THE SIN BENEATH THE SYMPTOM (Part Two)
INTRO: In this portion of His sermon, Jesus makes it clear that He expects citizens of His kingdom to do more than just keep the laws. He expects us to be the kind of people who never even want to break them. Let’s look at the next three areas Jesus confronts. I. GOD’S STANDARD
> The key verse is verse 48: Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.
- This is a tall order.
- The standard of the kingdom of God is meant to be something that exposes us from within.
- We are not to look at other people to be our standard-bearers; God is our standard.
- We are incapable of obtaining this standard.
- We don’t deserve God’s favor, the gift of heaven.
- It is through Jesus alone, our faith and trust in Him, that we obtain justification before the Father.
- It is not meant to discourage.
- Jesus was making it clear that the six things he emphasized are important matters of the heart.
- Jesus said, “I SAY.” He has all authority. He didn’t refer to any other authority.
II. MAKING FALSE PROMISES (vs. 33-37)
> Jesus said that we need to honor what we say whether or not we invoke the name of God as making a promise.
- When we make a commitment, God hears our words.
- When we promise, we are to keep our promise.
- We are to say what we mean and mean what we say.
III. PERSONAL RETALIATION (vs. 38-42)
> An eye for an eye.
- In Bible times, it brought a sense of justice and deterred people from committing crimes.
- If a false accusation was made and was found out, that person would receive the same punishment that would have been meted out to the person accused.
- The punishment was to fit the crime.
- It was the community that made the decisions as to the punishment.
> God also said that we are not to seek revenge no matter what.
- We are to let God make it right and not take it into our own hands.
- We live under God’s standards.
- Don’t repay evil for evil (Romans 12:17; 1 Peter 3:9).
- Those outside the body of Christ don’t have the same standards.
> We are also not to be pacifists.
- We need to protect our family and the vulnerable.
- To turn the other cheek means to stay honorable in the situation.
- To slap someone is a sign of disrespect.
- Instead of retaliation, we choose not to get even (v. 40).
> Go the extra mile for others (v. 41).
- People will see the Spirit of Jesus in us and notice that we are different.
IV. LOVING OUR ENEMIES (vs. 43-48)
> Jesus said, “It is said, love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”
- The Bible never tells us to hate our enemy.
- Jesus said that we need to love them; we have a different standard.
- “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (v. 48).
- No one can meet this standard.
- Isaiah 6:5 – “I am a man of unclean lips.”
- Without God we have nothing in us that is good.
- Our behavior speaks of what is in our heart (Luke 6:45).
> This is not a self-help message; it is a reality check.
- It is about dying to self.
- It is meant for us to search our hearts and our motives.
- The only means of righteousness is Jesus (Titus 3:3-8).
- We don’t do good things to gain favor with others; it is because we choose to honor Jesus.
- The more we choose to honor Jesus, the more we will become like Him.
- We live out the Bible; we walk the walk and talk the talk.
CONCLUSION: As we live as faithful citizens of Jesus’ kingdom here on earth, we may find, to our amazement, that we not only do good, we are becoming more like Jesus! We are being transformed within by the power of Jesus, the King, and increasingly resemble our righteous and perfect God.