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Sermon on The Mount Lesson 9

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Slide 5 •The first four Beatitudes reveal spiritual progress – each step leads to the next and presupposes the one that has gone before.•To be poor in spirit we acknowledge our complete and utter spiritual bankruptcy before God•Next we mourn over the cause of it – our sins, the corruption of man and his fallen nature and the control sin and death has over this world•We are to be meek, humble, and gentle toward others allowing our spiritual poverty to condition our behavior to them as well as to God•We are to hunger and thirst for righteousness – what good does it to confess if we don’t hunger – we replace our sin with a desire for righteousness•Next we turn from our attitude toward God to our attitude toward others•Merciful – Pure in heart – peacemakers•We will be reviled and persecuted and we are to rejoice and be exceeding glad!•These are character traits  - we don’t act like Christians – we are Christians and our actions are an outcome of that.•We are not meant to control our Christianity – our Christianity is meant to control us.•So far Jesus has spoken of Christian Character   
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Slide 8 Matthew 5:21-26  Explaining the Sixth Commandment  “Thou shalt not kill”•Jesus in verses 17-20 talked about His relationship to the law and the importance of the law – He was born under the law – to be obedient to the law.  He immediately in verse 21-26 launches into an application of the 6th Commandment•The scribes and Pharisees had worked to define the 6th commandment as applying only to the physical and intentional act of murder  - Jesus here  shows the true intent of the law as being much wider in application•It included thoughts and words as well as deeds, anger and insult as well as murder.•21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time—•or, “to them of old time” (i.e., to the ancients). Nearly all who would translate “to the ancients” take the speaker of the words quoted to be Moses who gave the law; “the ancients” to be the people to whom Moses gave the law; and the intention of our Lord here to be to contrast his own teaching, more or less, with that of Moses; either as opposed to it—as some go the length of affirming—or at least as modifying, enlarging, elevating it. But who can reasonably imagine such a thing, just after the most solemn and emphatic proclamation of the perpetuity of the law, and the honor and glory in which it was to be held under the new economy? It seems as plain as possible that our Lord’s one object is to contrast the traditional perversions of the law with the true sense of it as expounded by himself. Thus, “by the ancients” must have been what our Lord meant here, referring to the corrupt teachers. •Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of [liable to] the judgment—•i.e., of the sentence of those inferior judiciary courts which were established in all the principal towns, in compliance with Deuteronomy 16:16. Thus was this commandment reduced from a holy law of the heart-searching God to a mere criminal statute, taking cognizance only of outward actions, such as that which we read in Exodus 21:12 and Leviticus 24:17.•22 But I say unto you•Note the authoritative tone in which—as himself the Lawgiver and Judge—Christ now gives the true sense, and explains the real meaning of the commandment.• That whosoever is angry with his brother without a causeNot all anger is evil – without a cause allows righteous anger but does not allow personal anger•The wrath of God is a righteous and holy anger“Righteous anger can be defined as  that which is an anger of love, one that wishes no evil to the person but hostile to the sin.” (Martin Luther)Anger as Jesus is using it would refer to the anger that springs from pride, vanity, hatred, meanness, malice and revenge.  When we get angry at someone other than for attacks against God – we are wrong. •Christ locates the root of murder in the heart of the angry man and states that God’s judgment will be just as swift on anger as it will be upon murder  
Slide 9 Insults are included in the same category as anger Warning is given against calling our brother “raca” –empty - It is an insult to a person’s intelligence – contempt fro  his intelligence –or stupid•In Jesus’ day, people used the word Raca (an Aramaic term meaning ”empty one”) as a word of contempt and abuse. Those who used this epithet were in danger of the council —that is, they were subject to trial before the Sanhedrin, the highest court in the land. •“more -  fool – expresses contempt for his heart and character – a scoundrel•Finally, to call someone a fool is the third form of unrighteous anger that Jesus condemns. Here the word fool means more than just a dunce. It signifies a moral fool who ought to be dead and it expresses the wish that he were. Today it is common to hear a person cursing another with the words, ”God damn you!” He is calling on God to consign the victim to hell. Jesus says that the one who utters such a curse is in danger of hell fire. The bodies of executed criminals were often thrown into a burning dump outside Jerusalem known as the Valley of Hinnom or Gehenna. This was a figure of the fires of hell which shall never be quenched.  Angry thoughts and insulting words – may never lead to the act of murder – but they are tantamount (same as, equal to, as good as, practically the same) to murder in God’s eyes1 John 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.  
Slide 10 “Our thoughts, looks and words al indicate that , as we sometimes dare to say, we “wish he were dead.”  Such an evil wish is a breach of the sixth commandment and it renders the guilty party liable to the very penalties to which the murderer exposes himself.” (John Stott)Verse 21 says whoever kills shall be in danger of the judgment and Jesus added whoever  is angry without cause is guilty of the judgmentJudgment is the judgment of God not man.Insults expose you to not only the council (the legal system)  but also to hell fire.“In danger” of hell fire – because the person with these attitudes has not been born again. •There is no mistaking the severity of the Savior’s words. He teaches that anger contains the seeds of murder, that abusive language contains the spirit of murder, and that cursing language implies the very desire to murder. The progressive heightening of the crimes demand three degrees of punishment: the judgment, the council, and hell fire. In the kingdom, Jesus will deal with sins according to severity. •If the beatitudes are our attitudes this cannot be describing a Christian – one born again  
Slide 11 Jesus gives two examples or illustrations: First:  23, 24 Therefore—to apply the foregoing, and show its paramount importance. •if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought [just complaint] against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother—•Ought – just complaint – be  careful that we don’t excuse or rationalize our behavior•The meaning is not, “dismiss from your own heart all ill feeling,” but “get your brother to dismiss from his mind all grudge against you. This does not mean don’t forgive unless they forgive – it means both parties must forgive•”and then come and offer thy gift—•“The picture,” says Tholuck, “is drawn from life. It transports us to the moment when the Israelite, having brought his sacrifice to the court of the Israelites, awaited the instant when the priest would approach to receive it at his hands. He waits with his gift at the rails that separate the place where he stands from the court of the priests, into which his offering will presently be taken, there to be slain by the priest, and by him presented upon the altar of sacrifice.” It is at this solemn moment, when about to cast himself upon divine mercy and seek in his offering a seal of divine forgiveness, that the offerer is supposed, all at once, to remember that some brother has a just cause of complaint against him through a breach of this commandment in one or other of the ways just indicated. What then? Is he to say, As soon as I have offered this gift I will go straight to my brother, and make it up with him? No, but before another step is taken—even before the offering is presented—this reconciliation is to be sought, though the gift has to be left unoffered before the altar. The converse of the truth taught here is very strikingly expressed in Mark 11:25, 26. “And when ye stand praying [in the very act], forgive, if ye have ought [of just complaint] against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive you . . .” Hence the beautiful practice of the early church, to see that all differences among brothers and sisters in Christ were made up, in the spirit of love, before going to the Lord’s Supper. Certainly, if this be the highest act of worship on earth, such reconciliation—though obligatory on all other occasions of worship—must be peculiarly so then.•Second:  25 Agree with thine adversary—your opponent in a legal dispute. quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him —“to the magistrate,” as in Luke 12:58. lest at any time—here, rather, “lest at all,” or simply “lest.” the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge [having pronounced you guilty] deliver thee to the officer—the official whose business it is to see the sentence carried into effect. And thou be cast into prison – found guilty and penalized.•26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing•—a fractional Roman coin, worth about half a cent. The language is designedly general; but it may safely be said that the unending duration of future punishment—elsewhere so clearly and awfully expressed by our Lord himself, as in 5:29 and 30, and Mark 9:43, 48—is the only doctrine with which his language here quite naturally and fully accords (cf. 18:30, 34).•Until your wrong is TOTALLY paid – compare to Jesus’ use of the jot or tittle       
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