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LIFE OF CHRIST
A Harmony of the Gospels

LESSON EIGHT

   
THE  SERMON  ON  THE  MOUNT      (Matthew 5, 6, 7, 8:1  &  Luke 6:20-49)

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(5:1,2) INTRODUCTION
(5:3-12) CHARACTERS TRUE HAPPINESS
(5:13-16) TRUE DISCIPLES
(5:17-7:12) THE KINGDOM ITS LAWS
(7:13,14) THE KINGDOM ENTRANCE INTO IT
(7:15-23) FALSE TEACHERS
(7:24-27) CHARACTERS TRUE WISDOM
(7:28,29) CONCLUSION

WE  ARE  BLESSED

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Matthew 5:1-12
 
(1)  And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.  (2)  Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
(3)  "Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(4)   Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
(5)   Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
(6)   Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
(7)   Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
(8)   Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
(9)   Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
(10) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(11) "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
NKJV
Luke 6:17-23
(17) And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases,  (18)  as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed.  (19)  And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.
(20  Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said:
"Blessed are you poor,
For yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
For you shall be filled.
Blessed are you who weep now,
For you shall laugh.
(22)  Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man's sake.
(23)  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
NKJV

Being a master Teacher,  our Lord did not begin this important sermon with a negative criticism of the scribes and Pharisees.
He began with a positive emphasis on

righteous character and the blessings that it brings to the life of the believer.

The Pharisees taught that

righteousness was an external thing,
a matter of obeying rules and regulations.
Righteousness could be measured by praying, giving, fasting, etc.

In the Beatitudes and the pictures of the believer, Jesus described Christian character that  flowed from within.
Imagine how the crowd's attention was riveted on Jesus when He uttered His first word:  "Blessed."

(The Latin word for blessed is beatus, and from this comes the word beatitude.)

This was a powerful word to those who heard Jesus that day.  To them it meant "divine joy and perfect happiness."  The word was not used for humans; it described the land of joy experienced only by the gods or the dead. 

"Blessed"  implied an inner satisfaction and sufficiency
that did not depend on outward circumstances for happiness.
This is what the Lord offers those who trust Him!

Beatitude Attitudes

The Beatitudes describe the attitudes that ought to be in our lives today. Four attitudes are described here.

(v. 3) Our Attitude Toward Ourselves
 
To be poor in spirit means
to be humble,
to have a correct estimate of oneself      (Rom 12:3)
It does not mean
to be "poor spirited" and
have no backbone at all!
"Poor in spirit" is the opposite of the worlds attitudes of self-praise and self-assertion.
It is not a false humility that says, "I am not worth anything, I can't do anything!"
It is honesty with ourselves: we know ourselves, accept ourselves, and try to be ourselves to the glory of God.
It is the acknowledgment that
"There is none who does good"    (Rom 3:10)
"I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me"   (Phil 4:13)
(vv. 4-6) Our Attitude Toward Our Sins
 
We mourn over sin and despise it.
We see sin the way God sees it and seek to treat it the way God does.
Those who cover sin or defend sin certainly have the wrong attitude.
We should not only mourn over our sins, but we should also meekly submit to God
(see Luke 18:9-14; Phil 3:1-14)Matt 5:4-6; Matt 5:7-9; Matt 5:10-16
Meekness is not weakness,  for both Moses and Jesus were meek men
(Num 12:3;  Matt 11:29).
This word translated "meek" was used by the Greeks to describe a horse that had been broken.

It refers to power under control.
(vv. 7-9) Our Attitude Toward The Lord
 
We experience God's mercy when
we trust Christ (Eph 2:4-7), and
He gives us a clean heart (Acts 15:9) and
peace within (Rom 5:1).
But having received His mercy, we then share His mercy with others.
We seek to keep our hearts pure that we might see God in our lives today.
We become peacemakers in a troubled world and channels for God's mercy, purity, and peace.
(vv. 10-16) Our Attitude Toward The World
 
It is not easy to be a dedicated Christian.
Our society is not a friend to God nor to God's people.
Whether we like it or not there is conflict between us and the world.
Why?  Because we are different from the world and we have different attitudes.

As we read the Beatitudes, we find that they represent an outlook radically different from that of the world.

The world praises pride,  not humility.
The world endorses sin, especially if you "get away with it."
The world is at war with God, while God is seeking to reconcile His enemies and make them His children.

We must expect to be persecuted if we are living as God wants us to live.
But we must be sure that our suffering is not due to our own foolishness or disobedience.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The sermon began with the word “blessed,” and with an octave of beatitudes.
But it was a NEW revelation of blessing.

The people were expecting a Messiah who should
break the yoke off their necks
a king clothed in earthly splendor,
and manifested in the pomp of victory and vengeance.
Their minds were haunted with legendary prophecies, as to
how He should stand on the shore of Joppa,
and bid the sea pour out its pearls and treasures at His feet;
how He should clothe them with jewels and scarlet,
and feed them with even a sweeter manna than the wilderness had known.

But Christ reveals to them another King, another happiness.

He came saying 
“My Kingdom is not of this world”
And the people, His very disciples included, could not see through the natural illustrations He used to show a far deeper meaning, a far higher calling – that of the kingdom of God,
where He would rule supreme in the hearts of men
where the powerful will of man would of itself yield to the gentle whisperings of the Spirit of God.

Here Jesus offers True Happiness  (the Amplified translates this word:  “happy, to be envied, spiritually prosperous, blithesome, joyous, fortunate, regardless of outward circumstances”):

1. The Riches of Poverty
 
(v 3) The POOR IN SPIRIT Theirs IS the kingdom of heaven
(rating themselves insignificant)
(v 4) THEY THAT MOURN They shall be COMFORTED.
(Feel their spiritual Poverty)
2. The Royalty of Meekness
 
(v. 5) THE MEEK The mild, - They shall INHERIT the earth.
Patient, longsuffering)
(v 6) Those WHO HUNGER
AND THIRST
FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS
They shall be FILLED
(To be in right standing with God)
 
(v 7) The MERCIFUL Shall OBTAIN Mercy
(Mercy is not purchased but at the price of mercy itself)
(v 8) The PURE IN HEART Shall SEE God
(As opposed to the Outward purity of The Pharisees)
(v 9) The PEACEMAKERS Shall be called the CHILDREN (“sons”) of God
(More interested in the good of others than of ourselves)
3. The High Blessing of Sorrow and Persecution
 
(v 10) The PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS' SAKE
Theirs IS the kingdom of heaven
(v 11) Are REVILED FOR MY (Jesus) SAKE
GREAT IS YOUR REWARD IN HEAVEN

The "Un-beatitudes"
We can understand the Beatitudes by looking at them from their opposites.   Some,  Jesus implied,  will
not be blessed.  Their condition could be described this way:

Wretched are the spiritually self-sufficient, for theirs is the kingdom of hell.
Wretched are those who deny the tragedy of their sinfulness, for they will be troubled.
Wretched are the self-centered, for they will be empty.
Wretched are those who ceaselessly justify themselves, for their efforts will be in vain.
Wretched are the merciless, for no mercy will be shown to them.
Wretched are those with impure hearts, for they will not see God.
Wretched are those who reject peace, for they will earn the title “sons of Satan.”
Wretched are the uncommitted for convenience’s sake, for their destination is hell.

Key Lessons from the Beatitudes
Verse Beatitude Old Testament Anticipation Opposite Worldly Values God's Reward How to Develop this Attitude
(5:3) Poor In Spirit Isaiah 57:15 Pride & Personal Independence Kingdom of Heaven James 4:7-10
(5:4) Mourning Isaiah 61:1,2 Happiness at any cost Comfort Psalm 51
James 4:7-10
(5:5) Meekness Psalm 37:5-11 Power Inherit the Earth Matthew 11:27-30
(5:6) Righteousness Isaiah 11:4,5
Isaiah 42:1-4
Pursuing Natural Things Shall be Filled John 16:5-11
Philippians 3:7-11
(5:7) Mercy Psalm 41:1 Strength Without Feeling Be Shown Mercy Ephesians 5:1,2
(5:8) Pure in Heart Psalm 24:3,4
Psalm 51:10
Deception is Acceptable See God 1 John 3:1-3
(5:9) Peacemaker Isaiah 57:18, 19
Isaiah 60:17
Personal peace without concern for others Be call Sons of God Romans 12:9-21
Hebrews 12:10, 11
(5:10) Persecuted Isaiah 52:13
Isaiah 53:12
Weak Commitments Inherit the Kingdom of Heaven 2 Timothy 3:12
Life Application Study Bible, Tyndale House Publishers Inc & Zondervan Publishing House

TRUE  DISCIPLES

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Matthew 5:13-16
(13)  "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
(14)  "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  (15)  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  (16)  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

NKJV

Salt and Light

There are two pictures of the Christian: salt and the light.

Salt Speaks of inward character that influences a decaying world
Light Speaks of the outward testimony of good works that points to God
Our task is to keep our lives pure that we might  "salt"  this earth and hold back corruption so that the Gospel can get out.  Our good works must accompany our dedicated lives as we let our lights shine.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1992 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved., Electronic Database)

YOU are the Salt of the Earth

Salt produced by the evaporation of seawater in hot countries is said sometimes to lose its saline properties.
The same result is also sometimes seen in impure rock salt that has long been exposed to the air.
When such is the case there can nothing be done with it but to throw it out.
Dr. Thomson tells of some salt that was brought from the marshes of Cyprus by a merchant of Sidon, and stored in small houses with earthen floors. “The salt next to the ground in a few years entirely spoiled.  I saw large quantities of it literally thrown into the street to be trodden under foot of men and beasts. It was good for nothing.”

Schottgen supposes the reference is here made to the bituminous salt from the Dead Sea, which, he says, was strewn over the sacrifices in the temple to neutralize the smell of the burning flesh, and when it became spoiled by exposure it was cast out upon the walks to prevent slipping in wet weather, and was thus literally  “trodden under foot of men.”

Salt may sometimes “look” like salt, but lacks the “properties” of salt.
When we, as Christians,  retain the outward form of religion, but fail to retain the inward workings of the Spirit of God, we find ourselves in the condition of  “savor-less salt.”

YOU are the light of the world - let your light so shine

As the sun is lighted up in the firmament of heaven to diffuse its light and heat freely to every inhabitant of the earth; and as the lamp is not set under the bushel,  but placed upon the lamp stand that it may give light to all in the house; THUS let every follower of Christ diffuse the light of heavenly knowledge, and the warmth of Divine love through the whole circle of their acquaintance.

This place may receive light from the following passage in Maundrell's Travels.
"A few points toward the north (of Tabor) appears that which they call the Mount of Beatitudes,  a small rising,  from which our blessed Savior delivered his sermon in the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of Matthew.  Not far from this little hill is the city Saphet, supposed to be the ancient Bethulia.  It stands upon a very eminent and conspicuous mountain,  and is  SEEN FAR and NEAR.  May we not suppose that Christ alludes to this city,  in these words of his, A city set on a hill cannot be hid?"
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

Emphasis on Motive -

What should be seen? Our Good Works
Why should they be seen? To Glorify the Father

THE  LAW  AND  THE  PROPHETS  FULFILLED

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THE KINGDOM - ITS LAWS

(5:17-20) They FULFILL the Law and the Prophets
(5:21-48) They TRANSCEND the Law of Moses
(6:1-7:11) They EXCEL the Tradition of the Elders
(7:12) They FULFILL the Law and the Prophets

They fulfill the Law and the Prophets

Matthew 5:17-20
(17)  "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.  (18)  For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.  (19)  Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  (20)  For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
NKJV

One Jot of one Tittle

There may be allusion here to the great care taken by the copyists of the law to secure accuracy even to the smallest letters, or curves or points of letters:

1. “Jot” is the Greek word  “iota,”  which in this case refers to the Hebrew  “yodh,”  the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet.
2. “Tittle” is the Greek word  “keraia,”  which is an  “apex”  or  “little horn,”  and refers to the hornlike points that are seen on Hebrew letters.
It is worthy of note that the  “yodh”  has one of these points,  and the meaning of the text may be,  “Not even a  'yodh'  nor the point of a ‘yodh’.”

Sometimes curved extensions resembling horns (called “taagim”) are attached to the letters by the copyists for ornamentation.  Some express the opinion that the  “tittle”  refers to these small ornaments,  though they formed no special part of the letters,  either in pronunciation or in meaning.

Till all be fulfilled

Though all earth and hell should join together to hinder the accomplishment of the great designs of the Most High, yet it shall all be in vain – even the sense of a single letter shall not be lost.

The WORDS of God, which point out His designs, are as unchangeable as His NATURE itself.

Whosoever shall break one of the least of these

The Pharisees were remarkable for making a distinction between weightier and lighter matters in the law.
There is no such thing as a  “small sin”  or a  “big sin” – as far as God is concerned,  sin is sin,  whether great or small.

Unless your Righteousness EXCEEDS ... the Scribes & Pharisees

Three aspects to true righteousness:

1. Right Motive
2. Right Attitude
3. Right Action

Shall exceed = perisseuo (per-is-syoo'-o)
Strong's NT:4052 - to superabound (in quantity or quality),  be in excess,  be superfluous;  also (transitively) to cause to superabound or excel

(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
 

This was strange doctrine to those who looked upon the scribes and Pharisees as having arrived at the highest pitch of religion.

The scribes were the most noted teachers of the law
The Pharisees were the most celebrated professors of it
And they both sat in Moses' chair (Matt 23:2),  and had such a reputation among the people,  that they were looked upon as super-conformable to the law,  and people did not think themselves obliged to be as good as they.
It was therefore a great surprise to them, to hear that they must be better than they
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The Scribes and Pharisees conformed precisely to the "Letter" of the Law.
But their Motives and Attitudes fell short.

Their works were not "Good"
             Because
Their works did  not "Glorify the Father"

 

THE LAWS OF THE KINGDOM TRANSCEND THE LAW AND PROPHETS

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As to the Law of:

1. (Vv. 21-26) Murder The 6th Commandment
2. (Vv. 27-32) Adultery The 7th Commandment
3. (Vv. 33-37) Perjury The 3rd Commandment
4. (Vv. 38-42) Retaliation Ex. 21:25;  Lev. 24:20;  Deut. 19:21
5. (Vv. 43-48) Love Lev. 19:18
Matthew 5:21-48
(21)  You have heard that it was said to those of old,
 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' 
(22)  But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire.  (23)  Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,  (24)  leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.  (25)  Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.  (26)  Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

(27)  "You have heard that it was said to those of old,
'You shall not commit adultery.' 
(28)  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  (29)  If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.  (30)  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

(31)  "Furthermore it has been said,
'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 
(32)  But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

(33) "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old,
'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' 
(34)  But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne;  (35)  nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.  (36)  Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.  (37)  But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

(38) "You have heard that it was said,
'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' 
 (39)  But I tell you not to 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 away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.  (41)  And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.  (42)  Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

(43)  "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, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,   (45)  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  (46)  For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  (47)  And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 

(48)  Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
NKJV
Luke 6:27-36
 
(27) "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  (28)  bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.  (29)  To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.  (30)  Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.  (31)  And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

(32)  "But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  (33)  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  (34)  And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.   (35)  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 
(36)  Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
NKJV

YOU  HAVE  HEARD  IT  SAID BUT  I  SAY

You shall not Murder
or you will be in danger of the judgment
Don't be angry without a (just) cause
or you shall be in danger of the judgment
Don't say "You fool!"
or you shall be in danger of the council
Reconcile before bringing your gift to God
or you shall be in danger of hell fire

You shall not Commit Adultery Don't look at a woman to lust for her

If you divorce your wife,
give her a certificate of divorce
Don't divorce for any reason
except sexual immorality

Don't swear falsely
but perform your oaths to the Lord
Don't swear at all
but let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.'
For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth Whoever slaps you on your right cheek,
turn the other to him also
If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic,
let him have your cloak also
Whoever compels you to go one mile,
go with him two
Give to him who asks you,
and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

Love your neighbor
and hate your enemy
Love your enemies
Bless those who curse you
Do good to those who hate you
Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you
That you may be sons of your Father

You Fool
"Raca" - you are empty, you are worthless

The Council
The word translated  "council"  is in the original Sanhedrin
This was instituted in the time of the Maccabees, probably about 200 years before Christ.
It was composed of 72 judges: the high priest was the president of this tribunal.
The 72 members were made up of the chief priests and elders of the people and the scribes.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Hell fire

Hell geena (gheh'-en-nah)
Strong's 1067
Of Hebrew origin,
valley of (the son of) Hinnom;
ge-henna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment
Fire pur  (poor)
Strong's 4442
 A primary word;  "fire"
Specifically, lightning (which comes from above)

Divorce
Mosaic regulation (Deut 24:1) protected woman from man's caprice by insisting on the certificate of divorce. Divorce was,  however,  a concession to human sin (Matt 19:8).  The Mosaic grounds of  "uncleanness"  had been variously explained,  from adultery (Rabbi Shammai) to the most trivial dislike by the husband (Rabbi Hillel). In Jewish custom only men could obtain divorces.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

There was considerable difference of opinion among the Jews for what causes the husband was permitted to do this. One of their famous schools maintained that it might be done for any cause,  however trivial.
The other maintained that adultery only could justify it.
The truth was, however, that the husband exercised this right at pleasure;  that he was judge in the case,  and dismissed his wife when and for what cause he chose.

Our Savior in  Mark 10:1-12,  says that this was permitted on account of the hardness of their hearts,  but that in the beginning it was not so.
God made a single pair,  and ordained marriage for life.
Our Savior brought marriage back to its original intention, and declared that whosoever put away his wife henceforward, except for one offence, should be guilty of adultery.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Sons of  your Father
Matt 5:45
To show that you are the children of your Father  (AMP)

Matt 5:48
You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.   (AMP)

Eph 5:1-2  (NKJV)
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Eph 5:1-2  (AMP)
Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].
And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.

In these verses we find a comparison of the new Law of Mercy with the old Law of Threatening:

  The Old Law of  Moses The New Law of  Christ
1. Was Transitory Is Permanent
2. Was a Type and a Shadow Is a Fulfillment & Completion
3. Demanded Obedience in Outward Action Is to permeate the Thoughts and Motives
4. Contained the Rule of Conduct Contains the Secret of Obedience

So Henceforth

1. The command, “You shall not murder,” was extended to angry words and feelings of hatred
2. The germ of adultery was shown to be involved in a lascivious look.
3. The prohibition of perjury was extended to every vain and unnecessary oath.
4. A law of absolute self-abnegation superseded the law of equivalent revenge.
5. The love due to our neighbor was extended also to our enemy.

In other words,  as children of the kingdom we are to aim at nothing less than this –
to be PERFECT,  AS OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT.

What a believer must strive to be:

Matthew 5:3-48
(1) (vv 3-12) Broken in Spirit
Burdened for Others
Meek
Humble
Hungry for Righteousness
Merciful
Pure in Heart
Wise
Patient
Loving
Joyful
Gracious
(2) (vv 13-16) Salt to Preserve
Light to Shine
 
(3) (vv 17-19) Teacher of the Truth
Keeper of the Truth
 
(4) (vv 20-24) Free from Hypocrisy
Free from Selfishness
Free from Grudges
 
(5) (vv 9, 25-26) Peace Maker  
(6) (vv 27-30) Free from Lusts  
(7) (vv 31-32) Family Man  
(8) (vv 31-37) Truthful  
(9) (vv 38-41) Non-resistant to Mistreatment  
(10) (vv 38-47) Charitable
Neighborly
Godlike in Society
 

And all this is possible through:

(1) The New Birth
     (2 Cor 5:17;  1 Jn 2:29; 3:5-10; 5:1-4,18)
(2) Walking and Living in the Spirit
     (Rom 8:1-13;  Gal 5:16-26)
(3) Proper use of Christian Weapons
     (2 Cor 10:5-7;  Eph 6:10-18;  Col 2:6-10; 3:3-10;  2 Tim 2:21)
Dake's Annotated Reference Bible, by Finis Jennings Dake
 

THE LAWS OF THE KINGDOM EXCEL THE TRADITION OF THE ELDERS

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  (Matt 6:1-4) As to Almsgiving
  (Matt 6:5-15) As to Prayer
  (Matt 6:16-18) As to Fasting
  (Matt 6:19-24) As to Riches
  (Matt 6:26-7:11) As to Cares

As to Almsgiving

Matthew 6:1-4
(1)  "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.  (2)  Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  (3)  But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  (4)  that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
NKJV

The new life that was to issue from this new Law was to be contrasted in all respects with that routine of exaggerated scruples and Pharisaic formalism that had hitherto been regarded as the highest type of a religious conversation:

1. Alms were to be given, not with noisy ostentation, but in modest secrecy
2. Prayers were to be uttered, not with hypocritical publicity, but in holy solitude.
3. Fasting was to be exercised, not as a be lauded virtue, but as a private self-denial.
The cares and the anxieties of the natural life were not to divert the earnestness of the New Life, or to trouble its repose.

All these acts of devotion

were to be offered with sole reference to the love of God,
in a simplicity that sought no earthly reward,
but which stored up for itself a heavenly and incorruptible treasure.

The service, to be sincere,

must be entire and undistracted.

The God to whom it was directed

was a Father also.

He who ever feeds the fowls of the air, which neither sow nor reap, and clothes in their more than regal loveliness the flowers of the field,

would not fail to clothe and feed, and that without any need for their own toilsome anxiety, the children who seek His righteousness as their first desire.

As to Prayer

Matthew 6:5-15
(5) "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 
(6)  But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  (7)  And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
(8)  "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 
(9)  In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
(10)  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 forgive our debtors.
(13)  And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(14)  "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  (15)  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
NKJV
Luke 11:2-4
 
(1) Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."
(2)  So He said to them, "When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
(3)  Give us day by day our daily bread.
(4)  And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one."

NKJV

23 Elements in the Lord's Prayer

1. Relationships Our Father
2. Recognition In Heaven
3. Adoration Hallowed (Holy) be thy Name
4. Anticipation Your Kingdom come
5. Consecration Your will be done
6. Universality On Earth
7. Conformity As it is in Heaven
8. Supplication Give us
9. Definiteness This day
10. Necessity Our daily bread
11. Penitence Forgive us
12. Obligation Our debts
13. Forgiveness As we forgive
14. Love and Mercy Our debtors
15. Guidance And lead us
16. Protection Not into temptation
17. Salvation But deliver us
18. Righteousness From the evil one
19. Faith Yours is the Kingdom
20. Humility And the power
21. Reverence And the glory
22. Timelessness Forever
23. Affirmation Amen   (So let it be)

As to Fasting

Matthew 6:16-18
(16)  "Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  (17)  But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,  (18)  so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
NKJV

Christ here speaks especially of private fasts,  such as particular persons prescribe to themselves,  as free-will offerings,  commonly used among the pious Jews.
Some fasted one day, some two, every week; others more seldom, as they saw cause.
On those days they did not eat till sun-set, and then very sparingly.

They proclaimed their fasting, and managed it so that all who saw them might take notice that it was a fasting-day with them.  Even on these days they appeared in the streets,  whereas they should have been in their closets;  and the affected a downcast look,  a melancholy countenance,  a slow and solemn pace;  and perfectly disfigured themselves,  that men might see how often they fasted,  and might extol them as devout,  mortified men.

It was not the Pharisee's fasting twice in the week,  but his boasting of it, that Christ condemned, Luke 18:12.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The only fast that God actually required of the Jewish people was on the annual Day of Atonement (Lev 23:27). The Pharisees fasted each Monday and Thursday (Luke 18:12) and did so in such a way that people knew they were fasting. Their purpose, of course, was to win the praise of men. As a result, the Pharisees lost God's blessing.

It is not wrong to fast,  if we do it in the right way and with the right motive.

(Matt 4:3) Jesus fasted
(Acts 13:2) The members of the early church fasted

Fasting helps to .

(Luke 21:34) Discipline the appetites of the body
  And keep our spiritual priorities straight

But fasting must never become an opportunity for temptation (1 Cor 7:7).
Simply to deprive ourselves of a natural benefit (such as food or sleep) is not of itself fasting.
We must devote ourselves to God and worship Him.
Unless there is the devotion of the heart (see Zech 7)  there is no lasting spiritual benefit.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Going without food or drink voluntarily,  generally for religious purposes.  Fasting, however,  could also be done for other reasons.  It was sometimes done as a sign of distress,  grief,  or repentance.

In the Old Testament

The law of Moses specifically required fasting for only one occasion - the DAY OF ATONEMENT.
This custom resulted in calling this day  "the day of fasting" (Jer 36:6)  or  "the Fast" (Acts 27:9).
(Ex 34:28) Moses did not eat bread or drink water during the 40 days and 40 nights he was on Mount Sinai receiving the law

Voluntary group fasts (not specified in the law) were engaged in during time of war, such as

(Judg 20:26) When the Benjamites defeated the other Israelites
(1 Sam 7:6) When Samuel gathered the people to Mizpah during the Philistine wars
(2 Chron 20:3) Jehoshaphat called for a fast in all Israel when opposed by the Moabites and Ammonites
(Zech 7:5) Fasting was done during the 70 years of the exilic period on the fifth and the seventh months, the date the siege of Jerusalem began and the date when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians

Voluntary group fasts (not specified in the law) were engaged in during time of peace

(1 Kings 21:9,12) When witnesses accused Naboth, setting the stage for his death
(Jonah 3:5) Reacting to Jonah's preaching, the men of Nineveh, at the king's order, fasted and put on sackcloth
(Ezra 8:21,23) Those about to return with Ezra from the Captivity fasted at the river of Ahava in the face of the dangers faced on the journey
(Est 4:3,16; 9:31) Esther and the Jews of Shushan (or Susa) fasted when faced with the destruction planned by Haman
(1 Sam 31:13 &
1 Chron 10:12)
A seven-day fast was held when the bones of Saul and his sons were buried

Fasting was often done by individuals in times of distress

(2 Sam 1:12) David fasted after hearing that Saul and Jonathan were dead
(Neh 1:4) Nehemiah fasted and prayed upon learning that Jerusalem had remained in ruins since its destruction
(Dan 6:18) Darius, the king of Persia, fasted all night after placing Daniel in the lions' den

Going without food or water was not automatically effective in accomplishing the desires of those who fasted

(Isa 58:3-4) In the prophet Isaiah's time, people complained that they had fasted and that God had not responded favorably

The prophet declared that the external show was futile

(Isa 58:5-7) The prophet declared that the external show was futile.
The fast that the Lord requires is to loose the bonds of wickedness,
undo the heavy burdens,
feed the hungry,
shelter the poor,
and clothe the naked

In the New Testament

(Luke 2:37) Anna at the Temple  "served God with fastings and prayers night and day"
(Mark 2:18) John the Baptist led his disciples to fast
(Matt 4:2) Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights before His temptation
(Matt 9:14-15) Using a marriage-feast comparison, however, Jesus insisted that fasting was not suitable for His disciples as long as He, the Bridegroom, was with them
(also Mark 2:18-20; Luke 5:33-35)
(Acts 10:30) Cornelius was fasting at the time of his vision
(Acts 13:2) The church in Antioch fasted
(Acts 13:3) The church in Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas off on the first missionary journey with fasting and prayer
(Acts 14:23) Paul and Barnabas prayed with fasting at the appointment of elders in the churches
(1 Cor 7:5) Paul suggested that husbands and wives might abstain from sexual intercourse to give themselves to fasting and prayer

(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

As to Riches

Matthew 6:19-24
 
(19)  "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  (20)  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (21)  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(22) "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.  (23)  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
(24)  "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
NKJV

Luke 12:32-34
(32) "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 
(33)  Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.  (34)  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Luke 11:33-36

(33) "No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. 
(34)  The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.  (35)  Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.  (36)  If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light."
NKJV

 

We are accustomed to dividing life into the it  "spiritual"  and the  "material";  but Jesus made no such division.

Luke 12:13 ff; 16:1-31) In many of His parables, He made it clear that a right attitude toward wealth is a mark of true spirituality
(Luke 16:14) The Pharisees were covetous and used religion to make money.

Nowhere did Jesus magnify poverty or criticize the legitimate getting of wealth.

(Gen 1:31) God has declared that all things He has made are good
(Matt 6:32) God knows that we need certain things in order to live
(1 Tim 6:17) He has given us  "richly all things to enjoy"

It is not wrong to possess things,
but it is wrong for things to possess us.
The sin of idolatry is as dangerous as the sin of hypocrisy!
There are many warnings in the Bible against covetousness
(Ex 20:17; Ps 119:36; Mark 7:22; Luke 12:15 ff; Eph 5:5; Col 3:5).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

NO  NEED  TO  WORRY

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Matthew 6:26-34
(26) Look  at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  (27)  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
(28)  "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;  (29)  and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  (30)  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
(31)  "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'   (32)  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  (33)  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  (34)  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

NKJV

Worry
The Greek word translated worry literally means "to be drawn in different directions."
Worry pulls us apart.
Until man interferes, everything in nature works together, because all of nature trusts God.
Man, however, is pulled apart because he tries to live his own life by depending on material wealth.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Christ's  "therefore"  suggests that now He is going to apply this principle to our lives.
He shows that worrying about material things is foolish because it accomplishes nothing!
He reminds us to have our values straight - life consists of far more than food and clothing.
Jesus was poor,  yet how happy and peaceful He was!
Paul said he was  "poor, yet making many rich" (2 Cor 6:10).
Luke 12:13-21 tells us to distinguish between the true riches (spiritual) and uncertain riches (the material).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1992 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

8 reasons why we should not worry:

(1) v 25 Life is more than food
(2) v 25 Body is more than clothing
(3) v 25 Believers are greater than materials
(4) v 26 Believers are greater than birds - that God feeds without their labor
(5) v 27 Worry cannot change the body for good
(6) v 28-30 Believers are better than plants - that do not worry about their clothing
(7) v 26-32 God's providence is over all creation
(8) v 33-34 Worry is useless and sinful and must not be tolerated
Dake's Annotated Reference Bible, by Finis Jennings Dake

The alternative to worry:
Philippians 4:8
For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].    (AMP)

DO  NOT  JUDGE

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Matthew 7:1-5
(1)  "Judge not, that you be not judged.  (2)  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
 (3)  And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  (4)  Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye?  (5)  Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
(6)  "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
NKJV
Luke 6:37-42
(37) "Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  (38)  Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
(39)  And He spoke a parable to them: "Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?  (40)  A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. 
(41)  And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye?  (42)  Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother's eye.
NKJV

Judge 
krino
- primarily denotes  "to separate, select, choose"; hence,  "to determine,"  and so  "to judge, pronounce judgment." 
The uses of this verb in the NT may be analyzed as follows:

(a) To assume the office of a judge Matt 7:1;   John 3:17
(b) To undergo process of trial John 3:18; 16:11; 18:31;   James 2:12
(c) To give sentence Acts 15:19; 16:4; 21:25
(d) To condemn John 12:48;   Acts 13:27;   Rom 2:27
(e) To execute judgment upon Thess 2:12;   Acts 7:7
(f) To be involved in a lawsuit, whether as plaintiff
or as defendant
Matt 5:40;   1 Cor 6:1
(g) To administer affairs, to govern Matt 19:28; cf.   Judg 3:10
(h) To form an opinion Luke 7:43;   John 7:24;   Acts 4:19;  Rom 14:5
(i) To make a resolve Acts 3:13; 20:16;   1 Cor 2:2
(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

The tense of the verb  judged  signifies a once-for-all final judgment.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The Command Don't judge our brother
The Reason So we won't be judged
The Logic The judgment with which we judge others
Will by our own judgment
The measure of judgment we give
Will be the measure of judgment given to us
The Question Why do we focus on the speck in our brother's life (eye)
And ignore the plank in our own?
The Command First remove the plank in our own life (eye)
The Reason So we can see clearly

Have we considered that the speck we see in our brother's life might be nothing more than the reflection of the plank in our own life?

ASK - SEEK - KNOCK

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Matthew 7:7-12
(7)  "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  (8)  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 
(9)  Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  (10)  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 
(11)  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 
(12)  Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
NKJV

Luke 11:9-13
(9)  "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  (10)  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 
(11)  If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?  (12)  Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 
(13)  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
NKJV

The three imperatives ( Ask ... seek ... knock)  are probably intended to be emphatic.
In Greek they are present imperatives

keep on asking
keep on seeking
keep on knocking
(from the UBS Handbook Series. Copyright (c) 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies; Electronic Database)

Ask implies want
Seek implies loss
Knock implies need

To ask for with urgency, even to the point of demanding - 'to ask for, to demand, to plead for.'
(from Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain. Copyright (c) 1988 United Bible Societies, New York. Used by permission.)

It means "to ask,"  "to implore," and presents the petitioner as an inferior asking from a superior
(Matt 6:8; 7:7-8; Mark 10:35; John 14:13, and in many other places). 
It is not,  however,  asking in the sense of the word beg,  but rather that of a child making request of its father. The petitioner asks both because of his need and of the assurance that he is welcome.
He is assured before he asks that the petition will be granted,  if he asks in accordance with God's will
(1 John 3:22; 5:15).
Moreover the Spirit leads us to such asking in that He reveals our need and the goodness of God to us.
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft)

Matt 7:7 - Amplified Bible
Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.

This must be tempered with "according to His will"

1 John 5:14-15
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.    (NKJV)

Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you   (NKJV)

If we seek His will, His kingdom, and His righteousness first, we will not ask for anything that is out of His will.

Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.   (NKJV)

FALSE  TEACHERS

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Matthew 7:13-23
(13)  "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  (14)  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
(15) "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.  (16)  You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 
(17)  Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  (18)  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  (20)  Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
 
(21)  "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  (22)  Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'  (23)  And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!
NKJV
Luke 6:43-45
 
(43)  "For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  (44)  For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.  (45)  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
NKJV

Men are so wedded to their own passions,  and so determined to follow the imaginations of their own hearts,  that still it may be said:

1. Few there be who FIND the way to Life
2. Fewer yet are those who ABIDE any time in it
3. Fewer still are those who WALK in it
4. Fewest of all they who PERSEVERE unto the end

Deuteronomy 30:19
“…I have set before you life and death,  the blessing and the curse;  therefore choose life, That you…..may live.”

Jeremiah 21:8
 “…Thus says the Lord:  Behold,  I set before you the way of life and the way of death.”

Beware of their:

1. Outward general conduct (2 Tim. 3:5)
2. Inward state (Mark 7:21-23)
3. Fruit in works produced (2 Cor. 11:13-15; Phil. 1:15-17)
4. Fruit in doctrines taught (1 Tim. 4:1-6; 2 Tim. 3:1-8)
5. Professing to do, but not doing the will of God (Mt. 7:21; 23:1-33)
6. Satanic backing (Acts 8:9-13; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 2 Thess. 2:8-12)
7. Destiny (2 Cor. 11:13-15; Rev. 19:20; 20:10-15)

Let us also be aware of  the fruit we produce.

Two ways and two trees

The two ways Illustrate the start of the life of faith
The two trees Illustrate the growth and results of the life of faith
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

TRUE  WISDOM

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Matthew 7:24-29
 
(24)  "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them,  I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 
(25)  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
(26)  "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:  (27)  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
(28)  And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching,  (29)  for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
NKJV
Luke 6:46-49
(46)  "But why do you call Me  'Lord, Lord,'  and not do the things which I say?
 (47)  Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:  (48)  He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock.
And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.  
(49)  But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great."
NKJV

The wise man was wise because

he dug
he went down deep
laid the foundation on the rock

There are three general kinds of trials to which the followers of Jesus are exposed:

1. “The rain descended” TEMPORAL AFFLICTIONS - coming in the course of Divine providence
2. “The floods came” Those which come from the PASSIONS OF MEN
3. “The winds blew” Those which come from SATAN, and which, like tempestuous Whirlwinds, threaten to carry everything before them

He alone,  whose soul is built on the Rock of ages,  stands all these shocks;  and not only STANDS in, but also PROFITS by them.

Six Ways To Think Like Christ

Reference Example Not Enough To We Must Also
5:21, 22 Murder Avoid Killing Avoid Anger and Hatred
5:23-26 Offerings Offer Regular Gifts Have  Right Relationships with God and Others
5:27-30 Adultery Avoid Adultery Keep our Hearts from Lusting and be Faithful
5:31-32 Divorce Be Legally Married Live Out our Marriage Commitments
5:33-37 Oaths Make an Oath Avoid Casual and Irresponsible Commitments to God
5:38-47 Revenge Seek Justice for Ourselves Show Mercy and Love to Others
Life Application Study Bible, Tyndale House Publishers Inc & Zondervan Publishing House

Jesus and the Old Testament Law

Reference Examples of Old Testament Mercy In Justice
Leviticus 19:18 Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.  (NIV)
Proverbs 24:28, 29 Do not testify against your neighbor without cause, or use your lips to deceive.  Do not say, "I'll do to him as he has done to me; I'll pay that man back for what he did." (NIV)
Proverbs 25:21, 22 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you. (NIV)
Lamentations 3:27-31 It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.  Let him sit alone in silence,
for the LORD has laid it on him.  Let him bury his face in the dust - there may yet be hope.  Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.  For men are not cast off  by the Lord forever.  (NIV)
Life Application Study Bible, Tyndale House Publishers Inc & Zondervan Publishing House

(End of Lesson Eight)

   

 


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