The fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of Matthew’s Gospel are known, collectively, as “The Sermon on the Mount!” It has been called “The Greatest Sermon of All Time!” The teaching is very similar to Luke 6:17-49 which is referred to as “The Sermon on the Plain”. Scholars agree that this indicates these were common teachings and themes that Jesus spoke of frequently from place to place. Anything Jesus felt was important enough to repeat clearly deserves some deep study and application on our part. The Sermon on the Mount and The Sermon on the Plain form a short Discipleship 101 course for us. What are the BASICS of what it means to truly be a FULLY DEVOTED follower of Jesus? What should we do? How should we speak? How should we act? How should we treat others? What should our motives be? In November and December, Pastor G will take seven weeks to dig deep into these incredibly important teachings of Jesus in his new message series: MAUNA: Teachings from the Sermon on the Mount.
Here, in Week Two: Fine Tuning The Law, Pastor G takes us through Matthew 5:17-48.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place. So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matthew 5:17-20
For sin will have no mastery over you, because you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not! ~ Romans 6:14-15
“You have heard that it was said to an older generation, ‘Do not murder,’ and ‘whoever murders will be subjected to judgment.’ But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment. And whoever insults a brother, calling him a “good for nothing,” will be brought before the council, and whoever says ‘Fool’ will be sent to fiery hell. So then, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother and then come and present your gift. Reach agreement quickly with your accuser while on the way to court, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the warden, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny! ~ Matthew 5:21-26
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell. ~ Matthew 5:27-30
“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 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
“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 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
“So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ~ Jesus
Teleios (GREEK) ~ Perfect (ENGLISH)
perfect, mature, complete, whole
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. 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
ALOHA GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
READ: Matthew 5:17-20 & Romans 6:14-15
1) Since Jesus came to fulfill the law and not to abolish it what does that mean for Christians with respect to the commandments in the Old Testament? Do those rules still apply to us? Why or why not? Do they apply to us in a different way than they did to pre-Jesus Jews?
READ: Matthew 5:21-32
1) If you were explaining this passage to a non-Christian how could you summarize it in 3-4 sentences in your own words? Based on the definitions Jesus has provided, have you ever committed murder or adultery in your heart?
READ: Romans 12:8, Matthew 5:33-37
1) Jesus tells us not to “take an oath” on anything but to instead let our yes be yes and our no be no. What is His reasoning for this command?
READ: Matthew 5:38-48
1) Are you able to “turn the other cheek” the way Jesus is referring to it? When someone intentionally attacks you are you able to instantly forgive and give them a second chance? How about if someone sues you for your shirt, are you able to freely offer your coat as well? Are you able to freely give to anyone who asks anything of you the way Jesus is describing it? Why or why not?
2) Pastor Greg shared his thoughts on what Jesus meant when He told us to “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Do you agree or disagree with his interpretation?
READ: 1 John 4:7-19
1) Pastor Greg just read this passage aloud and let it speak for itself without much interpretation or teaching. What are your thoughts about John’s reflections on the nature of love and our responsibility to love one another?
READ: 1 John 4:20-21
1) This is a very provocative statement by John. He says if we cannot love a fellow Christian then we cannot love God. Why do you think that is? Do you agree with John? Why or why not?