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Matthew Chapter 5
BIBLE STUDY on the Sermon on the Mount
#1. Matthew 5:1-3 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:  And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (KJV) This speaks of being poor in spirit, but it does not tell us HOW to become poor in spirit. SO, what is poverty of spirit? It is the exact opposite being haughty, proud, self-assertive and self-sufficient. It is opposite of someone always looking for those around them to admire and praise them. It is the opposite of someone who refuses to bow before God. Someone like Pharaoh who said “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?” (Ex.5:2). To be poor in spirit is to admit you are absolutely helpless before God. It is being humble and meek, like Jesus.
The supreme lesson of the first Beatitude is that without poverty of spirit, NO one will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This Beatitude holds an important position. It is the opening sentence of the Sermon on the Mount and it clearly states for all time that NO one is saved who believes there is something within him/her that will make God prefer or accept him. Self-righteousness, moral pride, vain thoughts will condemn the soul to Hell! Blessed are the poor in spirit. Jesus did NOT have to leave the glory and safety of Heaven, but He did for us. He became “poor” for us that we might become rich (2 Cor.8:9). So very great was the poverty in which He entered. His earthly parents were humble peasants. His first bed was a manger in a barn. He worked hard as a carpenter. After He began His ministry, He did not even have a place of His own to lay His Head (Luke 9:58). He was poor and sorrowful (Ps.69:29) He was poor and needy (Ps.86:1). His Heart was wounded within Him (Ps.109:22).
#2. Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (KJV)
Mourn?? For what?YOUR SIN! The first Beatitude must be applied to your heart and life first, or you will NOT, you can NOT mourn for your sin. Rom.7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (KJV) The apostle Paul was poor in spirit! Heb.12:1-B . . . let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (KJV)
They shall be comforted . . . when we mourn for our senseless, inexcusable failures, and we confess them to God . . . we are comforted by the fact that the precious Blood of Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, cleanses us from all our sin. 1 John 1:7-10 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (KJV)
2 Cor. 6:10-A As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; . . . (KJV) When we are poor in spirit and mourn for our sin, the Father approves of our attitude. He hates sin, and when we mourn for our sin, we agree with God that it is wrong.
The same thoughts expressed in the Beatitudes can be found elsewhere in the Scriptures. The poor in spirit are referred to in Zephaniah 3:12. Micah chapter 7 is an example of those who mourn and are comforted. Blessed are they that mourn. Isaiah said He (Jesus) was a man of sorrows (Isa.53:3). He grieved over the hardness of the Pharisees’ hearts (Mark 3:5). He sighed before He healed the deaf and dumb man (Mark 7:34). He wept over Lazarus (John 11:35). He lamented over Jerusalem (Mat.23:37). He prayed with much crying and tears in the Garden of Gethsemane (Heb.5:7). He felt forsaken by the Father on the cross (Mark 15:34). All had forsaken Him, there was none to help Him (Ps.22:11). No sorrow like Jesus’ sorrow (Lam.1:12).
#3. Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (KJV) Again, we go back to the first Beatitude. Poor in spirit is being humble. Being humble is being meek. Gentleness is also associated with meekness, along with being mild mannered. Being humble represents the condition of the heart. A person is either proud and arrogant or they are meek and humble with a humiliated (humbled) heart. Mat.23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (KJV) If we exalt ourselves, one day He will flatten us, squash us like a bug! But if we humble ourselves, one day He will lift us up. Our choice! Greatness comes from serving in Jesus’ eyes. Giving of yourself to help God and others. When we humbly serve, we are aware of others’ needs; and it stops us from focusing only on ourselves; me, me, me! Jesus came as a humble Servant. What kind of greatness do you seek?
Moses was humble, lowly and self-renouncing. Heb.11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;  Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;  Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. (KJV) Ex.3:11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? (KJV)
Jesus was meek. Psalm 25:9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. (KJV) Mat. 21:5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. (KJV) Mat. 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (KJV) The rest that Jesus promises is love, healing and peace with God, NOT the end of all labor.
TRUE believers are meek. Eph.4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; (KJV) Lowliness = modesty; humbleness of mind, humility (of mind), lowliness (of mind). It all goes back to being poor in spirit. For they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (KJV) This is absolutely opposite of what the world thinks! But Jesus seems to imply this Promise has both a literal and spiritual meaning. God’s way must be carried out with calm faith, humility before God, and hope in His deliverance. Jesus promises a sure reward for those with humble attitudes. We find this in Psalm 37:11. How do we become meek? Our Lord was meek and lowly, and He will inherit all things; we are the heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. We are told that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, temperance, and meekness. Only the Spirit of God can convict you and make you meek. By our own effort, we will be proud and arrogant. Meekness is NOT produced by self-effort but by allowing the Spirit to work within you. The Beatitudes present goals which the child of God wants in his own life, but realizes that he cannot do it on his own. Blessed are the meek. Jesus did NOT choose the wise, the learned, the great or the noble. At least four of His apostles were fishermen. One was a tax collector. None were rich. He was a friend of publicans and sinners (Mat.11:19). Again and again when He healed someone, He told them NOT to tell anyone, just opposite of the Pharisees who wanted the limelight. When crowds wanted to make Him their idol, He avoided them (Mark 1:45; 7:24). He went to the mountain to be alone (John 6:15). Instead of showing Himself to the world, He went to the feast in secret (John 7:2-10). When He presented Himself to Israel, as prophesied, He entered Jerusalem riding a foal of a donkey (Zech.9:9; John 12:14). We must be meek, for Jesus was meek!
#4 Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (KJV) We ALL are sinners. We have NO righteousness of our own. Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (KJV) Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (KJV) Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (KJV)
SO. . . if we have NO righteousness of our own, we must receive righteousness from Jesus IF we are to be blessed/approved by God. 1 Cor. 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (KJV) Our righteousness must come from Jesus!
To hunger and thirst after righteousness is actually to have a burning desire to be right with God. Again, we must go back to the first Beatitude. We must be poor in spirit to have any desire to please God! This burning desire is to be a continual, constant desire, and when we hunger and thirst for righteousness, Jesus promises that we shall be filled.
The first 4 Beatitudes have a definite progression of spiritual awakening. #1 Poor in spirit = I am nothing, have nothing and can do nothing without Jesus. #2 Mourning for sin = a conviction of sin, a consciousness of guilt that produces Godly sorrow and mourning. #3 Being meek = renouncing any self-dependence in spiritual matters. We were dust and we shall go back to dust. #4 Hungering and thirsting for righteousness = an intense longing for Christ and the salvation that only He can give us.
Natural man (unsaved, unbelievers) does NOT hunger and thirst for righteousness (1 Cor. 2:14). The “natural man” is in contrast to those who have found that Christ is his righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30).
#5. Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (KJV) These words seem seem to come from Psalm 18:25, "With the merciful Thou wilt show Thyself merciful." Our Lord Himself explicitly teaches that God's way is to awaken in us compassion to our fellow men by His own mercy toward us.
The first four Beatitudes are heart exercises. This is speaking to our soul. Since God has been merciful to us, we must be merciful to those around us. Mercifulness = a gracious disposition to people around us. It is kindness and good will that feels the miseries and pain of others. It is a spirit that has compassion on the sufferings of the afflicted. Mark 11:25-26 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. (KJV) God forgives us! We must forgive others. God is merciful! We must be merciful to others. God delights in mercy (Mic.7:18), so it must be with us. Blessed are the merciful. Mercy is made real in Christ. It was mercy that caused Him to exchange the glory of Heaven for the shame of Earth. It was His matchless mercy that took Him to the cross. It was NOT any righteousness of ours, but His mercy that saved us from the wrath of God and an eternity in Hell (Tit.3:5). It is His mercy that makes Him our faithful High Priest today (Heb.2:17. It is His mercy that makes Him stand before God on our behalf as our Advocate (1 John 2:1). It is because of His abundant mercy that we look to Jesus Christ for eternal life (Jude 21). It is because of His mercy that we shall receive a fair and just judgment when we stand before Him (2 Tim.1:18). . . . http://www.hisservants.org/god%27s_holy_wrath_h_s.htm . . . http://www.hisservants.org/is_there_a_hell_h_s.htm
#6 Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (KJV) Pure in heart does NOT mean sinless perfection in our life. Noah got drunk (Gen.9:18-23); Abraham lied (Gen.12:11-13; 20:2); Moses disobeyed God (Num.20:7-13); Job cursed the day he was born (Job 3:1-10); Elijah ran away (1 Kings 19:1-18); David committed murder (2 Sam.11:14-2); Peter denied Christ (Mat.26:69-74). None of these saints were sinless. NO one is sinless (Rom.3:10,23). Purity = freedom from defilement and divided affections. It is being sincere, genuine, with a singleness of heart. Purity lays aside malice, a filthy mouth, unforgiveness, lies, blasphemy, pride and hypocrisy.
Heart purity begins with a "heart sprinkled from an evil conscience," or a "conscience purged from dead works" (Heb.10:22; 9:14); and this also is taught in the Old Testament (Ps. 32:1-2; Isa.6:5-8; Rom. 4:5-8). When our conscience is purged, we have light so we can see God. 1 John 1:6-7 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (KJV) "Whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him" (1 John 3:6); "He that doeth evil hath not seen God" (3 John 11). When our heart is purified, the whole inner man better understands God.
For they shall see God. Luke 11:34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. (KJV) The Light is Christ; the eye represents spiritual understanding and insight. Evil desires make the eye less sensitive and blot out the light of Christ’s Presence. If you have a hard time seeing God at work in the world and in your life, check your vision. Are sinful desires blinding you to Christ? Can you SEE God?
NO honest person can say that his heart is pure. How can the heart of man, which is desperately wicked (Jer.17:9), be made clean? Jesus said, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3). It is by the washing of regeneration (Tit.3:5) that we are made clean. Only the Blood of Christ can cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:7). Blessed are the pure in heart. This too is perfectly demonstrated in Christ. Only He could have been a Perfect Sacrifice, without spot or blemish, for us (1 Pet.1:19). Only He was uncontaminated by sin, only He was pure and holy (Luke 1:35). Only He was holy, harmless and undefiled (Heb.7:26). In Him was NO sin (1 John 3:5). He did NO sin (1 Pet.2:22). He knew NO sin (2 Cor.5:21). He is pure (1 John 3:3). He said: “I seek not Mine own glory” (John 8:50). Only Jesus can make us pure in heart! We CANNOT do it on our own!
In the Beatitudes, Jesus’ sayings contradict the world’s way of thinking. But God’s way of living usually does contradict the world’s way. If you want to live for God, you must be ready to say and do what is most often opposite to the world. You must give when others take, love when others hate, help when others abuse. By giving up your rights to serve others, one day you shall receive the wonders that God has in store for you.
There are different ways to consider the Beatitudes: (1) They are a code of conduct for Jesus’ disciples. (2) They contrast Kingdom values (what is eternal) with worldly values (what is temporary). (3) They identify the superficial “faith” of the Pharisees (then and now) with the real faith Christ wants. (4) They show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in the new Kingdom. The Beatitudes are NOT multiple choice, pick what you like and forget the rest. You must take them all, for they reveal what we should be like as Christ’s followers. The Sermon on the Mount is a very difficult lesson for us all.
#7 Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (KJV) God’s children do all that they can to keep the peace and strive to recover it when it is broken. If the peace-makers are blessed, then it is woe to the peace-breakers! Blessed/approved by God are peacemakers. They are God’s children because He approves of them. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (KJV) Just Jesus can give us peace! He gives us an internal peace which the world (the unsaved, unbelievers) CANNOT have! Christ alone is the Great Peacemaker. He made peace by His Blood between a righteous God and an unrighteous sinner. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). There is NO man in the world today who can make peace or bring peace. It was not until Christ "made peace by the blood of the cross" that God could manifest Himself as "the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant" (Heb.13:20) and could reveal Himself as "in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them," and hold Himself forth in the astonishing attitude of urging men to be "reconciled to Himself" (2 Cor. 5:19-20). When reconciliation takes place, we have "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom.5:1). . . we have "the peace of God which passeth all understanding" (Phil.4:7). When we become peace-receivers, we are transformed into peace-givers. God is reflected in us; and we peacemakers are accepted as the children of God.
Blessed are the peacemakers. Only Jesus could have made peace with God for us through the Blood of the cross (Col.1:20). Only Jesus could be a propitiation (Rom.3:25), meaning only He could appease (calm) God’s wrath. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles (Eph.2:11-18). Only Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isa.9:6). Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end (Isa. 9:7). Christ shall restore peace to this wicked, war-torn Earth when He returns (2 Pet.3:13).
We now come to the added eighth Beatitude. The first seven reveals the character of saints. The number seven indicates completeness. This last Beatitude is a inactive one, which represents the treatment that the children of God already described, may expect from the world. Almighty God shall one day determine the destiny of ALL men (the righteous and the ungodly) and shall pronounce certain people "blessed" and others "cursed" or condemned. In the following Beatitude, Jesus forewarns those who trust and obey Him, because of the world's estimation and treatment of them.
#8 Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (KJV) Jesus said before, "for righteousness' sake." Here He says “for My sake” which identifies Him and His cause with that of righteousness, coupling the cause of righteousness in the world with the reception of Himself. Would Moses, David, Isaiah or Paul have so said this? NO, even though they certainly suffered for righteousness' sake. But they would NOT have called this "their sake." When Jesus speaks here, being Righteousness incarnate (Mark 1:24; Acts 3:14), He speaks only like Himself, who is Himself God.
This is Luke’s version of Matthew 5:10-12. Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.  Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. (KJV) Luke also names insults and humiliations that tries flesh and blood, that will probably befall those who are faithful to Jesus.
(1) People will hate us. John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. (KJV) Are we better than Jesus? (2) People will separate you from their company, whether from their church, by excommunication, or from their society. Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. (KJV) (3) People will reproach you. Luke 18:32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: (KJV) (4) People will cast out your name as evil. Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. (KJV) Luke uses a word that is even stronger than in Matthew: "leap for joy." The Beatitudes describe what it means to be Christ’s follower; they are standards of conduct; they contrast Kingdom values with worldly values, showing what Christ’s followers can expect from the world and what God will give them; they contrast false devotion (piety) with true humility; and they show how Old Testament expectations are fulfilled in God’s Kingdom. We are blessed indeed when Christ blesses us, but those people will be extremely miserable who fall under His woe and curse! What a great advantage the saint will have over the sinner in the other world!
Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake are blessed (have God’s approval). This saying is characteristic to Christianity. But, there is nothing in ANY of our own sufferings that can merit the approval of God. But IF we are persecuted for Christ’s sake, we should be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven! God will provide that those who lose for Him, shall not lose by Him in the end. Precious Jesus!
How different are the things of God from the things of this world! People call the proud happy, they admire the famous, the rich, the powerful, and the victorious. May we find mercy from the Lord; may we strive be His children, and inherit His Kingdom. Even though we may suffer for Christ in this life, it will be different in Heaven! With these enjoyments and hopes in mind, may we cheerfully welcome disgraceful or painful circumstances when they come, when we suffer from them for Christ. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake. NO ONE was ever persecuted like Jesus, the Righteous One was persecuted! (Rev.12:4). He was afflicted and ready to die from His youth up: (Ps.88:15). At the start of His ministry in Nazareth, people rose up, and thrust Him out of the city, and led Him unto the brow of the hill that they might cast Him down headlong (Luke 4:29). The Jews took up stones to cast at Him (John 8:59). The religious leaders said He had a demon (John 8:48). He was the song of drunkards (Ps.69:12). At His trial, people plucked off His hair (Isa.50:6). They spit on Him, buffeted Him, smote Him with their hands (Mat.26:67). Scourged by soldiers and crowned with thorns (Mat.27:29) before they crucified Him (Mat.27:35). NO one was persecuted for righteousness sake more than our precious Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Blessed = approved by God. When God approves of us, we shall be blessed abundantly! And when we are blessed by God, we certainly shall be happy!
Meditations of the Beatitudes can not be complete unless our thoughts and hearts are on our Lord Jesus. Since TRUE Christian character is formed in us by the Spirit of Christ (Rom.8:9; 1 Pet.1:11), it means that our character must mimic the character of Christ! He is the believer’s Perfect Pattern! In Jesus we find ALL the spiritual graces found in the Beatitudes. ALL the perfections were and are displayed in Christ! Let us seriously strive to mature and be more like our precious Lord Jesus with each passing day!
Salt and Light of the World Matthew 5:13-20
Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (KJV) God’s people are “salt” to the world. Some translate “savour” to tang. Most church members have lost their tang as salt. We should be the salt in the earth and have an influence for good in the world. If we make no effort to affect the world around us, we are of little value to God. If we are too much like the world, and compromise with the world, we are good for nothing, worthless. We must not blend in with everyone else. We should affect others in a good way, just as seasoning brings out the best flavor in food. God’s people in any age and under any condition should be salt in the world.
In Scripture, mankind, under the unrestrained work of their own evil nature, and are represented as entirely corrupt. Before the flood (Gen.6:11-12); after the flood (Gen.8:21); in the days of David (Psalm 14:2-3); in the days of Isaiah (Isa.1:5-6); in the days of Paul (Eph.2:1-3). What is the answer? It is the active presence of Jesus’ disciples among their fellowmen, us being salt. The character and principles of Christians, brought into close contact with those around them, Christians are designed to arrest the festering corruption of humanity and season it with the Gospel of Christ. But how can they do this for their fellow men, if their righteousness only annoys them? Although most people will dislike and reject the Truth, a “few” (Mat.7:13-14) will receive it and hold it close to them. And in the struggle that would follow, maybe one or more of the opposing party might come over to Jesus’ side. Since living Christianity is the only "salt of the earth," if men lose that, what else could take its place? Jesus gives us the appalling answer to this question. It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out. Consider the following verses: Titus 3:2-3 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.  For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. (KJV) We too were once foolish and disobedient, until Jesus came into our life. Let us use these verses to help us be more like Christ when we approach people.
Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (KJV) Christians are also the light of the world. Certainly in the Kingdom the believers are going to be the light of the world. This is a tremendous principle for us. We need to be a light in our neighborhood and wherever we go. We have NO light within ourselves, but the Word of God is Light and the more we probe the Bible, the more light we will have to extend to others. Being a light means giving out the Word of God . . . in one way or another. This does NOT mean to quote Scripture all the time, but it does mean that to share the light that God has given you. It is very easy to quietly and graciously introduce people to a Bible-teaching church or radio program. There are many ways in which you can be light in the world. If we live for Christ, we will glow like lights, showing others what Christ is like.
Can we hide our light? YES! We hide our light by: (1) being quiet when we should speak, (2) going along with the crowd, compromising with the world, (3) denying the light by being ashamed of Christ (Mark 8:38), (4) letting sin dim our light, unbelievers are watching us, (5) not explaining our light to others. 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (KJV) or (6) ignoring the needs of others. Be a beacon of truth! Do NOT shut your light off from the rest of the world. This verse says that you and I are to let our light so shine in this world that we may glorify our Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (KJV) Part of the Mosaic Law was the ceremonial law. Christ was the Sacrifice for the sins of the world (John 3:16-17). Jesus came NOT to destroy the Law but to fulfill the Law, and He fulfilled it in that He kept it during His earthly life . . . NOT one sin (Heb.4:15; 7:26). The standard which God set before man, Jesus was able to attain, thus He is able to justify us with His righteousness. Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (KJV) 1 Cor.1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (KJV) God’s standards have NOT changed, we CANNOT gain them in our own strength. We need help; we need a Saviour. We need mercy, and we obtain mercy only when we come to Christ. Jesus came to fulfill the authority and principles of the Old Testament. Mat.7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (KJV) Mat.22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV) Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. (KJV) Jesus came NOT to destroy, but to fulfil. Jesus came NOT to overthrow, revoke, or annul the Law, but to establish the Law and the prophets; to reveal them, to materialize them in living form, and to sanctify them in the reverence, affection, and character of men.
Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (KJV) God’s Law is still a standard. It reveals to us that we cannot measure up to God’s standard. This drives us to the cross of Christ. The only way you or I can fulfill the Law is by accepting the only One who did fulfill it . . . Jesus Christ.
Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (KJV) We cannot break the Law and get by with it. But, we can NEVER keep the Law in your own strength. The only way you can keep them is to come to Jesus Christ for salvation, power, and strength. The commandments are NOT a way of salvation but a method to show you the ONLY Way to salvation is through accepting of the work of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to fulfill, NOT destroy the law. He kept it as no other man could do. See Mat.22:36-40 above. On those two commandments hang ALL the law and the prophets. Jesus fulfilled the Law. We must look to Jesus for our righteousness. 1 Cor.1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (KJV) LOVE = covers all OT Laws.
Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (KJV) The Pharisees had a high degree of righteousness according to the Law, but that was NOT acceptable to God. Can we exceed their righteousness? NO way! NOT on our own. We need Christ! Jesus said we need a different kind of righteousness (love and obedience). Our righteousness must (1) come from what God does in us, not what we can do by ourselves, (2) be God-centered, not self-centered, (3) be based on reverence for God, not approval from people, and (4) go beyond keeping the Law to living by the principles of the Law.
True Righteousness Contrasted to that of the Scribes and Pharisees, Depicted from the 6th Commandment.
Matthew 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: (KJV) Our Lord's object is to contrast the traditional twisted corruptions of the law with the true understanding of it as explained by Himself. "By them of old time" is most likely referring to the corrupt teachers rather than perverted people. Thou shall not kill, meaning, all that the Law requires. Whosoever has killed someone is guilty of breaking this commandment. And whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment, or liable to the judgment; meaning the sentence of the inferior courts which were established in all the principal towns. This commandment was reduced, from a holy Law of the heart searching God, to a mere criminal rule, taking thought only of outward actions, such as that in Ex. 21:12; Lev.24:17.
Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (KJV) This is a tremendous statement! It means that if you are angry with your brother, you are a murderer! But I say unto you, . . . anytime Jesus says these words, an extremely difficult lesson follows. Notice the authoritative tone in which Jesus, the Lawgiver and Judge (GOD), now speaks, as He explains the deep meaning of this commandment! A hard lesson follows! Precise and unholy feelings toward our brothers are indicated by the words "Raca" (worthless)and "fool” (stupid, blockhead). Every age and every country has its own ways of expressing such things. What Jesus is saying is that such language of unholy disrespect and contempt for our brothers and sisters in Christ simply is bringing out the true feelings in our heart. We must BEWARE!!!
Anger was said to have been felt by our Lord towards His enemies, though it was mixed with "grief for the hardness of their hearts" (Mark 3:5). What Jesus is condemning here is anger without a cause. We should not be angry with a person for no good reason. Jesus was angry many times in the Bible (righteous anger). See Matthew chapter 23, also Mat.21:12. Paul also teaches that there is anger that is not sinful (Eph.4:26). So, it is being angry without a cause of which Jesus speaks. Jesus tells us that we break the 6th Commandment even by unfounded anger, which is nothing but hatred in the bud; for hatred is how murder starts. 1 John 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (KJV)
So, if by our wrong feelings, murder is started, just think how much more that malicious words will add to those bad feelings! Just as there are different degrees in human courts of justice, and in the sentences which they pronounce according to the degrees of the crime, so too will the judicious treatment of all the breakers of this commandment be at the last Judgment. What a serious and holy teaching Jesus brings to us! Do you CLAIM to be keeping the Mosaic Law? You cannot break the Law and get by with it, and you cannot get by with saying that the Sermon on the Mount is your religion and then break every part of it. My friend, both you and I need a Saviour who has perfectly kept the Law and can impute to us His own righteousness (1 Cor.1:30).
Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. (KJV) “Therefore” means to apply the previous Scripture, and understand its importance. Even before our offering is presented, reconciliation is to be sought. We are to get our brother to dismiss from his mind any/all grudge against us. The opposite of the Truth taught here is remarkably expressed in: Mark 11:25-26 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. (KJV) IF ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. Do you really and honestly think about what this means?
All differences among brothers and sisters in Christ should be made up, in the spirit of love, before we offer our gift, receive Holy Communion or go to God in prayer. We are hypocrites if we claim to love God while we harbor hate for others. Our attitudes toward others reflect our relationship with God. 1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? (KJV)
Matthew 5:25-26 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.  Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. (KJV) In Jesus’ day, if you could not pay a debt, you were thrown into prison until the debt was paid in full. Unless someone came to pay the debt for the prisoner, he or she would probably die there. Jesus paid our sin debt! He paid a debt He did not owe because we had a debt we could not pay! Any time that Jesus says, “Verily I say unto thee.” He lifts His teaching far ABOVE that of Moses, and far ABOVE the Commandments. He lifts Himself to the position of the Lawgiver and also the Interpreter! It is practical advice to resolve our differences with our enemies before their anger causes more trouble. Even small conflicts mend more easily if you try to make peace right away. We need to get things right with our brothers and sisters before we have to stand before God on Judgment Day.
"Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out," clearly shows that even though the language is drawn from human disputes and legal procedure, Jesus is speaking of a higher than human quarrel, higher than any human court, higher than any human and temporary sentence. In Jesus’ explanation of the 6th commandment, He reminds us that the offender (us) has Another (GOD) to deal with besides the person we have wronged on Earth. Jesus assures us that any/all worship offered to the God by anyone who knows that a brother has just cause of complaint against him, but refuses to take any steps at all to remove it, is in vain (Ps.44:24; Isa.1:15; 58:9; 59:1-4; John 9:31). We must remember that there is One (GOD) whose reason of complaint against us is far more deadly than any that man can have against us. We must remember that with God as our enemy, we are already on the way to judgment. Jesus gives us fair warning. IF we are wise, we should make up the quarrel without delay, lest sentence of condemnation be pronounced upon us, with our sentence to be carried out immediately. IF our offense remains unexpiated, we shall be in great trouble. Jesus paid our sin debt! Expiate means to condone, to placate or cancel , to appease, make an atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, purge, reconcile make it right.
Agree means to be well-minded, reconciled. IF we do not agree with God, Jesus warns us we shall be cast into prison until our debt is paid to the uttermost farthing. My friend, we CANNOT pay our sin debt! NO way!! Jesus paid our sin debt! But, those who refuse to accept this payment, reject what God has to say (1 John 5:1-12), shall be cast into prison (Hell) for eternity. The unending duration (eternity) of future punishment (Hell), that is elsewhere so clearly expressed by our Lord Jesus, Himself, as in Mat.5:29-30, 13:42, 50; 25:41,46; Mark 9:43, 48; Rev. 19:20; 20:10, is the doctrine with which His words here agree.
Taken from the 7th Commandment, Thou shalt not commit adultery. Matthew 5:27-32
Matthew 5:27-28 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (KJV) Ex.20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery. (KJV) The 7th commandment. Jesus interprets this 7th Commandment as He did the 6th. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her . . . characterizes the man OR woman whose glance is not checked by holy restraint and results in impure lusting. The look of lust clearly says: “I would if I could.” The act would follow if the opportunity occurred. That person has committed adultery with her already in his heart. Jesus does NOT restrict this just to married persons. He said: "whosoever looketh looketh upon a woman," this extends the range of this commandment to ALL persons, married or not. You women, this applies to you as well! Just change the woman to man, and change her to him. As in dealing with the 6th commandment, our Lord first explains it, and then in the four following verses, He applies His exposition.
NO one but the Lord Jesus has ever kept the Law. IF you are honest, you will not claim to be keeping the Law. There were ten commandments, but here Matthew mentions only 6 & 7. In is very likely that Jesus lifted all ten of them to the highest degree. The Sermon on the Mount shows us that we all have sinned. It shows us that we all need to come to Him for mercy and help. To say that you are living by the Sermon on the Mount while all the time you are breaking it is to say that the Law is not important. In the following verses the Lord deals in a tremendous way with the Law and man’s relationship to it.
Matthew 5:29-30 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.  And if thy right hand offend thee, cut if off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. (KJV) And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee. Offend = to entrap, trip up, stumble or entice to sin, be "an occasion of stumbling" to thee. It is only the sinful exercise of the offending eye of which Jesus speaks. Matthew 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. (KJV) Spiritual vision is our being able to see clearly what God wants us to do, and to see the world as He sees it. Our spiritual insight can be very easily clouded. Self-serving desires, interests, pleasures and goals block that vision. Staying close to God is the best way to keep it, or restore it, if it is lost. A “good” (single) eye is one that is fixed on God and stays there!
Our Lord means that we are to strike at the root of ALL unholy desires, as well as cut off any/all occasions which have the tendency to arouse or excite them. For it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. IF we reject the warning to cast from us an offending member, Jesus said that we will find the whole body "cast into hell." Extremely harsh language from the lips of Love incarnate! It would be better to go into Heaven with one eye or one hand than to go to Hell with two. Do NOT tolerate sin in your lives that, if left alone, unchecked, could eventually destroy you. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. The hand is organ of action, to which the eye excites. Jesus repeats Himself, in identical terms, of such stern truths. For it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. Compare Mark 9:43-48 with this Passage.
These hard lessons seem to be characteristic of our Lord's manner of teaching. What do you think is His reason behind these hard lessons? WHY is Jesus talking about Hell??? Because He wants NO one to go there! He taught more about Hell than any other subject. BEWARE!!! Please do NOT believe most of the modern day preachers who do NOT preach Hell! Please do NOT believe the modern day doctrine the everybody will go to Heaven! (Universalism). This is the doctrines of devils! (1 Tim. 4:1). Check out everything that you hear and read with God’s Word (including me). (Acts 17:11).
Matthew 5:31-32 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:  But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. (KJV) It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement. Jesus quotes this from Deut. 24:1. Deut. 24:1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. (KJV) Some uncleanness = unfaithfulness in marriage by a spouse.
The law of divorce has a very close bearing on purity in the married life. It was quite natural for Jesus to pass from the 7th commandment to the loose views held on divorce. It applied in Jesus’ time, and it most certainly applies today, even more so. In our time, there are many alternative lifestyles that people take . . . instead of marriage. And remember, what God considers marriage is a man and a woman . . . NOT same sex marriage, which is an utter abomination to God. See for yourself! Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (KJV) It is to God an abomination. Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (KJV) Abomination. In old times, they were killed! But, you say . . . times have changed. Right you are! BUT . . . GOD has NOT changed, nor will He ever! (Mal.3:6; Rom.11:29; Heb.13:8; Jam.1:17). His character, His purity, His holiness, His sovereign majesty and awesomeness, His love for His people who love, trust and obey Him, and His wrath against sin . . . will NEVER change.
Today when people do think of marriage, very few of them ever consider that it should be a life-long commitment. Their thoughts are: “If it doesn’t work, I’ll get a divorce.” They do NOT even give their marriage a chance. When troubles come their way, they don’t even try to work them out. They get a divorce! Also in our time, living together without being married is common place. I know of several ‘couples’ who profess to be Christians, yet live together without being married. This is WRONG!!! This is SIN!!! And God will judge this harshly, count on it. It is fornication, it is adultery.
According to Jesus, there is only ONE legitimate ground of divorce. "Some uncleanness" or in other words, unfaithfulness in marriage by a spouse. Some interpreters explain this correctly, as prohibiting divorce in every case except adultery, but others say it includes everything in the wife that offends or is disagreeable to the husband. THIS is what Jesus addresses in verse 32. It was only right that our Lord said: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery. So, a divorced wife (or husband) commits adultery if they remarry, unless the divorce was granted on the ground of their spouse being unfaithful. And whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, for anything short of marriage infidelity, committeth adultery. Jesus gives the grounds for divorce. If someone is divorced for a reason not given in Scripture, that person is an adulterer. This is completely ignored today. (Heb.13:4)
Matthew 5:33-35 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:  But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:  Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.(KJV) God’s TRUE children are to be the kind of persons who do NOT have to take an oath. Our yes or no should be enough! We should be honest and upright. No lies should come from our lips. Jesus says that the child of God, under all circumstances, should be trustworthy. But I say unto you, Swear not at all. Jesus is emphasizing the importance of telling the truth. Christians should NEVER break promises, or use God’s Name casually and carelessly. Keeping oaths and promises is extremely important. IF you promise to do something, please be very careful to carry it out, to the letter. A Christian should be known for their honesty and truthfulness, for it builds trust and makes trusted human relationships possible. The Bible condemns making vows or taking oaths casually, giving your word and all the while knowing that you have NO intention of keeping it, or swearing falsely in God’s Name. Num. 30:2 If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth. (KJV) Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (KJV) Lev.19:12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord. (KJV) This is plain from what follows. But I say unto you, Swear not at all. Jesus meant to condemn swearing of every kind, on every occasion. Clearly, it is swearing in common communication and on unimportant occasions that is meant here. Neither by Heaven; for it is God's throne is quoting Isaiah 66:1. Nor by the Earth; for it is his footstool . . . (quoting Isaiah 66:1); neither by Jerusalem for it is the city of the great King is quoting Psalm 48:2.
There are NOT stages of truth and falsehood within the system of oaths. Oaths or vows, were common, but Jesus told His followers NOT to use them. He said that their word alone should be enough. Truthfulness seems so rare that we feel we must end our statements with “I promise,” “cross my heart” or on my mother’s grave.
Matthew 5:36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. (KJV) IF we swear by our own head , it is complete foolishness, for so many things are far beyond our control, and therefore we blatantly assume to have a stability or power which we do not have. There is NO way any of us have the power to change the “permanent” color of our hair!
Mat.5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. (KJV) Just tell the truth all the time! Saying a simple, 'Yes’ or 'No’ should be all we need if we are always truthful. IF we add an oath to our saying “YES” to the truth, we either admit that our regular conversation cannot be trusted, or that we are lowering ourselves to the world’s level which normally do not speak the truth. To attempt to strengthen your promise with a vow shows that something may be wrong. Jesus said that anything more cometh from evil . . . some translations say comes from the Evil One.
But let your communication . . . "your word," in ordinary speaking, should be . . . Yes or No! A simple Yes and No should be sufficient in affirming the truth or the untruth of anything. James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. (KJV) We do not want to fall into condemnation. Our untruthful and corrupt nature shows itself not only in the tendency to depart from the precise truth, but in the disposition to suspect others of doing the same. The practice of going beyond Yes and No in affirmations and denials . . . seems to others as if our word for something were not enough, and we expect others to question it. Solemn oaths in a court of justice, or on other proper occasions, are not wrong, if they are taken with due reverence. But all oaths taken without being needed. or in common conversation, is wrong. Oaths are not necessary.
Matthew 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: (KJV) An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth meaning that whatever penalty was regarded as a proper equivalent for these (Ex.21:23-25; Lev.24:19-20; Deut. 19:21). This law of retribution was designed to take vengeance out of the hands of private persons, and commit it to the judge. It was abused by people (then and now) and was retained as an authorization for taking revenge into their own hands, contrary to the injunctions of the Old Testament itself (Pro.20:22; 24:29).
Matthew 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. (KJV) There is a standard for us here, even though we are living in a day when a wise man armed keepeth his house. Paul said, ‘Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works’ (2 Tim. 4:14). Our natural instinct is to get even, but Jesus’ disciples should overcome evil with good (Rom.12:2). NOT easy to do!! “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord” (Rom.12:19).
Matthew 5:40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. (KJV) If and/or when believers are sued, we must trust the Lord even when legal litigation goes against us. The coat is an inner garment; in pledge for a debt (Ex.22:26-27); the cloak is the outer and more costly garment. This overcoat was not allowed to be retained over night as a pledge from the poor because they used it for cover at night.
Matthew 5:41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. (KJV) This may be a reference to the practice of the Romans and some Eastern nations, who, when government required the people not only to furnish horses and carriages, but to give personal attendance, often very inconvenient. The lesson for us is to be ready to submit to unreasonable demands, no matter what kind, rather than raise quarrels, with evil resulting from them.
Matthew 5:42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. (KJV) It is unreasonable asking that is here implied (Luke 6:30), NOT simple borrowing. Proverbs warns against borrowing, lending, surety (Pro.6:1; 11:15; 22:7; 27:13). We are warned of the dangers of borrowing and lending for there are some people who are extremely lazy and expect the people to support them (2 Thes. 3:10). But, we are to help those who really are in need, turn not thou away. Big difference!
Love Thy Neighbor Matthew 5:43-48
Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. (KJV) The “law of love” is sometimes called the “law of Christ.” It summarizes the moral principle of the Sermon on the Mount. Love thy neighbour summarizes the entire second table of the law (see Lev. 19:18-34). Hate thine enemy was a totally unscriptural addition that false teachers had added, but was a very popular concept (notion, idea) in Jesus’ time, and in today’s world as well. The warning “love your enemies” is one of the most profound statements that our Lord Jesus ever uttered. The “love” commanded in these words is that which can originate only from Almighty God Himself! There is NO way any of us can accomplish this on our own! Love based on our human affection could never love our enemy! This kind of love Jesus speaks of (agape, godly love) can be produced only by the Holy Spirit who abides in all TRUE believers (Gal.5:22-23; Rom.8:9; John 14:16). We, on our own, can produce NONE of the “fruits of the Spirit.” He must do it, or it will NOT happen!!! Love for our enemies holds a very unique place in Scripture and in our lives. Love for enemies is not known in the vast majority of the world’s population today. They love only self, not God, not their neighbor and they certainly do NOT love their enemies (2 Tim.3:1-7).
Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (KJV) But I say unto you, Love your enemies. Love here means moral love, not personal affection. It means friendly, gentle compassion for another's good. What is one great way that we can love our enemy? Tell them about Jesus!
Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. The best description on this matchless advice is the wonderful example of Jesus! See 1 Peter 2:21-24; 3:9; Rom.12:20-21; 1 Cor. 4:12. Before the Sermon on the Mount, staunch rules or doctrines that Jesus taught had never before been spoken. But Jesus, the Great Interpreter, speaks with such authoritative precision and accuracy of the law, that we who love and follow Him must make every attempt to obey Him. Difficult? Hard? Yes! Impossible without Him! Contrary to the world’s view on how to live? Absolutely! But God’s way and the world’s way are never the same! Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (KJV) If we want to be God’s friend, we must obey Him!
Loving our enemy means doing good toward that enemy so we can win them over to the cause that we represent . . . JESUS!!! Love your enemy! Bless them who curse you! Do good to them that hate you! Pray for them who insult, slander and persecute you! All this is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE on our own strength! We need help! We must have help! We desperately need the Holy Spirit!
Matthew 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (KJV) Jesus’ words can cut us to the quick! This verse tells me that IF we do NOT do as verse 44 states, which is seemingly impossible, we are NOT God’s children. Living a Christian life is extremely hard at times! The Truth here is, we must imitate Jesus (Mat.5:9; Eph. 5:1). God wants us to be holy as His Only Begotten Son is holy (pure, blameless).
We must be more like Jesus with each passing day (Lev.19:2; 20:26; 1 Peter 1:15-16).
Reading this verse out of context might make some people think that loving one’s neighbor automatically makes them children of God. NOT so! Showing Godly love is proof that we are God’s children (saved, born again). John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (KJV) Unless you believe God (1 John 5:10-12) and accept His Son, Jesus to save you, you are the devil’s child (1 John 3:10). You must be born again (John 3:3-8)
Matthew 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? (KJV) If you love those who love you, that's no big deal; for the worst people love those who love them. It is just our nature to love those who love us. But Jesus tells us that we are to go much further! Jesus says to love our enemies. The publicans were tax collectors and hated by the Jews. They were ranked with "harlots." This would have been hard for the Jews to swallow! What about us? Don't we also categorize sinners? Don't we say: this one isn't as bad as that one? Don't we them off in a place set aside for dislike, hatred? BEWARE!!!
Matthew 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? (KJV) Salute = to welcome, embrace, greet. Have you ever walked down the street and seen someone you would rather not speak to? Have you avoided their eyes? Have you even changed directions so as to avoid meeting them? I am guilty! I have! I think we all have. I know when I have done it, I felt lousy. If we speak only to our friends, have we done anything out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that!
Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.(KJV) Our Lord speaks here, not of degrees of excellence, but of the kind of excellence which was to distinguish His disciples and characterize His Kingdom. When He says, Be ye therefore perfect, He refers to that full, glorious completeness which is in our great Divine Model, "our Father which is in heaven."
How is it possible for you and me to be perfect? As we are learning from this Sermon on the Mount, we are weak, frail, lack faith and have a great tendency to sin. We will never be 100% “perfect” in this lifetime, but we can keep growing in Christ, day by day!
Perfect = complete in willingness to serve God, in growth, in mental and moral character. Perfect is completeness, maturity. Are any of us perfect? I certainly am not! I join with the apostle Paul. Eph. 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; (KJV) Less than least of all saints! That's ME!
SO . . . How is it possible for you and me to be perfect? We are accepted by God, the Father, when we are in Christ, in the beloved. There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ (Rom.8:1). We get in Christ (saved) by faith in Him. The only way we can become perfect (mature, complete) is through our faith in Christ! God the Father imputes (credits our account) to us the righteousness of Christ. 1 Cor.1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (KJV) NONE of us have ANY righteousnesses of our own (Isa.64:6).
When we are saved, being in Christ, then begins the slow process of sanctification, which is separation to the service of God. It is where God attempts to conform us to the image of His Son, which should be the goal of every TRUE believer. Seeking to attain perfection by our own efforts is absolutely useless. No one will ever be able to go to God and say, “Look what I have done; look how great I am!” My friend, you are going to do nothing of the kind because you and I are not perfect on our own. NONE of us are good by God’s standards. We need, we must have a Saviour. And the Bible says there is only One who can save us! John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (KJV)
JESUS is the Only One who can make you perfect in God’s eyes! Also see Acts 4:12.
The Sermon on the Mount
Matthew ch.5 . Matthew ch.6 . Matthew ch.7 . Summary
Gospel of Matthew