b. As He instructed His disciples, in order to have "a treasure
in the heavens that does not fail" - Lk 12:33-34
c. As Paul wrote Timothy to charge those rich in this present
age, that they may be "storing up for themselves a good
foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on
eternal life" - 1 Ti 6:17-19
[The importance of such generosity is seen in the illustration next
used by Jesus in His sermon...]
II. THE LAMP OF THE BODY IS THE EYE (22-23)
A. IN THIS METAPHOR USED BY JESUS...
1. The "body" likely represents the "soul" or "inner man"
2. The "eye" likely represents the "gaze of the soul" or the
"heart of man"
3. The word "good" in Greek means "simple, single, uncomplicated"
4. The word "bad" in Greek means " wicked, evil"
5. And in the Scriptures, the expression "evil eye" is used to
mean "envious, covetous" - cf. Pr 23:6; Mt 20:15; Mk 7:22
B. AN EXPLANATION BASED UPON THESE DEFINITIONS WOULD THEN BE:
1. If the heart or gaze of the soul be single (in its love of God
and the things of God)...
a. Then one is filled with "light"
b. In other words, goodness, righteousness, and truth - cf. Ep
2. But if the heart or gaze of the soul be evil (envious, or
a. Then one's soul is filled with "darkness"
b. The opposite of "light": selfishness, wickedness, and
[Thus the need to be rich toward God and free from covetousness of
material things (cf. also Lk 12:13-21; especially 15 and 21).
To strike home the point once more that we should not make material
things our treasures in this life, Jesus proclaims...]
III. YOU CANNOT SERVE BOTH GOD AND "MAMMON" (24)
A. FOR NO ONE CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS...
1. A "master" by definition demands "total loyalty"
2. Such is certainly true with God - cf. Exod 34:14
B. THE CHOICE WE HAVE IS TO CHOOSE BETWEEN GOD AND "MAMMON"
1. "Mammon" is an Aramaic term which refers to wealth, prosperity
2. When wealth is coveted, and becomes the priority in our lives,
it becomes a "god" - cf. Ep 5:5; Co 3:5
-- So the choice becomes one as to whether we shall worship the
One True God, or be "idolators" following after a false god!
1. Jesus is obviously teaching us to CHOOSE GOD!
a. Because MAMMON...
1) Is susceptible to decay and theft (19-21)
2) Will make us blind, selfish creatures
b. Whereas with GOD...
1) Our treasures are secure
2) We will be kind, righteous people
2. But if we follow Jesus' teachings concerning MATERIAL THINGS, what
about our physical necessities of life? Don't we have to WORRY about
providing these things?
Our next study will examine what Jesus taught about ANXIETY over our
physical necessities in this life...
Anxiety (Mt 6:25-34)
1. Jesus continues expounding upon "the righteousness of the kingdom"
with respect to MAN'S RELATION TO GOD...
2. In the previous section concerning "material things" (Mt 6:19-24),
Jesus exhorted us to:
a. "Lay up treasure in heaven"
b. "Keep the eye good"
c. "Serve God, not mammon"
3. But if we follow Jesus' teachings concerning material things, what
about the PHYSICAL NECESSITIES of life? Such things as food and
[Beginning in verse 25, Jesus gives several reasons why we should not
worry about such things...]
I. "IS NOT LIFE MORE THAN FOOD AND THE BODY MORE THAN CLOTHING?" (25)
A. DO NOT "WORRY"...
1. The word in the original means "distracted"
2. I.e., don't let anxiety about food and clothing distract you
from more important things in life (like Martha did - Lk 10:
B. IS NOT LIFE AND BODY MORE IMPORTANT THAN FOOD AND CLOTHING?
1. This is an argument from the GREATER to the LESSER (similar to
2. Life and body are certainly more important than food and
3. Who provides our lives and our bodies? God!
a. If He is powerful enough to create life...
b. Isn't He also able to provide food & clothing to sustain
4. "He who has displayed so great goodness as to form the body,
and breathe into it the breathe of life, will surely follow
up the blessing, and confer the smaller favour of providing
that the body be clothed, and that life preserved." (BARNES)
II. "LOOK AT THE BIRDS OF THE AIR" (26)
A. AN ARGUMENT FOR CONFIDENCE IN THE PROVIDENTIAL CARE OF GOD...
1. The birds are an example of God's ability to provide
2. Through His providential workings in nature, God provides for
a. This does not mean they do not work for their needs (indeed,
they are often very busy, gathering insects and worms,
preparing nests, caring for their young)
b. But they are not guilty of overdoing a good thing (as the
rich fool was in the parable of Lk 12:16-21)
B. "ARE YOU NOT OF MORE VALUE THAN THEY?"
1. This is an argument from the LESSER to the GREATER (contrast
a. If God through His providence provides for their needs,
would He not for you?
b. A similar argument is found in Mt 10:29-31
2. Are you not more valuable than birds?
a. You who are created in the image of God?
b. You who were redeemed by the blood of His Son?
3. Why, then, let concern over physical needs distract you from
what is really important in life?
III. "WHICH OF YOU BY WORRYING CAN CAN ADD ONE CUBIT TO HIS STATURE?"
A. AN ARGUMENT ILLUSTRATING THE HELPLESSNESS OF MAN...
1. There are many things in this life which we cannot affect by
2. For example, worrying will not make our bodies grow any taller
B. THE IMPLICATION SEEMS TO BE...
1. "Worrying" about food and clothing cannot guarantee that you
will have them tomorrow
2. As victims of "Hurricane Hugo", the "Great Quake of '89" and
"Hurricane Andrew" have come to realize
IV. "CONSIDER THE LILIES OF THE FIELD" (28-30)
A. ANOTHER ARGUMENT FOR CONFIDENCE IN THE PROVIDENTIAL CARE OF GOD
1. Like the argument in verse 26 (the "birds of the air")
2. It is also an argument from the LESSER to the GREATER
B. "HOW THEY GROW..."
1. Without any "toil" whatever on their part, nor any "care"
bestowed on them by any human agency
2. Yet their glory surpasses Solomon in all his glory!
a. Through God's providential care!
b. By so ordering the affairs of this life to assure that they
accomplish what they were designed to accomplish!
C. "WILL HE NOT MUCH MORE CLOTHE YOU?"
1. If God is able to so clothe the grass of the field...
a. Which is here today
b. And gone tomorrow
2. Is He not ABLE to do so for you?
3. Is He not WILLING to do so for you?
a. You who are created in the image of God?
b. You who are designed to spend eternity with God?
D. "O YOU OF LITTLE FAITH?"
1. If we WORRY about food and clothing, then we are of "little
2. We have "little faith" in God's...
a. Promise to care for us!
b. Power to deliver that promise!
V. JESUS' SUMMARY CONCERNING ANXIETY OVER MATERIAL THINGS (31-34)
A. DON'T WORRY ABOUT FOOD AND CLOTHING (31-32)
1. People without God (the Gentiles) naturally worry about these
2. But we have God as our Heavenly Father Who is aware of our
needs, and able to provide them!
B. SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS (33)
1. I.e., make the rule of God and His Will for us the number one
priority in our lives
2. We can do this by:
a. Serving God instead of "mammon"
b. Letting the "lamp" of our body be a "good eye" (i.e.,
focused clearly on that which is good, true, and righteous)
c. Laying up treasure in heaven (by using our earthly treasure
to help others - Mt 19:21; Lk 12:33-34; 1 Ti 6:17-19
3. Do this, and God will provide for your physical needs, FOR HE
IS ABLE AND WILLING!
C. DON'T WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW (34)
1. Today has enough trouble with which to concern yourself
2. Let tomorrow take care of itself (by trusting in God!)
1. The motto today seems to be "Don't worry, be happy!"; but Jesus
qualifies that motto by saying:
"Don't worry, seek God's will first, and you will be happy!"
2. If we can take to heart what Jesus has taught, then truly our lives
will be like homes built on a rock (cf. Mt 7:24-25)...
a. For no matter what "storms" of life may come our way...
b. ...our treasure is in heaven and our Heavenly Father will provide
for us during our sojourn here on earth!
3. But if we don't follow Jesus' teachings, if we allow ourselves to
serve "mammon" which is perishable...
a. Then we must go through life on earth without God's help!
b. And we have no hope of eternity with God when we die!
Our next study will begin a new section in the "Sermon On The Mount":
THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE KINGDOM WITH RESPECT TO MAN'S RELATION TO MAN
Judging Others (Mt 7:1-6)
1. In Mt 6:1-34, we saw the "righteousness of the kingdom" in respect
to MAN'S RELATIONSHIP TO GOD...
2. In Mt 7:1-12, we will examine the "righteousness of the kingdom" in
respect to MAN'S RELATIONSHIP TO MAN...
3. Three subjects are discussed in this section:
a. Judging others - Mt 7:1-6
b. Asking, Seeking, & Knocking - Mt 7:7-11
c. The Golden Rule - Mt 7:12
[We begin, then, with the matter of judging others, noticing at first
verses 1-2 which are frequently misused...]
I. VERSES 1-2 ARE OFTEN USED TO FORBID ALL MANNER OF JUDGMENT
A. FOR EXAMPLE, ANY ADVERSE OR UNFAVORABLE CRITICISM...
1. Such as pointing out a fault in someone else
2. Even if it be truly "constructive" criticism
B. FOR EXAMPLE, THE EXERCISE OF CHURCH "DISCIPLINE"...
1. Exercising discipline of any sort does require "judging" others
as to their moral or spiritual condition
2. Since such "judgment" is involved, some feel verses 1-2 rule
out any sort of church discipline
C. OR EVEN EXPOSING THOSE WHO TEACH ERROR...
1. Admittedly, it requires making a judgment in order to consider
whether someone is teaching error
2. Therefore, some people, in light of verses 1-2, believe that
we cannot speak out against those who teach error
II. JESUS CANNOT BE RULING OUT "ALL" FORMS OF JUDGING
A. THE "IMMEDIATE CONTEXT" OF THIS PASSAGE REVEALS THAT IN SOME
CASES "PROPER JUDGMENT" MUST BE MADE...
1. Mt 7:6 implies that some judgment is to be made as to who are
"dogs" and who are "hogs"
a. Otherwise, how can we know when not to give that which is
holy to "dogs"?
b. Or how can we know when not to cast our pearls before
2. Mt 7:15-20 implies that we must make judgments in determining
who is a false teacher ("by their fruits you will know them")
B. THE "REMOTE CONTEXT" OF THE SCRIPTURES SPEAK OF TIMES WHEN JUDGMENT
MUST BE MADE
1. On another occasion, Jesus taught people to "judge with
righteous judgment" - Jn 7:24
2. Christians have a responsibility to "judge those who are
inside" the local congregation - 1 Co 5:9-13
3. We are taught by the apostle of love (John) to "test the
spirits" (which requires making judgments) - 1 Jn 4:1
[There is not a contradiction here, for as we continue on in our text,
we notice that...]
III. JESUS EXPLAINS WHAT "KIND" OF JUDGING HE IS CONDEMNING
A. JUDGING WHEN ONE IS BLIND TO HIS OR HER OWN FAULTS (3-5)
1. Jesus is saying "that is it wrong for anyone to concentrate
his attention on the speck in his brother's eye, and while
thus occupied, to ignore the beam in his own eye" (HENDRIKSEN)
2. Paul taught the necessity of proper "introspection" when trying
to help others - Ga 6:1
B. JUDGING WITHOUT MERCY AND LOVE...
1. "The Lord is here condemning the spirit of censoriousness,
judging harshly, self-righteously, without mercy, without love
as also the parallel passage (Lk 6:36-37) clearly indicates."
2. James warns against making judgments without mercy - Ja 2:13
a. If we make judgments without showing mercy, then no mercy
will be shown when we are judged!
b. Just as Jesus said in verse 2...
1) "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged"
2) "With the same measure you use, it will be measured back
IV. JESUS IMPLIES THERE ARE TIMES WHEN WE "MUST" MAKE JUDGMENTS!
A. IT IS "AFTER" WE HAVE CORRECTED OUR OWN FAULTS (5)
1. First, we must remove the "beam" from our own eye
2. But when we have done so, we are able to see, discern (judge),
and be of help to others who are overcome in their faults
3. Indeed, the "law of Christ" requires us to! - cf. Ga 6:1-2
B. WE MUST JUDGE BETWEEN THOSE "WORTHY" AND THOSE WHO ARE "HOGS AND
1. With those who are receptive, we are to be long-suffering in
trying to help them come out of their error - cf. 2 Ti 2:24-26
2. But for those who are not, we are not to waste what is good and
holy on them!
a. Cf. the instructions of Jesus to His disciples - Mt 10:12-15
b. Cf. the example of Paul and Barnabas at Antioch of Pisidia
- Ac 13:42-46
3. Determining who is which requires "judgment" upon our part!
1. The kind of judging forbidden by Jesus is that which LENSKI calls
"self-righteous, hypocritical judging which is false and calls down
God's judgment on itself."
2. This is the kind of judging that was also condemned by James when he
"Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil
of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and
judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of
the law but a judge."
"There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who
are you to judge another?"
- Ja 4:11-12
3. May God help us to refrain from such judging, and be more apt to
remove the "beams" from our own eyes; for only then we will be useful
in helping others with their problems...
Asking, Seeking, Knocking (Mt 7:7-11)
1. In Mt 7:1-12, we are examining the "righteousness of the kingdom"
in respect to MAN'S RELATIONSHIP TO MAN...
2. Three subjects are discussed by Jesus in this section:
a. Judging Others - Mt 7:1-6
b. Asking, Seeking, Knocking - Mt 7:7-11
c. The Golden Rule - Mt 7:12
3. In Jesus' comments on JUDGING OTHERS, we found Him telling us:
a. To abstain from judging others, yet also to determine who are
"hogs" and "dogs"
b. Not to be hypercritical, yet to be critical
c. To be humble and patient, yet not to "cast our pearls before
4. How can we have the wisdom to judge properly in these matters?
a. Ja 1:5-8 tells us that wisdom comes from God through prayer
b. So it is not surprising that in conjunction with the matter of
judging others Jesus discusses an important principle that relates
especially to prayer...
[What is Jesus teaching us in this section on "Asking, Seeking,
I. THE PRINCIPLE BEING TAUGHT IS THAT OF "PERSEVERANCE" (7-8)
A. IMPLIED IN THE "CONTINUOUS ACTION" OF THE GREEK PRESENT TENSE
-- Literally, Jesus is saying:
1. "keep on asking" and it will be given to you
2. "keep on seeking" and you will find
3. "keep on knocking" and it will be opened to you
B. JESUS OFTEN APPLIED THIS PRINCIPLE OF PERSEVERANCE TO "PRAYER"
1. In the parable of "The Persistent Friend" - Lk 11:5-8
2. In the parable of "The Persistent Widow" - Lk 18:1-8
C. THIS PRINCIPLE OF PERSEVERANCE CAN ALSO BE APPLIED IN OTHER AREAS
1. Such as "Bible Study"
a. Many people give up too soon in their Bible studies
b. But those who persevere in their studies are the ones who
benefit from the blessings God's Word provides - cf. Ps
2. Or "Evangelism"
a. Many do not bear fruit because they give up too soon
b. But we reap what we sow; the more persistent we are in
sowing, the more we will eventually reap
II. A MOTIVE FOR PERSEVERING, ESPECIALLY IN REGARDS TO PRAYER (9-11)
A. GOD DELIGHTS TO GIVE GOOD THINGS TO HIS CHILDREN...
1. To illustrate, Jesus gives a simple argument (from the LESSER
to the GREATER)
2. I.e., men give good gifts to their children who ask
3. How much more so, will our Father in heaven!
B. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE IN REGARDS TO PRAYER!
1. As Jesus promised to His disciples in Jn 14:13-14; 15:7
2. As the apostle John wrote in 1 Jn 5:14-15
3. And as James wrote in Ja 4:3
1. So, in all things, let us persistently look to God for the help we
2. Especially when it comes to judging others, that we might receive
the wisdom to do so without violating our Lord's teachings against
The Golden Rule (Mt 7:12)
1. We come now to verse 12, where we find the "GOLDEN RULE"...
2. This "rule" serves as a perfect summary of the kind of righteousness
the kingdom of heaven expects in respect to MAN'S RELATION TO MAN
[But what is the "golden rule"? Was Jesus teaching anything new or
original by what He stated? Well, in a way it was something new...]
I. THE "GOLDEN RULE" VERSUS THE "SILVER RULES"
A. MANY PEOPLE BELIEVE JESUS WAS SIMPLY REPEATING WHAT OTHERS HAD
ALREADY TAUGHT; FOR EXAMPLE...
1. The HINDU religion taught:
This is the sum of duty: do naught to others which if done
to thee would cause thee pain.
2. The BUDDHIST religion taught:
Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.
3. The JEWISH traditions taught:
What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is
the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.
4. The MUSLIM religion taught:
No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother
that which he desires for himself.
5. The BAHA'I faith teaches:
He should not wish for others that which he doth not wish
for himself, nor promise that which he doth not fulfil.
The Book of Certitude
6. And Yet Some Other Sources:
Do not do unto others what angers you if done to you by
Isocrates 436-338 BCE
"Tzu-kung asked, 'Is there a single word which can be a guide
to conduct throughout one's life?' The Master said, 'It is
perhaps the word "shu". Do not impose on others what you
yourself do not desire'"
B. BUT JESUS' "RULE" WAS POSITIVE, WHILE MOST OF THE ABOVE ARE NOT...
1. Jesus' "rule" requires you to do something favorably to others,
while the others only prohibit you from doing something
unfavorably to others!
a. Jesus -> Do unto others what you want them to do to you
b. Others - > Don't do to others what you don't want done to
2. With the others, all that is required is that you don't harm
other people; with Jesus, what is required is that you show
kindness to others
3. Jesus' rule is truly the GOLDEN rule, the others are SILVER
rules (of value, yes, but not as much as "gold")
[The only exception appears to be that found in Hadith (the traditions
of Islam); but then, some of Islam is admittedly based upon what Jesus
taught 600 years before Mohammed.
So what Jesus taught was something new compared to what "uninspired"
teachers had taught prior.
But in another sense it was nothing new; rather, in a simple and easy to
remember statement, Jesus gives us...]
II. A GUIDELINE FOR RIGHTEOUS CONDUCT TOWARDS OTHERS
A. THAT WAS IN PERFECT HARMONY WITH THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS!
1. Just as we have seen in the rest of Jesus' teachings (cf. Mt
2. This one "rule" summarizes what the Law and the Prophets were
3. Just as the commandment "Love your neighbor as yourself"
summed up the Law according to Paul - Ro 13:8-10
B. A SORT OF "POCKET KNIFE" OR "CARPENTER'S RULE"...
1. That is, something that is always ready to be used
2. For example, even in an emergency, when there is no time to
consult a friend, teacher, or book for advice, the "golden
rule" can be guide for proper conduct
3. Treat others as you would be treated, and it is unlikely you
will ever do the wrong thing
1. Even in this way, we find that Jesus did not come to "destroy" the
Law, but to fulfill it in every way, including summarizing its
righteousness in ways easy for us to understand and apply!
2. Throughout the first twelve verses of Matthew 7, then, there is a
continuous theme: the righteousness of the kingdom in regards to
man's dealings with man
3. And what are the basic points?
a. Be careful in your judgment of others
b. Persevere in looking to God for help in making proper discernment
c. In your treatment of others, treat them like you want to be
In our next (and last) study, we will consider the final section of the
Sermon On The Mount: THE EXHORTATION TO ENTER THE KINGDOM - Mt 7:13-27
Exhortations In Entering The Kingdom (Mt 7:13-27)
1. In His sermon thus far, Jesus has expounded upon:
a. The CITIZENS of the kingdom - Mt 5:3-16
b. The RIGHTEOUSNESS of the kingdom - Mt 5:17-7:12
2. Now, in the final part of the sermon, Jesus extends several
exhortations to all who would enter the kingdom - Mt 7:13-27
3. In doing so, our Lord:
a. Describes the beginning of "The Way That Leads To Life", urging
people to choose it rather than "The Unbeliever's Boulevard"
- Mt 7:13-14
b. Gives warning with respect to His followers' progress upon "The
Way That Leads To Life" - Mt 7:15-20
c. Stresses the necessity of DOING, over simply HEARING and SAYING
- Mt 7:21-27
[Before we consider the exhortations of Jesus, let's review just what
it is that Jesus is inviting all men to enter into...]
I. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN - A REVIEW
A. THE TERM "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"...
1. Synonymous with the "kingdom of God" - cf. Mt 4:17 with
2. Refers to God's kingship, or rule, from heaven
3. The kingdom of heaven is focused in the Person of Jesus Christ,
and is especially manifested where He rules in the hearts of
men - Lk 17:20-21
B. THEREFORE, THE "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"...
1. Is SPIRITUAL in nature - Jn 18:36; Ro 14:17
2. TODAY, it includes the LORD'S CHURCH on earth (for those who
submit to the Will of Christ are added to the kingdom) - Co
1:13; Re 1:9
3. In the FUTURE, it will involve the NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH,
where we will be with God and Jesus eternally! - Mt 13:40-43;
2 Pe 3:10-13; Re 21:1-22:5
[Stated simply, those who accept Jesus' exhortation to enter the
"kingdom of heaven" will be in the CHURCH now and in the NEW HEAVENS AND
NEW EARTH later.
Let's now focus in on...]
II. THE EXHORTATION TO ENTER THE KINGDOM (13-14)
A. THE "ENTRANCE" INTO THE KINGDOM IS A "NARROW" ONE (
1. It is a GATE that:
a. Requires self-denial and obedience
b. Has no room for...
1) A consuming desire for earthly goods - Mt 6:19-20
2) An unforgiving spirit - Mt 6:14-15
3) Self-righteousness - Mt 6:1
2. Compare it with the GATE that leads to destruction (13b)
a. Which is WIDE
b. Which allows many to enter with no sacrifice on their part
c. And is therefore chosen by most people
B. THE "WAY" OF THE KINGDOM IS "DIFFICULT" (14)
1. It requires a righteousness that exceeds that of many religious
people - Mt 5:20
2. It requires a change in our behavior - Mt 5:21-7:12
3. Because of its difficulty, many choose not to travel its path
a. But it is the ONLY way to LIFE!
b. The only alternative is the way that leads to DESTRUCTION!
[Jesus tells us like it is: no illusions, no false promises of "beds of
ease"; there are only two choices, and He exhorts us to take the one
that leads to life!
But as already suggested, the way to life is difficult, and there are
dangers along the way. Jesus now warns of one...]
III. BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS (15-20)
A. WHO CAN LEAD US ASTRAY (15)
1. Paul warned of this very real danger, which church history
certainly seems to confirm - Ac 20:28-31
2. Peter likewise warned that false prophets would lead many away
- 2 Pe 2:1-3
3. As did John (1 Jn 4:1) and Jude (Ju 3-4)
B. HOW SHALL WE IDENTIFY THESE FALSE PROPHETS? (16-20)
1. By their "fruits"!
a. As manifested in their LIVES (through their covetous and
immoral practices, cf. 2 Pe 2:14-15)
b. Or as manifested in their TEACHINGS (which are not in harmony
with the teachings of the apostles, cf. 1 Jn 4:5-6)
2. Therefore, we must be "fruit-inspectors"
a. We cannot judge their hearts or motives (cf. Mt 7:1-2)
b. But if their lifestyle or teachings are contrary to that
found in the Word of God, let us beware!
[Finally, in His exhortations to enter the kingdom, Jesus makes it clear
that one must be a DOER of the Word...]
IV. THE NECESSITY OF BEING "DOERS" OF THE WORD (21-27)
A. ONLY BY "DOING" THE FATHER'S WILL CAN WE ENTER THE KINGDOM (21-23)
1. Faith "only" will not suffice (21)
2. Doing many "mighty works" won't help either, even if done
sincerely "in Jesus' name" (22)
3. Those who depend upon such are described as those who practice
"lawlessness"; i.e., without authority (23)
B. ONLY BY "ACTING" UPON JESUS' WORDS SHALL WE BE ABLE TO STAND
1. Against the "storms of life"
a. That come upon all people, whether Christians or not
b. For example, applying Mt 6:19-21 will prevent us from
being overwhelmed should we suffer the loss of material
2. In the "Day of Judgment"
a. When we hope to enter the "future state" of the kingdom of
b. When we hope to hear those wonderful words: "Come, you
blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you
from the foundation of the world" (Mt 26:34)
1. Notice Mt 7:28-29...
a. Now that we have come to the end of Jesus' sermon on the mount,
I hope that we too have been astonished by His Words!
b. Jesus spoke with authority then, how much more since His glorious
resurrection! (cf. Mt 28:18)
2. With such authority, He did not mince His words...He told us of:
a. The character and blessedness of those in the kingdom (Mt 5:3-12)
b. Their relationship to world (Mt 5:13-16)
c. The high standard of righteousness they are called to display to
glorify their Father in heaven (Mt 5:17-48)
d. The proper practice of that righteousness (Mt 6:1-18)
e. The necessity of putting the kingdom of God first in our lives
f. The way to properly treat our fellow man (Mt 7:1-12)
3. As difficult as some of these things may seem, Jesus made it clear:
a. It is the ONLY way to life eternal (Mt 7:13-20)
b. Only those who are willing to DO the Will of God can have a firm
hope to participate in the kingdom of heaven both present and
future (Mt 7:21-27)
4. Of course, we learn from Jesus and His apostles elsewhere that there
is Divine Assistance to live up to high standards Jesus has set...
a. There is the BLOOD of Jesus to provide forgiveness for us when we
fail to meet those standards
b. There is the POWER of the Holy Spirit to assist us in putting off
the "old man" and putting on the "new"
5. But how about you...?
a. Are you in the kingdom now? (cf. Jn 3:3-5; Ac 2:38)
b. Are you living according to the teachings of Jesus as found in
I hope that these series of expository outlines have challenged you to
greater faithfulness in your service to the Lord!