Matthew 5:38 – 6:34

Thursday Evening Bible Study

October 19, 2006



Someone else writes …

I went to the store the other day, I was only in there for about 5 minutes and when I came out there was a cop writing a parking ticket. So I went up to him and said, ‘Come on buddy, how about giving me a break?’ He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. So I called him a pencil necked Nazi. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having bald tires!! So I told him instead of slapping him when he was born, the doctor should’ve slapped his mother. He finished the second ticket and put it on the car with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket!! This went on for about 20 minutes, the more I abused him, the more tickets he wrote. But I didn’t really care. I was on my bike, and it was parked around the corner...

Things aren’t always what they seem, are they?

There are times in life when we start to think that we’ve got it all figured out, and then something comes along and turns our safe little world upside down.

Jesus’ teaching was a little like that.  The people Jesus ministered to had a lot of ideas of what God was like and how they ought to live.  But Jesus’ teaching was wonderful in that it continued to take men’s preconceptions of God and turned them right-side up.

Matthew 5

:38-42 Second mile

:38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'

Jesus is quoting from Ex. 21:24, where God gives out how certain crimes are supposed to be punished.

As Christians, we don’t just throw away these principles – these principles are still valid and proper for our system of public justice. But what Jesus is going to talk about is about how we as individuals ought to respond when we as Christians are offended.

:39 "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.

:40 "If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.

:41 "And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.

Roman soldiers had the authority to requisition supplies from the civilian population. They could ask you to give them your coat. They could ask you to carry their baggage for a mile.

Jesus taught us to “go the extra mile”.

:42 "Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

We have a difficult time with these verses in America.

The typical American response is not to go the extra mile, but to sue the jerk.

:43-48 Loving enemies

:43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'


Some advice from a friend …

To tell the weather, go to your back door and look for the dog. If the dog is at the door and he is wet, it’s probably raining. But if the dog is standing there really soaking wet, it is probably raining really hard. If the dog’s fur looks like it’s been rubbed the wrong way, it’s probably windy. If the dog has snow on his back, it’s probably snowing. Of course, to be able to tell the weather like this, you have to leave the dog outside all the time, especially if you expect bad weather.

Sincerely, The Cat

:44 "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,

This is a very practical verse.

If you have someone in your life that you’re having a hard time with, Jesus gives you an agenda to follow in your relationship with them.

Love them. Bless them with your words. Do good things to them. Pray for them.

:45 "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.

God does good things for bad people. We ought to learn from Him.

:46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

:47 "And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?

:48 "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

I think I’ve taught that this verse shows us that it isn’t good enough to be “good enough”. We can’t be “almost” perfect and still get into heaven.

But I think this verse teaches more than just the impossibility of being a good Christian.

I think Jesus is telling us that we need to keep aiming for perfection.

The whole point in the context of this passage is for us to be like our Father in heaven. Love people like God does.

Don’t settle for “not quite”. Don’t quit trying to love people because it seems too hard – go for it.

Matthew 6

:1-4 Doing Secret Deeds

:1 "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

charitable deedseleemosune – mercy, pity; esp. as exhibited in giving alms, charity; the benefaction itself, a donation to the poor, alms

:2 "Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

sound a trumpet – there were brass receptacles in the Temple used to collect money. They were shaped like trumpets. If you wanted to, you could let your coins drop in the “trumpet” one at a time and make a bigger clatter.

:3 "But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

:4 "that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

This seems in conflict with what Jesus said in chapter 5 –

(Mat 5:16 NKJV) "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

The issue is how you do your good works and for whom you do them.

People need to see good works coming from Christian believers.

But they don’t need to be necessarily seeing them as coming from you. How important is it to you that you get the credit for the thing done? Sometimes you can’t help it, but gently ask that the spotlight be shifted off of you and put onto Jesus Christ.

:5-15 A Model Prayer

:5 "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

:6 "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

This is a wonderful example of the previous principle.

Do you pray only when other people are around? How much do you pray when other people aren’t watching?

Some people have taken this to the extreme and they won’t pray in a group setting – but this is nonsense. The book of Acts is filled with examples of the church getting together and praying. It is important to pray in numbers, to pray with other people.

Again, the issue is, are you doing it to get attention from people?

Another note: I wonder sometimes if our prayers in public would change if we prayed more in our closet. I wonder if sometimes some of us go on and on while we pray before others because we haven’t been praying on our own and we’re trying to make up for lost time. Does that make sense?

:7 "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

This does not mean that you don’t pray for the same things over and over again. The parable Jesus teaches in Luke 18 of the widow pleading with the unjust judge was intended to teach us to persevere in asking the same things over and over from God.

But the idea here is to avoid jibberish, saying meaningless words over and over again.

Transcendental Meditation – repeating the same sound over and over again.

Catholicism – saying 50 “Hail Marys”.

God isn’t impressed by the amount of words you pray. He’s impressed with your heart and your faith.


A visiting minister was very long-winded. Worse, every time he would make a good point during his sermon and a member of the congregation responded with “Amen” or “That’s right, preacher” he would get wound up even more and launch into another lengthy discourse. Finally, the host pastor started responding to every few sentences with “Amen, Pharaoh!” The guest minister wasn’t sure what that meant, but after several more “Amen, Pharaohs” he finally concluded his very lengthy sermon. After the service concluded and the congregation had left, the visiting minister turned to his host and asked, “What exactly did you mean when you said “Amen, Pharaoh?” His host replied, “I was telling you to let my people go!”


This quote from Charles Spurgeon:

Fluency is a questionable endowment, especially when it is not accompanied with the weight of thought and depth of feeling. Some brethren pray by the yard, but true prayer is measured by weight – not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length.
- Spurgeon on Prayer, A 30-day devotional treasury, Day 15.

:8 "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

We don’t have to “inform” God in our prayers. He already knows. He knows more about the situation than you do. Just ask.

:9 "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

In this manner – this was intended to be a model prayer, not necessarily one that we repeat over and over and over again without sense.

I know that we went over this on Sunday, as we looked at the similar model prayer in Luke 11. But Jesus had to repeat the teaching with His disciples, and I’m sure I need to learn this more than once as well.

Father – prayer is addressed to God the Father. He is our Father. He loves us.

Hallowed – He is holy. Treat Him like He’s holy.

When Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10) rushed drunkenly into God’s presence with unauthorized incense, they were toasted.

(Lev 10:3 NKJV) And Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the LORD spoke, saying: 'By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.' " So Aaron held his peace.
God wants us to realize that He is holy. He is pure. He is different from us. There needs to be awe, respect, a sense of reverential fear before God’s presence.
God gave specific instructions to Aaron at this time as well.
(Lev 10:9-10 NKJV) "Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, {10} "that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean,

Perhaps there is a bit of worship here as well – this is how the angels worship, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty”

Praise is a good way to enter begin prayer, to “enter” into God’s presence.
(Psa 100:4 NKJV) Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

:10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

We are looking for Jesus to return and establish His kingdom on earth.

Prayer is not about getting “MY” will done. It’s about getting God’s will done.

(1 John 5:14-15 NKJV) Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. {15} And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

God’s will is done in heaven, but it isn’t always done on earth. Prayer is a manner in which we bring God’s will down to earth.
I believe that in general, the longer you sincerely pray for something, the more days you pray for something, that you will begin to sense God’s will.

The Bible promises:

(Psa 37:4 NKJV) Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
I think that the more we fall in love with the Lord, that His desires become our desires. And then when we ask for what “we” want, we find that it’s what “He” wants as well.

:11 Give us this day our daily bread.

We ask God for help with our daily needs.

:12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

We ask for forgiveness – but understand that we need to forgive as well.

:13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

We aren’t ignorant of Satan’s schemes. We ask God for help with temptation.

We give God glory.

:14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

:15 "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Pretty serious stuff. Does this mean that if I don’t forgive someone, that God won’t forgive me? Isn’t that exactly what it says?

:16-18 Secret Fasting

:16 "Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

:17 "But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,

:18 "so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

It’s a good thing to learn to fast.

But it’s a better thing when we learn to fast in such a way that people don’t have a clue to it, and the only one who notices is God.

To please only God.

I think much of life would change if I could live by this principle.

How much of my life is spent trying to please others?

I wonder how many spiritual disciplines we’d master is nobody ever knew we did them?

:19-21 The Treasure Principle

:19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;

:20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

If I have my heart aimed to much at the things on this earth, I’m going to be disappointed because they will fall apart.

The test is – how do you respond when someone scratches or dents your car?

:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

If your treasure is in heaven, then your heart will be drawn towards heaven.

I think this principle also can be seen in how we spend our money.

The places we spend our money can tell us a lot about where our “heart” is at.

As a church we often see this reflected in things like retreats. Last year at the Men’s Retreat, Dave Ritner offered to pay a full scholarship for several men. And ironically, none of them showed up to the retreat. Could it have been related to the fact that they didn’t have anything invested in the retreat? Perhaps.

If someone looked at your credit card statement or your checkbook, what would they learn about your priorities?

Quote from Jon Courson:

Giving is not God’s way of raising cash. It’s God’s way of raising kids. Every time I give, I am giving away part of my stinginess and selfishness. God doesn’t need my money, but I need to give. The Lord wants my heart, not my money, and He knows that wherever my treasure is, that’s where my heart will be. If I have financial investments, I will follow the stock market carefully. If I hold real estate, I will follow the housing market with genuine interest. If I have treasure in heaven, guess where my heart will be? It is profoundly interesting to me that Jesus didn’t say, “Where your heart is, there your treasure will be.” Instead, He said, “Put your treasure in heaven, and your heart will inevitably follow.”
How can we be more heavenly-hearted? By sending our treasure ahead.[1]

:22-23 The eye lamp

:22 "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.

:23 "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

lamp – in architecture, a window is called a “light”.

I think the idea here is, what do you spend your time looking at?

(Mt 6:22-23 The Message) 22 “Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. 23 If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!

In context, Jesus is talking about money. He’s warning us about where we’re looking for help.

(Prov 28:22 NKJV) A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, And does not consider that poverty will come upon him.
Paul wrote,
(1 Tim 6:17 NKJV) Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
Here’s a warning from Charles Spurgeon:
Beware of growing covetousness, for of all sins this is one of the most insidious. It is like the silting up of a river. As the stream comes down from the land, it brings with it sand and earth and deposits all these at its mouth, so that by degrees, unless the conservators watch it carefully, it will block itself up and leave no channel for ships of great burden. By daily deposit it imperceptibly creates a bar which is dangerous to navigation. Many a man when he begins to accumulate wealth commences at the same moment to ruin his soul, and the more he acquires, the more closely he blocks up his liberality, which is, so to speak, the very mouth of spiritual life. Instead of doing more for God he does less. The more he saves the more he wants, and the more he wants of this world the less he cares for the world to come.


Thomas Hart Benton, U.S. statesman, was a Democratic senator from Missouri for thirty years (1821-51) and ardently promoted the opening up of the West. Benton accurately foresaw the dangers into which the slavery question was leading the Union.
When Benton's house in Washington was destroyed by fire, he was summoned from Congress to view the ruin. He gazed at it for a while, then said, "It makes dying easier. There's so much less to leave."
-- The Little Brown Book Of Anecdotes, Ed. Clifton Fadiman, (Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1985), p. 55.

:24 Two masters

:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

mammon – wealth, treasure

:25-34 Worrying about tomorrow

:25 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.

worrymerimnao – to be anxious; to be troubled with cares

This next section is all about worrying.

Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows but only empties today of its strength.

- Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834–1892)

The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith; and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.

- George Muller (1805–1898)

:25 Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Do you ever stop to ask what your life consists of?

It’s not hard to accumulate bills and then spend your life trying to pay off those bills.

Is that all your life amounts to? Living to pay bills?

:26 "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

:27 "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

cubit – 18 inches.

Jesus might be talking about height or He might be talking about the length of a person’s life.

Either way, worrying doesn’t add a thing.

:28 "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;

:29 "and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

The flowers don’t toil and spin they don’t do a thing to contribute to how they appear.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t work hard to earn a living, it means that we learn to stop worrying about it.

:30 "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

of little faitholigopistos (“little” + “faith”) – of little faith, trusting too little

I find it interesting how sometimes we have a lot of pressure put on us to have enough “faith”. Yet Jesus is saying that God cares enough for the grass to “clothe” it, and so He will take care of us…even if we just have a only just a “little” faith.

:31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'

:32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

seekepizeteo – to enquire for, seek for, search for, seek diligently; to wish for, crave; to demand, clamour for; This is a more intense form of “seek” than the word used in the next verse (vs. 33)

Jesus is speaking to Jewish listeners. They ought to have more of a sense of God’s provision than the Gentiles.

:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

seekzeteo – to seek in order to find; to seek [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to enquire into; to seek after, seek for, aim at, strive after

You have a choice over what you spend your life seeking.

You can make finances and “stuff” your goal. Or you can make God your goal.

God promises to take care of you if you make Him your goal.
You may wonder if you stop worrying about your finances, if you stop looking out for yourself, then who will be looking out for you?
A young man gets engaged to a young woman and goes to meet her parents over dinner. After dinner the father takes the young man into the drawing room to find out his plans for life with his daughter. “So, what are your plans?” The father asks the fiancée. “I am a Biblical Scholar” he replies “A Biblical Scholar. Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice home for my daughter to live in, as she deserves?” The father asks. “I will study” the young man replies “...God will provide for us.” “And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?” The father asks. “I will concentrate on my studies, God will provide for us.” the young man replies. “And children” the father asks “how will you support your children?” “Don’t worry sir” the young man replies “God will provide.” The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the father asks a question the young man insists that God will provide. Later, the mother asks about the discussion, “So, how did it go?” The father replies “He has no job and no plans, but the good news is he thinks I’m God.”
Actually, God will provide.  If you trust Him, He will take care of you.

A weary Christian lay awake one night trying to hold the world together by his worrying, Then he heard the Lord gently say to him, “Now you go to sleep, Jim; I’ll sit up.

-- Ruth Bell Graham, Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, p. 44.

It’s an issue for us as individuals. It’s an issue for us as a church.


Some churches are driven by finances. The question the forefront of everyone’s mind in a finance-driven church is “How much will it cost?” Nothing else ever seems quite as important. Finances are foremost. The most heated debate in a finance-driven church is always over the budget. While good stewardship and cash flow are essential for a healthy church, finances must never be the controlling issue. The greater issue is: “What does God want us to do?” We do not exist to make a profit. The bottom line in the church is not: “How much did we save?” but “Who was saved?” I’ve noticed that many churches are driven by faith in their early years and driven by finances in later years.
-- Rick Warren, Evangelism for a Changing World, (Shaw, 1995), p. 5.

:34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

I don’t think this means that we shouldn’t be thinking further down the road than just today.

There are things in life that we will do a lot better if we plan ahead for them.

J.C. Penney said:

Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I'll show you a man who will make history; show me a man without a goal and I'll show you a stock clerk.

The issue isn’t planning, the issue is worry.

God never built a Christian strong enough to carry today's duties and tomorrow's anxieties piled on top of them.

 Theodore Ledyard Cuyler (1822–1909)

[1]Jon Courson, Jon Courson's Application Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2003). 33.