Summary: Two truths that Jesus shared. 1. Do Good to Please God. ( Matthew 6: 1-4.) Give without letting others know. 2. Love Your Enemies. (Matthew 5: 38-42) Its actually a really hard thing what Jesus expects of us as Christians. It is hard to be a Christian.
There is a series of teaching that Jesus did while preaching to crowds in the countryside that begins in Matthew chapter 5 and goes to chapter 7. He was preaching on a wide range of subjects and had a way of opening up the scriptures for all to understand. But he also added to the scripture by saying “You have heard that it is said”… and then took it a step further. For example, in chapter 5: 27-28 Jesus says You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” It bothered the Pharisees that Jesus boldly added to the scriptures like that but they didn’t know that they were hearing from the very Word of God Himself. If they knew who Jesus really was they would have all fallen on their faces before Him. But their hearts were cold and they didn’t realize who Jesus was.
Let’s look at some of the Beatitudes this morning.
Do Good to Please God
Read Matthew 6: 1-4
(1-2) Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
I remember when I was young, although my father ran the mission in Washington, DC and held Sunday and Thursday services there, we used to attend a church in Arlington, VA. As well.
One particular Sunday the church had a need and the pastor was asking who would give money to take care of the needs. But they did things oddly this Sunday and I don’t remember them doing that ever again. It was all about pride in giving before others.
I remember he started with “Is there anyone here that would pledge 500 dollars?” First let me remind you that this was probably in the 1960s and in the 60s that was a lot of money. Not so much by today’s standards.
Someone stood up and said they would give 500 Dollars. I remember that sounds that came from the congregation. “Ooh! Aah!” Then someone else got up and said they would give 500 dollars. “Ooh! Aah!”
When no one else stood up he said “Is there anyone here who would pledge 250 dollars?” Several men stood up to pronounce that they would. 150 dollars. 100 dollars. 50 dollars. It went on until just about every person had pledged something.
The reactions of the congregation was as expected. Those who pledged 500 dollars got “ooh” and “ahh”. At 250 it was the same response but softer. By the time they got to 50 dollars it was silent because nobody was impressed by that. As I said, I don’t recall the church ever doing that again. It’s not what God wants.
They were playing on the emotions and pride of the men in the church. And it worked quite well. I think they got Dad for 250.
(3-4) But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, “that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
Jesus is making a point here by saying something silly. Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Can you do that? I can’t. He was making a point not to let others know what you are giving. Your reward is with God, not man. If it is with man, there is nothing more coming from God. You have your reward here on earth.
Jesus is saying here that we do need to give but do it in private.
Love Your Enemies
Let’s look at Matthew 5: 38-42
Jesus really turns things upside down when he goes directly against the Jewish rules about dealing with people that do wrong to you. It is shocking how he tells the crowd not to follow the old Jewish customs and laws.
Vs. 38 You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
Jesus was referring to several verses in the old testament. In Exodus 21:23-25, it says
But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
His reference extends from Leviticus 24: 19-21;
If a man causes disfigurement of his neighbor, as he has done, so shall it be done to him- ‘fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he has caused disfigurement of a man, so shall it be done to him. And whoever kills an animal shall restore it; but whoever kills a man shall be put to death.