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!
MATTHEW 7:23_And then…
The day Jesus refers to is the Judgment Day. A day we all face—regardless of whether we believe in it or not. Hebrews 9:27 (KJV), “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
Everyone is accountable for their lives. Christians are accountable for their salt and light (or lack of it). Unbelievers are held accountable for rejecting Jesus and His sacrifice for them.
As we’ve often said—life is serious business. It is all about choices. Choices are the great equalizer. The great leveler. Everyone lands on the same playing field because everyone has the same basic choices in life. These are spiritual choices. They are not physical circumstances into which we were born—circumstances over which we had no control. When we make the right spiritual choices they supersede our physical circumstances. Spiritual empowerment is stronger than physical empowerment.
I Corinthians 1:27-28 (KJV), “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen …”
Judge of All, Praise You that my weaknesses make me strong—for You! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ changes my weakness with His strength—Yes!
MATTHEW 7:13_and many there be which go in thereat.
There are reasons many enter at the wide gate. It is tempting, accessible, and allows for baggage. It’s easy—all you have to do is follow the crowd, which requires neither intelligence (no decisions to make), nor courage (won’t be standing alone).
It takes little strength to do what’s wrong. It requires no thought process—just follow your natural instincts. There is no submission, do what you want to do. Simply do what pleases you, and what pleases the people with you. There is no accountability for your actions. Personal responsibility will not be following you around. In short: No rules, No standards, No boundaries. Sounds exactly like the Land of Cocagne in the story of Pinocchio.
Pinocchio made the decision to become responsible and obedient. There was a reward for that—he would become a real boy. But when his friend, Candlewick, described the carefree land of excessive pleasures, the temptation was too strong (for a heart without Jesus). Rather than becoming a real boy, he became a real donkey—and all the hard labor that goes with it.
In The Merchant of Venice, 1600, Shakespeare said it like this, “All that glitters is not gold.”
Very seldom is the easy way the best way.
Merciful Jesus, Help me follow Your way—not the easy way. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants me to be bold and courageous—I will be!