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 7:28_when Jesus had ended these sayings…
Truth and love never fail. This sermon ends, but its power never ends. It will continue throughout this life and into eternity. Its ability to free the heart and soul of man is unstoppable. There simply is no way freedom cannot prevail from this sermon. As always, there is a way to choose to escape truth.
Everyone has something from which they need freedom – because everyone sins. Some sins have delicate holds, some firm holds, and some despairing holds of bondage. The words of Jesus are healing. Using the Bible as a key to open the spirit allows freedom to penetrate the soul.
Time spent in prayer, baring the soul, is essential to freedom. The time will never come when quiet times are no longer needed. Time with Jesus in prayer and Bible is not something you out-grow. It will never come to pass that you have learned it all, and have ended your need for fellowship and worship of your Creator and Savior.
Hopefully, you will read through these devotionals again next year. Allow them to infiltrate deeper into your soul with more wisdom, understanding, and knowledge.
Heavenly Father, Praise You that love and truth never fail. I need them. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ’s words are healing—they heal me!
MATTHEW 7:1_that ye be not judged.
Let’s ask God to give us wisdom, understanding, and knowledge about this judgment thing.
To be like Jesus means to live according to the principles He taught. Jesus gives us a good reason not to judge – so we won’t be judged. Judging breeds judging.
To take a step toward freedom from judging consider the other person – put yourself in their place. There is an excellent chapter in the Bible dedicated to this practice, Romans 14 (KJV), “3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.”
Different Christians believe in different dietary standards. Some are vegetarians. Some follow the dietary laws of the Old Testament.
“6 … He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”
Christians should give each other freedom in how they worship and serve God.
“10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”
A judgment day will come – but none of us will be the judge.
One True God, Help me do to others as I would have them do to me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ has a judgment seat—I will stand before it!
MATTHEW 6:31_saying, what shall ye eat or, what shall ye drink, or wherewithal shall ye be clothed?
You can worry yourself sick – literally. Worry takes such a toll on the soul, the body can become weary, weak, and sick. The heart takes the worst beating from worry. The body was not designed to stand up under constant worry. The soul (mind, will, emotions) was not designed to stand up under constant worry. The spirit was not designed to worry at all! The spirit was designed to praise!
You are designed in God’s image to know and worship Him. You are designed to joy in the Lord. Worry can’t stand up against joy.
Don’t confuse worry with times of struggle and trial that cause suffering. If you don’t believe God has the power and the mercy to bring you through … then you are worrying. If you are suffering during a trial, but believe God will bring you through, you are not worrying. If you believe God will cause some good to come from your pain, you are not worrying. You are hurting.
Romans 8:35,37 )KJV), “35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”
Lord of Love, Help me know there is nothing that can overpower Your love. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ’s love conquers—Whatever comes against me!
MATTHEW 6:16_for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast…
Any way you look at it, fasting shows up in the Bible. It appears in the Old and New Testaments as a part of the religious routine. Fasting was a normal part of worship.
There is something else which shows up. Jesus has a way of spotlighting it – hypocrisy. Hypocrites are always around. They show up in high governmental offices, on sports teams, on the stage, and unfortunately, they show up in churches.
You’ve already learned how the hypocrites’ giving alms and praying came from a heart of pride, not worship. Well, do declare, if that isn’t the same motive for their fasting!
Jesus points out they disfigure their faces when they fast. This is not for repentance or somberness of the occasion, but for exhibition. As always when He speaks of hypocrites, Jesus says not to be like them.
Religious hypocrites are great actors, and their stage is in the midst of the Christian community. They know how to manipulate the emotions of their audience. Their disfigured faces when fasting is more than feeling weak from hunger. It is to show to their audience they are making a great sacrifice for God.
Father God, I never want to be a hypocrite. I want You to be my audience. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ looks for hearts of worship—I will worship Him!