Author: Ron Graham
This page concludes our study of Matthew chapter 5 as we continue to study our Lord's Sermon on the Mount.
Heart-felt devotion to the things of God brings a deep and abiding joy and blessedness. This devotion expresses itself in a self-sacrificing service to God and our fellow man, including our enemies.
Every Christian in the world should be like salt that cleanses, preserves, and enhances, and like light that brightens, guides, and warns. We live in this world, yet we belong to the kingdom of heaven. So we ought to influence the world accordingly.
Although our religion certainly shows outwardly, it is not of the outward person, but of the inward. The Law of Moses controlled what people did more than it controlled what they thought. The gospel primarily controls people’s hearts. It makes them kind, loyal, honest, forgiving, loving, meek, and pure. It removes hatred, unbridled anger, lust, and unfaithfulness.
Righteousness was possible for people who kept the Law, but they did not derive their righteousness from keeping the Law. Jesus did not want people to stop keeping the Law yet, for he had not yet fulfilled the Law. However, he did want people to change their hearts, a change that would outlast the Law and make people well fitted for the kingdom of heaven.
The Law itself was righteous, and for that reason Jesus did not come to destroy it. The Law, however, did not have the means to make people righteous in the way that God is righteous. The gospel of Jesus Christ does have that power, and thus transcends the Law.
|First part of the Sermon on the Mount|
|Salt of the Earth||5:13||14:34-35|
|Light of the world||5:14-16||8:16|
|The Law of Moses||5:17-20||16:17|
1. If someone hurts you, what three choices do you have with regard to retaliation, and which is best? (1) Do nothing, (2) pay back tooth for tooth, or (3) pay back evil with good? Read also Luke 6:27 and Romans 12:17-21
2. We would love our enemies, and work sacrificially toward peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness, in the hope that our enemies will become our friends. If this does not happen eventually, is there a cut-off point where we stop trying?
3. Does Matthew 5:42 mean that you should give anything you have to anybody who asks for it? If not, then how would you qualify the Lord’s command to "Give to him who asks of you" ?
4. Which of the following challenges do you think is the hardest?