Tag Archives: Matthew 5

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 130/260: Read Matthew 5

Do you want to be happy? Who doesn’t? Jesus gives the keys to eternal happiness in the Sermon on the Mount. He begins with what we commonly call “the beatitudes.” The word “blessed” carries with it the connotation of happiness.

So, do you want to be happy? Jesus says be humble (or “poor in spirit”). Mourn over sin. Be meek. Crave spiritual knowledge. Show mercy. Develop purity in your heart. Make peace with those around you. Stand for what is right, regardless of the consequences in this life.

How we respond to God and how we treat other people has a profound impact on our happiness. When we focus on our own desires all the time, negativity will creep in. We see what we have not accomplished, what we do not possess, and we develop a defeatist attitude.

But when we focus on serving God and others, we obtain so much joy. By making God and other people happy, we make ourselves happy.

While I am a firm believer in the necessity to know how to say “no” on occasion, that should not be our default answer to every request. Read carefully Jesus’ words in verses 38 through 48. We must be willing to make some sacrifices to help others, to go the second mile, to give up our coat along with our tunic.

Do you want to be happy? “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Matthew 5:9. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Pray

Pray for your enemies by name.

Blessed in Christ

          Have you ever read something in the Scriptures that made you scratch your head? Jesus says in His famed sermon on the mount, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). How often have you felt “blessed” while mourning? Isn’t this a paradox?
          Throughout the Scriptures, we see what we would consider negative events lead to positive results. Consider the inspired words of Romans 5:3-4 (tribulation –> perseverance –> hope), Hebrews 12:11 (chastening –> peaceable fruit of righteousness), 2 Corinthians 7:10 (godly sorrow –> repentance leading to salvation), and James 1:2-3 (trials/testing of faith –> patience). In each instance, we start with something negative, but the end result is something positive.
          The mourning under consideration in Matthew 5 does not refer to everyday sorrows, as Paul tells us that “the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). J.W. McGarvey writes in his commentary on Matthew and Mark that this is “those who mourn in reference to sin. ‘They shall be comforted’ because now there is an ample provision made for pardon.”
          “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” (Romans 5:8-11)
          We no longer have to mourn over our hopelessness, but “rejoice” that “through (Christ) we have now received the reconciliation.” Truly we are blessed!

A Study of the Sermon on the Mount

I consider it a privilege to teach God’s Word and I am grateful for the opportunities that are presented to me by the Point Pleasant church of Christ. This past Sunday, I wrapped up an 11-lesson study of the Sermon on the Mount with the middle school class. There are many rich lessons to be found in Christ’s masterpiece.

Throughout my preparation, I made use of the commentaries of several scholars in the Lord’s church. Their works are available online at the following links:

My notes are presented here for your use as an aid in personal or class studies. Use them as you see fit.

Minor updates were made to pages 33-35 to correct typographical errors and make a statement clearer. If you have already downloaded a copy, please delete and re-download below. If you come across any typos or if anything needs further clarification, please let me know.

downloadClick here to download A Study of The Sermon on the Mount: Class notes compiled by Jason T. Carter (PDF format).

The Joy of Mercy

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus delivered several beatitudes, or “blessed” sayings. The Lord taught His disciples how they could be truly happy by identifying character traits of the joyous. Among those exhortations, Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). The wise man in Proverbs 14:21: “He who despises his neighbor sins; but he who has mercy to the poor, happy is he.” Extending mercy to those around us will result in joy.

It has been said that grace is getting what you do not deserve, while mercy is not getting what you do deserve. How many people can say they deserve salvation? The prophet Isaiah said, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). The apostle Paul reminds us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). As one of my Bible teachers often said, “You can’t get ‘all’-er than ‘all.’” In other words, there is no one excluded from the word “all.”

Without God’s mercy, we are without hope. But God provides mercy to those who extend mercy. Conversely, those who are unmerciful toward their brother will face harsher judgment from the Almighty. “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).

When Peter asked how many times he should forgive his brother in Matthew 18, suggesting that seven times should surely be sufficient, Jesus answered, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” He then told a parable about an unmerciful man who, despite the great mercy shown to him, was unforgiving of his brother. His master “delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.” Jesus concluded, “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

The bottom line is this: if you crave God’s mercy, be merciful to your fellow man!

Our Relationship to the World

Paul wrote that Christians were “not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world” (1 Corinthians 5:9-10). He reminded the Ephesians that before their conversion, “you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-13).

How did those Christians become Christians? “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?…So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:14,17). It has been said that every Christian is a walking sermon, so we should carefully consider our conduct when we are in the company of those who are outside the church. Our example and influence could be what leads them to Christ, but it could also be what drives them away.

With these things in mind, let us consider the Lord’s teaching as it refers to His disciples’ relationship to the world: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

How have you let your light shine so far in 2017?