Summary: Jesus presents a clear description of what it is followers are to be like internally and how they are to live outwardly in the Sermon on the Mount.
Advertising agency- nationwide telephone survey on lying. 91% of all Americans confessed that they regularly lied. One out of five admitted they could not get through one day without going along with a previously lie. We live in a day when we have been bombarded with erased tapes, tampered evidence, illicit cover-ups, and exaggerated ads to the point that we have given up on truth. We have learned to accept lying. We don’t get upset anymore when someone exaggerates, falsifies, fabricates, or misrepresents the truth. James Emery White, You Can Experience an Authentic Life (Nashville: Word Publishing, 2000), 121-122.
Studying the SOTM- we have been looking at 5 blocks of scripture where Jesus says-
You have heard that it was said, but I say to you
Mtt 5:21, 27, 33, 38, 43
Jesus was not discrediting the OT but correcting the Jews misunderstanding of what the OT said.
He was opening to them God’s heart behind the Law.
Mtt 5:33-37 read
It is possible to interpret these verses with such legalism that we miss the heart of the Lord.
OT/teaching of Jesus- more concerned w/making false vows than it is about us not making vows at all.
Nu 30:2 "If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. NASU
Jesus’ overall intention is to prohibit false vows-
making a vow and then breaking it,
promising something and not doing it.
False vows became profanity- misusing God’s name.
Rather than perjury- saying one thing- doing another, not living up to their word.
The Jews had become more concerned about the wording of the vow than the vow itself.
The real implication of the Law is that we must keep our promises and be people of our word.
Why do we make vows? We make vows because …
we know that man lacks integrity, and
concern that our word is likely not to be trusted.
AM Hunter …
Oaths arise because men are so often liars.
The same applies to exaggerations and the use of superlatives- prophetic people given to this.
We cannot simply say something is good, we must describe it as fantastic or awesome.
The more we do this it devalues human language, human words, and human promises.
We should say what we mean and mean what we say.
Some take these verses to- extreme- where- cannot sign an affidavit or take an oath in a court of law.
Bible does not forbid oaths- even God made vows.
16 and said, " By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,
17 indeed I will greatly bless you … NASU
What Jesus is saying- honest men do not need vows.
He is not saying we should refuse vows if required by some external authority.
However, what should back up our words-
not a vow or an appeal to a higher authority,
not the use of superlatives, exaggerations,
but our character/life/honesty/integrity.
Mtt 5:38-42 read
Law of Moses- both a moral law and a civil law.
The 10C’s in Ex 20 are a distillation of the moral law.
Ex 21-23- ordinances that apply the 10Cs to life.
The context of these ordinances was for the judges of Israel to govern the nation- purpose was two fold-
1. to lay a foundation for justice, specifying the punishment for a particular wrong doing
2. to limit the compensation of a victim of a crime to a set amount and no more
In other words- defined justice and restrained revenge.
It was forbidden to take the law in your own hands and carry out penalty beyond what the Law said.
Pharisees- extended these to personal relationships and tried to use it to justify personal revenge …
Lev 19:18 ’You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people … NASU
Jesus is not saying there is no need for retribution.
He was saying- the principle pertains to law courts and to God’s judgment, but not to individuals.
Our interpersonal relationships are to be governed by the principle of love, not justice.
Rom 12:19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. NASU
In this we are not pretending a man is not evil, nor are we to condoning his actions.
V39-42 Four illustrations- in each example, our duty is to forbear revenge and bless in return.
To slap someone on the cheek was a form of insult, like spitting in someone’s face today.