Week 43 | Section 54e
God is love, God accepts us as we are, God’s grace is sufficient to blot out all our sins, and yet in the third section of the “sermon on the mount” Jesus raises the bar on righteousness and gets to the heart of the matter – our attitude and intention. The roots of sin are of equal concern as the actions which they produce and of greater importance still is the signs of grace and truth at work in and through us.
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.
[one_half last=”no”]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.
[one_half last=”yes”]Luke 6:27-30, 32-36
27 “But I tell you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. 29 To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer also the other; and from him who takes away your cloak, don’t withhold your coat also. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and don’t ask him who takes away your goods to give them back again.
32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive back as much. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. 36 “Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful.[/one_half]
- Why does Jesus demand a righteousness exceeding that of the scribes and the Pharisees. What is the difference he desires?
- Which of the themes is most challenging for you?
- Why do people camouflage their sinfulness? How might acceptance of grace change this pattern in a person? (Acts 10:43) Why should grace change how we treat one another?
- What virtues does your culture value most? What perception undermines its birth, growth, and fortitude?
- Are faithfulness, forgiveness, purity, integrity, and love evident in your life?
- What is your motivation for how you live? How does the Gospel and the finished work of Christ affect your thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and relationships?
Learning Objectives: cleave to the righteousness of Christ and His finished work on the cross, be renewing your mind, abandon all forms of sin, hell, justification, integrity, holiness, forgiveness, sanctification, character. mercy, love.
Image: The bleeding heart (dicentra spectabilis), they are a lovely flower. Here are a few gardening tips. Its a perfect image conveying the importance of the attitude and condition of our heart, not just the appearance of our outward actions and words from our lips.