Matthew 5-7 for 20th November 2011
Jesus flips the everyday human ideas about happiness, the law and reward on its head in these chapters.
He shows us how we should live – not just to a set of rules and regulations, but by an internal revolution of attitude and new standards of righteousness that are seemingly impossible to achieve.
In Chapter 5 1-16 he challenges our ideas on happiness and success. It is not the tough, the strong, the rule benders who are the successful, it is those who know and recognise spiritual poverty and depend on God. This dependency on God sets the scene for the rest of the Jesus sermon. It is knowing where our strength and righteousness comes from, and recognising it doesn’t come from our feeble attempts to claim righteousness by our outward compliance with the law.
In verses 17-48 Jesus confirms the validity of the law as the minimum standard. He also points out how the law fails to deal with our attitude and our motivations. He goes through five laws and demonstrates how outward compliance doesn’t count for anything unless our attitude and motivations are truly right. (wow, how often does that happen? – thank God for Grace)
In Chapter 6 Jesus gets stuck into being flashy about our supposed good deeds. Once again Jesus points out the frailty of our good deeds and wordy prayers if our motivations and attitudes are not pure! Jesus teaches how to pray for the things that really matter in the Lord’s Prayer.
In verses 19-34 Jesus focuses on what we should be setting our hearts on. Our heart will determine our priorities. If we put the things of God first all our other needs will be met, so we don’t need to worry. We can’t have two equal priorities, we must decide!!
In Chapter 7 Jesus instruction turns to how we are to treat each other, including those who have wronged us and our enemies. Once again the minimum standard of the law is no longer enough – it is our heart, our attitude and an honest review of ourselves, before we have a go at others.
Seek first the Kingdom of God – and know well the we need His Grace.