WHY WE READ THE BIBLE? We read for revelation, not just information! We read, as Luke 24 says, to get another glimpse into God’s love for us.
HOW WE READ THE BIBLE FOR REVELATION? (R.E.A.P.) Read Exegete Apply Pray it into your heart!
R – Read Just read… Repetitive reading of a book of the Bible helps us learn and get its message into our hearts. E – Exegete What did it mean to the original audience? A – Apply -What does it mean to us now? -How does this passage point us to Jesus, or remind us of the love he showed us (especially on the cross)? P – Pray into your heart -Reveal: Pray that God would warm your heart again with his love for you as demonstrated most profoundly on the cross. -Action: As your heart is warmed with God’s love pray that you would begin to love him back in greater ways than ever before.
READ: Matthew 5:21-48 Jesus’ Standard = Be Perfect
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, e and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister, will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. 25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. Adultery 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ j 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Divorce 31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ n 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Oaths 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. v Eye for Eye 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ w 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Love for Enemies 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor z and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
EXEGETE: Background to keep in mind #1 -As chapter 5 begins, we find Jesus surrounded by 1) the crowds (those who are interested to hear and observe) and 2) His disciples (those who have answered His call to follow). #2 -Commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount, it is Jesusâ€™ longest recorded message. #3 -He does not address this sermon to the crowds (vs 1). What He has to say on this day on this mountainside is for â€œHis disciples,â€? that are present e.g. those who have already responded to the Kingdom proclamation. #4 -Understood in this context, the sermon is not general morals communicated to a general audience (eg nominal Christians); rather, it is Kingdom morals communicated to those who are part of his kingdom (eg Christians in the heart)
Questions to help us hear what the text is saying to us: 1. In 2-3 sentences how would you summarize Jesus’ overall message in this section? 2. Jesus offers six illustrations of the greater righteousness He describes in verse 20. Fill in the chart below with summary statements to note the contrast He makes. Then note what inner virtue each of His teachings indicates. The first one has been filled in for you.
3. How would you describe Jesus’ attitude toward obedience?
4. Does He expect all of His instructions to be followed to the letter? Why or why not? 5. In 5:48, Jesus gives a summary statement of the six teachings. Write it below: Does Jesus consider this command to be possible for His followers? Look up Leviticus 19:2 to help with your answer. 6. Why is it important for those who belong to the Kingdom to reflect the character of God? 7. All six of Jesus’ teachings deal with some aspect of human relationships. The summary statement of 5:48 speaks to our relationship with God. Look ahead to Matthew 22:36-40. How does it relate to Jesus’ words here in the Sermon on the Mount?
APPLY: I. Personal Application 1. Which of the virtues you listed in your chart do you most need God to bring to fruitfulness and maturity? 2. What sin can you confess related to the lack of that virtue?
II. Gospel-turn the passage to sense God’s love: The Sermon on the Mount isn’t just about us. If it was, we might admire it as a fine bit of idealism, but we’d then return to our normal lives. It’s about Jesus himself. This was the blueprint for his own life. Jesus did it all himself, and opened up the new way of being human so that all who follow him can discover it. When they mocked him, he didn’t respond. When they struck him, he took the pain. When they put the worst bit of Roman equipment on his back—the heavy cross-piece on which he would be killed—he carried it out of the city to the place of his own execution. When they nailed him to the cross, he prayed for them. He asks nothing of his followers that he hasn’t faced himself. And, within his own life, we see a theme that will grow larger and larger until we can’t miss it— the cross. If this is the way to show what God is really like, and if this is the pattern that Jesus himself followed exactly, Matthew is inviting us to draw the conclusion: that in Jesus we see the Emmanuel, the God-with-us person. The Sermon on the Mount isn’t just about how to behave. It’s about discovering the living God in the loving, and dying, Jesus, and learning to reflect that love ourselves into the world that needs it so badly as we look upon Jesus’ love and death for us.1
1 Tom Wright, Matthew for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-15 (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2004), 52–53.
PRAY: Pray that you would sense his love for you right now, and it would transform you to reflect God into all areas of your life (dreams, beliefs, relationships!) .