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                           The Sermon on the Mount Mathew

                                             chapters 5-7



The Sermon on the Mount was one of the most powerful and direct teachings from Jesus. Teachings that were directed to 'His flock' on how we should live our lives. Given on a hilltop or mountainous region near the Sea of Galilee, Jesus sat and began to teach His Disciples. As He was teaching them, scripture tells us that a multitude of people came to hear Him.


        The teachings in these chapters of scripture give us direction of how we should live a life that is acceptable in God's eyes. They are words that give truth and meaning to our existence. As you read through the material here, imagine how different the world would be if everyone lived by these examples:



“seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.  Then He opened His mouth and  taught them, saying:

                                             “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

                                               Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.

                                               Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.

                                              Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

                                              Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.

                                              Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.

                                              Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

                                              Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of  heaven.


     “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  Mat. 5:1-12


These wonderful verses give us assurance that although we may be going through some very real trials ultimately, the sacrifices made in this life will lead to eternal comfort.


           Next are verses that show how a believer is someone who's actions are obvious to those who see them. Jesus likens them to a city that is on a hill that can not be hidden, a light that is meant to be lighting up a room;


       “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled  underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a  basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good  works and glorify your Father in heaven. Mat. 5:13-16


Probably the most important part of these verses is the message that our appearance to others should ultimately glorify God.


       After this, Jesus tells us that He came not to abolish the Law of Moses but to fulfill it;


      “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.  For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them,  he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Mat. 5:17-20


Jesus fulfilled the law by obeying it perfectly. His coming and giving us the New Covenant was a fulfillment of those things and to give us salvation by faith which the law did not provide.


        Jesus continues His teachings  about things that we can relate to today for sure. Things such as hatred, adultery and marriage. Read these verses below and see how your life fits within them;


       “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. Adultery in the Heart. Mat. 5:21-26

  

The word 'Raca' above is an Aramaic word meaning 'empty headed' or a reference to someone who is unintelligent. Calling someone this or a 'fool' is a serious matter. One which we should strive to avoid. I don't know about you, but these verses hit home with me sometimes, as its hard to not hold that grudge against someone. To "love one another" is probably the most important message Jesus has for us. To foster hatred or resentment toward anyone lets Satan get a foothold in our lives.


      Our Lord continues His teachings about a subject that I believe is an issue for a lot of people. Something a lot of people do without even realizing it. Read below and examine your own conscience. The next time you come across this issue, how will you respond?


     “You have heard that it was said to those of old,‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.  Mt. 5:27-30


How many times have you 'looked' at another person this way? Now does this mean that we should "pluck out our eyes" if we sin like this? The scripture here is not to be taken literally, but it means to NOT LOOK in that way. These things occur because it is a response from our fallen sinful state. It is a part of our unfortunate human nature. Only through prayer can one overcome these things.


      The next section of verses in this chapter deals with another issue that is a real but unfortunate problem in our day- divorce. It seems today that 'anything goes' when it comes to divorce or even what constitute a marriage. People get divorced for a multitude of reasons, however Jesus teaches us that there are only certain reasons that are acceptable for divorcing the one you made a lifetime commitment to. God hates divorce and so should we;


     “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

Mat. 5:31-32


      Jesus' teaching hit every aspect of our lives. The things in His teachings are a model of how we should live. They are not easy to accomplish. Asking God to strengthen our faith and keep us in conformity to His word is something we need to be constantly aware of.


       We take things for granted everyday. Things we don't even think about like taking of oaths, especially when we use  terms such as "God as my witness..." In earlier days, an oath made in God's name was a legal and binding promise. Oaths or solemn promises that were not made in God's name was not. However Jesus tells us in the next section of verses that swearing by any means should not be made. We should just let it be know, that what we say, we affirm  to be the truth. This is what is meant in the verse 37 where it says; "Let your Yes be Yes and your No, No". A persons word is and should be binding and all that is needed;


   “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. Mat. 5:33-37


      The last two sections of chapter 5 in the book of Mathew deals with 'Going the second mile' with someone and 'Loving your enemies'. This last section of loving our enemies is something you  (as I do) may have a problem with. Forgiveness for something someone has done to us doesn't come easy for us humans. Again, only through constant prayer and a devotion to conform to the teaching of Jesus Christ can these things be accomplished. Getting to know Jesus. Having Him come into your life is something I constantly strive for. The more we can accept His teachings, learn from His words, the easier it will be to automatically respond the way He outlines in scripture. Will it happen overnight? No! However, I can assure you from personal experience the more you keep Him in your life, the more you will change and the easier it will be to respond the way He wants us to. I never thought my thinking would be this way, but it does happen. By the grace of God, my thanks to Him is truly there;


      “You have heard that it was said,  ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.


      “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor 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 brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Mat. 5:38-48