We start off with an “Ye have heard…” statement. It is the fourth of five if you count the “It has been said” of verse 31. This shows us Jesus’s familiarity with Scripture and the Law. It also shows that He is familiar with the general interpretation of those Laws.
In looking at the SERMON ON THE MOUNT we must realize that for the time being these principles are our goal. I fall so short of these principles of His Kingdom. The only way they are lived is when we are in complete obedience to the leading of the Spirit within us. Let me say here that our perfection/completion is only by God’s own decree – “You are Justified. All your sins are gone. Jesus has paid your debt”. This is still our goal for now.
THE PLACE TO BEGIN LIVING HONESTLY, WITH HIGH HONOR AND INTEGRITY IS WITH JESUS CHRIST (vv. 33-37).
* When your heart is right with God your first responsibility of honesty is with Him.
+ He already knows your heart and thoughts why would you lie to Him.
+ Why lie to others, if indeed, you see the image of God in them, and we should.
* When making a vow, or promise, let your Yes, Be Yes; and your No, be No!
+ If you must swear on a “Stack of Grandma’s Bibles”, then, your word is probably as good as the ocean front property in Arizona.
THE PLACE TO BEGIN SEEKING THE GOOD OF OTHERS IS BY LOOKING AT THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST AND BE LIKE HIM (vv. 38-42).
* Jesus even turns this toward those who would strike you.
+ Is it a wimpy thing for a man to “turn the other cheek”?
+ Is it the right and courageous thing to “turn the other cheek”?
* Giving others what belongs to you shows that you care for them more than we care for things.
+ Giving them our time – if you are “compel(led) to go a mile, go with him twain”.
+ Giving possessions – if he “take away you coat, let him have your cloke also” (vv. 40, 42).
“Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3 (KJV).
LIVING WITHOUT THE ATTITUDE OF RETALIATION IS A WORK OF JESUS CHRIST IN OUR HEARTS (vv.43-47).
* I recall nowhere in Scriptures which tell us to “Hate your enemies”.
+ Most error in such things comes from misinterpretations and evil hearts.
+ Here, Jesus quickly puts that thought out in the cold
* The law does teach, “Eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:23-25).
+ Seeking justice and seeking revenge are two different thoughts.
+ You can still love the person when justice is being done, but revenge almost requires hatred.
* When we love those who love us, we are doing only what others will do.
+ When we love those who have stricken us, who have lied about us, who have harmed us, then, people will see the love of Jesus Christ, and the difference He has made in our lives.
+ We need to be strengthened by the Spirit of God each day to walk with Christ and be like Him, in loving and forgiving those who have despised us, even hated us.
THE PERFECTION OF GOD IS THE COMPLETENESS WE HAVE SOLELY IN HIM (v. 48).
* This is similar to God’s command to Israel:
+ “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44-45, and 1 Peter 1:15-16.
* Perfection is the work of God taking us and making us more into the likeness of His Son.
+ It is the goal of every follower of Jesus to one day be made like Him for we have the promise;
+ “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3 (KJV).
-Tim A. Blankenship