:1-12 The Beatitudes
:1 up into a mountain
This is the famous "Sermon on the Mount"
:3 blessed are the poor in spirit ...
Look at the things that Jesus is recommending to us: poor in spirit, mourn, meek, hunger and thirst after righteousness...
These are things directly opposite from what the world tries to promote.
Yet ultimately each of these things will be rewarded
:13-16 Salt & Light
A Quality of salt:
Makes people thirsty - do people have a thirst for Jesus after they've been around you?
A Property of Light
It works best when unobstructed.
All we need to be careful of is to not cover it up.
Just get out of the way to let it shine.
Let Jesus work in you.
Philippians 2:13-AV For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.
:17-20 Fulfilling the Law
Greek: "iwta", the yodh in Hebrew, small apostrophe like mark
the waw, just a down stroke with the pen.
:18 all be fulfilled...
Jesus finds the law important, so should we.
That is why we study and teach the Old Testament as well as the New Testament.
:21-16 Not offending people
raka 1) empty, i.e. a senseless, empty headed man 2) a term of reproach used among the Jews in the time of Christ
Kind of like calling a person an "airhead".
Offending a person is as bad as killing them.
:23 if thou bring thy gift to the altar
Talking about bringing a sacrifice to God.
You can't get right with God until you're right with people.
You'd better take care of making your relationships right with people here on earth before you can think that God is going to pay much attention to your sacrifice or worship.
In Isaiah's day:
The people were relying on their sacrifices to keep them right before God, rather than having true repentance from their sin. They had the idea that if they sinned Saturday night, they only had to put a little extra in the Agape box on Sunday morning.
Look at God's opinion of their offerings:
Isaiah 1:13-17. 13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; [it is] iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear [them]. 15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from
you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. 16. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
You can't be right with God if you're not right with your brother.
:27-30 Looking is adultery
Sin is not just in the act, but in the heart.
:29 pluck it out
Do whatever it takes to get rid of sin.
God seriously wants us to deal with sin.
:31-32 Rules for divorce
In Jesus' day, it was very easy to get a divorce.
There was a whole school of thought that if you find any fault whatsoever in your wife, just dump her! If she burns the toast, she's out of there!
Today there's great debate in the church over this issue
This is one of the Biblical reasons for divorce, the other is in 1Cor.7:15
fornication - porneia
1) illicit sexual intercourse
It's not just "irreconcilable differences"
If we get too liberal in allowing for divorce, we are encouraging people to commit adultery!
Here's a good reason to be really sure and take your time before you ever get married. Make sure there's no room for divorce.
to swear falsely
:34 swear not at all
Once someone tells a lie or breaks a promise, it's hard to know when to believe them.
That's when mankind invented oaths.
"If you can't believe my word, then believe me when I say that God can turn me into a toad if I'm telling a lie"
If you are a person who is constantly swearing oaths, it's going to give people the idea that you're not a person to be trusted.
The point is not that it's wrong to swear an oath - as when called to testify in a trial.
The point is that God wants you to be a person who can be trusted and believed.
:38-42 no more eye for eye...
This was the Old Testament rule for compensatory damages.
Jesus sets a different standard for Christians.
It seems that the church today has kind of gotten away from this!
We are too quickly out for revenge rather than turning the other cheek.
We think that it's being wimpy or uncourageous to turn the cheek.
Just the opposite is true.
:43-48 How to treat enemies
:44 Love, bless, do good, pray
:44 pray for them...
I find that this is a very practical way of learning how to love the unlovable.
It is very, very difficult to not fall in agape love with someone when you start praying for them correctly.
Not, "God break their teeth and shatter their bones..."
But, "God bless, heal and comfort this dear person..."
To see if you're praying correctly for a person, ask yourself if you're falling deeper and deeper in love with them.
:48 Be ye therefore perfect
Jesus sets the standard for heaven - perfection.
Can anyone do this? No!
This is why we need a Savior to pay for all our blunders.
And when Jesus is our Savior, living inside of us, He begins to produce this kind of life in our lives.
:1 your alms
The practice of giving to the poor and needy
:2 sound a trumpet
Could be either the brass funnels on the money box, the money clattering as it goes into the box.
Could be blowing a trumpet to announce your gift.
:2 they have their reward
They already got their glory.
It's a pretty bad trade to get that kind of glory now as compared to the glory they miss out on in heaven.
:3 let not they left hand know what they right hand doeth
Can you write a check with one hand behind your back?
:5-15 Prayer lessons
:5 may be seen of men
When we are in a group together, it's okay to pray out loud, but watch your heart.
Don't pray out loud if you're doing it to get other people to notice you.
:7 vain repetitions
Repeating a phrase or sentence over and over and over again.
TM - the mantra
"Hail Mary full of grace"... number 1 ...
Local church - saying the same line over and over and over again.
Need for persistence
This is not saying that we should only ask for each request once.
The Faith Teachers say that if you have faith, you only ask once.
Jesus taught that God wants you to keep persistently asking.
Luke 18:1-8 - the unjust judge and the widow
She kept coming to him day after day until he gave in to her.
If a bad man like that gives way to a woman's persistant asking, how much more will God listen to our request?
Luke 18:1-NIV Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
:7 for their much speaking
I think it's a good practice in group prayer settings to keep your prayers short.
God isn't impressed by the length of your prayers, just the attitude of your heart.
Give others a chance to pray too!
:8 for your Father knoweth
I think that sometimes we feel like we have to inform God on every detail of a person's life as we pray.
No need to, He already knows much better than you do.
Sometimes I think what we're really doing is just finding a good way to tell everybody in the church all the juicy details under the guise of being spiritual.
I think that sometimes it's just fine with God to say, "Lord, I lift up my special friend and their problems".
God knows who it is. He knows what's wrong. He knows what you're asking. And you aren't spreading gossip about your friend either.
:9 after this manner
We're going to see the "Lord's Prayer".
Some have preferred to call it "the Disciples' Prayer", since it was how we are supposed to pray, not how the Lord prayed in particular.
It is meant to just be a pattern.
Jesus didn't say, "Use these exact words..."
:9 Our Father
Understand who you're praying to.
Understand His greatness, His majesty. Focus on God's attributes. He's not like us, He's God!
:9 Hallowed be thy name
Recognizing God's holiness
Worship as the angels do: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God of hosts"
I think this is a good practice to put somewhere early in your prayers.
Praise is the best attitude to have when you come into God's presence.
Psalms 100:4-AV Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.
I don't think God is thrilled when we keep coming to Him with our griping and complaining.
:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done
Praying for God's will.
Prayer is not about getting God to do what I want Him to do.
Prayer is all about getting me into line with God's will.
Sometimes the more we pray, the more we will realize what God's will is in a situation.
You can start out asking for a Mercedes, but the more you are honestly praying for God's will, you will probably come to realize that it's not God's will.
:11 daily bread
asking for regular needs, looking to God for everything
Some say, "Oh, I don't want to bother God with my petty little problems." Is bread a petty thing?
God wants to hear from you.
:12 forgive us
confession of sins.
Psalms 66:18-AV If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me]:
the spiritual battle, help from temptation
:13 for thine is the kingdom ...
Praise and worship - beginning and ending the prayer. I think this adds the sweetness to the incense.
:15 if ye forgive not men
A pretty heavy promise.
We had better be forgiving people if we want God to forgive us.
:16 when ye fast
Fasting is an exercise of denying the flesh.
Usually we think of it as going without food for a period of time.
There is a spiritual benefit as we learn how to "put the flesh under".
But don't do it to draw attention to yourself.
You don't need to be impressing others with your spirituality.
:19-34 God will take care of you
:23 if thine eye be evil
If your eye is looking around in too many directions (not singly), then it's not going to have much light coming in.
God wants us single-mindedly focused on Him.
:25 Is not the life more than meat (food), and the body than raiment (clothes)?
Nowadays you kind of wonder.
"Clothes make the man"
:26 Are ye not much better than they?
Well, are you?
Are you more important to God than a little bird?
Is God going to care for you?
:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow
Matthew 6:34-NIV Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
:1-5 Don't judge
:1 judge not
krinw - to judge, or condemn
Too Many Umbrellas
The story is told of Mr. Jones who picked up the wrong umbrella in a hotel lobby and was about to walk out when the rightful owner called attention to his mistake. Embarrassed, he offered his apologies. Finding his own, he went on his way.
The incident, however, reminded him that he had promised to buy both his wife and daughter an umbrella. To his delight he found that a local store nearby had them on sale, so he bought two. Just as he was getting into his car with his unwrapped purchases, he saw the man he had encountered earlier. He was eyeing him suspiciously. Seeing the three umbrellas hooked over his arm, the stranger exclaimed sarcastically, "I see you had a good day after all!" Although Mr. Jones blushed, he was not guilty of any wrongdoing.
:3 the mote ... the beam
mote: karfos 1) a dry stalk or twig, a straw 2) chaff
Notice the comparison, a little twig and a huge beam.
The point is that what we often find in others to be critical about is often the very thing that we are struggling with ourselves.
When you find yourself critical of others, is it really you that is having a problem?
:6 pearls before swine
:6 holy unto the dogs
Meat that had been consecrated to God couldn't even be eaten by unclean people, let alone wild scavenging dogs.
It made the meat unholy.
... pearls ... swine
Pigs were the scavengers along with dogs in that day.
They could mistake the pearls for food or trash, and it wouldn't do them any good anyhow.
There are times when a person you're talking to is obviously not open to the things of God, and you shouldn't be wasting your time on them.
Sound cruel? Sound judgemental? Look at Jesus' example:
The chief priests were trying to trap Jesus, and after stumping them with a hard question, He said,
27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
:7-11 Just Ask
:7 Ask ... seek ... knock
All three words are a present imperative tense in Greek - continual action.
There is a building of intensity in the words used here.
Asking is a simple use of voice, seeking is a motion of the body, and knocking is an effort to open and pass through obstacles. (McGarvey TFG 264)
:11 your Father ... give good things
There's a play on the heartstrings here, between a loving dad and his son.
God is our Heavenly Father, who loves us so much more than any earthly dad could.
1. Don't be afraid of coming to God with your requests.
He's not going to say, "Aha! Now I have you groveling on your face!"
2. God's answers to prayer are good.
His answers to your prayers are going to be for the best.
You can trust Him to give you what's best, no matter what it is you're asking Him for.
Romans 12:1-2. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
:12 Golden Rule
:12 do ye even so to them
Think about how you treat others.
I remember as a child, being taught this as the Golden Rule, and really trying hard to do this.
:13-14 The Narrow Gate
:14 narrow is the way
The entrance into God's Kingdom is not on a twelve lane superhighway.
It's a narrow, one-lane road.
John 14:6-AV Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
All roads do not lead to God.
:15-20 Judging prophets
:16 you shall know them by their fruits
Our principle back in 7:1 doesn't apply across the board.
It's not that we aren't to be discerning of people.
We need to be cautious of what we receive.
We are to judge by the fruits.
What's the outcome of this person's life and teaching?
I personally have a hard time with this guy on TV who wears strange outfits, smokes cigars, and yells and curses at the TV set. I don't see a lot of good fruit.
When someone promises to change their behavior, watch for the fruit.
:21-23 Lord, Lord
Don't you find this disturbing?
Look at all the spiritual things these people have done in their life, yet they didn't know Jesus!
True faith, true confession with the lips is matched by a changed life.
It's not just going forward at an altar call.
It's calling on the Lord in reality, and letting Him change your life that counts.
:24-27 Built on the Rock
One man's house stood, the other fell.
Both heard Jesus' words.
Both went through storms. The storms will come for everyone.
Jesus doesn't even promise to take you out of the storm!
Putting Jesus' words into your life, living them, obeying them!
:28-29 Jesus' authority
:29 not as the scribes
They spoke on the authority of Moses or the elders, but Jesus taught by his own authority. Their way was to quote minute precedents supported by endless authorities. A passage taken from later rabbinical writings starts thus: "Rabbi Zeira says, on the authority of Rabbi Jose bar Rabbi Chanina, and Rabbi Ba or Rabbi Chija on the authority of Rabbi Jochanan," etc.
Contrast this with the oft-repeated "I say to you" of Jesus. For example, # Mt 5:18,20,22,26,28,34 (McGarvey TFG 166-167)
How could Jesus teach with such authority?
Because He was God. He wrote the Scriptures through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
I don't think that we should then stop reading what other Bible teachers have to say about the Bible. After all, we're not Jesus. And God has given a gift of teaching to help us understand His Word, and some teachers have written their teaching down in books.
But we do need to learn to depend upon the Holy Spirit to be our teacher.
1John 2:27-AV But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.