Summary: This is a study of the Sermon on the Mount. This is the 4th sermon in the series.

Sermon on the Mount

Pt 4

You have heard it said | But I say to you …

Matthew 5:21-48

[To save space - please read separate]


A. Structure

1. Today

A. People are structured.

We desire to know what the rules and boundaries are in order that we may not stray too far from our responsibility in keeping these regulations on our lives.

B. This is especially true today for us as Christians.

We want to know what the Bible says about the affairs of our daily lives. This in itself is a good thing. However, what becomes dangerous today to many throughout Christendom is that they (we) become like those of old in the dark ages or even during the NT times – we rely heavily upon others to interpret the Scriptures for us [the preacher or Bible teacher]. Which in itself is not wrong – but it becomes a serious matter when we refuse to take such responsibility upon ourselves like those at Berea – Acts 17:10-12.

We like to know what the Scripture says about what to do or not to do - you know the type, Don’t Smoke, Don’t Drink, Don’t Chew and Don’t Do As Those Other Folks Do. But we are not to put away our responsibility it knowing what the Scripture says to our detriment.

2. NT Era

A. During the time of Jesus’ time on this earth Israel was like many of us today.

They too wanted to know the rules and boundaries in order to live their lives responsibly. But they too refused to take the responsibility to learn for themselves What Says the Scripture. Instead they found it easier to rely upon the religious teachers of their day to do those things for them. Often to their detriment, the Messiah had come and they did not recognize Him – John 1:9-13.

B. Even though God’s Word (OT) was the standard by which Israel was to be governed.

Most of the common people of Israel did not know the Hebrew to read or understand what it was saying. This was due to the fact that since the return from the Babylonian captivity most of those in Israel no longer knew its native language. Instead they usually spoke in Aramaic or Greek and perhaps Latin (due to their being under the Roman Empire authority at that time). Also due to the cost of having a copy of the OT (in this case the LXX [Septuagint]) most could not afford a copy of the Bible of their day. Therefore it was the religious leaders (Pharisees and the Scribes [perhaps the Sadducees too]) who were the ones called upon to translate and interpret the OT. Because of such authority this allowed those who interpreted the Scriptures to do so in a manner that reflected their own personal and biased teachings. Over time this type of interpretation finally led to the point that just observing the Law (Moral, Ceremonial, Civil, and their Rabbinical Traditions) in an outward allegiance was sufficient in fulfilling God’s demands.

C. However, in the next few verse here in Chapter Five (21-48).

Jesus shows that there is more than just an outward allegiance in keeping the Law of God. In these verses Christ’s thrust is to teach that the primary aspect of righteousness was not outward expression but rather the inward matter of the heart.

1. This portion of Scripture can be separated into six divisions which are distinguished by phrases:

a. You have heard that it was said

b. But I say to you

2. These two phrases found in verses: 21, 27, 31, 33, 38, and 43.

3. In these divisions it is observed that Jesus refers to the keeping of:

a. Two of the Ten Commandments

b. Two general principles found in the law of Moses

c. Two broad principles of mercy and love

[John MacArthur, 284 (adapted)].


A. Keeping the Ten Commandments

1. Murder

V. 21-26


You have heard that it was said to those of old | Manuscripts have: You have heard that the ancients were told.

This falls in line with the fact that the common people did not understand the Hebrew language and thus were dependent upon what the Pharisees and the Scribes told them the Scriptures said instead of being able to read them for themselves.

You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.

This was the sixth commandment - cf. Ex. 20:13, 21:12-14.

NOTE: This is the outward appearance of the Law and this is all that the Pharisees and Scribes said that one was required to do in order to fulfill its demands.

Have any feeling of hatred or anger you desire toward your brother | sister – as long as you have not put these desires of your heart into action you do not break this commandment.

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