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 7:14_strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life…
If we had to be baggage-free to enter the strait gate, there would be no need to enter. After all, we’re already living free so what’s there to gain?
We all have baggage. Bags filled with broken pieces of our hearts, hopes, and dreams. Some baggage we choose of our own free will. Other baggage is inflicted upon us by the circumstances of life. They came with the life package—a life we live in a dark and sinful world every moment of every day.
The difference in the sizes of our baggage depends upon how we deal with them. The wide gate allows for a lot of baggage. That is why it is wide. The path is broad so we don’t have to drop off any bags. It is the designed path for those who have been subdued by the world—to accept its darkness as if there were no other choice. It is for those who don’t want to check their bags at the gate because the bags contain their pain relievers. Some may be for physical pain, but the majority are for pains of the soul. The spirits of darkness work to keep us depressed and discouraged. Life doesn’t have to be that way—there is hope!
Colossians 1:27 (KJV), “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Lord Who Reigns, Only You can truly relieve the pains of my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is the pain reliever—I will make Him mine!
MATTHEW 7:4_and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
According to Zechariah 2:8 (KJV), God considers Israel as the apple of His eye, “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me [an angel] unto the nations which spoiled you [Israel]: for he that toucheth you [Israel] toucheth the apple of his [God’s] eye.”
Paul saw Israel and the Jews as the apple of God’s eye. He saw Christians as a blot in God’s eye. He could not see the true blot – his own sect, the Pharisees.
God saw the fervor with which Paul attacked Christians. And because God sees the heart, it was clear Paul’s fervor came from love and devotion to God. It was that love and devotion which caused God to choose Paul (not the other way around) to become a two-fold fixer for His beloved Israel.
God used Paul’s great zeal to publically proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. This cleared away the beam from the eyes of any Pharisees with a true heart for God. God also used Paul’s zeal to bring salvation to the Gentiles – the Messiah died for the Gentiles as well as the Jews.
Because Paul was so far off the path, God used a big stick (discipline) to straighten him out.
Then God used Paul in an amazing way.
Holy God, Please use my zeal to share Your truth. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ chooses to use me in the world—I will let Him!
MATTHEW 6:32_For after all these things do the Gentiles seek…
It is easy to say don’t worry, but it is not easy to do. Jesus leads to a place where it becomes easier, according to His design. Faith and trust. Faith and trust come from being filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit teaches truth. Truth leads to freedom! Even freedom from worry. John 8:32 (KJV) is worth repeating several times, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free .”
Remember, Gentiles are considered non-believers. Ones who do not put faith and trust in the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Without faith and trust, opportunities for truth and freedom are reduced. John 8:36 (KJV), “If the son [Jesus] therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
Worry fits into the design of a non-believer. When unbelievers fall upon hard times, they are without a source of overcoming power. Suppose a financial depression hits the country. Any money that may have gone toward comforts is now applied to the essential of food. It is a difficult time for believers as well as non-believers. The believer hurts during this time just as the non-believer.
But, the believer has the Bread of Life – in which to find hope.
Living God, Help me find hope by trusting in You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants to give me hope—I will accept it!
MATTHEW 6:9_Our Father which art in Heaven…
Jesus begins by recognizing who God is. Remember how Elijah began his prayer in I King 18 (KJV), “36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel.”Recognizing God through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be important to the Jewish community. Jesus’ recognition of God as Our Father which art in Heaven, opens up a prayer path for Gentiles. This says God is the Father of all mankind—not just the Jews. All people are made in His image.
God’s creation is amazing and miraculous. God’s DNA can connect you to your biological parents, whom you may have never met. You may blame God if you’ve never known your parents, or if you know them but have a poor relationship. Don’t blame God for the mistakes of people. Rather, praise God that He can help you overcome – anything.
Without the Savior people are sinful. They cause pain – lots of pain. Your Father, which is in Heaven, wants to love you through the pain.
Include Him in your sorrow – don’t blame Him for it.
Father God, I worship You as the One True God, Creator of all of Heaven and Earth. I praise You there is nothing I face in life that You cannot give me the ability to overcome. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants me to know God is my Father—I do!