I. Your Promises Vs. 33-37

A. God’s Intention

1. Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain…”
2. The people were not to invoke God’s name, or use His name in a vain or casual way.
3. They were not to use God’s name in making a false oath.
4. God’s name was/is to be treated in a holy manner.

B. Man’s Misinterpretation

1. The idea of swearing by something gives more weight to one’s promise, since that person is swearing by something/someone greater than themselves. The intention is to increase the credibility of the promise.
2. The Jews felt that it was permissible to use other name in vain, just not God’s name.
3. They would make a false oath using another name, & avoid breaking this command
4. They would swear by other “holy” things, assuming that the breaking of those promises would not be serious, since they didn’t use God’s name.
5. Misapplication for us– We may say that we are going to do something, knowing that we don’t intend on doing it, or finding any reason to not fulfill a promise.

a. It’s like promising with your “fingers crossed” behind your back

C. Jesus Brings Forth The Truth

1. Jesus explains that whatever one might swear by will still link them back to God, because God is the Creator and Owner of all things. (His throne, His footstool)
2. We ought not to swear by our own head; b/c even our heads belong to God
3. Whatever we swear by links us to God, and dishonors Him if we break that vow.
4. Having to swear betrays the weakness of our words and of our character.
5. We should simply give our word and keep it. Anything more is evil.

II. Retribution Or Kindness? Vs. 38-42

A. God’s Intention

1. See Exodus 21:22-24
2. This law was given in order to restrict any over-reaction in punishing an evil-doer
3. It was to be carried out by civil servants, not by public citizens.

B. Man’s Misinterpretation

1. The Jews misapplied it to mean that you must pay retribution to any and all offenses.
2. They didn’t see it as a law restraining over-reaction, but instead, guaranteed payback.
3. Misapplication for us- We might believe that this command always gives us free reign to return insult or injury against anyone on any level.

C. Jesus Brings Forth The Truth

1. Slap on the cheek- A deep social insult in that day

a. Jesus is not talking about being physically attacked or assaulted.
b. Jesus is addressing insults. The Christian is not to trade insult for insult.
c. Instead of taking the “upper hand” with an equal or greater insult, we are to take the upper hand through a godly response of patience, and love for our enemies.
d. Instead of escalating the situation, we are to take the high moral road, which is often disarming. (Jesus did this during His trial before Pilate)
e. The high moral road is what Jesus would do. We reflect Christ in this way.
f. Jesus is not teaching to “never resist evil”. Civil justice & punishment must exist.

2. Taking of the tunic-give the outer coat also. (Could only be kept during the day)
3. Compelled to go a mile-Roman soldiers could force Jews to bear burdens for one mile

a. Jesus said to give more than a contrary person might require of you.
b. This is the moral high ground, and very Christ like. Be a witness, an example.

4. Give to him who asks you- legitimate needs ought to be met if possible

a. This does not contradict scriptures re. men who refuse to work. (2 Thess. 3:10)
b. The scripture and common sense will dictate inappropriate giving

III. Loving Your Enemies Vs. 43-47

A. God’s Intention

1. Deut. 19:18 says to love your neighbor. The Pharisees added “hate your enemy”.
2. God would have us consider all people our neighbors

B. Man’s Misinterpretation

1. They felt that loving your neighbor was enough; to hate your enemy wasn’t a problem
2. As long as they loved their neighbor, hating your enemy was O.K.

C. Jesus Brings Forth The Truth

1. Love, bless, do good to, and pray for your enemies
2. It will be a manifestation of your relationship to your Heavenly Father (sonship)
3. God loves those people, and He blesses them through rain and sun.
4. Take the moral high road, the road Jesus took and takes. Imitate the Father & the Son
5. There the reward is found, and Jesus is manifested to the world.

IV. Conclusion                              V. 48

If a man could live the way Jesus has told us to in this chapter, he would truly be perfect.
He would have the righteousness greater than the Pharisees. (5:20) Then he could enter Heaven

  • He would never hate, slander or speak evil of another person.
  • He would never lust in his heart or mind, and not covet anything.
  • He would never make a false oath, and always be completely truthful.
  • He would let God defend his personal rights, & not take it upon himself to defend those rights.
  • He would always love his neighbors, and even his enemies.

The Sermon On The Mount shows the beauty of God’s Law regarding actions and intentions.
It also shows the impossibility of a man working his way into Heaven.
It reveals the inability of man to keep this Law.
It shows that men need another kind of righteousness. (Romans 3:19-22)