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The God of Truth

Sermon on the Mount  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Matthew 5:33–37 ESV
“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Are Christians allowed to take oaths?

Matthew 23:16–22 ESV
“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.
James seems to make it more specific...
James 5:12 ESV
But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
James 5:

Context within the Sermon

Descriptive not prescriptive

Describes the blessed one.
Describes how it is something internal to their nature. Salt and light.
Describes
Matthew 5:1–12 ESV
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
He describes the Law, not establishing it or abolishing it, but describing what it should really be like.
Matthew 5:17 ESV
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Matt 5:
He then goes on to reference what was given before, “You have heard...”, “It was also said...”, etc.
Everything about this so far is not about giving a command, “prescriptive”, but describing what the truth is.

Oaths are permitted

Matthew 5:33 ESV
“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’
This infers that oaths
Matthew 5:
Leviticus 19:12 ESV
You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.
Levi 19”
This does not “forbid” oaths, implying they were permissible.

God swore oaths to his people

Psalm 132:11 ESV
The Lord swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back: “One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne.
Ecclesiastes 8:2 ESV
I say: Keep the king’s command, because of God’s oath to him.
Ecc
Ecclesiastes 8:5 ESV
Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way.
Hebrews 6:13–17 ESV
For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,
Hebrews 6:13
Hebrews 7:21 ESV
but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’ ”
Hebrews

Old Testament Prophets

Isaiah 65:16 ESV
so that he who blesses himself in the land shall bless himself by the God of truth, and he who takes an oath in the land shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten and are hidden from my eyes.
Isaiah 65:16
Ezra 10:5 ESV
Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take an oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.

The Apostle Paul used oaths

Galatians 1:20 ESV
(In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!)
Philippians 1:8 ESV
For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
Paul invoked God as a witness to confirm what he was saying. This seems similar to how Jews were using oaths.

Do not bear false witness

The Jews has developed whole systems of oaths by Jesus’ time, as outlined in the Mishnah.
However, like the commands before they had abandoned the heart of truth, turning oaths into a way of avoiding their commitments.
Matthew 23:16 ESV
“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’
Matthew 23:18 ESV
And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’
Matt 23:

Oaths where ways of lying

While they seemed to be promising one thing, they were actually only giving the appearance of a promise while actually bearing false witness.

God is a God of Truth

God does not abide falsehood because he is righteous and just. He does not lie and or deceive.
Numbers 23:19 ESV
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
John 14:6 ESV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:
Titus 1:2 ESV
in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began
Titus

The call to the believer

It is because of his faithfulness to his promises that we have hope.

The call to the believer

We then who are dwelling places for the Holy Spirit should be bearers of truth and faithfulness.
The call here then is that our words should be true and faithful. We fulfill our promises and do not practise deceit.

The hope of the believer

It is because of his faithfulness to his promises that we have hope.
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