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The Sermon On The Mount Part 2: How Is Your Heart

Matthew 5:

13“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. [1]

When I was younger I had a disease that made it so I would loose protein when I went to the restroom. If I ate a lot of Salt I would loose more and kidney failure was possible. Salt is known for so many things and in my life it was known to bring death. As a child who could not have it made me want it more. Natural salt purifies, cleanses, and preserves from corruption. Salt was one of the earliest of all preservatives and was a valued commodity in the ancient world. Without any source of refrigeration, salt became the means of preserving meat from decaying, as the ancients rubbed down meat and fish to preserve it for regular use. Seafarers just a century ago would salt down their fish and meat to preserve them for the long transatlantic journeys. Salt was so important as a corruption preventative in the ancient world that wars were fought over it, and entire economies were based on it. Salt could literally make the difference between life and death in a time when fresh food was unavailable. Salt was also used as a figure of speech in the ancient world of sparkling conversation, speech dotted with witty or clever remarks.

In Colossians 4:6 (note), salt indicates speech which gives a flavor to the discourse and recommends it to the pallet as well as speech which preserves from corruption and renders wholesome. The Greeks called salt "charitas" (grace) because it gave flavor to things. Christians make plenty of negative comments and vent tons of frustration over the putrefaction of our society. But our culture is simply doing what comes natural, rotting because it has no preservative. As hard as it is to admit, we should quit leveling the blame of decadence on pagans and start asking why the Church is not more effectively preventing decay (especially of our ethical and moral values) from accelerating and exerting an ever increasing negative influence in our society.

Don't miss a the key principle in Jesus' metaphors of salt and light. Citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven impact society because they are different (not weird or bizarre but distinct) from the Kingdom of this World. When salt and light try to accommodate to and/or be conformed by the Kingdom of this World, they lose their distinctiveness and their potential to impact the decay and the darkness of the this world which is passing away. In the Revelation John records the triumphant cry when:

"the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." (Revelation 11:15-note)

And then There is the light. Light of the world-C H Spurgeon makes the point that…THIS title had been given by the Jews to certain of their eminent Rabbis. With great pomposity they spoke of Rabbi Judah, or Rabbi Jochanan, as the lamps of the universe, the lights of the world. It must have sounded strangely in the ears of the Scribes and Pharisees to hear that same title, in all soberness, applied to a few bronzed-faced and horny-handed peasants and fishermen, who had become disciples of Jesus. Jesus, in effect, said, — not the Rabbis, not the Scribes, not the assembled Sanhedrim, but ye, my humble followers, ye are the light of the world. He gave them this title, not after he had educated them for three years, but at almost the outset of his ministry; and from this I gather that the title was given them, not so much on account of what they knew, as on account of what they were. Not their knowledge, but their character made them the light of the world. They were not yet fully trained in his spiritual school, and yet he saith to them, “Ye are the light of the world;” the fact being, that wherever there is faith in Christ there is light, for our Lord has said “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in me should not walk in darkness.” “The entrance of thy word giveth light.”

Light is that which enables you to see or which makes vision possible. Light goes with sight. Light illuminates, exposes, guides, and directs. Light gives life (to vegetable and animal).

17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. [2]

Jesus did not come to abolish or do away with the Old Testament Law but to be the perfect, final fulfillment of every jot and tittle of the OT Law.

Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets-The way this is phrased indicates that Jesus must have sensed that some of the audience thought he was advocating an overthrow of the Old Testament Law. On the other hand, considering the heavy burden that had been placed upon them by the Pharisees, they may have been hoping that Jesus would abolish the Law and the rigid requirements that the Pharisees had established in order for one to be righteous. In this context, the King gives His unforgettable disclaimer, which sets down for all time His relationship to the Law. It is interesting that Jesus had yet to mention the word "Law" in his discourse. Not only did God promise sinners who placed their faith in Christ a new heart but God also promised them God’s Spirit Who would ensure that the saved sinner, now a saint, would be able to walk according to God’s statutes. God’s Spirit now indwells us and is not only our power to keep the Law but also our seal and pledge of future inheritance.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1Cor 6:19-note, 1Co 6:20-note) In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed (official mark of identification that placed on an important document usually made from hot wax and impressed with a signet ring which officially identified the document with and under the authority of the person to whom the signet belonged.

God owns the signet which sealed believers!) in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge ("earnest" = a down-payment guaranteeing full payment ~ God's Spirit is the down-payment giving us a foretaste and guarantee of the coming glory of heaven. In Greek today this word is used for an engagement ring!) of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ep 1:13, 14-notes) Jesus fulfilled what we started and now we get to be a part of the solution instead of the problem.

So what do we do? We set up understandings and put power in peoples hands and just say we need leaders who know more. In Jesus time they did the same. The scribes became experts in and were considered authorities on the interpretation of the Scriptures during the Inter-testament Period. They preserved the law and were its defenders, especially in the Hellenistic period, when the priesthood had become corrupt. Scribes devoted themselves to the careful study of the text, and laid down rules for transcribing it with the most scrupulous precision. As time passed on the "words of the scribes" were honored above the Law. It was a greater crime to offend against them than against the Law. In many ways the Pharisees were the best people in the whole country. There were never more than 6,000 of them; they were what was known as a chaburah, or brotherhood. They entered into this brotherhood by taking a pledge in front of three witnesses that they would spend all their lives observing every detail of the scribal law. So they looked to these people to lead them and Jesus as one of them. So now Jesus goes into how to live life.

21“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. [3]

When you can reconciliation is always the way. But you must have balance. It is ok to not have people in your life. It is ok to cut out people out of your life and move on but when everyone involved is ready to to change and grow then it is time to reconcile. You must take in consideration your heart. That is what mattes.

27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. [4]

Again Your heart and the intentions of your heart are what matters. What is in your heart?

31“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. [5]

33“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. [6]

Where is your heart? Why are you doing what you are doing? Why are you saying what you are saying? Let your Yes be yes and your no be no.

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. [7]

Again this is a heart situation. Jesus was making a point. Jesus did not want us to lay down and be ran over. This was a passive aggressive way of proving a point and making those who were in the wrong know it and show the world that they were wrong as well. If they turned their cheek the one agressing would have to use their toilet hand to slap them. That would put the insult on the aggressor not the one they were attacking. A solder was only allowed to ask you to carry a certain amount of stuff for a certain amount of time. If you carried more and went longer it made them look as if they were greedy and they could go to jail for that. All this to say What is in your heart? And when people do you wrong what is in your heart? If your heart is right then you can when life troughs curve-balls at you stand up for yourself and show the world and those who are coming against you that they are wrong. You can defend yourself as long as you make sure your heart is right. You can live an amazing life and live in the fullness of what Jesus did for us as long as your heart is right. So the question is how is your heart?

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 5:13–16). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles. [2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 5:17–20). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles. [3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 5:21–26). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles. [4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 5:27–30). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles. [5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 5:31–32). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles. [6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 5:33–37). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles. [7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 5:38–42). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.


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