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MATTHEW CHAPTERS 5 & 6

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Mat 5-1,2 -- No Entries

 

1-3 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, 3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 5,3-12

(55) Opposites that are Inverse of Each Other – There is a surprising number of unbelievers in the world who have a special problem with verse 5, "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth." They claim that it can’t be possible. It is common to hear this verse as a defense for their unbelief, but all they really accomplish is putting their ignorance on display, saying that it is not the gentle who will inherit the earth but those who are aggressive and forceful, who take the earth by force. They could provide a thousand examples of men going to war and conquering countries and lands, and in that sense they inherit the earth. From war to war this is the story, man taking what he wants. Worldly people think God’s kingdom should operate by the same principles, but when we try to explain to them that His kingdom operates on different principles they just mock us. We are trying to tell them something that does not pertain to their world, and those who are of the world cannot accept the knowledge of God. They don't have to think about it; the moment they hear a teaching that contradicts the nature of this world, they automatically reject it. 1Jn 4-5,6 says, “They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” If they lived in Jesus’ day and met Him, they would have rejected Him, because He was the teacher of these things. He is the one who taught that the last shall be first, and the first last, and to humble yourself that you may be exalted, and all the other teachings that are contrary to this world. Basically, the Kingdom of God is the reciprocal of this world, not just the inverse but backwards and inside-out. In mathematics the reciprocal orders the sign changed and the fraction flipped on its head. The world is negative; therefore, the Kingdom of God is positive; the world is upside-down; therefore, the Kingdom of God is right-side-up. This is how God’s truth seems to secular, worldly-minded people.

(56k) Paradox >> Opposites >> Least are greatest >> Smallest in the eyes of men are big to God – Most worldly people don’t believe in Mat 5-5; they scoff at the idea that the meek shall inherit the earth; they are more convinced in the ways of the world than they are in the ways of God. They say, ‘It might work that way in heaven, but down here the greatest are the greatest and the least are the least; down here the principles of survival of the fittest are at work.’ Nations go to war with other nations and the strong take everything from the weak, putting their fellow man in slavery, but Jesus had the perspective of heaven and taught that a day was coming for the people of God who showed a little patience and forbearance will be constituents of the First Resurrection and will receive bodies that cannot die along with an indestructible kingdom. Beginning at the Millennium, God will show mankind how they could have governed themselves all these thousands of years, proving that their ways were wrong and that the ways of God are right. He will devote the first thousand years of His kingdom to proving peace could have been perpetually achieved instead of war being the rule of thumb.

(194i) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Yielding >> Yield to God’s right to direct your way

(221b) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Kingdom hidden behind the veil from the world >> God hides from man’s ignorance >> God hides from those who are looking for Him – The rich, young ruler hung his head and walked away after Jesus advised him to liquidate his assets and give the proceeds to the poor, but in Zaccheus’ case, who was also wealthy, he was confirmed by the Lord after promising to repent of his evil ways. Jesus said in Mat 19,24-26, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God,” and He also said in Lk 6-26, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you,” and He concluded in regard to salvation that with God all things are possible. Therefore, who will populate Heaven? It will be those whom James described (Jm 2-5), “Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” Jesus described them as those who were poor in spirit, those who feel insufficient. They sense that something is fundamentally lacking in their lives that hits at the very core of their person, a place that if they found their quarry would redefine their very essence, and what they seek is not of this world. Those who recognize themselves as poor in truth, though the world has many versions of reality yet none of them suffice, they are looking for God, and they know He only can give what they need. There may be others who have been on this road before them who have come into possession of their own pursuit, but it is not theirs to give. We must receive truth from God in order to truly possess it. These are the ones who will populate heaven, who realize they are deficient in the eyes of God and need to be completed in Him, and that which they seek is His Spirit.

(224j) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Description of heaven >> The people of heaven >> Those in heaven are blessed indeed -- These verses illustrate the Kingdom of God by describing the people who live there who are blessed indeed. Try to imagine the people who have had to live in the most enervating circumstances, and then see their faces when they enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It must warm God's heart to see His children find their home after having to live and die through so many uneasy moments of uncertainty. Those who have it all in this life, Jesus would say, “Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full” (Mat 6,1-18). He advised us to ‘sell everything and give to the poor and come follow Him’ (Mat 19-21). It sounds like a form of self-deprecation, only He teaches us to do it for the cause of the gospel. If we have no accession to mourn, Jesus would tell us to change our lives so we do have cause to mourn. Become such a servant and lower ourselves until it is painful, that we may better serve one another. It is very likely that we will have servants falling over each other waiting on us hand and foot in heaven, comforting the saints, even the least of them. We will not be used to that and will constantly return the favor, striving all the more to be the greater servant.

Mat 5,3-5

(34d) Gift of God >> Believer owns everything >> New creation belongs to us -- These verses go with verse 10

Mat 5-3

(23f) Sin >> Poverty (Oppression) >> Rich are those who are poor in their own minds -- What did Jesus mean by "the poor in spirit?" Jesus came to give us life in abundance, yet He said that you must be poor in spirit to be blessed. The poor in spirit know they are empty inside and know they don't have the answers to their quarry lying within themselves, while those who do feel rich in themselves don't acknowledge their inner-poverty status, and believe they are self-sufficient. The result is, they are unable to receive the things of God. What God offers and how to receive it is based on the realization of our need of God's input to be whole.  

(56m) Paradox >> Opposites >> The poor in spirit are rich in faith – In a similar way that psychopaths fill the seats of CEOs in the corporate world and fill the chairs in our government because of their aggressive personalities, so wealthy people are somewhat less than poor in spirit. If the rich were to take all their interest in man’s opinion put it in God’s opinion of them, they would be some of the wealthiest people on earth, spiritually. Of course, they don't care about spiritual matters, so this is a moot point to them, otherwise they could begin living in a way that would please God, which would change their whole outlook on life. Literally everything would change; namely, they wouldn’t care so much about people's opinion. They would become rich in faith just by caring what God thinks of them, and doesn't that describe the poor in spirit? People have considered what it means to be poor in spirit, and some have come to the conclusion that it means they have low self-esteem, but what it really means is they don’t esteem themselves “more highly… than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith” (Rom 12-3). They actually have some kind of balance to their self-opinion, which apparently is extremely rare. Most people fancy themselves way too much, and they become rich in self-opinion. If they would just strike a balance about their own self-worth, they would begin to see themselves the way God sees them, the way God sees Himself, someone who is humble in Spirit, someone who does not esteem Himself more highly than He ought. This is what it takes to have faith in God, but to be narcissistic is the very antithesis of faith.

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4-8 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 

 

Mat 5-4

(188h) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Sorrow >> Grieving over your own loss >> Grieving over your sinful nature -- Christians have one more layer of sorrow assigned to them that the unbelievers do not have. We feel sorry for our sin and morn over it, while the unbelievers usually only feel sorry for getting caught in their sin. Although we should be happy to get rid of some of our bad habits and sinful ways, those things no matter how loathsome they may be were no less an intricate part of our lives. It feels more like we are severing a member of our bodies when we try to extricate our mindsets and behaviors that hinder us from following Christ more succinctly. 

(228b) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Comforted >> God comforts you in times of adversity >> He comforts you in your grief – Jesus was implying two things: those who mourn in this life will be comforted in the life to come, and He was saying blessed are those who are capable of mourning. ‘Blessed are those who are able to think about someone other than themselves, for they shall be comforted.’ Those who are able to grieve over other people’s circumstances, this is compassion, and of course compassion fulfills its purpose by doing something about their grief. They take the next step and actually help the person in need. Blessed are those who consider the circumstances of other people more important than their own, for they shall be comforted in the life to come. Blessed are those who haven’t been given this life on a silver platter, who must work and struggle, who have a hard life because of their faith in Jesus, for they shall be comforted.

Mat 5-5

(36j) Gift of God >> Inheritance >> We are heirs through sanctification -- There are some who have no knowledge of the kingdom, who would actually use this verse to prove that the Bible could not possibly be true. They would say that it is anyone but the gentle or the meek who will inherit the earth, but the worldly and the greedy and the materialistic. Those who have this fault in their thinking are forgetting one major fact of the gospel, that we who believe in Jesus and die in the faith will go to heaven and one day return to earth where God will set up His eternal kingdom. Here we will live and rein and the sinner will surrender beneath our feet, and we shall indeed inherit the earth. 

(128d) Gentleness (Key verse)

(128e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Gentleness >> Be gentle in all your ways >> Put gentleness in your character – The truth that Jesus conveyed in this verse is that the gentle will go to heaven, and those who make it to heaven will also partake of the First Resurrection, which will occur at the end of this age, just before Christ sets up His thousand-year reign on earth. His people will come with Him and take part in His millennial kingdom on the earth, and in that sense we will have inherited the earth. ‘Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit eternal life and follow Christ to His millennial kingdom on earth.’ After the thousand-year reign, He will create a new heavens and a new earth, and we will live with Him forever on earth.

Mat 5-6

(76h) Desires (Key verse)

(77a) Thy kingdom come >> Hunger for the essence of God >> Hunger for His righteousness -- Jesus had a slightly hidden meaning that expands the truth a little beyond the words He used (which was a common practice of His). In this case the deeper truth lies, not in what He said, but in what He didn't say. The implication is that any way we try to satisfy our desires will not result in being truly satisfied. He said it in such a way so as to make us think there is no other solution to hunger.

Mat 5-7

(34n) Gift of God >> Be generous like your Father >> Love your enemies -- This verse goes with verses 38-48

Mat 5-8

(104e) Pure In Heart (Key verse)

(104f) Thy kingdom come >> Pure in heart shall see God >> Shall see the Father >> Being in the presence of God -- What did Jesus mean by this? the pure in heart shall see visions? Not necessarily. Blessed are the pure in heart, for God will open the eyes of their spirit to reveal Jesus Christ, and they shall see the truth. There is a difference between your eyes being opened to the spirit world and seeing visions. One is understanding the word of God in general and the other is realizing something specific about His word.  

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9-12 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 

 

Mat 5-9

(33b) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Believers are His sons and daughters -- This verse goes with verses 44&45

(126b) Peacemakers (Key verse)

(126c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Peace >> Peacemakers >> Peacemakers are a blessing – It is critical as Christians that we adopt the attributes of Christ’s nature. He spoke in ways that emphasized this fact, saying in Mat 5-45, “…in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” He made it sound as though we are not the sons of God until we adopt His attributes, except that we come to God as wretched, lost souls, incapable of saving ourselves, so God must make the first move in order for us to be saved, and that first move is to put His Spirit in us. Once we are born of God with His nature dwelling in us, He can begin to mold us into His image. Jesus wasn’t saying that our performance must increase before we can be His children; rather, the gospel according to Scripture reads that we develop the attributes of God because we are His children. Having the Holy Spirit dwelling in us literally defines us as the children of God. Paul said that if we become peacemakers, the peace of God will be with us (2Cor 13-11), but being peacemakers and possessing the peace of God are two different things. People who attempt to be peacemakers but do not have the peace of God dwelling in them often fail at the prospect of living in peace. The peace of God is one of the fruits of the Spirit and is extremely subtle; there are no billboards pinned to our foreheads saying we possess it, yet just about everybody knows when we do. We cannot establish peace in our lives if we have not made peace with God. Peace is often ill-defined, because we don't understand its basic nature. The best way to comprehend peace is to look at its opposite, “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Rev 14-11). For hell to have this description highlights the importance of having God’s peace; it is like having a piece of heaven. Since peace is one of nine fruits of the Spirit, coming into possession of them is tantamount to demonstrating the Kingdom of Heaven through the members of our bodies.

Mat 5,10-12

(242l) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Responding to persecution -- We are free to be persecuted for the Kingdom of God because we have inherited eternal life through faith, and now we can afford to experience a little pain for the sake of all the blessings that is headed our way in our glorious future. The biggest cause of persecution is the fact that the children of God prick the conscience of the heathen. It is one thing to prick the conscience of those who repent and turn to the Lord for salvation. Those people will shake our hand and feel obligated for life, but the one who has no intension of repentance don’t want to live with an evil conscience, and some of them who actually have a conscience work very hard at keeping their conscience from condemning them, either by trying to live a halfway descent life or by lying to themselves about their sin and about God’s looming judgment against those who will not serve Him. 

Mat 5-10

(34d) Gift of God >> Believer owns everything >> New creation belongs to us – This verse goes with verses 3-5. Although we may own all things, we also share in the struggle and the sorrow that goes along with owning something very valuable. To believe in something as great as Jesus Christ and His Father's kingdom is worth the humiliation of living among people who don't. Perhaps we will influence those who would like to squelch our zeal for the faith that they too may someday believe God because of us as we endure their persecution. 

Mat 5-11,12

(32i) Gift of God >> Father will honor you if you die to self >> Honor His word in you -- These verses go with verses 43-45. The only reason we are willing to suffer the will of God is that we know the word of God. If we are ignorant of His ways, we won’t know to be obedient, nor would we choose to live in line with His will. It is the word of God that teaches us to live for Him, also that there is reward awaiting us who do so. 

(156da) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of salvation >> Loving your fellow man is evidence of salvation >> Love your enemies -- These verses go with verses 43-48. It doesn’t depend on our persecutors whether we are sons and daughters of our father in heaven; we can pray for our enemies and our enemies may not change, but if we don’t pray for them, it becomes evidence that we are not the children of God. Jesus commanded us to bless our enemies so we don’t try to curse them, which is a form of voodoo witchcraft, and Jesus doesn’t want us attempting to operate in the realm of Satan. Every way we disobey God is evidence that we are not His children, and every way we obey Him is evidence that we are in deed His children. This is the choice that is before us to either produce evidence of our faith or not. Many in the Church today teach that we can consistently produce the opposite fruit of God’s Kingdom and still be the children of God, but this is not the teaching of Scripture, so the likelihood of us going to heaven without producing the fruit of it is not something we should trust. This is not the hope that God has given to us in Christ, to reject the will of God and hope we are still His children. The hope we have in Jesus is that we are His children destined for the Kingdom of Heaven by evidence of our fruit.

(226h) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of heaven >> Levels of reward >> God rewards us to the degree of our faithfulness

(245g) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Manifestation of God’s righteous judgment >> Manifestation of God’s justice – God wants us to treat our enemies in the same way that we treat our friends, just like the rain does not discriminate between the evil and the good. If a farmer doesn’t get rain and his neighbor does, that is a coincidence; God does not judge the evil and the good in this age of randomness by who gets rain and who doesn’t, but an age is coming when randomness will take a backseat to God directing the rain to the righteous and away from the wicked during the Millennium (see: Amos 4-7 and Zechariah 14-17,18). However, these days are when God does not withhold the rain from the wicked, so nor should we withhold our blessing from them. We are living in the age of grace, which is an age of randomness, when God allows the circumstances of life to test us, and He watches to see our response and will reward us accordingly. This life is such that everyone has an opportunity to suffer and prove to God our loyalty and commitment to His truth and justice.

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13-18 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. 17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 

Mat 5-13 

(70k) Authority >> Believer’s authority >> We are the salt of the earth (Preservative) -- Jesus called us the salt of the earth. One of the purposes of the Church is to preserve the earth. Our ultimate purpose is to keep it from destroying itself before the appointed time. The manner in which we accomplish that goal is by preserving some of the primary intangibles of life, such as morals and a code of ethics. Since the world is destined to reject Christ it is also destined to eventually commit suicide. We can only delay the inevitable long enough to stay on God's predestined timeline and fulfill His purposes. Salt is not a food, but we use it in our food to bring out the flavor, making it palatable. Salt is separate from our food, though we keep it ready at the table, and so is the Christian separate from the world, but we flavor it, making the world palatable. We don’t like the taste of salt; in fact, we could ruin a good meal by over salting it, but if we use just the right amount, we can’t so much taste the salt as better taste our food. This works because salt is an electrolyte that establishes a better connection between our taste buds and our food, similar to copper conducting electricity through a wire.

(92g) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way >> What kind of trail is this? >> Gate is small and few are those who find it – When we get saved, we become the salt of the earth; we live for Jesus; we come to know Him; we walk according to His will; we produce the fruit of the kingdom, but the person who falls away from the faith becomes tasteless. Jesus asks, “How can He be made salty again?” He is good for nothing anymore “except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men,” and the gospel gets trampled along with the person. Talk to unsaved people and they will say that Bible thumpers and the like who come preaching the gospel are the most tasteless of all Christians. Nevertheless, Jesus said that true Christians are the salt of the earth, meaning they add flavor to this world. In fact, He is saying we are the ONLY people who add flavor to this world. Consequently, the ratio of food to salt on our dinner plate underscores the passage He spoke a couple chapters later. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Mat 7-13,14). If unbelievers represent the food on our plate, and Christians proportionately represent the salt, then it indicates just how few people are being saved.

(184i) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Abusing the grace of God >> Spending His grace on your pleasures >> Adding leaven to His grace -- Salt acts as a preservative for things such as food; however, salt can actually loose its saltiness, and thus loose its preserving qualities through time and overuse. An example of overuse would be if you kept your salt-packed food on the barn floor, the animal urine and feces, smells and tastes would soon penetrate the salt first and then your food. Therefore, the barn is not the best place to store your food. The Bible says that each one of us has received a measure of faith, or salt in this case, and that we must protect it from overuse or abuse. Although faith itself has a preserving quality, we are obligated to doing everything we can to preserve and protect that which preserves and protects us, and not to expose it to every whimsical, fleshly desire.

(190da) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Masochism (Self-made martyr) >> Spiritual suicide – There is a resemblance between the complacent Christian and the suicidal person; they both have one thing in common, tastelessness. The Christian who does not bear the fruit of the Spirit but lives according to the standards and principles of the world, instead of by the principles of God’s Kingdom, is in a state of freefall and is committing spiritual suicide, soon to hit the ground with a fatal thud, and there he will remain. Instead of giving him a proper burial, people will just trample him underfoot, along with his gospel. When we look at suicide victims, virtually every one of them suffered from the same condition, tastelessness regarding their own lives. They try to get away from themselves by committing suicide. Therefore, helping a suicidal person is a matter of adding a little flavor to his life through the fruit of the Spirit, and once he gets a taste of what God is serving, he will develop a taste for the Kingdom of God and become a Christian source of flavor to others.

(217e) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> God gives up on you >> After you are no longer able to repent -- Just as salt that has lost its saltiness cannot be regenerated, so after faith has lost its faithfulness, how will it be made faithful again? Jesus said that when a Christian loses his savor, he cannot get it back. It is hard to retrieve faith once we lose it. God expels tasteless Christians like we expel tasteless food, according to Rev 3-15,16, “I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” Instead of being tasteless, the Laodiceans had a temperature problem in regard to zeal. People generally like food that is either cold or hot, but seldom like it lukewarm. We like the contrast in temperatures in our mouth, which we interpret as an aspect of taste. The person who is tasteless is actually expelled by God. This speaks of the warnings in Hebrews where it says, “It is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame” (Heb 6-6), scary stuff.

(222c) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Do not give what is holy to dogs >> God does not entrust his treasures to dogs >> Do not invest yourself in dogs

(226a) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Parables >> Parables about salt – What is the savor that Christians provide? The pagans tell us how we taste; what do they say? If they say that our Christianity is tasteless, how can we argue with them? It would be like a waiter at a restaurant serving a meal, and the patron complains that the food is tasteless. Should the waiter argue with him and claim that the food is good? It is just an opinion, so even if the waiter thinks the food tastes good, the opinion of the patron is that it doesn’t. Nevertheless, Jesus affirms that Christians are the salt of the earth. Paul talked about the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy peace, patience, kindness, etc. These are very tasteful fruits to virtually everyone’s palate. Even an unbeliever enjoys the love of God from a Christian if the fruit is truly produced by the Spirit, but if the flesh manufactures it, it is just being nice. The point that Jesus was making was that this savor was not produced by individual Christians but by the Church as a whole having an overall positive influence on the world, all the while being separate from the world, even as salt is an essential ingredient in almost all foods but itself not being a food. While all the terrible things are happening in the world, the Church seeks to add flavor. Instead of taking, the Church wants to give; instead of being exploitive, the Church strives to heal and bless, and through this process the gospel is conveyed. The “Christian” who comes preaching the gospel of the kingdom without demonstrating the fruit of that kingdom, does more to insult his hearers than to lead them to Christ. His message is obnoxious. All they hear is the offense of the gospel and not the promises and blessing intended for this life and the next. The person who walks by the Spirit and produces the fruit of the Spirit is the true soul winner, but the one who tries various shortcuts is tasteless.

(232d) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Count the cost >> If Jesus cost too much, then you aren’t worth much

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Mat 5,14-16

(112f) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Light >> Obeying the truth in broad daylight >> Church’s deeds in the light

(226a) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Parables >> Parables about lamps

Mat 5-16

(128b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Goodness >> Doing good in the presence of God -- The difference between letting your good works shine before men and parading your righteousness for others to see is that one glorifies God while the other glorifies self. One edifies and encourages the lowly, while the other is boorish and crass. 

Mat 5,17-20

(90k) Thy kingdom come >> Keeping the law >> Unless you keep the law you will not see heaven -- And so the great debate between faith and works (the law) continues. Where is the balance between these two issues? Some people teach that the law has been abolished by walking in the Spirit though faith, but what does the law teach? "You shall love the Lord you God with all your strength, heart, soul and mind..." along with the other nine commandments. Wouldn't you agree that there is no better way to sum up the goal of faith or the Spirit's ministry in your life, to lead you into the love of God? Then how could the law be abolished? That would be like saying we should abolish the love of God! No, the law is like a dirt road growing grass and weeds in it, leading up to the king's palace. It has been replaced by a highway that leads to the same palace. We don't use the law to attain its goals, we use the Spirit through faith to attain the same goals that the law outlined for us since Moses. So to answer the initial question, Jesus said, "If your righteousness does not exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven." Jesus essentially was saying that we will go to hell for not fulfilling the law, because it is evidence that we were not walking in the Spirit through faith, which is how the Bible teaches we get to heaven. 

Mat 5,17-19

(141c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> It bears witness to Jesus >> Prophesy about Jesus’ ministry >> Jesus as the Son of God

Mat 5-17

(41b) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Be like Jesus >> Jesus is without sin >> He fulfilled the law -- Jesus fulfilled the law to the letter, and not just the prophesies. He never broke a single commandment while He lived in the flesh; that was His greatest miracle. The fact that Jesus was without sin is absolutely central to the gospel. He could not have died for our sin if He Himself was with sin. He could not have even gone back to heaven and rejoined His Father and the Spirit in the holy trinity. That is why Satan tempted Him in the wilderness, and did everything in his power to cause Him to stumble, like He did with Adam. It was logically and physically feasible for Jesus to have given into sin, but it was spiritually and divinely impossible, simply because He was God in the flesh, and God cannot fail! 

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19-22 "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 21 "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER ' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' 22 "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. 

Mat 5-19

(45h) Judgment >> Of believer’s sin >> God will judge us if we don’t heed His word

(48j) Judgment >> Levels of judgment >> Judged by withdrawing rewards -- When it comes to God judging the sin of the believer, He does not impose any kind of sentence on us like He does on the unbeliever. Rather, He simply withdraws His rewards from us. We all have a trail of good works that God has prepared for us and expects us to walk on it, and He rewards us according to how much of that trail we follow and consequently how many of those good works we fulfill. Perceptibly, the works we fail to do will not see its conjugate reward. The rewards of doing the will of God primarily consist of the brightness of our glory, and by the limits of our spiritual understanding (hence, how close of a relationship we can have with Jesus). These will for eternity perfectly reflect how we spent our transitory lives on earth, either selfishly or for the will of God. The judgment will be that we will have to face eternity knowing we could have done more for the cause of Christ.

(226g) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of the Kingdom of Heaven >> Reserved in heaven >> Rewarded in heaven

 

Mat 5,20-22

(94e) Thy kingdom come >> Perspective >> God’s Perspective on the Church -- These verses go with verses 27-48. This is basically what James said in chapter 2 of his epistle, “Faith without works is dead” (Vs 14-26). Jesus concurred that if our righteousness does not surpass that of the Scribes and Pharisees we would not see the Kingdom of Heaven. Mat 23-14 says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.” They confiscated widows houses because they couldn’t pay the temple tax and left them begging on the streets, similar to what the government does to its citizens today. In terms of righteousness what kind of a standard is that? If our faith does not inspire us to develop righteousness higher than that, then we will be going to hell with them. Without a standard of conduct, how can we prove our faith? If we believe in Jesus for eternal life, and our righteousness surpasses theirs, heaven’s gates will be opened wide to us. Caring for widows, starting with our own mothers, is not asking much from us, but the question remains: how far must our righteousness surpass that of the Scribes and Pharisees before we are considered candidates of heaven? There is no line or gauge for this, but there is a standard that we must surpass, and we don’t know to what degree we must surpass it. If we treat people decently with respect and glorify God by believing in Jesus for eternal life, there is nothing in Scripture that says we cannot enter the heavenly gates.

Mat 5-20

(5h) Responsibility >> Discipleship tested >> God tests your loyalty >> Your commitment to follow Jesus – Discipleship reduces to this one thing that Jesus said, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Our righteousness does two things: it shows our appreciation to Christ after we have received His grace and mercy; and it communicates to others the gospel of Christ, for we cannot convey the gospel without a righteousness of our own, yet this righteousness does not save us.

(127j) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Goodness >> Rewards for doing good >> Doing good is the prerequisite to going to heaven -- People scoff at the concept of our righteousness, not seeing where it plays a part in our faith, thinking that any level of righteousness is self-righteousness, but that is not the case. On the one hand, if we are not good Christians, we are hypocrites, and on the other, if we talk about having a righteousness of our own, then we are legalists and have nullified the grace of God, so where is the happy medium in that? There are doctrines and teachings about righteousness in the Church today that resemble a knotted ball of string. We know that many of the scribes and Pharisees were wicked, so Jesus didn’t set the bar very high, but He did command us to love our enemies, and this the Pharisees did not do, suggesting that this is the righteousness that Jesus indicated. Simply, if we don't have no righteousness to show for our faith, then we will not see heaven. So yes, there is a place for righteousness in the Christian faith, and in fact the new covenant was given for the very purpose that we might develop and maintain a certain standard of righteousness, and let that standard continue to increase throughout our lives. We don’t use our righteousness to appeal to God for His favor; we do that through the cross, but if we don’t have a righteousness of our own, James will tell us that an inability to demonstrate our faith suggests that we don’t have any.

Mat 5,21-26

(24l) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Unrighteous anger -- Fear and sin are equivalent terms; fear is the source of sin. We could probably name half a million things we are afraid of, but there is really only one thing that we fear, and that is poverty. We were born and we will die in stark poverty, and between life and death we will scramble to amass as many resources as possible in our battle against every living thing's greatest enemy -- need. Some succeed valiantly, becoming very rich, while others barely escape the cold pangs of hunger. Still others don't escape at all, but succumb to impoverishment from the inside out. Jesus taught us not to be afraid of lacking what we need for our families, promising to sustain us if we will make serving Him our highest priority. In this verse we see a picture of bitterness rising against our neighbor and taking his life, or just being angry with our brother. Either way it is sin, lashing out at someone for threatening our security in one way or another, protecting the cushion of our money belt or our stored resources, from those who are just as immersed in poverty as we are. We cannot help our state of utter impoverishment, but we can determine not to turn to sin as a means of meeting our needs.

Mat 5-21,22

(26b) Sin >> Consequences of sin >> Death is hell >> Sin has the sentence of hell – Jesus is telling us these things in disregard of faith in His blood sacrifice, that if He had never paid the penalty for our sins, the smallest offense imaginable would have been enough to send us into the pits of hell. Let’s say someone lived a perfect life, who never once committed a sin (which no one can do), except for one day he said to his friend, “You fool,” called him a name and hurt his feelings; that is a sin. Without the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ He would have been barred from heaven, because God cannot accept imperfection in His presence, just like Adam committed one sin, and he became a sinner, and all that he had or would ever have became part of his sinful world in need of a savior. Now we know the tremendous value of this one sacrifice that God made for us through His Son. He went to the cross a perfect man, who never committed a sin and died for the sake of sinners. He did not have to do this for himself. Our faith in His cross has redeemed us from sin, and now we can stand before God in a state of perfection that He accomplished for us. Faith in Jesus is enough for God to accept us into His presence and into His heavenly kingdom.

(218j) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> Reaping the harvest in eternity

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23-26 "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. 25 "Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 "Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent. 

 

Mat 5-23,24

(4l) Responsibility >> Advocate God’s cause >> Being accountable to your brother

(9j) Responsibility >> Strengthen one another >> Bear one another’s burdens – I used to think this verse was about someone who had misgivings against me; that is actually part of it. If there were an ultimate burden, it would have to be unforgiveness. Attempting to set things straight with a brother who cannot forgive is a supreme act of mercy in view of all the suffering involved in bitterness. To allow someone to sit in a state of acrimony is negligence on our part to the degree that God won’t accept our own gifts until we help the person from their pit of resentment. Jesus teats everyone as the most mature person of an altercation.  Also, we are the best candidate to help the brother, since we are the object of his anger. Before I can worship God I must first go to my brother and resolve any relationship problems, and then return to the altar and offer my prayers to God. However, I now realize this passage is mostly indicating that I was the one who has sinned against my brother, which is his complaint against me. I need to go and ask his forgiveness and make amends; I am the one at fault for the broken relationship, and I am required to fix it before I can have a genuine relationship with God. Jesus is saying that if we don’t do this, then our relationship with God is not real. Our wisdom is not real; our understanding of the Scriptures is faulty; our prayers are not heard, and the things we think we are receiving from God may in fact not be coming from God at all, but we may be communing with demons! Jesus is asking how we are supposed to conduct a relationship with God if we are failing on a basic level in relationships with our fellow man. We are to maintain all relationships in a state of godliness. Jesus is not saying we are to be perfect; He is saying when we sin, we are to go and fix what we have wrecked, and that will make us perfect. 

(81c) Thy kingdom come >> Prayer >> The priesthood >> Ministering to God – The altar represents our ministry of the Royal Priesthood that we perform as students of God’s word and disciples of prayer. Often we go to God and our relationship with Him is rich, and when we go to Him another day, we are presented with a brick wall. Our experience in prayer sounds like we are talking to ourselves; there is no sense of presence; the Holy Spirit is not particularly interested in what we have to say. Our relationship with God should be a tremendous motivator to repent and fix all our relationships with people so our relationship with God can once again flourish. If our faith does not motivate us, it is a red flag that there is something fundamentally wrong with our relationship with God, such as we need to get saved.

(89k) Thy kingdom come >> God convicts us of sin >> Conviction makes us conscious of sin Jesus painted the picture of presenting our offering at the altar; that is, we go to the temple and get on our knees and are about to present our offering to the Lord, and this is where we realize what we must do to have genuine faith in God. Prayer opens our eyes to the sins we have committed. Before we attempted to pray we hadn’t realized our faults, then an obstacle suddenly appeared in our minds like a brick wall the moment we said “Dear Lord….” This is not something we can remove or circumvent through prayer; rather, we will have to do something about it. If we don’t fix relationships with other people, our relationship with God will never get past this wall. It represents a pattern of disobedience, which leads to a hardened heart. Eventually we will erroneously develop the idea that we can have faith in God with frayed relationships with our fellow man, but under this condition our faith will be false. If we want genuine faith, then relationships with family, friends and acquaintances (in that order) must also be genuine. We learn this lesson at the altar of prayer.

(137l) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Maturity >> Maturing with our brothers >> Maturity is tested by our relationship with others – Why can’t we go to heaven the same day we get saved? Why do we need to keep living here? God has a plan in place and is instituting it; He wants us to live this life in the way we will in heaven. He wants us to practice living in heaven before we get there with all the hindrances in our way to prove that this is how we really want to live. He wants us to willingly become slaves of righteousness in this life so we won’t feel like slaves of righteousness in the life to come. The obstacles in our way of godliness God sees as an advantage. The hardships and the difficulties of this life make our efforts to live a godly life more meaningful. It answers the question: what if the option were given to act contrary to the way we would normally act in heaven? If given the option, how would we live in eternity? Would we still choose godliness? If we were never given the opportunity to answer that question, we may always wonder about it. We don’t always choose godliness in this life; often we do things to offend people, but then we go and mend the relationship. When we get to heaven, there will not be obstacles and hindrances in the way of living a godly life, but we will know that if there were hindrances, we would still serve God, because that is what we are doing now. Despite the circumstances we are still serving God, and that will stay with us for the rest of all eternity. We are going to know that we love God; we won’t have to assume it. God in His foresight knows that these questions need to be answered now.

(189b) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Holy sacrifice >> Holy offering -- As is God's reputation, He requires our sacrifice and then uses it to heal us. Although our sacrifices may bless God and help others, it probably benefits us more than anyone. What is the greater sacrifice, to throw a couple dollars into the till, or to help someone forgive you for something you may or may not have done. The fact is, if you are mature enough to help someone get through their bitterness toward you, chances are their anger is based on a misunderstanding or on something you did unintentionally or not at all. That is how it usually is, people get mad at shadows and let their anger ruin their lives. There is never any substance to the complaints that destroy people. 

(224i) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Description of heaven >> The people of heaven >> Traits of those who make it to heaven – This passage is indicating that the only way to maintain a good relationship with the Lord is to maintain good relationships with people. Jesus is depicting the contrast between a religion and a relationship with God. Religion says, ‘I am going to the altar and I don’t care about my relationship with God; I will just present my offering and go back home.’ Relationship says, ‘I will do whatever it takes to maintain my faith in God.’ Those who love God have a rich experience with Him, so we mend relationships among acquaintances and among friends and family members so we can come back and minister to God with the richness of His presence restored. It is definitely worth groveling to our fellow man, especially when it was our sin that caused the break in the first place. It doesn’t matter if the person receives our apology when we repented. If he doesn’t, it indicates the condition of his own relationship with God.

(235c) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Tithing >> Be faithful in your tithes >> Unfaithfulness nullifies your tithe

(250f) Priorities >> God’s prerequisites >> Sequence of priorities >> Natural then the spiritual (obedience then anointing) -- Do you want to carry the torch of the anointing? Do you want to do something great for God? Then you must first order the natural things in your life (like forgiveness) before you can go on to spiritual things. You cannot leapfrog over major personal issues and expect God to hand over His power and authority to you. If you are not mature enough to deal with them, then you will fudge the spiritual issues too. Then it won't be just you, people will get hurt. 

Mat 5-25,26

(161i) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Satan’s attitude determines our direction >> Carried Away by Condemnation >> Condemnation based on evidence of sin -- Here we see the sequence of events that lead to bitterness and the fallout of its terrorizing consequences. First, we understand that Satan wants us bitter and unforgiving, so he masterminds a hostile environment in the world to make it seem normal to be bitter. Once we build up resentment for someone it takes over our minds and carries us away to a milieu of dungeons wherein we are thereby tormented day and night, or we could just learn to forgive and be free. 

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27&28 "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY '; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 

Mat 5,27-48

(94e) Thy kingdom come >> Perspective >> God’s Perspective on the Church -- These verses go with verses 21&22. The beatitudes are where we learn the true heart of Jesus and how He lived in the flesh. It is also where our own sinful natures are strongly admonished; it is where we see the long way to go before we approach becoming like Jesus in our behavior. After all, how can we live like Him in a world full of need and greed? That is the point -- We keep forgetting that Jesus is with us and will supply all our needs. If we partially fulfill His word, then no one will benefit; but if we live it every day people will come to realize that you are with God and God is with you. There will be those who will persecute you for that, but if you live it well, those who don't persecute you will respect you and disapprove of those who do. You will be at the heart of a spiritual war simply by loving your enemies through your faith in Jesus without even saying a word. Now imagine what will happen when you open your mouth with the word of God!

Mat 5-27,28

(22i) Sin >> Lust (craving pleasure) >> Lust of the eyes – The one who is enslaved by lust is a very discontented, frustrated and unhappy person. The lust of temptation is death warmed over by death (Jm 1-14,15). Temptation is one thing, but paying attention to it is another, reanimating it like a zombie that comes after us, seeking our life that dwells in us from God. Temptation turns to lust; being dead, it produces death, not meant for human consumption; nothing positive comes of it. Once lust is conceived, it gives birth to sin, the process has been set in motion with no way to stop it. That is why Jesus said not to even look at her. We think sin is like a beautiful butterfly that floats on the air without a care. That is the promise of sin, but it never delivers. Lust is like the chrysalis that the caterpillar builds imprisoning itself, knowing that a transformation internally is occurring but knowing almost nothing about how it works. Both James and the Lord concur that once the larva has formed, it is only a matter of time before the adult stage of the insect will emerge, only not as a beautiful butterfly but as a stinging locus that consumes the fruit of our labors and destroys us in the end. Jesus is outlining the transformative process from temptation to lust to sin that happens so easily. The only control we have is to avoid paying attention to our temptations in the first place; otherwise sin will become irresistible.

(74b) Thy kingdom come >> The heart >> God wants a relationship with your heart – Jesus is revealing the true nature of our relationship with God by giving us an example of the opposite. He taught that meditating on thoughts of adultery is equivalent to the act itself. Therefore, the opposite must also be true in regard to faith. As we meditate on the Scriptures, our thoughts about God are more than just wishful thinking; they are the very substance of His kingdom. Literal as He takes our adulterous thoughts is literal as He takes our desire for righteousness. Renewing our minds through prayer and in the Scriptures, meditating on the thoughts of God, sensing the elation of His presence, our experiences with God are just as real as the man who meditates on thoughts of adultery. As we grow in the things of God and in the power of the age to come, these are more than emotions; they are the very pillars of God’s kingdom being built in our lives. If God takes our thoughts of adultery literally, then He takes our meditations on Him just as literal. To the extent that we feel God’s Kingdom established in our hearts is the extent that God is literally establishing His kingdom in us. It is more than a feeling. We can have a special time with God in our prayer closet or a praise and worship session at the church with a body of believers and truly sense the presence of God; if our thoughts of adultery are the same as the act of adultery, then our thoughts and feelings about God are real too. We can have an epiphany and then meet somebody who sabotages that moment and wonder if what we felt was real; if our thoughts and feelings of adultery are real, then our thoughts and feelings of God are just as real.

(74j) Thy kingdom come >> Heart of man is sinful >> Sin is conceived in the heart

(134j) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Sins of the body >> Immorality >> Adultery >> Physical adultery – The old covenant was based on laws and ordinances, whereas the new covenant is based on the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and knows the thoughts and intensions of the heart (Heb 4-12). This can be divided into two considerations. In the new covenant case, when looking upon a woman to lust for her, the sin has already been committed; it is not a question anymore as to whether the man has sinned. In the old covenant case, the man goes through with his lustful thoughts and has an adulterous affair. We have the wishing on the one hand and the doing on the other. Jesus is saying that the doing is the result of the wishing, that if we hadn’t wished for an adulterous affair, it wouldn’t have happened. Jesus is getting to the root of sin, suggesting that the new covenant is the root of the old covenant. If we mow down the weeds in our garden, it will spread the seeds evenly throughout the garden while leaving the roots intact; they will just grow again and spread more seeds. What we must do is get on our knees with a digger and root out the weeds in our garden one by one and cast them in a pail and dispose of them before they propagate and overrun our garden. Our wishes and desires are hindering God’s will in our lives, and if we let them go, they will eventually manifest. Supposing a man had thousands of weedy thoughts over the years, but had only one adulterous affair, suggests that all the weedy thoughts produced the one act of adultery. If we don’t do anything to keep our passions and desires in check, inevitably they will manifest.

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29&30 "If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 "If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. 

 

Mat 5-29,30

(47c) Judgment >> Hell is a place of sorrow >> Hell is to be avoided at any cost If you are so committed to repenting that you are willing to poke your eyes out and cut off our hands, then we should be committed enough to repent without having to maim ourselves. Jesus knew that, so was He being literal here? No, He wasn't being literal about maiming ourselves, but He was being literal about committing ourselves to whatever extent it takes to avoid hell.   

(189i) Masochism (Key verse)

(190b) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Masochism (Self-made martyr) >> Taking your sinful nature by force -- Let's face it, even if we cut off our hand, if repentance were not in our heart, we would simply find another way to sin. Even so, Christ wants us to become separate from our old ways. Although Christ did not mean that we should really harm ourselves, our level of commitment against sin should rival the commitment it would take to cut off our limbs, only expressed in better, more practical ways. After all, once we repent God could use our fingers for His own purposes, so leave them on. Salvation is a free gift; our sins are forgiven, and there is nothing we need do to get saved, so can we continue in sin and expect God to forgive us? God would say we had the wrong idea about Christianity. Since God has saved us from our sins (Mat 1-21), it would be preposterous to still live in them (Rom 6-1,2). Christianity more than believes in a set of doctrines; we believe in God; we believe in His attributes and His character, and sin is the antithesis of Him. The problem with many people in the Church today is they are not interested in doing God’s will; many are only interested in living however they feel. Christians today are like wild animals, who take our food but want nothing to do with us. Wild animals are supposed to act like that, but God wants to subject our sinful flesh to His will, that we might choose Him over our corrupt desires, harnessing our bodies and putting us to work for his purpose. 

(209g) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Righteous saved with difficulty >> Righteous saved with casualties -- Symbolically, the word casualties means our fingers and our eye balls, but literal casualties suggests that some of us will not repent, and their sin will plunge them into a reprobate mind to lose their souls. To them, Jesus was speaking literally about dismembering their bodies to avoid hell. If that is what it would take, then it would be better to go fetch the axe.  

(232b) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Count the cost >> The cost is more than you can imagine so don’t count – If hellfire exterminates its inhabitants, how could Jesus statement remain true? Although it may involve excruciating pain, it would soon end; therefore, wouldn’t it be worth it as a sinner to live however he pleased throughout his life to merely face temporary consequences? God would throw him into the lake of fire and when they hit the liquid-hot magma, their bodies would instantly vaporize, their existence terminated; that doesn’t seem much worse than living without a hand or an eye. If the consequence of hell is just to be exterminated, then sinners should use this life as one long heathen-fest and exploit their own bodies to extract as much pleasure from it as possible, we will just be exterminated in the afterlife. It might hurt for a couple seconds, like getting a shot at the doctor’s office. Sinners having sex with whomever and then going to the doctor to have a painful procedure without anesthesia after contracting an STD, is much like the person who sins his whole life and then goes to hell and is exterminated, this is not what Jesus is telling us in these verses, not at all. Hell is eternal punishment, where its residents remain alive forever. Whatever it takes to avoid hell, that is the level of commitment we should have to enter heaven.

(246c) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Literally set free from bondage This is one of Jesus' many scary statements that make us fear God as we read His word. He was implying that bondage to the sins we practice can lead us to hell. Most people don’t know what to think about hell these days. Evangelicals and Baptists don’t seem to have a problem with it; they’re saved and going to heaven, so they don’t have to worry about going there. The era of fire and brimstone preaching has come and gone, having been ridiculed, so now churches don’t usually preach about hell, apparently because they don't want to be ridiculed. There are other groups who look more seriously at hell as a place of eternal torment, being why Jesus said it would be better to go lame into heaven to go whole into hell. He wasn’t spiritualizing this or being symbolic; he was speaking literally; it really would be better to temporarily suffer a self-inflicted wound than to suffer forever in hell; there is nothing symbolic about that.

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31-42 "It was said, 'WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE '; 32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. 33 "Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.' 34 "But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. 36 "Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes ' or 'No, no '; anything beyond these is of evil. 38 "You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.' 39 "But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41 "Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. 

 

Mat 5-31,32

(3f) Responsibility >> To the Family >> Divorce because of your hardness of heart – A marriage with a good sexual relationship is usually a good marriage, but couples have been known to dissolve even when they have common interests, through personality clashes, and people with personalities in common can break up from a conflict of interests; either way selfishness is always at the center of the divorce. They say opposites attract, yet couples break-up because of differences; divorce is rampant because the couples are not alike in their souls. The mixture must be just right for the marriage to work from a human standpoint, but in the eyes of God if both just become less selfish, almost any marriage would work. It is about setting priorities; first, our intended should have a working relationship with the Lord, then the couple should be compatible. Combine that with a few common interests and a healthy sex life, and these are Christian marriages that endure for a lifetime.

Mat 5,33-37

(2a) Keep your commitments (Key verse)

(2e) Responsibility >> Keep your commitments >> it is better not to vow at all – God has made an oath in Heb 6,16-20; however, Jesus strongly advised against it. For man to give an oath is gambling with his weakness and his lack of knowledge; but for God to make an oath is sure to happen. When we swear to do something, it makes us obligated to do it. It is no longer something we should do, but something we must do. We cannot break an oath we never made. We must keep our promises, but people are not particularly good at this, and so they invented the paper-promise, the signature, and since we started signing our name, our word has come to mean little to nothing. Now people say things and do not do them without any repercussions to their conscience. Moreover, there are things that occur in life that make it impossible to fulfill our vows, such as a case in the book of Acts when a band of thugs made an oath to kill Paul before they ate another meal. Meanwhile, Paul caught wind of it and was escorted from His jail cell to an undisclosed location, so the thugs were not able to keep their oath (Act 23,12-25). Do you think they starved to death? Of course they didn’t; they ate and broke their vow. Their life was more important than their word, but their word became worthless, and back then their word was their life. A person could excuse himself saying, ‘There were circumstances that occurred beyond my control, but there is always one thing we do control, and that is the choice not to make an oath in the first place.

(85k) Thy kingdom come >> Words of your mouth >> Better not to say anything >> Words will make you obligated

Mat 5,38-48

(34n) Gift of God >> Be generous like your Father >> Love your enemies – These verses go with verse 7. Jesus said about indifference to our fellow man in the Beatitudes, “If you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Vs 46-48). Jesus wants us to love not just our friends and family but also our neighbors and even our enemies. Loving our enemies is one of the hardest things a Christian will ever have to do by faith. Jesus knew how hard this commandment would be on our sinful nature, but He didn’t care. He absolutely expects us to walk in love and not to let other people determine whether we actually love them or not. We are to love everyone no matter what they do to us; that doesn’t mean we should make ourselves available to their abuse, though Jesus said in verse 39, “Do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” This is making ourselves available to abuse, but Jesus was trying to communicate that if the guy actually slapped us the second time, it would bring conviction to his heart to finally open his ears and listen to the gospel that we are preaching to them. In other words, it is an evangelism tool; this is how we get some people saved through love. Letting the guy slap us communicates to the person that we are willing to endure his abuse for the sake of his eternal salvation.

(43j) Judgment >> Satan destroyed in the absence of sin >> Perfected in love Loving our brother completes our faith, but loving our enemies is tantamount to being perfect. God is not interested in us having a mental ascent about Him; instead, he wants us to show Him that we are His children here and now. God has indeed perfected us through the blood of His Son so that we stand before Him perfect and complete, but then He wants us to demonstrate our standing with Him through the members of our bodies to prove we are the children of God (Jm 1,2-4). If we all put these verses into practice in our lives, what could Satan do to us? His so-called power over the world would crumble without saying a word. 

(124j) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love your enemies >> Love your enemies because God loves His -- This is the most anti-war rhetoric that I have ever read. They might also be the most difficult verses to read and accept as a way of life, yet they confirm how right we are in believing in Jesus. I am proud to be a Christian, because His cause was only good; I am confident that He will never lead me to harm another person, since He never did any harm to anyone. If everyone everywhere together were to put these verses into practice, it would solve every problem in the world. 

(192c) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Gain by losing >> Life for life >> Losing your identity to gain God’s identity -- I cannot out-stress the term "Process of substitution." God does not ask us to give up anything that He will not replace with seven times the ability to satisfy. With God we must lose to win, we must give up our lives to receive His life, we must lose our identity to gain His, but at a small price. We must love our enemies as He loved His. 

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43-48 "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' 44 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 "If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 

Mat 5,43-48

(31b) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> He favors you as a servant – Jesus called us to love our enemies because He did, who is the exact representation of the Father. God is one to forgive a sin, to overlook an injustice against Him, to be loving and gracious to those who spitefully use Him, and the result of this is salvation for us, since we do these things to Him. It may be a hard thing to ask of us, but if we remember that God loves His enemies, and is therefore willing to forgive our trespasses, then the love we show those who hate us will complete God’s reason for pardoning us. Jesus said to do it as His sons and daughters. If love will be the norm in the life to come, then He wants us to be retroactive and behave this way now. 

(122e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence in yourself as you die to sin >> Confident in your salvation – If a person were racist, and someone of a different color did nothing against him, it would be easy to love him, except that he is racist. How much more do the sons of God love their enemies? This is what develops confidence in God. We can do a host of things; we can become relief workers, running behind hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes, helping victims of natural disasters, and still lack confidence in our salivation. However, that is not the case when we love our enemies, because it is so unnatural to our sinful nature. Only Christians do this; the world does not teach us to love our enemies. Rather, the world teaches to be nice, but being nice and loving our enemies are two different things. Being nice is a humanistic form of love, based on principles, parameters and definitions that we determine for ourselves, but to love our enemies according to the will of God, if someone takes our shirt, we must let him have our coat also. Jesus was the least materialistic person on earth, though he owns everything in heaven. He owns the universe, but in this life He showed no interest in material things, which can only mean that He feels the same way in heaven. He doesn’t take pride in His possessions, though He may remind us occasionally that He is our creator; rather, He takes pride in His character, in the fact that He is able to love His enemies.

(124k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love your enemies >> Love your enemies that you may not become like them The truth of this passage is undeniable, for the sun really does shine indiscriminately on everyone, and it does rains based on weather patterns, not based on the people who live on the land. Loving our enemies is one of the greatest works of our faith, because it demonstrates that we are the children of God more that anything else we could do. Ungrateful and evil men are those who blame God for the darkness and evil that is in them and in the world, and they contribute to it. Jesus said that His Father is kind to them. God takes credit for every good thing in a sinner’s life as though giving directly to him: a warm early spring day, a balmy summer afternoon, a grilled steak and a glass of ice-cold water.

(156da) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of salvation >> Loving your fellow man is evidence of salvation >> Love your enemies -- These verses go with verses 11,12

(246j) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Demonstration of God’s kingdom >> God demonstrates His glory >> Outward demonstration of an inward work – We have the opportunity of a lifetime to demonstrate God’s love and kindness, because in heaven we won’t have enemies. Imagine being in heaven having never been given this life, bragging that we would love our fellow man regardless of the circumstances. It would all be conjecture since we could never prove it, but now we can. Jesus said that His Father causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. The rain does not discriminate between the righteous and the wicked, though the Old Testament prophecies indicate that God will literally rain on the righteous and not the wicked during the Millennium (Zechariah 14-17), but during this era of randomness the natural forces are not capable of making decisions about where to rain. Look at the apostle Paul; he was a persecutor and a violent aggressor against the Church when Christ called him into service. Just as God naturally loves His enemies by sending the sun and the rain on them, so He wants us to joyfully love our enemies, to be indiscriminant and let our spiritual side reign instead of our flesh, even as God drenches the earth with His natural essence. Therefore, if God commands us to prove we are His children in this life, it suggests that God intends to manifest His kingdom in the natural realm. Heaven therefore is not just a spiritual place, but also a physical place. For this reason He wants us to manifest our faith in the physical realm, because God is the kind of person to think that if it doesn’t physically manifest, then it isn’t real. Had God designed us a spiritual kingdom with no potential to manifest in a physical sense, it would be good for nothing, and if God intends to give us such a life, then we should be preparing for it now, behaving like His children by loving our enemies. Jesus said that showing through a simple gesture of greeting a stranger, would make a difference in the world, and if the Kingdom of God could grow by a simple expression, how much more would it grow if we loved our enemies?

Mat 5,43-45

(32i) Gift of God >> Father will honor you if you die to self >> Honor His word in you -- These verses go with verses 11&12

(45k) Judgment >> Spiritual warfare >> Subjecting your flesh >> Satan VS the saints >> Defeating Satan in weakness of sinful flesh – People spread rumors in the community as a way of persecuting the Church; that is what they did to Jesus trying to make Him into a monster, and after 3½ years the only evidence they had against Him was the statement He made about the temple being torn down and rebuilt in three days, and the confession He made in their kangaroo court as the Son of God. Even then the only way they could get Him crucified was to cause a riot and threaten to bring down the whole city if they didn’t get their way. Usually the stories liars spread have a grain of truth to them, so if they are pushed to prove their accusations, they can spin it however they wish. They tried the same tactics on the Apostle Paul, and he went through the legal legal system, which demanded proof of their accusations, and since they had none, Paul’s accusers were no-shows in court, which ultimately led to His release only after years of incarceration, where he wrote the majority of his epistles of the New Testament. 

(88a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith produces works >> Relationship between faith and works >> Works establish your faith – Loving our enemies develops confidence that we are indeed the children of God, which in turn encourages us to love our enemies all the more, which will help us to further realize that we are the children of God. This snowball effect will cause the world to stand up and take notice. It is a known fact that the Church has always increased spiritually and numerically in times of persecution and martyrdom. If there is a snowball effect that builds faith as we love our enemies, then there is also a snowball effect that erodes our faith if we don’t love our enemies. Just like persecution and martyrdom affects the world for good, causing salvation, so refusing to love our enemies will have a negative effect on the world, influencing people to reject the gospel of Christ. So do we have a choice to love our enemies? Not really!

(207la) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Salvation verses >> The kindness of God >> God is kind to sinners >> He calls sinners to repentance – Jesus didn’t use all kinds of superlatives to explain God’s love to us; instead, He died for our sins; that is what we needed. Emotional expressions of love are not from God. To look for something that a person needs and give it to him; that is the love of God. To the degree that the sun is indiscriminate on whom it shines, models for us to be indiscriminate on whom we love, but if we do love one person over another, we should have a reason for it beyond the fact that we like him better or that she is better looking. The Bible says that many are called but few are chosen; God doesn’t save everybody anymore than He heals everybody, so we too are to discriminate according to the leading of the Holy Spirit to care about certain people that God places in front of us. If He calls us to help somebody and we don’t do it; instead, we help somebody else, what good is that, for we did not do it by faith? The fact that we disobeyed the Lord indicates that we used personal criteria to determine how we spent our resources, which will not bear the fruit that God intended.

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Mat 5-44,45

(33b) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Believers are His sons and daughters -- These verses go with verse 9. For the person who seems to have faith but doesn’t have confidence, the best advice for him is to love his enemies, for this promotes confidence in our salvation like nothing else. We would be well instructed in this verse, noting the word that is missing, the word “like”. Jesus didn’t say we might be like sons of our Father in heaven, but that we might be His sons and daughters. This is our confidence before God that we love our enemies, frankly that we love all people. When Jesus told us to love our enemies, probably the first thing that comes to mind is stark terror; and when it says, “That you may be sons of your Father in heaven,” it doesn’t say that we do it to be like sons of our Heavenly Father, but that we may actually be sons, meaning that if we don’t love our enemies, we are not the children of God. The second emotion that passes through most of us after reading this verse is serenity, knowing that God doesn’t stop loving us when we sin anymore than the sun stops shining on us when we sin.

(35d) Gift of God >> God is willing to Give >> No partiality with God’s generosity -- Just as there is no partiality with God's judgment, so neither is there any partiality with His kindness and generosity. They work the same, only they are opposites. A person can receive good things from God His whole life even without believing in Him, and then die and be judged by God with the same impartiality that he enjoyed on earth. 

(124g) Love Your Enemies (Key verse)

(126j) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Patience >> Have the patience of God

Mat 5-48

(43f) Perfect (mature) (Key verse)

 

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Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org 

 

MATTHEW CHAPTER 6

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1-5 "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 "But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 5 "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 

Mat 6,1-4

(124b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Acts of love >> Love takes from the rich and gives to the poor >> love is the act of giving to the poor – Jesus exonerates giving to the poor as a chief expression of our righteousness; this is reiterated many times throughout Scripture, but if we give with the wrong motive, to be admired in this life, then we can expect no reward from God. All too often there are many opportunities to give to the poor, but in this day and age, it seems everybody has an angle and nothing is as it seems, and so when we think we are giving to the poor, we are often giving to a scam artist. Many of these people have a lot more potential to hold down a job and work for a living, but they don’t make this choice, and we are supposed to finance their decision. In these days of welfare and food stamps how do we distinguish the poor from professional panhandlers? Shysters pretend to be poor but are just lazy and refuse to work, allowing their children to go hungry and poorly clothed. It is only the children who are poor and not the parents, so we should help the children, for how do we know that the money we give won’t go to their vise of choice? A panhandler who is a drunk is not necessarily considered poor. They may be utterly dysfunctional and self-destructive, and their lives may have reduced to the place where they happen to be standing at the time, but that does not fit the definition of the poor according to the Bible. They need to get saved and deal with their bondage, but when we preach Jesus to them, they almost never respond to the gospel. The “poor” are better defined as those who work hard for a living but can’t make ends meet.

(174h) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Form of godliness >> Self righteousness >> Appearing righteous before men -- Here is one of those situations where we must rightly divide the word of God, and when we do, there is a blessing waiting for us; we can better understand the Scriptures. Compare verse 1 with Mat 5-16. One tells us to let people see our good works and the other cautions us of practicing our righteousness before men. You can get semantic and make a case on the difference between "good works" and "righteousness," or you can say they are practicing righteousness to be noticed by men. In both cases they are hoping to be noticed by men, but the heart of the matter is that one is practicing righteousness to glorify God, while the other is doing so to glorify self. Therefore I say go ahead and practice your righteousness before men and let your light shine; just be careful that you are doing it for God and not for yourself. 

Mat 6-1

(76f) Thy kingdom come >> Wicked motives >> Motives based on self-righteousness – We should use the Scriptures to carefully define the poor and help those who meet that definition, not for our own sake but for the sake of the poor, with the hope of receiving an eternal reward. Jesus didn’t condemn the pursuance of eternal rewards, simply because they are acts of faith. To live our lives for the sake of the life to come underscores everything Jesus taught. If we help the poor in hope of receiving an eternal reward, that is not selfish but is being like God; it is faith; but if we do it to be noticed by men, God will assume we don’t want an eternal reward and cancel it. When we get to heaven, God will pull out our report card and show us our motives, and we won’t be able to deny it.

(169h) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Seeking the glory of man >> Loving the approval of men rather than the approval of God >> Love to be noticed by men -- This verse goes with verse 5

(227a) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of heaven >> God rewards us for obeying Him >> God rewards what we do for Him in secret -- This verse goes with verse 4. God is watching us in secret; He has set up the Christian life in this world where He found us. We don’t get saved and go to heaven right away; we live out the rest of our days in this world by faith, promoting the Kingdom of God. He wants us to walk by faith, because He too lives by faith. Before God created the universe nothing existed, and so when He spoke the stars into heaven, He said it by faith. Everything He does is by faith, and He wants to give us the same opportunity, and one of the aspects of living and walking by faith is cultivating a righteousness of our own, and one of the key components of our righteousness is giving to the poor. This should be one of the main tenets of our faith in Jesus; it should be an aspect of our relationship with God and a facet of our ministry to the world. 

Mat 6-1,2

(159d) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Counterfeit godliness >> Counterfeit righteousness – Motives make the difference between receiving a temporal reward and receiving an eternal reward. The Bible as a whole teaches that giving to the poor is one of the most righteous acts we can do, but if we do it with a wrong motive, to be noticed by men, God will not reward us. What is God’s reward anyway? Is it more money that we can give to the poor, then why doesn’t He just give it directly to the poor? Jesus is talking about eternal rewards and money is not an eternal reward. Many of the prosperity teachers who have concocted doctrines such as “Give to get” are acting the same as closing the Bible and putting it on the shelf and never touching it again. In all our studies, if that is what we are getting from it, we’ve wasted our time. Although it is true that if we give, God will give back all the more, as it says in Lk 6-38, “They will pour into your lap a good measure -pressed down, shaken together, and running over,” He desires to reward us in this life, but eternal concerns are the direction He wants to lead us. Jesus taught, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mat 6,19-21). Nevertheless, people have found ways to turn God’s word into blessing for this life, and those bending kingdom principles will be victims of Jesus’ warning, “Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full” (Mat 6-2). We are so steeped in issues concerning this life that we can’t stop for one minute and live for Jesus for the sake of eternity. People are not storing up treasures in heaven these days; rather, everything they do is aimed at benefiting themselves in this life.

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Mat 6-3,4 

(63d) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Righteous deception >> Righteous self-deception – Not letting our left hand know what our right-hand is doing is mental manipulation with good motives, but sinners use this very concept to commit sin while denying what they are doing. Jesus advocates using this mechanism to do righteousness. We should not gloat over our righteousness or consider ourselves holy because of our acts of kindness. These are not the things that justify us before God; a person could say then, why does God want us to have a righteousness of our own? If God is good and if we are His children, then we should reflect His attributes in our behavior and live accordingly.

(235e) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Tithing >> Offerings >> Help your weaker neighbor (alms) – Certain people may be on welfare and food stamps and every known source of income without working for it, yet their children receive none of the benefit, because it all goes to tobacco, drugs and alcohol. They know all the angles; they learn from their friends how to exploit the system and turn benefits into money they can spend on things other than their children’s needs. This does not meet the definition of the poor according to the Bible. The biblical definition of the poor are those who are most susceptible to receiving the gospel of Christ, but go preach Jesus to these people and see what comes of it. It is very difficult to actually help poor people in today’s world, and those who are truly poor are suffering all the more because of the pseudo-poor. One of the best ways to help the poor these days is to get to know them; don’t just give them money; take them to a restaurant and buy them a meal. In the winter time if they are wearing tennis shoes and we give them a new pair of insolated boots, they might sell them to buy alcohol, and then get drunk and pass out wearing those same tennis shoes we saw them wearing the day we met them, and they get their feet frostbit and amputated; that is a true story. It is very difficult to help the poor these days. Those who work for a living and are trying their best to make ends meet are those most in need of help, but they are usually not the ones asking for help.

Mat 6-4

(227a) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of heaven >> God rewards us for obeying Him >> God rewards what we do for Him in secret -- This verse goes with verse 6. This is not to say that God doesn't reward us for the things we do in the sight of men, but there are some good things that are best done in secret, such as prayer. For another example, alms are gifts to the poor, typically understood to be the poor outside the Church. This kind of gift giving is best done in secret (leaving a bag of groceries at the back door, etc.), because it makes your giving seem angelic; in fact, it is God working through you to perform the ministry of angels.  

Mat 6,5-15

(82d) Thy kingdom come >> Three elements of prayer >> Our approach >> How to pray – Over and above God answering our prayers, God will also give us what we need according to His standard, which always involves faith. When God answers our prayers, it has the effect of rewarding us with His presence. We will soon notice that the times we spend in prayer are the greatest times of our lives. They are the times that God changes us in ways that defy description, transforming us into conformity with Himself. Over a period of years, we look back and discover that we are not the same person, and we notice that we have become someone we were not actually trying to emulate. He changes us in ways that transcend the imagination to become more like Him. God wants us to possess and embrace these changes. Paul talked about the fruits of the Spirit, which are the attributes of God: love, joy, peace, patience, etc. They sound good on paper, but when we are transformed into His image through the ministry of the word of God and prayer, He doesn’t just place words in our hearts; He places an anointing in us that produces these fruits and develops the attributes of God that do more than simply produce the fruit of God’s kingdom; they enable us the think the thoughts of God, and these thoughts are transformative.

Mat 6-5

(169h) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Seeking the glory of man >> Loving the approval of men rather than the approval of God >> Love to be noticed by men -- This verse goes with verse 16. Prayer is not something we do to win social status. In fact, very few people have a problem with this passage; people don’t go around bragging about how much they pray. It must be one of those things that is intuitive, but the Pharisees were guilty of this, so apparently it wasn’t intuitive to them. They were the ultimate hypocrites. Every generation has had its pharisaical hypocrites; other than them, Jesus seemed to get through to the entire human race about this particular aspect of the gospel, but that does not mean there are no more pharisaical hypocrites in our day. Instead, they express their hypocrisy in different ways, not necessarily different from the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, but at least they don’t stand on the street corners and pretend to be spiritual. There no doubt are some people who still do this, and we know them as spiritual fruitcakes.

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6-9 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 7 "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 "So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. 9 "Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 

Mat 6-6

(82g) Thy kingdom come >> Three elements of prayer >> Where to pray

(227a) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of heaven >> God rewards us for obeying Him >> God rewards what we do for Him in secret -- This verse goes with verses 16-18. The whole idea of prayer is to talk to God in attempt to be recognized by Him. We know this by the fact that Jesus is speaking to us against the backdrop of the Pharisees seeking recognition from men. Jesus is essentially saying, don’t seek to be recognized by men, but seek to be recognized by God. Someone might ask, ‘Isn’t that selfish to seek recognition from God?’ Jesus would give an emphatic, ‘No!’ He said in Jn 5-44, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” Seeking recognition from God is not selfish; in fact, there is no selfish motive for seeking the glory of God, who will reward us for going into our inner rooms and closing the door and praying to Him who sees in secret. He may not reward us by answering our prayers, but He will reward us just the same; that is a promise from the Lord. This is even better than getting our prayers answered in that God promises to reward us in ways that invariably are better than the things we asked in prayer.

Mat 6-7

(238j) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> Teachers "remind" their students >> Teaching by rote – Chanting is not an acceptable manner of prayer, because it does not come from the heart; instead, it comes from a book. We open the book to a certain page and chant meaningless repetition; meanwhile, we could be thinking about literally anything else, perhaps our neighbor’s wife or our next business swindle. Many religions chant prayers, and Jesus said that God is not honored by them. Even chanting the Lord’s Prayer was not what Jesus had in mind when He taught us how to pray. God prefers that we speak to Him from our hearts; He wants us to tell Him how we feel about Him, how we feel about our enemies and how we feel about our sin. If we are mad at God, He wants us to personally tell Him. He doesn’t have a problem with that; at least He is getting our hearts, and if He can resolve the problems of our hearts and correct the relationship, then He will have a child who believes in Him from the heart. If we care enough about God to express ourselves to Him, there is hope, but the person who stiff-arms God with various chants shows his lack of interest in Him.

Mat 6-7,8

(173c) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Catholicism >> Scripture that contradicts the catholic faith >> Catholic doctrine versus the Bible -- Chanting in the Catholic Church is integrated into their liturgy as an essential part of their ceremonies. Chanting lyrics can be found in their doctrinal theology, and in their various books of chanting. Therefore, because chanting comes from a book and not from the heart, it goes unheard, and because they believe in it, it is witchcraft. God is interested in what you say to Him from your heart, not from a book of chants. If you don't believe this, reread these verses. God just wants you to tell Him what is on your mind; He doesn't care about your religion. 

Mat 6-8

(82i) Thy kingdom come >> Prayer >> Thankfulness >> Giving thanks for His blessings -- This verse goes with verse 11. When it comes to Christianity, God says to His people, ‘You are to be different from the world,’ and He treats us differently. He doesn’t want to just give us what we need; He wants us to ask Him for it. God wants a relationship with us and part of that relationship is thanking Him for our provisions; that way, it keeps us close to Him, because we have many needs. With God it is all about relationship, and prayer is the very foundation of that relationship in conjunction with His word of truth. He wants the truth of His word to jump off the page and live in our hearts. Those inanimate inkblots He wants to come alive and dwell in our hearts in the form of faith, and this process is accomplished through prayer.

(92k) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way connects you to God >> It solidifies your relationship with Him – Someone might ask, ‘If God knows what I need, then why do I need to tell Him?’ In answer, let’s say there are two ships at sea, one is the supply ship and the other is the ship in need of supplies. If the one radios to the supply ship and tells them what they need, why do they still need to set up a transfer line between them? The transfer line is the manner in which the ship receives supplies. For the same reason God wants us to ask Him for the things we need, because it sets up a transfer line, making a connection with God by which His provisions are transferred. In contrast, how many cultures and generations and centuries of man have been on the earth who received their needs without ever coming to know Him? Jesus said in Mat 5-45, “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” God is generous and gives to people who don’t even know Him; therefore, how much more is He willing to give to His beloved children who love and adore Him? He wants that connection to make a one-to-one correspondence between our needs being met and our relationship with Him. He wants us to share our lives with Him, which is something the world doesn’t understand. Instead, the world understands having a lifestyle of evil without divine interference. They don’t want God giving them advice or convicting them of sin or giving them an evil conscience. They want what is in His hand, but they don’t want Him.

Mat 6-9

(100l) Thy kingdom come >> Devotion >> In your ministry to God >> Devoted to worshipping God – The first thing in the Lord’s Prayer is to worship God’s name. Hallowed is another word for “holy.” Therefore, the holiness of God is something that transcends all other aspects of God. His holiness is above His grace and mercy; consequently, the Father sent His Son to die for the sins of the world to appease His holiness, and also to make a way for His grace and mercy to reach us.

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10-12 'Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 'Give us this day our daily bread. 12 'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 

Mat 6-10

(74a) Thy kingdom come (Key verse for entire chapter) Not only is this the key verse for this chapter, it is key to understanding Jesus’ mission, and is therefore key to the entire Bible! A mere handful of words encapsulates the gospel of Christ, which according to the Lord’s Prayer we should live in the same way that we will live in heaven. Of course we will never achieve that because we are all sinners, yet ironically striving for this goal is more important than achieving it. That is, we shouldn’t revel in our sin while we hope for heaven. That is not the Lord’s vision; it is not His gospel. This is the longest chapter in Jean's Bible Study, suggesting it is the most relevant and the most comprehensive chapter in the concordance, hence the most important subject of the Bible. The compelling relevance of this chapter explains in painstaking detail the process of walking and communicating with God as we establish His kingdom on the earth. Each step guides the reader into a concise procedure of obedience, leading to a deep and abiding relationship with God. Spiritual maturity being the means by which we establish God's kingdom on the earth suggests that it is the main theme of the Bible and God's primary vision for the Church with "Unity" as the ultimate goal. The Scriptures verify themselves with hundreds of references attesting to the fact that we are not passive spectators but active participants of His plan and will for mankind.

(117g) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Eyes of your spirit >> Vision >> Real-eyes God’s purpose for the Church >> Understand Jesus' vision of the Church – “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” is a condensed summary of God’s vision for mankind in the gospel of Christ. It’s not a long dissertation but a short sentence, integrated into our prayers. It gives rise to God’s kingdom coming to this earth as the great hope of Christianity. The God in whom we believe will subvert all other kingdoms and establish His own kingdom in their place, reminding ourselves of this every time we pray the Lord’s prayer. Jesus obviously wants this endtime prophecy on the frontals of our minds though some people mock the importance of endtime prophecy. Jesus wants us to pray for His coming kingdom second only to worshipping His holy name, and then reiterates His vision of a coming kingdom at the end of the Lord’s prayer to emphasize its importance.

(245o) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Spirit realm superimposed upon the natural realm >> The natural manifesting into the spiritual -- This verse is key to understanding the entire Bible and Jesus' mission. When God sent His Son to earth to live among us on that first Christmas night, He imposed the Spirit realm on the natural realm, and God literally manifested Himself in the flesh. Now that He has created a spiritual people through His own blood, He wants us to manifest the Kingdom of God through love. God's ultimate goal has always been to create heaven on earth; it was His intension when He made the Garden of Eden, and He will fulfill His intention at the end of the age according to the book of Revelation when He makes all things new. In the mean time He wants His people to head in that direction; since our spiritual destiny is to live in heaven on earth, let's get doing it. 

Mat 6-11

(30a) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> God knows our needs >> He is our provider – To ask God for His daily provision is to give Him thanks for it, for we give Him the credit every time we open the refrigerator and drink a slug of juice or reach for the eggs and cheese. We have reason to thank God, because “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (Jm 1-17). Others say, ‘No, no, the farmer did it; somebody picked up His eggs and distributed them throughout the stores, and some were shipped to my corner market and I went to the store and bought some.’ This whole system that is set up in our country is a blessing from God. No matter what we have, even what we don’t have we give thanks to God, not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because He deserves it.

(82i) Thy kingdom come >> Prayer >> Thankfulness >> Giving thanks for His blessings -- This verse goes with verse 8. Asking God for our daily bread represents our leash. To the degree that we have a need to eat is the degree to which we should pray. This is reiterated in various ways throughout the Bible; Job said, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23-12); and Jesus refused to turn the stone into bread during His temptations in the desert saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’” (Mat 4-4). To hunger for God more than food, that is what fasting means. If we had to choose between eating and our relationship with God, we would rather starve to death than forsake God; that is what fasting says. Giving thank before each meal says the same thing, only in celebration of life. the shorter the leash, representing prayer before each meal, the more evidence that God treasures our fellowship.

Mat 6-12,13

(43i) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Perfected by God – “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors” is talking about two sides of the same coin, as is also forgiveness and bitterness. “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one” is really saying the same thing, in that forgiveness delivers us from evil. We all know that God would never lead us into temptation; in fact James comes right out and says it, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.” So, what did Jesus mean by “Lead us not into temptation”? We know that God will allow us to be tempted. We also know that trials and temptations have a way of perfecting us if we survive and overcome them. Therefore, He was teaching us to pray to avoid the whole process of perfection through trial and error, but to allow God to be our teacher instead. The fact that it is in the Lord’s prayer suggests that this is His preferred way. However, if we will not serve Him or obey Him, then there are always trials and temptations that will do the work for Him. If we are the children of God that we say we are, we will be required to overcome. Jesus warned that in this life we will have tribulation (Jn 16-33), so not all our trouble stems from our weaknesses (sins), but also from the weaknesses of others.

Mat 6-12

(119g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Debt free – We forgive those who sin against us as a reminder of our own forgiveness from God. Therefore, to the degree that we don’t forgive those who offend us is the degree to which we have forgotten the grace and mercy that God has extended to us. So, to forgive our debtors is to be debt-free and demonstrates to God our appreciation for His forgiveness. Jesus said if we refuse to forgive our debtors, God will not forgive us, meaning we will lose our faith and possibly our place in heaven because of bitterness. This is how critical it is that we should demonstrate our faith in Him. It is not enough that we say we love God; He wants us to show us. We will often fail, and when we do, we repent and continue in faith. Repentance in God’s mind is a way that completely covers our sin, but outside of repentance He is mindful of the things we do against Him, for these are the things that sent His Son to the cross. The blood of Christ erases our sin from the mind of God through repentance so that He does not count these things against us.

(120d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Forgiveness >> Forgiving your brother >> As God has forgiven you -- The word "As" is a big one in this verse (NAS). In the English language, it is used to mean either "While" or "to the same degree" In this case it is the second usage. That means God forgives us to the same degree that we forgive our fellow man. So if we partially forgive our brother, He partially forgives us! However, this is not a heaven or hell kind of forgiveness, but one that determines our fate in this life. The heavy burden of guilt is only partially lifted, according to our own level and standard of forgiveness. Remember the healing of the paralytic in Mark chapter 2? Jesus forgave his sins as He healed the man. The paralytic was healed and forgiven according to his faith. In the same way, God lifts our burden of guilt according to our standard of forgiveness and forgives us according to our faith, since all things from God are on the basis of faith. 

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13-18 'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.'] 14 "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 "But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. 16 "Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17 "But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 

Mat 6,13-18

(255f) Trinity >> Father, Son and Holy Spirit >> The process of imparting the substance of God >> Father discloses the word by the Spirit -- The ultimate revelation and the premise to all spiritual knowledge is putting the word of God into practice in our lives through prayer. This includes installing in our hearts the lessons of forgiveness, because without that our prayers will bounce off the ceiling until we learn to forgive those who wrong us. Forgiveness is the greatest proof that we know and believe in God, in that it is one the highest forms of love, and God is love. If we are willing to forgive your neighbor because we have realized that we have been forgiven, it conveys a powerful message. It is a rare thing to see someone free from the burden of bitterness, but it should be as common as the number of Christians in the world.  

Mat 6-13

(227g) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Depending on Jesus to have compassion >> Depending on Jesus to deliver us – Someone might say, ‘Of course God would not lead us into temptation!’ Why then did Jesus command us to pray that He not lead us into temptation if He would never do it? Didn’t God lead Job into temptation by allowing Satan to take everything that was precious to him? The way Job saw it was through circumstances that took over his life, like they sometimes do to us, and God was in charge of it all. Initially, it wasn't God’s idea to test Job, but after Satan brought it up, God did not advocate for Job, instead agreed with the devil to test Job. God tested Job through Satan to see what was in him, and it proved that Job was faithful and loved God with all his heart. It proved this not only to God by also to the devil, and it was for this reason that God agreed to test Job. There is a relationship between God and the devil that we don't completely understand. All we know for sure is that God is interested in proving the devil wrong about his choice to do evil. It is so important to God that He prove the devil wrong about evil that He will allow evil in our lives and give us grace to endure it just to prove that we are not like him. This message was communicated to the devil with great suffering on Job’s part, but it was worth it to God, and ultimately job benefited from it in this life, and in the life to come he will be all the more glorified through his temptations, so why wouldn’t God lead us into temptation if it is to our benefit? Jesus told us to pray daily that God advocates for our welfare rather than allow evil to come upon us, though we stand to benefit from our victories. When Satan says, ‘Hey God, I want to test your disciple,’ our previous prayers may lead God to deny his request. This way we have an easier and a better life, and we can prove to God in other ways that we love Him, in ways that Jesus just spoke: worship His name, live as we will in heaven, give thanks for his provision and forgive those who offend us. However, people who have often been tested are blessed in ways that an easy life cannot give us; they develop intimacy with God and wisdom that an easy life cannot acquire. Whether we are blessed or tested we win, so long as we remain faithful.

Mat 6-14,15

(120a) Forgiveness (Key verse)

(120e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Forgiveness >> Forgiving your brother >> Don’t forgive your brother and God won’t forgive you – Of all the things Jesus said in the Lord’s Prayer, reiterating forgiveness was most befitting, because it is most difficult. People do things to us that are sometimes incomprehensible to us. When the world offends us, we understand it better than when a brother offends us. Worldly, unregenerate people are greedy and self-serving, they care nothing for anybody but sacrifice whomever it takes to get what they want. However, when a brother offends us, it is always harder to forgive because of our lack of understanding. It is discouraging to our faith to have a fellow believer take advantage of us. Whether they are Christians or non-Christians we are obligated to forgive. He didn’t say to forgive and forget. We don’t have to trust those who sin against us; in fact, we would be advised not to trust them. Someone might say that it would not be genuine forgiveness if the relationship were not restored, but this is simply not true; forgiveness is not meant for the other person; it is meant for the one who forgives. We should let the Lord lead us whether we should attempt to restore the relationship through repentance. There are other times when trying to restore a person is futile and even foolish.

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Mat 6-14

(156da) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of salvation >> Loving your fellow man is evidence of salvation >> Love your enemies – If a Christian is in name only, we cannot win him to the Lord, for there is no one harder to win to Christ than a person who thinks he’s already saved. Doesn’t a person know when he believes and when he doesn’t? Not always! There are many people who think they believe when in fact they don’t. That is like saying there are people who think they are in pain when in fact they’re not.’ They ought to know if they are in pain. This is the mindset of Christendom in regard to belief. They say, ‘I ought to know if I believe… I ought to know if my arm hurts... I ought to know if I am happy.’ However, belief is not like any of these examples. Rather it is more like a light switch; it is either on or off, and its status is obvious to all who are in the room. Belief is not about how we feel but is behavior oriented. The Bible equates belief with obedience, so if we are obedient to Christ, then we show evidence of our beliefs. We all commit sin occasionally while believing in God, which accounts for the gray area. This ‘gray area’ is the Christian’s enemy, and we try to avoid it like the plague. The more gray area, the more reason we have to have doubts; but the less gray area, the more confidence we have that our faith is real.

(208bb) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Salvation verses >> The kindness of God >> You can be saved without ever hearing about Jesus

Mat 6,16-18

(189k) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Masochism (Self-made martyr) >> Fasting >> Fasting is a state of mourning -- There are questions about how to fast and  when, but a better question is why fast? What is fasting? We could see it as a simulation of suicide, only not as an analogy of killing yourselves, but starving the sinful nature (often referred in the Bible as the "Old man"). It also serves as an illustration of just how we unfasten the fetters of sin. We don't attack it or run from it (usually), but simply neglect it. It carries the message that just as you are willing to deprive your body of food, so you are putting the old man on notice that you are also willing to withhold from it the sin that it craves. Fasting is a way of mourning over our sin, and demonstrates that we are actively seeking repentance for the bondage that keeps us from serving God in a more exact way.  

(227a) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of heaven >> God rewards us for obeying Him >> God rewards what we do for Him in secret -- These verses go with verse 1

Mat 6-16

(169h) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Seeking the glory of man >> Loving the approval of men rather than the approval of God >> Love to be noticed by men -- This verse goes with verse 1

Mat 6-17

(113i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> The anointing >> Anoint with oil

 

19-24 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 "The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. 

Mat 6,19-21

(7l) Responsibility >> Use time wisely >> Get ready >> Use this time to gather – This life has been given us as a time to gather. He advocated seeking the treasures of heaven; why then do people repudiate heavenly rewards? God commands us to have a righteousness of our own, a standard of conduct that produces good works in His name, besides the righteousness of God through faith. The Bible teaches that our good works prove our faith, and we gather rewards for a kingdom that we will enjoy throughout eternity. Remember the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years who gathered the manna every morning to nourish their bodies throughout the day, which was their food that sustained them. We are to do the same and gather rewards on a daily basis for the Kingdom of Heaven. We are living in the last days, and it is likely that we will see the return of Christ in our lifetime. There are people called preppers, who are busy preparing for the last days by storing up food and ammunition and building a shelter, where they think they will survive an onslaught that is predicted by Scripture and economists and others, who see a period of sorrows coming in the near future, but Jesus never told us to prepare this way. Instead, He told us to store up treasures in heaven, which means that when the last days finally come and this time of sorrows begins, He intends to provide for His people in much the same way that he provided for his people in the wilderness in the days of Moses.

(21m) Sin >> Greed tries to satisfy man’s need for security >> The love of money -- These verses go with verse 24. Jesus instructs us to give up trying to complete ourselves through the accumulation of money or material goods; it is a poor substitute for the Holy Spirit who alone can occupy our hearts to make us fully satisfied.  

(74g) Thy kingdom come >> Heart is central value system >> Man’s treasure chest

(165e) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Do not partake of the world >> Do not desire the treasures of the world

(226g) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of the Kingdom of Heaven >> Reserved in heaven >> Rewarded in heaven

(236h) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Invest your treasures into the kingdom >> Invest everything you value -- Invest everything you value into the kingdom so you don't get tempted to turn around and use it for evil. 

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Mat 6,22-24 

(134c) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Mediator between the natural and the spiritual realms >> Your body manifests whatever is in your heart -- The eye is the window of the soul in that we can see out and others can see in. Our bodies will be full of light or darkness depending on our works being either good or evil. If we fill our eyes full of good or evil, good or evil will emanate from us. What we put in is what will come out. 

Mat 6-22,23

(22i) Sin >> Lust (craving pleasure) >> Lust of the eyes – We must account for the light that is in us, keeping the light in the domain of light and darkness in darkness and not mix them, so we can dispel the darkness within us, instead of gathering the gloom and overshadowing the light and turning everything into varying shades of gray. Jesus speaks of all these things in relation to the eye. Our eyes tell everything about us if we have the discernment to see into them. A man with no conscience thinks he has done no wrong, but then how would he know, since he has no conscience? This gives him a sense of self-righteousness, which is relatively easy to see in people. Therefore, show me a pair of self-righteous eyes and I will show you a man without a conscience. The eye that is clear is the sinner with a healthy conscience, yet does not detect the practice of evil within him. The eye that is clear is one who keeps watch over his soul that no evil befall him, whereas the eye that is smudged is the one who seeks to elude detection. To avoid eye contact would give him away for sure, and so his only option is to cloud them. Having cloudy eyes, then, is a sign of deception and always accompanies a man without conscience.

(58m) Paradox >> Two implied meanings >> False light is self-deception / False light is religion

(186i) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> Man’s role in becoming a reprobate >> Having a perverted sense of justice – Jesus is elevating the nature of sin, describing the totality of evil that is in mankind, saying even the light that is in him is darkness. We ought to be careful what we call righteousness and what we deem good, as Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Cursed is the one who cannot discriminate between good and evil; for if they view righteousness as evil, then how evil is their evil? The ability to discriminate between good and evil is actually difficult for some people; in fact, this is the very description of a psychopath, suggesting that Jesus viewed the whole world with psychopathic tendencies, who have no real sense of goodness in them. This is why psychopaths blend into society so well, because the rest of mankind is not much better, and what makes it worse, psychopaths view our sense of goodness and righteousness as subjective just like theirs, ‘so who is right’ and ‘how can we judge them if our righteousness is merely a matter of opinion?’ they would say. This is why we have the word of God, but the further society strays from it, the less they can judge what is good and evil and what is truth. We gasp at the things psychopaths have done and are able to live with themselves afterwards, because their light is darkness, making their darkness seem not quite so dark. In contrast, those of us who strive for the righteousness of God understand what is darkness and what is light, and we fear God and we fear the false light, and we strive to rise above it. Light and truth are depicted as the same in the Bible, so when Jesus talks about the light that is in us, He is referring to our sense of truth that corresponds with God’s word. Now we can go back to the psychopath and reinterpret him, only instead in terms of his deeds, we can think about him in terms of his mind and the way he thinks. If what he considers true is actually completely wrong, how wrong is what he knows is wrong? We can pick on psychopaths, but the same applies to each of us on different levels.

Mat 6-23

(54c) Paradox >> Opposites >> Dark light -- The word "light" in the Bible normally refers to God's truth. In this case though, it is referring to man's version of truth, which can go from various shades of gray to total darkness. The way we live will determine how much light that is in us and how much darkness we allow in our hearts. Once the darkness reaches a certain critical threshold, our conscience becomes seared and our ability to distinguish between darkness and light is blurred and we begin to call darkness light and light darkness. There will always be darkness within us; the question is how great must the darkness become before we recognize it as darkness? 

(74k) Thy kingdom come >> Heart of man is sinful >> The heart determines which light is in you – Jesus called our heart an eye; if the eye of our heart is bad, our whole body will be full of darkness, referring to our works. He is also addressing what we put in front of our eyes; it will determine the state of our heart and our heart determines what we do. If we put darkness in us, then darkness will come out of us, for we imitate what we see, but if our eye is clear (conscience), we have sought the light and done what we know is right. Paul wrote about the fruit of the light and the unfruitful deeds of darkness (Eph 5,8-14). Jesus is saying that if we consistently look upon evil, doing works of light will no longer be possible to us. People who have surrendered to the darkness are also capable of doing good things, but their motives are evil. They may give to charity and those charities may benefit, but the person giving will not benefit. Jesus talked about light and darkness with no gray area in-between; this is the way God sees us. If we belong to Him and have dedicated our lives to Him, then we are in the light (1Jn 1-5). God sees us in the light of Christ; though we sin, we do it against our own will, having a body of sin and living in a world of sin, having forces against us that makes sinning inevitable. Conversely, if our heart is evil and we view ourselves in light of the few good things we do, Jesus asked, “How great is the darkness?” We know we all commit sin, and many refuse to give their heart to God but believe they are good people apart from the light of Christ, but if we interpret the darkness within us as light, then how great is the darkness that we know also exists in us?

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Mat 6-24

(21m) Sin >> Greed tries to satisfy man’s need for security >> The love of money -- This verse goes with verses 19-21. Jesus clearly stated that of the two masters, one was God and the other was money; and if it isn’t money, then it's something directly related to it, for money is the root of all evil (1Tim 6-10). Money is the foundation of every civilization on earth, and for this reason Jesus said that if we try to worship anything other than God, we are worshipping the unrighteous mammon. If the world economy were to collapse, civilization would collapse with it. In fact, that is exactly how the last days will unfold, which will bring about the great tribulation and the fulfillment of endtime prophecy. Like a set of dominoes, a collapsing economy is the first to fall, setting off a chain of events that will not end until the War of Armageddon and the return of Christ meets fruition, all because man would rather worship money than God.

(57d) Paradox >> Opposites >> Friend of the world is an enemy of God

(154e) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Witness that the world is godless >> Witness that the world hates God – In the same way that the love of money is the root of all evil, so the love of God is the root of our love for everyone else, which means that if we don’t love God, we don’t love anybody; we have no capacity for love. If we love our wives or the brethren, it is the result of our foundational love of God. When the first commandment said that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, that doesn’t leave any room to love money. When we love our wives or the brethren or a poor person on the street, it doesn’t take from the love of God; it is an expression of His love. Consequently, those who love the world hate God, and those who love God hate the world. 1Jn 2-15 says, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” When it says, “Do not love the world,” it doesn’t mean we can be fond of it, for the spirit realm is devoid of fondness. When we read the Scriptures, we discover that God is not fond of anything, but loves and hates with nothing in-between. When someone straddles the fence, trying to love God and money at the same time, his love of money dilutes his love for God so all he can really offer is a fondness for Him, but we can’t “like” God; He is not our buddy. Man views love and hate on opposite ends of the spectrum, where liking someone is in the middle, but since there is no middle ground with spiritual things, the person who likes God actually hates Him. We either love Him or we hate Him, and if we love Him, then by definition we are not worshipping any other gods.

(165f) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Do not partake of the world >> Do not love the world

(195a) Serving Two Masters (Key verse)

(195a) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Idolatry >> Serving two masters >> You can only love one at a time – There are many people who think they can worship God through a lifestyle they have chosen that God disapproves. Perhaps they are dedicated church attendants, tithing regularly and giving a helping hand whenever possible; meanwhile they are lovers of money, which reduces their church participation to mere religiosity. It is not a question of what they love the most, as though one subtracts from the other, leaving a remainder, as though they can love God more than money and God is supposed to accept that. Rather, Jesus is saying that our love of money directly translates to our hatred of God, or that we despise Him at best, and we cannot worship Him and despise Him. Jesus didn’t say we offend God when we love something “more than” Him; He said we give offense when we love something other than Him.

(249i) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> Wealth >> World’s perception of wealth >> The world's wealth erodes good values >> Being a slave to wealth -- The reason Jesus reminded us that it is not possible to serve two masters is that many people have tried to juggle their love for God with their love for money and invariably drop God first. Although unintentional, Jesus has already warned us that we will not only abandon Him, we will even despise Him (at best) before we abandon Him. Since we have been forewarned, deserting Christ for material pursuits is not an accident, but a calculated risk. 

 

25 "For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 

Mat 6,25-34

(24a) Anxiety (Key verse)

(24f) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Anxiety >> Worrying about the things you need -- There is a connection between verse 24 and this passage that can  best be seen in verses 31-33, where Jesus advises us not to become anxious for the things we need. There are obviously those who pursue financial gain with the hope of becoming wealthy, but if we pursue the unrighteous mammon just to meet our needs and not for greedy purposes, Jesus still calls it evil, because our pursuit is not from faith. God wants us to do all things by faith, including work at our jobs, so when the economy fails, we will have a backup plan already in motion. Jesus promises that if we will rely on Him for our earthly needs He will always provide them, maybe not as exorbitantly as we would like, but He will be consistent, and that is what counts when it is time to eat. 

(120j) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Contentment >> Content with your standard of living >> Content with the means God gives you -- Anxiety cannot distinguish between need and greed. Either we are anxious about our next meal, mortgage payment, etc., or we are anxious about not having as much money and material goods as we would like. Regardless, contentment is our best answer. Contentment, if it were a new pill on the market would soon be called a wonder drug, because it is able to fix every problem you have, except that it is a little bitter, like aspirin. The bitterness of contentment is that we have to live with less, but the wonder of contentment is that it makes us happier with less. Jesus doesn’t want us to work and make more money than we really need and push ourselves to the brink of collapse, for what? We get a vision in our minds about what we want in life about things we think would make us happy, and then we start walking down a path to fulfill our dreams and get about halfway down a dark alley to realize just how unhappy our dreams have made us. Throughout the Scriptures the Bible teaches to replace our pursuit of happiness with contentment. This is one of the promises of the Bible: contentment will make us happier than any of our dreams. Contentment is actually our vision from God that He wants us to adopt in order for us to fulfill all the rest of what He envisions for us. We cannot do His will while we are spending all our time and effort chasing the almighty dollar. Jesus is saying that if we live like the birds, He personally will feed us like He feeds the birds. He will personally make sure that we have everything we need if we devote our lives to His purpose, His cause and His vision.

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Mat 6,25-33

(29l) Gift of God >> God knows our needs; therefore we don’t have to care – God’s interests are not in material things; how ironic is that since God is a mighty king of an extravagant kingdom. His streets are made of gold and the wall surrounding the great city is made of precious stones. The gate is made from a single pearl, so we can see that God in heaven is very glitzy, but in this life He wants to teach us that luxury is immaterial. That is, the finer things in life are spiritual. He was trying to teach us that all the materialism in heaven doesn’t mean anything, that He only lives that way because He can afford it, and if He couldn’t, it wouldn’t matter to Him. Heaven could have been made of dirt roads and shacks, and God’s throne could be just a chair He found in a dump, and it fundamentally wouldn’t change anything about the heavenliness of heaven. Heaven is heavenly, not because of all the fancy stuff, but because God is there. Jesus came to us and was in the process of making this earth a paradise when man hung Him on a cross for trying to change the world. Jesus virtually had nothing to His name but the clothes on His back, though He and His disciples usually had their needs met. Sometimes He had no place to lay his head, but His needs were always met, suggesting that we need to reprioritize our lives and more accurately separate what we need from what we want. There are many things we think we need that if we didn’t have them, would not spell the end of our lives. The disciples had nothing, yet they felt they were in heaven when they were with Jesus, because He made them feel secure. All the money, property and materialism of a rich man is meant to make him feel more secure, but the disciples felt safer around Jesus than the rich man in his guarded estate haunted by the thought of his own death. Jesus made his disciples feel that no matter what happens He is in control. When He was crucified they began to doubt it, but after the resurrection they would never doubt again that He was in absolute control, and for that reason they would never have to worry about anything.

Mat 6-25

(134d) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Composition of our bodies is from the earth >> We are physically subject to this natural realm – Life has more meaning than amassing mounds of materialism. Jesus was trying to wean us off trusting in our things. We use them to make us feel better about ourselves. We use them to obtain social status, to make other people feel better about us, so we can be included in their groups and have a high rank among them. He was trying to wean us off our materialism to help us better see an invisible kingdom that made its debut on the day of Pentecost forty days after His resurrection. Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to anoint the faith of His people, and His disciples understood that the Holy Spirit was better than the physical presence of Christ (Jn 16-7). It was a permanent presence of Jesus that they would enjoy for all eternity. Jesus promises we will always have what we need, so long as we continue to follow the voice of the Spirit. That doesn’t sound like much of a promise to those who want fancy cars and bigger houses, but when we follow Jesus, He doesn’t lead us into materialism; rather, He leads us in difficult places where the gospel is accepted. Many of those places are with the poor, and we know that the poor don’t have much money or resources, so when we go to preach to them, we end up in their situation of poverty, but we have the promise of God as our provider.

(249b) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> Wealth >> True perception of wealth >> Do not trust the carnal perception of wealth >> Do not pursue wealth – For some people food means everything to them, and for others their wardrobe is the sum total of their lives, but this doesn’t mean Jesus was wrong; it means some people’s priorities are skewed. This makes their whole lives fundamentally wrong, and they need to repent of their unbelief and realize that there is more to life than what meets the eye and what “meats” the stomach. Jesus in the beatitudes is trying to expand our perspective to help us see beyond our puny lives. The things that seem important are absolutely trivial, and there are other things that are more important than the things we consider necessary. It is important to be healthy, so we are not downplaying nutrition; it is also important to look presentable and to wear enough clothes to deter the goose bumps. However, more than anything Jesus was referring to the number of stars ascribed the restaurants we frequent and to the label on our clothes: Calvin Klein, Claiborne, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, etc. Who made it and how much it costs are both irrelevant. We know that hand-me-down jeans and a shirt will prepare us for the public and thwart a draft just as well as a $43,000 suit at Brioni Vanquish II, and mac-n-cheese will fill the hollow spot as any $300 plate at Eleven Madison Park in New York. Those who are poor and destitute, who cannot afford hand-me-down pants and a shirt, who have no means to ward off their hunger pangs with a peanut butter sandwich, Jesus says to them, ‘don’t worry because our lives are in the hand of God.’ Jesus in this verse promised our basic needs, but making no promises for anything beyond them. He is not in the business of granting us brand new cars and bigger houses, knowing that there is no bottom to man’s hunger for the finer things in life; rather, He was teaching that we will have an eternity to live the good life, but this is not the time for extravagant living.

 

26-34 "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 "And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' 32 "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 

Mat 6,26-30

(151j) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Creation is evidence of God >> Living things reflect the nature of God -- Nature offers many lessons about life and its creator. Some things reflect His beauty and elegance like the deer and its opiate, brown eyes, while other things reflect other traits of God's character, such as tigers that mirror His power and cunning. 

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Mat 6,26-29

(115k) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God through obedience of faith >> Through diligence -- The best analogy for anxiety is "spinning your wheels;" There's a lot of work being done, but nothing is being accomplished. God's remedy for anxiety is the mirror image of anxiety, which I call "working the grace of God." You rarely break a sweat while thus engaged, yet it accomplishes far more than the same amount of human effort. It does things in ways that mere men cannot do. Observe nature and sense its rhythm and notice that everything is in its place, performing what it was designed to do. That is how we should be; but we are usually off doing  more important things, such as engrossing ourselves in materialism as a distraction to what we were born to do. Instead of becoming anxious about accomplishing our own personal goals, lets do a 180 and find our place in the Spirit of our calling and apply ourselves in that direction and be like the rest of creation that is doing what it was designed to do. Sometimes faith does not have a task in order to exist; sometimes faith merely has to believe God at His word and at His personal calling of you and it exists as a more power force in your life than the works of a hundred men. "Just believe and you will see the glory of God."

Mat 6-26

(225m) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Parables about generosity of heart -- We want to build great storehouses and place vast amounts of resources in them to try to secure our future, but fail to see how all our work will affect our lives today, or how a little wind or a little worm could come and devour our labors, destroying our sense of security. Haven't you ever noticed how happy the song birds are, or how pretty a field of flowers can be? How hard do they try to be the way they are? You missed the point; they are not trying at all; they are simply living, and in so flourishing, and in so happy, even without barns full of junk. Relax and trust in God. 

Mat 6,28-30

(225i) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Parables about the garden of the kingdom >> Parables about plants – This is Jesus’ promise: if we will not concern ourselves with our needs, rather seek His kingdom and His righteousness, He will concern Himself with our needs. In His mind, if we worry about our needs, then it’s covered, but if we put our needs in His hand and concern ourselves with His interests, He will make sure our needs are amply supplied by the means that He chooses and according to His standard. God will enact His plan and purpose for our lives in a walk with God that will lead us to all the things we need for our bodies. There are lots of people who determine a path for their feet, leading them in directions that do not put clothes on their back or food in their mouth, doing things and acting in ways that are deleterious, and they care nothing for God’s interests or His plan and purpose for their lives. Since they show no interest in God’s interests, God shows no interest in their interests. The beauty of the obedient Christian who is being led by the Spirit and has dedicated his life to God’s purposes, God will send them on an adventure that not only promises to meet their needs along the way, but promises to do it in a manner that is divine. This is something that every born-again Christian desires, though most are unwilling to follow Christ succinctly enough to see any of it materialize in their lives. God promises to meet our needs, and the clothes He puts on our backs and the car He gives us to drive and the house He furnishes for our shelter may not be extravagant, yet the path that led us to these things was beautiful as a field of flowers. What do we want, beautiful clothes or a beautiful life? This is the question Jesus is posing to us in these verses: do we want to live in a mansion or do we want to live in a miracle? Do we want to eat the best food, or do we want the promise of always having enough as we feast on the presence of God who dwells in our hearts? Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (Jn 4-34). He considered doing the will of God like sitting to a feast; it tasted good to Him, and it should taste good to us.

Mat 6,31-34

(214j) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> God’s time is soon >> God’s time is always now – God is eternal and He thinks in terms of eternity, whereas we are temporal minded, which gets in the way of understanding God. He sees no value in the temporal world, whereas we cannot see eternity with our eyes or with our minds, thus it is difficult to place the same value on it with our faith. We put too much emphasis on the future, whereas God wants us concerned about eternity. We put too much emphasis on this life, whereas God wants us concerned only about this moment and let tomorrow take care of itself. God lives in the moment, which is the secret to living a full life, who has an infinite number of moments, and has already lived an infinite number of moments, and He will continue living an infinite number of moments. We have a finite number of moments, living from day to day with no promise for tomorrow, though we have been promised eternity. Living in the past is spent and living for the future is futile. Jesus wants us concerned only about today and this moment.

Mat 6,31-33

(159g) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Counterfeit godliness >> Wealth is a form of counterfeit godliness – There are many Christians who are totally oblivious to God’s calling in their lives. They keep waiting for it, but if God hasn’t given them a few hints by now, there is a chance their desire to see God’s kingdom through prayer is either missing or insincere, suggesting there are other things more important to them. That is really all it takes to miss their calling, since what they value over Christ is considered idolatry. They will never discover God’s purpose until they root out the idolatry. The one who discovers God’s calling has forsaken all other interests. We know that settling into God’s purpose is the greatest thing we can do, greater than owning a bigger house, driving a faster car, wearing better clothes and going to finer restaurants. The prayer of seeking God’s will is more likely to be answered than any other prayer, obviously because it is in His heart to grant us this. There is nothing harder than trying to get God to give us things intended to replace His will. Does he ever give us things like that? Probably not! There are many prayers that go unanswered that regularly discourage people from praying at all. God’s first priority is the establishment of his kingdom in the world, and He wants us to adopt this as our priority, making our fleshly interests yield to it, but if we are not seeking His kingdom, our fleshly interest will make His kingdom yield to us.

Mat 6-32

(29j) God Knows Your Needs (Key verse)

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Mat 6-33

(41h) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Be like Jesus >> Seek His righteousness

(77a) Thy kingdom come >> Hunger for the essence of God >> Hunger for His righteousness – In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus said, “Give us this day our daily bread” (v11), so He taught us to pray for our needs, and He also taught us to give thanks for the things we have. However, the emphasis should be on verse 10, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This is what He meant in verse 33. We should pray for our needs, but if we seek God for His righteousness, He will supply our needs as a benefit to seeking His kingdom. That is, if we seek His righteousness, we won’t have to ask God for our needs; He will automatically provide them as we manifest His kingdom through the members of our bodies in answer to prayer. He was referring to this when He said, “Do not worry then, saying, 'what will we eat?' or 'what will we drink?' or 'what will we wear for clothing?” He didn’t mean that a person is worrying about his needs in prayer; instead, He meant that they were worrying about them apart from God. The world doesn’t genuinely ask God for help. Just about everybody prays, but not everybody prays a legitimate prayer. In the book of psalms, it says that God counts the prayer of the wicked to be sin (Psalm 109-7), meaning there is nothing the sinner can do that can please God. The only thing the sinner can do to please God is to get saved.

(111k) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Living and active word of God

(231j) Seeking The Kingdom of God (Key verse)

(232k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seek the essence of his kingdom >> Seeking the righteousness of His kingdom

(250h) Priorities >> God’s prerequisites >> Sequence of priorities >> The first is a precondition for what comes after it (Cause and effect) -- People often get ahead of God when it comes to our needs. He wants us to repent of our carnality and worldly living and make a commitment to loosen our grip on this present world and tighten our grip on things that are eternal. If we seek His kingdom and His righteousness, like Solomon who asked God for wisdom to lead Israel and received the majesty of kingship as a perk, God will also provide our needs as a bonus for making His kingdom a priority in our lives. God said to Solomon, ‘Do you want fame, fortune and glory? Whatever you want I will give it to you,’ essentially writing Solomon a blank check. He answered the Lord with a request for wisdom, and God said to him, ‘Because you asked for wisdom and not for fame, fortune and glory, then wisdom you will have, along with fame, fortune and glory.’ Therefore, why bother asking for our peripheral needs when all we really need is the wisdom of God, and with that we will receive everything else on the side? Why ask for clothing on our backs when we can seek God for His kingdom and be clothed with His glory. He never promised to give us the biggest house or the fastest car or the finest clothes or the best food, but He did promise to keep our bellies filled, a shirt on our back and shelter over our heads as we adopt His priorities. If we want a bigger house, we should seek God’s kingdom all the more, so He can take our desires from us and replace them with a greater desire for His will established in our lives, and we forget about this world and all the things that pertain to it.

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