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!
MATTHEW 5:9_Blessed are the peacemakers…
I can never be a peacemaker if I am not willing to yield to someone else’s viewpoint. I can never be a peacemaker if I can’t find peace within myself. All this is fully dependent upon knowing who Jesus is and who I am in Him.
I can only be a peacemaker if I am founded on the rock of Scriptural truth. I must not compromise convictions for the sake of being someone’s friend. I know that sounds backwards after I just said I must be willing to yield – but don’t forget there is a fine line. To be a true friend, I would never agree with something I know to be contrary to the Bible. The best way to love people is to help them find the path to freedom, which is truth.
Needless to say everyone thinks their side is right, but for Christians there has to be a standard – the Bible. The Bible teaches the path to become a peacemaker is to love, to yield, and to serve.
Romans 12:18 (KJV) says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
We just can’t live at peace with everyone in this life. This life is a time for good versus evil. If we follow the Biblical principles of love, yield, and serve, we can learn to be peacemakers, even in this evil world!
God of Peace, I pray You will teach me how to love, yield, and serve. As much as is possible on my part Lord, help me live in peace. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is my peace—He will teach me peacemaking!
MATTHEW 5:6_Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness…
I love this one! Look at what it says. Don’t you want to be righteous in the depths of your heart? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go to bed every night and know you’d been righteous that day? Don’t you long for that? Would you even say you hunger and thirst for it?
If you could choose between playing your favorite game or helping a desperate friend, which would you choose? I trust you would choose the latter. Why? Because no matter how sophisticated, or prominent, or brilliant you may become, you cannot escape creation.
You were created to know and be in a relationship with your creator – the God in whose image you are made. He is a part of who you are, and He is righteous. Because He is a part of you, the Holy Spirit places in your heart a desire to serve, care for, and have compassion on the people in your life.
I know what you are thinking – there are way too many people who have no desire for righteousness or to be like their creator. Agreed.
Stay with these devotions. All the bases will be covered.
Almighty God, If I have no hunger or thirst for righteousness, please place it in my heart. “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness (Psalm 143:10 KJV). In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is righteousness—He can give it to me!
MATTHEW 7:8_and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.
Why do you knock? The door is closed. You’re on the outside. You want to come in. Or at least you want the door opened.
There are many doors you will knock on in life. You knock on the door of love—to give and receive love from the people in your life. You knock on the door of joy—to give and receive joy from the people in your life. You knock on the door of peace—to give and receive peace from the people in your life. You knock on the door of success—you want to receive success and perhaps there may be a way you can give it.
Jesus teaches to knock on the door of service. That’s not something you’re naturally inclined to do. John 13:16 (KJV), “Verily, verily, I [Jesus] say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.’
Jesus also says in Mark 10:43-45 (KJV), ” … but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Jesus says to knock on the door of serving others is to become like Him.
God Who Helps, Help me have a servant’s heart and become like You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants me to serve others—He will teach me!