MATTHEW 5:30_And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee…
More graphics. The inevitable process is if the looking is not controlled, the act is very likely to occur. Jesus says before you get physically involved in sexual sin, it’s better to cut off your hand. Again, don’t go cutting off your hand!! Please stay with these devotions.
Let’s go back to Proverbs 6 concerning adultery, verses 24-29 (KJV), “To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. 25Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. 26For by means of a whorish woman, a man is brought to a piece of bread, and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. 27Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? 28Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? 29 So he that goeth in to his neighbor’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.”
The Bible says whoever touches her shall not be innocent – looking leads to touching, and touching leads to disaster! If you play with fire, you will get burned. If you feel the Bible is too binding and you are free to make your own decisions, please give the Creator of sexuality credit for knowing how it works. But you do have a free will to make your own decisions, and your free will always bear the consequences.
As in every case, Jesus is trying to save you from misery and bondage.
You do not want to live a life of regret.
Almighty God, Thank You for warning me of disaster ahead. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ warns His disciples of disaster—I should listen!
MATTHEW 5:23_Therefore, if thy bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberst that thy brother has ought against thee;
The word altar is translated as God’s Table. This is the sacred table where sacrifices were offered to God. The sacrifices were to be the best you had. God knew if what you offered as a gift was your best, or something you really didn’t want anyway.
Your gift will never be an animal sacrifice. It will be some type of self-sacrifice, because that is always the best you can give. If you come to give your all, dedicating your life as a Jesus follower, you need to be sure there is nothing blocking your dedication.
The Holy Spirit is a wonderful gift . When Jesus ascended back to His heavenly home, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell inside you. If you come to Jesus to give your life, but hold on to an old grudge or unsettled argument, you can count on the Holy Spirit to bring it to your remembrance. He won’t allow you to sweep it under the rug. If you do, then you bring damaged goods, not your best. Give God all you have to give – He’ll give you much more in return.
This is not about you being good enough. Don’t leave me yet.
Heavenly Father, I want to know how to give You all of myself, teach me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is the altar—He wants all of me!
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…
Jesus’ explanation of His transformation of the Law begins with but I say unto you. The word but implies a change. The scales have balanced as far as killing and punishment, but if there is more to life than the physical, then there is another way in which to kill someone – anger. Ever felt that pain?
When Jesus refers to your brother, it is not biological, but a fellow human being. Perhaps it particularly means a Christian brother. Anger shown between Christians must be very painful to Jesus. After all, these are the people who claim to be His disciples. The people who are supposed to be salt. The people who are supposed to be light. Even if what they say is right, when it is said in hot tempered anger, it destroys any good which may be done.
Anger wounds the spirit and is very destructive to the soul of the one it has inflicted. Anger is also destructive to the soul of the one doing the inflicting. This is not just losing your temper. This is malicious, mean anger. To destroy fellow humans with mean-tempered, explosive, anger, is in the category of those who kill.
Once again, life is serious business.
Merciful God, Help me not to be an angry person. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ makes us brothers—He wants me to be patient!
MATTHEW 5:21_Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time…
Jesus begins a series of principles to shed understanding on His fulfillment of the Law. He shares something which up until this sermon only Jesus could do – balance judgment and mercy. Now it is time to teach His salty-lit-up disciples how it’s done!
What was said by them of old time was the Law. The Old Testament covenant God made with Abraham and the laws he gave to Moses (the Ten Commandments, etc.). This was the standard the Hebrews lived by – their rules and regulations. This is how they worshiped, how they gave themselves to being Jews – God’s chosen people.
We Gentiles had no chance for the kingdom life because we were not chosen. Neither did we have the laws to teach us how to worship, serve, and know God. What was said by them of old time was for the Jews alone.
If that was enough, there was no need for a New Testament covenant and Gentiles would be in a heap of trouble! Jesus now becomes salt and light for the Old Testament.
If the Scribes and Pharisees have had trouble relating to Jesus before – watch out. They are about to throw a fit!
Father of All, Thank You for teaching me an understanding of balance. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ teaches balance—He helps me understand!
MATTHEW 5:20_you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
If the kingdom of heaven is within you, it is in your heart. What is in your heart calls you to discipleship. You become disciples to whomever or whatever reigns on the heart’s throne. If Christ does not reign on the throne, you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, and this time that works whether the kingdom is part of this earthly life, or it is eternal life.
The hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees were full of religion. They would have had to make room for Jesus to reign there. If Jesus reigned in their hearts, they would have known who He was.
The Scribes and Pharisees’ righteousness was self-righteousness, thriving on self-glory and power. The righteousness in the kingdom of heaven thrives on doing good by serving others, which glorifies God. The heart, being the center of your thoughts, makes the decision as to who you want your life to glorify – self or God.
You have only one chance to live this life. If your goal is to use your life to make a difference in the world for good – then you’ve got Jesus’ righteousness.
The world will recognize Jesus when it sees your righteousness.
Heavenly Father, Thank You that You can be seen in me. Thank You that through Your power I can do Your works. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ reigns in hearts—I want Him in mine!