Summary: God calls us to the highest standards. 1. Always be believable (vs. 33-37). 2. Go beyond what is expected of us (vs. 38-42). 3. Make sure you belong to the Father's family (vs. 43-48).
Reach for God's Perfect Righteousness
The Gospel of Matthew
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - April 23, 2013
(Revised January 22, 2021)
*Please open your Bibles to Matthew 5:33. Tonight, we will continue to study the Lord's Sermon on the Mount. We still have a long way to go because this one sermon fills three chapters in Matthew's Gospel. And don't know exactly where Jesus preached this sermon, but John Phillips said it "seems to have been delivered on the slopes above Capernaum."
*Then Phillips explained that "the enormous crowds attracted to Jesus by His miracles followed Him up the mountainside. They were in for a shock, for the kind of kingdom He was about to describe had never entered their wildest dreams. Following the custom of Jewish teachers, Jesus sat down and began to speak. The sermon was directed to His disciples, but it was heard by all.
*His words rang out with heavenly authority totally absent in the petty ramblings of the rabbis. He spoke truths that soared far above anything those people had ever heard." (1)
*This sermon is a Kingdom sermon given by the King of Kings. William MacDonald explained that here King Jesus "summarized the character and conduct expected of His subjects . . . It was meant for all, past, present, or future, who acknowledge Christ as King." (2)
*In tonight's Scripture, Jesus continues to call us up to God's highest standards in life. Please think about that as we read Matthew 5:33-48.
*When Randy Hawkins was in his 40's, he played softball on a team with a lot of younger men. During one game, Randy was playing third base when a line drive was hit right over his head. He jumped as high as he could, but couldn't quite get a glove on it.
*At the end of the inning, when everyone was heading to the dugout, the left fielder caught up with Randy. Randy's friend held up his thumb and first finger a couple of inches apart. And he said, "That much."
*The older third baseman replied: "I know, I almost had it!" But his younger friend laughed and replied, "No, I mean that's how far you got off the ground." (3)
*When it came to softball, Randy Hawkins needed to go higher. AND WHEN IT COMES TO OUR SPIRITUAL LIVES, WE ALL NEED TO GO HIGHER. Here Jesus continues to call us up to God's highest standards in life.
1. FIRST: ALWAYS BE BELIEVABLE.
*The Lord set this standard for us in vs. 33-37. Here Jesus said:
33. "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.'
34. But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne;
35. nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
36. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.
37. But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one."
*Some people believe that this is a command against ever taking an oath. But Matthew Rogers gave some important background information on this subject. He pointed out that oaths were commonly abused in Jesus' day. So, to protect God's name against oath-breaking, the Jews introduced other things by which to swear.
*"People's attention had gotten shifted away from the vow itself to the formula used when making it, so Jewish teachers had a tough job on their hands. When there was a dispute over keeping your word, it was up to them to determine which oaths were actually binding as allusions to God's name.
*The more closely an oath related to God's name, the more binding it was. You didn't have to be so particular about keeping vows in which God's name had not been used. Some people thought it was harmless to deceive if they swore oaths by something like their right hand. Swearing by heaven and earth was not binding, nor was swearing by Jerusalem. However, if you swore toward Jerusalem, then you had to keep your vow."
*Matthew Rogers also said, "Remember when we were kids and made a promise? Sometimes we would say, 'Cross my heart and hope to die; stick a needle in my eye.'" (4)
*Well, did anyone ever stick a needle in your eye? -- No, of course not, because we didn't really mean it. And most everybody knew that you didn't have to keep a promise if you had your fingers crossed. That's about how casual the adults were about oaths in Jesus' day.