Springboarding off of the Apostle Paul’s life focus, clearly expressed in 1 Corinthians 2:2, Pastor Greg launched an “open-ended” message series on January 12th, 2020 – focusing on “Just Jesus.” He is walking us through the entire New Testament, pulling passages from the Old Testament for context, and keep us focused throughout the year on “Just Jesus.” This week he covers Matthew 5:31-48 in Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount.” In this section, Jesus continues to fine-tune His disciples’ understanding of the Law as He talks about divorce and the swearing of oaths.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:2
“…I hate divorce…” ~ Malachi 2:16
This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. ~ Ephesians 5:32
It was said, “Whoever divorces his wife must give her a legal document.” But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. ~ Matthew 5:31-32
If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord. Do not bring sin upon the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. ~ Deuteronomy 24:1-4
Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” ~ Matthew 19:8-9
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. ~ Romans 12:18
Again, you have heard that it was said to an older generation, “Do not break an oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.” But I say to you, do not take oaths at all—not by heaven, because it is the throne of God, not by earth, because it is his footstool, and not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. Do not take an oath by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black. Let your word be “Yes, yes” or “No, no.” More than this is from the evil one. ~ Matthew 5:33-37
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. But whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well. And if someone wants to sue you and to take your tunic, give him your coat also. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to the one who asks you, and do not reject the one who wants to borrow from you. ~ Matthew 5:38-42
He’s not advocating letting yourself be abused. He’s just saying don’t be too quick to dole out judgment and punishment. Give each other a second chance when someone hurts you. Make your goal reconciliation not retaliation.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. ~ Matthew 5:43-48
Perfect – but is more usually used to refer to maturity or wholeness or completeness.
Here is the Good News. The thing to remember is, there is no “OR ELSE” attached to this command by Jesus.
Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love. By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent His one and only Son into the world so that we may live through Him. 10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we reside in God and He in us: in that He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God. And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him. By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. We love because He loved us first. If anyone says “I love God” and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar, because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And the commandment we have from Him is this: that the one who loves God should love his fellow Christian too. ~ 1 John 4:7-21