Matthew 5-7 Sermon on the Mount

Psalm 119:1-8 Praising and Practicing the Law
Ps 119:1 ALEPH “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to Yahweh’s law. 2 Blessed are those who keep His statutes, who seek Him with their whole heart. 3 Yes, they do nothing wrong. They walk in His ways.
4 You have commanded Your precepts, that we should fully obey them. 5 Oh that my ways were steadfast to obey Your statutes! 6 Then I wouldn’t be disappointed, when I consider all of Your commandments. 7 I will give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments. 8 I will observe Your statutes. Don’t utterly forsake me."

Observations: 119:1-8 Where there is a lot of ink, stop and think. The Spirit of God uses elaboration and repetition to emphasize the things that are important. This longest chapter in the Bible is an alphabetical acrostic, commending the praise and practice of God's Law, which is referenced in all but two verses (Psalm 119:122,132). In Hebrew, the first word of each group of eight verses begins with the same successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. So each verse in this section starts with a word beginning with the letter A. In the next section, each begins with the letter B. It makes for a little disjointed “poetry” but there is usually a common theme and progression of ideas.
119:1-3 It opens, like Psalm 1 does, with a description of the blessedness of the person who walks in God's law; their ways are blameless. This is not some unattainable ideal to be discarded by those who wish to remain worms all their spiritual lives, but something to be sought after wholeheartedly. Seeking God exclusively, with all of one's heart and soul is commanded throughout the Scripture, and exemplified by the successful kings. Just in case there's any misunderstanding, verse 3 hammers the point home.
119:4-6 Wholehearted obedience is commanded (what about full obedience don't you understand?). The impact of this requirement causes the psalmist (possibly a young David or Ezra) to seek God's help in obeying, so he won't be disappointed as he evaluates his progress or lack thereof in following God.
119:7-8 The psalmist expresses hope that his steps of obedience will lead him to the position of experiential uprightness, so his praise and thanks will be more pleasing to God. He resolves to observe God's statutes, and prays that God won't utterly forsake him, because he knows he is not blameless (as the blessed believer of verse 1 is).

Application: Wholehearted obedience results in blessings upon the upright; accept no substitute, God doesn't.

Prayer: God I want to be blameless and blessed in Your sight; show me how to get to where You want me to be. Amen.

Proverbs 26:17-19 Three Watts of Humor
Pr 26:17 “Like one who grabs a dog’s ears is one who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own.18 Like a madman who shoots torches, arrows, and death, 19 is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, "Am I not joking?"

Observations: 26:17-19 Meddling in quarrels that are none of your business is a sure way to get bitten. So avoid disputes, unless for the cause of righteousness and justice (and then, prayerfully), because you can get bitten by those you seek to help as well. Practical jokes and sarcasm didn't go over well, if people get hurt (emotionally or physically). (“It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt, and then it's...”). Humor needs to pass the filters of what builds up (edification), what is in the hearer's best interest (love), and what glorifies God. You can find a number of outlines about Biblical Speech on Truthbase.net.

Application: Make sure your speech and humor do more good than harm; better yet, don't be evil.

Prayer: Lord, help me set filters over my heart and mouth so the words I speak build up others and accomplish Your purposes. Thanks. Amen.


Matthew 5-7 These are some of the best known words in Scripture and one of the crown jewels of literature, however most are clueless about the context. The Sermon on the Mount is all about how to get blessed in the promised OT kingdom, and answers the question of how to repent in light of the coming kingdom announced by Isaiah, John, Jesus, and the apostles. Any exposition of the King's first sermon which doesn't start on this contextual foundation can not possibly end up being true. Jesus gives the “Beatitudes” as a motivation for His disciples to make the sacrifices necessary to follow Him in the midst of opposition (as also recorded in the Luke 6 edition).
The “sermon” is arranged chiastically around the “Lord's prayer” in chapter 6, whose central point is “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done.”

5:1-2    A Audience
5:3-16     B Blessings for Obedience
5:17-20     C Law and prophets fulfilled in Christ
5:21-48       D Surpassing the Law
6:1-6             E Giving for Reward
6:7-8               F Prayer Prerequisites-Cognitive
6:9-13                G The Lord’s Prayer Triads
6:14-15           f' Prayer Prerequisites-Forgiveness
6:16-18         e' Fasting for Reward
6:19-7:11    d' Surpassing the Requirements
7:12          c' Law and Prophets fulfilled in the Golden Rule
7:13-27   b' Lack of Blessing for Disobedience
7:28-29 a' Audience Response

Don't miss the new Build-A-Jesus section under Digging Deeper; we'll be developing a Biblical portrait of the Revealed Jesus, as we go through the NT.

Matthew 5 The Blessable Are Rewarded
5:1 "Seeing the multitudes, He went up onto the mountain. When He had sat down, His disciples came to him. 2 He opened his mouth and taught them, saying,
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the gentle/meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
11 "Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for My sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 "You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.
14 You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden. 15 Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house. 16 Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

17 "Don’t think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn’t come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18 For most certainly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one smallest letter or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the law, until all things are accomplished/fulfilled. 19 Whoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and teach others to do so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever shall do and teach them shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
21 "You have heard that it was said to the ancient ones, ‘You shall not murder;’ and ‘Whoever shall murder shall be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I tell you, that everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of the fire of Gehenna. 23 "If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are with him in the way; lest perhaps the prosecutor deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. 26 Most certainly I tell you, you shall by no means get out of there, until you have paid the last penny.
27 "You have heard that it was said, ’You shall not commit adultery;’ 28 but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna. 30 If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna. 31 "It was also said, ‘Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,’ 32 but I tell you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of fornication, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries her when she is put away commits adultery.
33 "Again you have heard that it was said to them of old time, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall perform to the Lord your vows,’ 34 but I tell you, don’t swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God; 35 nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shall you swear by your head, for you can’t make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No.’ Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.
38 "You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, don’t resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. 41 Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and don’t turn away him who desires to borrow from you.
43 "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."

Observations: 5:1-11 The Beatitudes serve as motivation to be blessed in the coming kingdom that Jesus announced. There's nothing in the Sermon on the Mount about Jesus dying for our sins so we could be forgiven. There is likely a progression within the Beatitudes, and some think they serve as a “table of contents” for the rest of the sermon. Have fun seeing the inter-relationships and how they match up. We'll just take them in appropriate groupings and try to understand what Jesus expected His audience to do in response. The nine “Blesseds” divide into three groups of three, and correspond to three sections at the end of the sermon.
5:3 The poor/humble in spirit are those who walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). They don' assert their will/spirit, but do God's will. Thus they will possess (have an inheritance in) the kingdom that comes from the heavens (see last post). It is not heaven, but the future Millennial kingdom promised in the OT, over which Jesus the Messiah will reign on David's throne. The central point of the chiastic structure is “thy kingdom come” (followed by: “thy will be done”) so this is an appropriate start. Walking humbly with God means you do what's right in His sight, not what you may desire. Of course as you grow in sanctification, you desire what is right in His sight.
5:4 Doing God's will, swimming upstream, results in opposition, causing mourning which God will turn to rejoicing.
5:5 Gentle/meek is not spineless, but in the Greek refers to a horse that has been tamed/broken so it can serve its owner as a strong worker. Serving God is how OT and NT saints gain their inheritance (see Survey of Rewards on Truthbase.net).
5:6 Righteousness (being rightly related to God and man) was a major responsibility of God's people (cf Isaiah 1; Wisdom and Prophetic Books). Dabbling in it, doesn't make you righteous, but hungering and thirsting for it does. Desire is determinative.
5:7 Mercy is the way the LXX usually translated hesed/loyal covenantal love (occasionally “love” was used, and you can see the overlap). One usually shows mercy to those with whom one has a non-hostile relationship. The loyalty aspects of hesed (a major emphasis in the NT) tend to get lost in the English “mercy,” but if you dig, you'll find it.
5:8 The pure in heart, who make their decisions according to God's desires, have intimacy with God (John 14:21), and are the ones who dwell in His presence (see Ezekiel 44 post on the exclusion of the priests from God's immediate presence).
5:9 Peacemakers, seek to create harmony between people and God, and then, between people. That's just what God seeks to do. The closer folks are to God, the closer they'll be to each other. Committing to truth is not compromise, but does yield peace.
5:10 The righteous have always been persecuted by the wicked hypocrites (see Psalms), but those who endure wind up being blessed in the kingdom (cf 5:3).
5:11 Some Bible students combine this with the previous verse, but Jesus prefaced it with a “Blessed” and is emphasizing that He's talking about reward in the kingdom that comes from the heavens. It's not about forgiveness, but about recompense for service. Don't misunderstand that. The prophets are a prime example (whom we consider blessed - James 5:10-11).
5:13-16 The salt and light imagery underscore the role Israel was to have in bringing light to the nations. These verses have two incredibly important concepts. We'll do the easier one first, "light" and glorifying God, in verse 16. Glorifying God is making Him look good in the eyes of others by obeying Him (doing the good works He created us to do (Ephesians 2:10). The words of God give light, we embrace the light of truth, and manifest it in our works. Others see the results and are drawn to God. See “How to Glorify God” (by aligning all your actions with God's purpose for you) in TOYL on Truthbase.net. Since Matthew only used the concept of light in 4:16 to refer to the promised revelation of God in Jesus, Jesus' audience would have had to go to the OT to understand how they were the light of the world. Psalm 119:105 & 130 show that God's revelation (word) give His perspective on the world (truth) so we can walk according to it (and reflect it - give light - to others). The purpose of the light is to benefit others and God (as well as ourselves). See next comments on Matthew 6:22 for more on this.

The slightly more difficult concept is that the essential characteristic of salt is saltiness (flavor not preservation). If salt loses its essential characteristic, it's worthless. Conversely, if it retains saltiness, it has value. You've just read the fundamental truth of about worth and value (for disciples/followers of Jesus, the original and modern audience). One more sentence should make the light shine if you're still under the bushel. The essential characteristic of a disciple is the desire to deny oneself (mind/will/emotions/life) to follow Christ; lose that, and you're worthless in God's sight; keep it, and God will value you with the words “Well done! Good and faithful servant.” This is a little clearer in a passage like Luke 9, but reflect back on Matthew 4 to understand what the initial disciples had to go through to leave the fishing business to follow Christ and fish for men. This is another topic we'll revisit.
5:17-20 I could write a book, rather than just a blog post on these chapters, so we're going to have to pick up the pace. This is the summary statement of what follows, which is an elaboration of the righteousness that fulfills and supersedes the law, roughly paralleling the last five of the Ten Commandments (the social righteousness and justice ones). Note that there is a class system in the Kingdom of heaven, and that entering the kingdom doesn't mean just stepping over the threshold, any more than Israel entering the Promised Land meant getting past immigration. To enter is to take possession (like Christ entering His glory, or the demons entering the swine). It means to have a reward. See the Survey of Rewards on Truthbase.net for chapter and verse.
5:21-26 Jesus as King and lawgiver sets the standard that goes beyond mere ritual. A Holy Spirit empowered believer is expected to obey their Lord, not wallow in their unworthiness. They who say the whole point of the Sermon is to show you couldn't do it, are doing the devil's will. God wants people to have righteous relationships, which is more important than ritual. Resolve the difficulties where possible or your worship is not worthy. Gehenna is the garbage dump outside the city where unprofitable works are burned up (1 Corinthians 3:10-16) which would mean loss of reward.
5:27-32 Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself (Daniel 1:8). Job made a covenant with his eyes that he wouldn't look lustfully upon a maiden (Job 31:1). Joseph put on his track shoes and fled Potiphar's wife (Genesis 39), and NT believers are instructed to do the same (2Tim 2:22). Note that Jesus talked in terms of profitable/unprofitable, (reward, not forgiveness). You don't want your spirituality be defined by your sexuality, but learning to control one's passions for a higher objective is the essence of godly living (see “sound-mindedness in Titus), and Greek “virtue.” This is another topic we'll revisit, as well as the divorce issue (in Matthew 19). For now, note that fornication is sex between unmarried people and what Joseph thought Mary had been up to in the betrothal period.
5:33-37 Mean what you say, and say what you mean. No lying nor deceiving.
5:38-42 Some people maintain the impossibility of applying the Sermon on the Mount on the basis of verse 42, but like all Scripture, there is a context. The OT required the Israelites to look out for each other in their communities (Dt 15:7-11), not everyone half-way around the world. There were also rules for working and gleaning (Ruth) that prevented institutional poverty. God blessed people so they could bless others is a theme we often saw in the OT. In a small community of God-fearers, this passage could easily be applied. In both a village and a huge city, one needs to ask, what does God want me to do with His stuff, that's He's entrusted to me as a stewardship?” Does the law of love (doing what is in another's best interest) supersede the “Brother can you spare a dime for some wine?” request? The go the second mile probably referred to the requirement to carry the pack of a Roman soldier more than the requisite mile.
5:43-48 This section could be grouped with previous one. Love is doing what is in someone's best interest, which could be refusing their request for what is not good for them (“No, you cannot have double dessert instead of dinner.”), and resisting evil for the common good. Refraining from vengeance is good, as is doing good to your pointy-haired boss, criminal co-workers, weird neighbors, and insane family neighbors. God does good to the good and evil; emulate Him if you want to be rewarded in the kingdom. Reflecting the perfection of God is not a suggestion, it is a command.

Application: What do you do that goes above and beyond what the pagans do? Are you doing the things God said He'll bless, or doing your thing?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep me conscious of the short time I have on earth to exchange the activities of my days for Your eternal reward, like Jesus did. Amen.

Matthew 6 Praying and Seeking
6:1 "Be careful that you don’t do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 Therefore when you do merciful deeds, don’t sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may get glory from men. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you do merciful deeds, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand does, 4 so that your merciful deeds may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
5 "When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Most certainly, I tell you, they have received their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, enter into your inner room, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 In praying, don’t use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. 8 Therefore don’t be like them, for your Father knows what things you need, before you ask him.
9 Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven, may your name be seen as holy.
10 May your Kingdom come.
May your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.
13 Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.’
14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
16 "Moreover when you fast, don’t be like the hypocrites, with sad faces. For they disfigure their faces, that they may be seen by men to be fasting. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; 18 so that you are not seen by men to be fasting, but by your Father who is in secret, and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.
19 "Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don’t break through and steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon.
25 Therefore, I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they? 27 "Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan? 28 Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin, 29 yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith? 31 "Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient.

Observations: 6:1-4 Are you still doubting that the Sermon on the Mount is about being rewarded in the promised kingdom, oh ye of little observational skills?
The Lord's Prayer is bracketed (chiastic structure) on the outside by religious acts of alms giving for reward, and fasting for reward. The inner brackets are prerequisites to praying for reward, cognitive requests (rather than vain repletion in which you need beads to keep track of what you've said), and clean relationships with others.
Jesus says don't do things (like alms giving) to get recognition and glory from men (components of the reward God gives faithful believers -1Pt 1), otherwise you'll miss out (as in lose) reward from your Heavenly Father.
6:5-8 The same applies to praying. Do it in secret, and God will reward you openly (a result of righteous prayer). Don't repetitively babble the same words, God's hearing is perfect, and He heard you the first time. Actually, He knew what you needed before you asked. You just need to ask because it's commanded, and to remind yourself that you asked Him, so you can praise Him when He answers (if you've been following the Psalms, you know this). Later we'll see that a good model is ask three times to make sure you know that God knows. If you're anxious, ask some more. If you need to express dependence, ask again. Your time might be better spent listening to God to know Him and His will, than badgering Him into doing your will (won't work).
6:9-13 You should be able to find an exposition of the Lord's prayer on Truthbase.net, and a skeleton understanding under the topic of Prayer in the 7 Passages. The center of the first triad is “may Your kingdom come” which is the topic thus far in Jesus' ministry. This request is bracketed by a request for God's name/reputation to be seen as holy, separate or distinct from all other gods (synonymous with glory 5:17), and a wish for God's will to be done on earth (yeah! justice finally) as it is in heaven. The request for the kingdom indicates a willingness to be a faithful subject in it, doing God's will.
The second triad, centers on righteous relationships with others, bracketed by the dependent request for daily bread (as in today, not next week's -see Manna), and the request for living the victorious Christian life (as in victory over Satan's lies, temptations, and attacks). We'll revisit all these topics.
6:14-18 Note the repetition and elaboration of repairing ruptured relationships (cf 5:24). The forgiveness in view is not freedom from eternal death penalty which Christ paid, but the forgiveness necessary for fellowship with God when we've disrupted the relationship with our sin (see 1Jn 1:3-10). Note also that fasting is a reward motivated activity.
6:19-7:11 Jesus now addresses the tenth commandment, not to covet, ending with a summary statement in 7:12 about the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. This corresponds to Jesus' statement about fulfilling the Law and Prophets 5:17-20 followed by a consideration of the other commandments in 5:21-48 (see this post's introduction on chiastic structure).
6:19-24 We are commanded to lay up treasure (rewards -for ourselves!!!) in heaven, not on earth, to keep our heart motivated to do the right, eternal things. People who insist they are not motivated by reward should study Some Rewarding Verses for Contemplation on Truthbase.net, if they want to be pleasing to God. If you don't see the truth accurately (eye is not sound) you will remain in darkness, doing the devil's will and not God's. If you see the light, you will walk in the light. That's why it's so important to study the Scripture as God wrote it. Our eye is a lens that colors all that we see (perspective). If our eye/perspective is good/clear (formed by the truth - Ps 119:105,130 - see comments on Mt 5:16 above) then you will see truly from God's perspective, value what He says is valuable, and be able to reflect that light to others as you obey it (they see it radiating from your life and actions). If you have only a worldly perspective (look at things from the devil's point of view), you will not give light to others, but be stumbling around in the dark with them. What has shaped your view of the world, and life in it? Your study and embracing of God's word, or tainted tradition, experience or anything other than God's light? Maybe burning some midnight oil to study God's word would be more profitable than turning on the TV to get spiritual cataracts.
 Who are you serving? The god of money or the God of heaven and earth? Where do you put your time and hopes and aspirations, in something temporal or eternal? Either He is your source of security, significance and success, or your job or bank/brokerage account is. Jesus said it's one or the other, not both. If you're anxious about the material things in life, you're not serving God. That's what Jesus says in the next verses.
6:25-34 Anxiety robs you of today's joy with tomorrow's problems, and both dishonors and disobeys God. Everyone has faith, of varying amounts (if you want more see the series on Faith and Romans 10), and the faith is placed in varying objects. Those who don't know God (Gentiles) are consumed with consuming temporal stuff. Those who seek God, aren't because they know that He has promised to protect and prosper them (blessing). So seek first God's kingdom, which in this context can only be your reward in the kingdom, gained by righteous behavior, doing God's will. Then God is free to bless you with all that He's promised to those who obey Him. Like daily bread, God dispenses grace (power and desire to do His will – see sermon and study guide on Truthbase.net) one day at a time. He doesn't give you grace on Monday to handle Friday's problems.
Application: Seek to do God's will every day, prayerfully and righteously, and He will meet your needs in this life, and reward you in the next.
Prayer: Gracious and glorious God, I praise You for being totally trustworthy and wise; may Your kingdom come, and until then, may I do Your will in my life every day; help me seek to do what is pleasing in Your sight, and trust You to provide for all my needs, better than I ever could on my own. Thanks. Amen.


Matthew 7 Call Him Lord and Do What He Says
7:1 "Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. 2 For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye? 4 Or how will you tell your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and behold, the beam is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye. 6 "Don’t give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
7 "Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or who is there among you, who, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, who will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
12 Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
13 "Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it. 14 How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who find it.
15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. 16 By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn’t grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.
21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’ 23 Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.’ 24 "Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. 25 The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell—and great was its fall." 28 It happened, when Jesus had finished saying these things, that the multitudes were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he taught them with authority, and not like the scribes.

Observations: 7:1-6 Spiritual people judge all things (1Cor 2:15) and elders and disciple-makers need to make judgments to do their job. But until you're sure you know what you're doing, and are ready to be held to the same standard to which you wish to hold others, it's a good idea to leave the judging to the pros (which you should be becoming). Jesus says to first get your act together, and then you can see clearly to help someone else. If you're not in a position (by virtue of your virtue and holiness) to help remove the speck from someone's eye, why aren't you? Why are you holding on to that beam? Everyone else can see it, why can't you? Oh, wait, there's a beam blocking your vision, which is why you can't see to help others. How long will it be before you deal with it? It's hindering your ministry to others. Speaking of which, some folks are not receptive to truth. Jesus called them dogs or pigs. If people aren't receptive to a few crumbs, don't give them the full course meal. It's a waste of time, they will be held liable for rejecting more truth, and you might get hurt in the process. Spend time discerning God's will, and reading the label, before applying any spot remover.
7:7-11 Some more good teaching on prayer, which is rooted in the goodness of God. He won't give what's not good, and no good thing will He withhold from them who walk uprightly (Ps 84:11 see post). But you have to ask, so you can praise Him for answering your prayer. Sometimes you have to seek, which can be beneficial in developing your skills. If it was good to just give it, God would have given in response to your first request. Then there's the third category of knocking. One knocks on closed doors. God's will is not determined by circumstances (see sermon on God's Will and the TOYL Will of God funnel on Truthbase.net). God's will is almost never determined by open doors. The devil works part time as a doorman, and opens all kinds of doors to get immature or sinning believers to walk deeper into the darkness, until they go through the trapdoor to tragedy.
7:12 This is frequently called the golden rule (which is not “he who has the gold makes the rule” as true as that might be). Treat others as you would want to be treated. If you know the person well, treat them as they would want to be treated, which might be different from how you would treat yourself. (This can cause problems in marriage.) Jesus says this sums up the Law and the Prophets. The apostle Paul said “love your neighbor as yourself” did a pretty good job of summarizing the law (Gal 5:14), as did some of the people Jesus chatted with while on earth. However you phrase it, it's a good idea to interact with others in love, so that you do fulfill the requirements of righteousness and reward that God revealed in the Scriptures.
7:13-20 The subject in the Sermon on the Mount has been getting rewarded and blessed in the coming kingdom, by doing God's will, just like He wanted to bless the nation of Israel in the Promised Land. Entering is equated with an empowered possession. Here Jesus says, it isn't going to be easy, just like fighting giants and driving out the pagans wasn't easy. The low, broad, easy way leads to destruction. The path to live (blessing and dominion, see Deuteronomy 30 post on life and death) is narrow and difficult, and only a few find it. Again, this is not about getting your sins forgiven and escaping the lake of fire (which is a function of trusting that the Father graciously accepts Christ's death as payment for your sins), but about reward in the kingdom. By the way, you probably didn't notice any mention of Jesus dying on the cross for your sins, because He didn't yet. Remember He came to save us from our sins, and justification is just one aspect, not yet talked about – see previous post).
However, there are lots of false prophets, pretending to be sheep, but they are really wolves, teaching things that lead to destruction rather than life (just like in the OT). You can spot them by the fruit of their lives and ministry. Are they producing vigorous, reproductive, disease free fruit, that gives life to others? Or rotten, wormy, disease ridden, sterile fruit? The issue is quality, not quantity.
7:21-29 False teachers are energized by Satan to lead people astray, just like the false religions and leaders of the OT. False teachers can do miracles and other things that attract followers and crowds. Jesus will warn about them later in His ministry, as will Paul; don't be deceived by them. Jesus will say to those who call Him Lord but don't do what He says, “Who are you? I never knew you; take a hike down the broad way.” Those who aren't faithful to do His will, will not participate in the rewards of the kingdom. To “know” is to have an intimate relationship with someone, knowing what they like and dislike, doing the former and refraining from the latter.Luke 6:46 "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?The issue in the Sermon on the Mount is reward in the Kingdom for doing God's will (read 7:21 again ye of little observational skills and great preconceptions). Entrance and possession (see previous section) is preconditioned upon doing God's will (what about “do” do you not understand?). Those who don't do, are compared to those who build their house on the shifting sands of untruth. Their houses will fall, and greatly. Those who hear and do, will be blessed, compared to those building their house on a rock, which will endure all the storms Satan can unleash against it, because it is founded on the rock solid revelation of God.
Notice there is no call to justification by faith, but instead a call to sanctification and glorification via obedience. The people were amazed. Today they'd be dozing, because the sermon was a little long and dry.
Application: Commit to following the high and narrow path to glory by applying God's word to your life, and daily doing His will. See you at the top!
Prayer: Lord, Lord Jesus, I will daily seek Your will and do it; thanks for revealing it, and offering to bless me eternally for my obedience; may I be faithful to bear the fruit which pleases You. Amen.


Digging Deeper


God in a nutshell: The God who blesses gives good gifts to His children, and general grace to all. He judges, and rewards. He is glorified when His people obey Him.

Build-a-Jesus: He's the authoritative law giver, a prophet, who's truth trumps tradition. He expects to be obeyed and will eject from His presence those who don't obey Him.

[Since so many people talk about “being like Jesus” or being Christlike, without a clue to the “real” Jesus (rather than that of the oral tradition they hear at Christmas and Easter), I thought it would be beneficial to build a balanced, Biblical view of our Awesome Lord (who is nothing like the helpless babe in the manger).]

Us in a nutshell: We have the choice to apply God's word, do His will and get rewarded, or go for our temporal reward from others, and miss out on God's blessing. We can glorify God (make Him look good in the eyes of others) by our obedience.

Where to Go for More:
Truthbase.net

Matthew complete text

Matthew 5
5:1 Seeing the multitudes, he went up onto the mountain. When he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 He opened his mouth and taught them, saying,
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13 "You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden. 15 Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house. 16 Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
17 "Don’t think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn’t come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18 For most certainly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one smallest letter or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the law, until all things are accomplished. 19 Whoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and teach others to do so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever shall do and teach them shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
21 "You have heard that it was said to the ancient ones, ‘You shall not murder;’ and ‘Whoever shall murder shall be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I tell you, that everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of the fire of Gehenna. 23 "If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are with him in the way; lest perhaps the prosecutor deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. 26 Most certainly I tell you, you shall by no means get out of there, until you have paid the last penny.
27 "You have heard that it was said, ’You shall not commit adultery;’ 28 but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna. 30 If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna. 31 "It was also said, ‘Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,’ 32 but I tell you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries her when she is put away commits adultery.
33 "Again you have heard that it was said to them of old time, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall perform to the Lord your vows,’ 34 but I tell you, don’t swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God; 35 nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shall you swear by your head, for you can’t make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No.’ Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.
38 "You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, don’t resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. 41 Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and don’t turn away him who desires to borrow from you.
43 "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Matthew 6
6:1 "Be careful that you don’t do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 Therefore when you do merciful deeds, don’t sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may get glory from men. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you do merciful deeds, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand does, 4 so that your merciful deeds may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
5 "When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Most certainly, I tell you, they have received their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, enter into your inner room, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 In praying, don’t use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. 8 Therefore don’t be like them, for your Father knows what things you need, before you ask him.
9 Pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10 Let your Kingdom come. Let your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. 13 Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.’ 14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
16 "Moreover when you fast, don’t be like the hypocrites, with sad faces. For they disfigure their faces, that they may be seen by men to be fasting. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; 18 so that you are not seen by men to be fasting, but by your Father who is in secret, and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.
19 "Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don’t break through and steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon.
25 Therefore, I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they? 27 "Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan? 28 Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil, neither do they spin, 29 yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he much more clothe you, you of little faith? 31 "Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient.

Matthew 7
7:1 "Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. 2 For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye? 4 Or how will you tell your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and behold, the beam is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye. 6 "Don’t give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
7 "Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or who is there among you, who, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, who will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
12 Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets. 13 "Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it. 14 How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who find it.
15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. 16 By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn’t grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.
21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’ 23 Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.’ 24 "Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. 25 The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell—and great was its fall." 28 It happened, when Jesus had finished saying these things, that the multitudes were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he taught them with authority, and not like the scribes.