Sermon on the mount
Matthew 6:25-34 (16)
Before we look at this passage, one that is so often taken out of context, we must remind ourselves of what precedes it because verse 25 begins with the important word ‘therefore’. ‘Therefore’ means in the light of, because of, or in view of, what has gone before – this is how you should or shouldn`t act. Jesus, in this Sermon, began by describing the character of the kingdom citizen who was to have a positive impact upon the world around. He next showed how the Law was being fulfilled when kingdom citizens lived in the light of who they were. He then moved to our ‘righteous acts’, giving, praying and fasting, done in response to God before ensuring that our hearts were set fully on the kingdom. He said we were to have a ‘single eye’, not distracted by other things, and here He continues that theme.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (Matt 6:25) Read the rest of this entry »
Matthew 6:19-24 (15)
Since our religious duties, giving, praying and fasting, are to be done with a right heart before God, our heavenly Father, then our heart (treasure) needs to be in the right place. It used to be the custom for young ladies to have a ‘bottom drawer’. It contained items for their future home, a place they were preparing to live after their wedding. Jesus is telling the kingdom citizen`s to do the same and gives very good reasons why they should.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:19-21) Read the rest of this entry »
Matthew 6:5-15 (13)
Jesus moves to the second aspect of the ‘religious’ life of the Christian, prayer, beginning with two negatives before going on to the pattern for prayer.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (vs 5-6) Read the rest of this entry »
Matthew 6:1-4 (12)
So far, in this sermon Jesus began by giving us the characteristics of a Christian, the kingdom citizen, in ‘the beatitudes’. He then went on to show their influence upon the world, ‘salt and light,’ and how they are to live according to God`s law with a ‘righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees’. Chapter five finishes with that incredible command, ‘Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.’ When people say ‘I`m not religious,’ and by that mean they follow no particular religious practice, I usually respond, ‘I`m not religious, I`m a Christian.’ Am I right to say that without clarification? We know we are not saved by what we do but, because we are saved, there must be a practical out-working of what we profess in our daily living. In this section Jesus teaches on three important aspects of our ‘religious’ life. Most religions regard these as pillars of their faith but what must be different for the Christian is the motivation. Read the rest of this entry »
Matthew 5:43-48 (11)
Jesus has shown, in comparing the righteousness of the Pharisees with that of the kingdom citizen, that unless something dramatic has happened within us this is an impossible standard to achieve. Here, in this last of His six comparisons, He reaches the summit of what the kingdom citizen is to be, perfect.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour’ and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (5:43-48) (NKJV) Read the rest of this entry »
Matthew 5:38-42 (10)
Let us remind ourselves that Jesus is illustrating how our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees. He reveals a completely different set of attitudes to what had become the norm, both then and now. Attitudes; of the heart, the seat of hatred and lust, of commitment, to marriage and to our word, and He finishes with our attitude towards those who would use or abuse us. At this point many must have thought He had lost His marbles.
‘You have heard it said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.’ (5:38-42)
Matthew 5:33-37 (9)
Jesus continues His logical progression through what had become the Pharisees interpretation of the Law of Moses to show how the righteousness of the kingdom citizen must exceed theirs. We have reached the point where I think the Pharisees must have been feeling very uncomfortable. They thought they were law keepers, ‘par excellence’, but Jesus had shown them just how they conveniently re-interpreted the command to suit themselves. His next illustration shows their hypocrisy regarding oaths.