MATTHEW 5:33_Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths.
To forswear is to lie under oath. If you are in a court room and lie on the witness stand, it is called perjury. You can go to jail for perjury. When you are in the witness chair, tell the truth. For that matter, always tell the truth!
If you swear to your parents that something you tell them is true, but it is really a lie, you’re accountable for that. You don’t have to be in court nor even have witnesses around to be held responsible for lying.
To swear is to make a promise – a guarantee to what you say. One of the worst decisions in life is to make a promise to God, and not keep it. If you promise God something keep it. Be very careful what you promise – think before you open your mouth. Until you become an adult it is best to discuss with your parents any promise you intend to make . If you do not live with parents, find a Godly adult to help you make wise promises.
Life used to operate on a man’s word was his bond. That meant if you promised to do something you would do it, no matter what. No legal documents were necessary when your word was your bond. You gained a reputation for being an honest person.
Your reputation always goes before you and follows after you!
God of Truth, I want anyone who has dealings with me to find me to be a person of my word. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ keeps His Word—I want to keep my word and His Word too!
MATTHEW 5:22 _But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…
Needless to say, there are a lot of tragedies in the world. High on the list is when anger destroys a church congregation. If we all held ourselves liable for our thoughts, words, and actions, we’d be more careful how we speak. Remember, we’re called to be salt to preserve and flavor, not destroy.
We are all sinners. We all fail from time to time. Hopefully, the more time we spend in a Jesus relationship, the fewer our failures. This includes curbing anger.
Galatians 6:1, 10 says “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Verse 10, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
The scales are balanced when the murderer is held accountable for his actions according to the law of the land (judgment), and when the Christian holds himself accountable according to the law of Jesus (mercy).
Kind God, Help me be merciful to my fellow Christians. Help me know I am no better than the one who falls to temptation. When I am victorious over sin it is because of Your power in me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is merciful—He wants me to be!
MATTHEW 5:21_Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.
Jesus begins His transformation law list. First on the list is thou shalt not kill. What a great way to begin! Who’s going to question that? This statement should please the entire audience. No shouting of boo or hissing at this statement!
Jesus gains everyone’s approval by beginning with the sixth commandment. Not only would they approve, but they would be feeling good, relaxed, and maybe even a little proud. No guilt feelings over this one. No murderers were in this crowd, because murderers were dealt with promptly.
Jesus continues, whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. In order for Jesus to be the balance of judgment and mercy there has to be a place for judgment. The word judgment in this passage is translated as liable. That means you are held responsible for your actions. The Law makes it clear that to kill someone carries a judgment.
Jesus sees something beyond killing someone which can carry judgment. Jesus sees us liable for all our actions.
He is prepared to reveal this liability.
Righteous God, I want to be a part of Your multitude who listen for truth. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ understands judgment—He will teach me!
MATTHEW 5:19_and shall teach men so…
Jesus teaches something worse than to break even the least commandment – teach others to do the same. You can directly teach someone, or you can teach by influence. The power of influence is tremendous – and everyone has it!
You can’t keep commandments and make wise decisions in your own strength. When it comes to sin there is a one-size-fits-all consequence – eternal separation from God. Romans 3:23 (KJV) “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” James 2:10 (KJV) “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” God’s compassion and forgiveness make a way to fix that. You need Jesus!
A hypocrite is a professing Christian who lives contrary (including influence) to the principles and teachings of the Bible. In other words, to be a Christian who is void of salt and light. The hypocrite will not cause anyone to thirst for truth – salt contaminated by the lures of the world and lost savor. No weary traveler will find the path to freedom through the darkness of a hypocrite.
You may not believe you are accountable for your influence. If someone makes a poor decision because of your influence, it is no different from your direct teaching. Everyone is responsible for their decisions – they can’t blame anyone else. But you are accountable for your contributing influence. And this is Jesus who says there will be a consequence.
Your call to be salt and light includes your influence. Contribute a salty-lit-up influence!
To really know Jesus is to know He is not about judgment and punishment. Jesus is the very embodiment of love, mercy, and grace. But it is also Jesus who warns there are consequences in life. This is why He draws attention to the importance of living in accordance with the commandments.
Just as the laws of the land, God’s laws are for your safety and protection.
Precious Jesus, I want my life to be salt and light to those thirsty and in darkness. I want this to be true in whatever You call me to do in life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is mercy and grace—I want to live like that!
MATTHEW 5:19_shall break one…
Another way to break the law is ignorance. It may not be that you disagreed, but simply didn’t know it was a law. Again, you can ask any type of law enforcement officer and I’m afraid you’ll be told ignorance is not an excuse. It is your responsibility to be aware of the laws which govern.
The same consequences apply to the spiritual laws of life. It is your responsibility to know God’s laws and commandments and to abide by them. If you don’t have a Bible – get one. If you have no funds to purchase one, I assure you there are churches galore that would be overjoyed to give you one. Ask.
Psalm 19:1-4 (KJV), “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world …”
These verses say no one has an excuse for not knowing there is a glorious, creating God. The world of nature speaks His existence. If you know there is a God and your heart seeks to love Him, He will make a way.
God’s compassion and forgiveness are great. The more you come to know the truth, the more you understand you are accountable for your actions. And the more power you receive to live in accordance with the commands of Christ.
Give God a chance, even if you live somewhere in the world that does not worship the Creator God.
Heavenly Father, I want to know Your laws and commandments, and live my life in accordance with them. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ makes a way—He will bring me to it!