The Sermon on the Mount takes place after Jesus chooses His disciples and He begins their training.
Matthew 5:13-16 NKJV (13) “You are the salt of the earth (ge); 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 (kosmos). 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.
“Ge” you can see because it is physical land and territory.
“Kosmos” you cannot see. It is invisible.
Matthew 5:14 NKJV (14) “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Notice Jesus said we are the light of the entire world.
The word “world” is not the same as the word “earth” in verse 5. The Greek word here is “kosmos” and means the world’s system.
The world’s system is in darkness because it is controlled by satanic powers. The word “light” is not talking about physical light, it is referring to the light of the Gospel or God’s Word in a dark and non-revelation filled world.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 KJV (3) But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
The light of the Gospel is spread in two ways:
- By the words that you speak.
- By your lifestyle.
There is coming a day when the “kosmos” will be gone but the “ge” will still be here.
The “ge” is what God owns but He is not the God of the “kosmos.” Satan is the god of the “kosmos.” His lease is almost up and when it is, God will kick him out once and for all.
Psalms 24:1 NKJV (1) The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.
Satan is a bad tenant in the earth which belongs to God and Adam sold his sub-lease to Satan.
Matthew 5:15-16 NKJV (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.
Matthew 5:15-16 MSG (15) If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. (16) Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand–shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
The Jesus goes on to say that in our house we are to be light as well. In other words, we are the same light to the world that we are at home.
In verse 16 Jesus said “let your light shine…” not “make your light shine…”
When the Word of God is in you and is bearing fruit, the works will follow. In other words, you do not have to strain and struggle for those things to come forth. The strain comes when we try and be something that is not yet bearing fruit in us.
A fruit tree naturally produces fruit and does not struggle to do so.
Matthew 5:17-21 NKJV (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. (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.’
Remember that the Sermon on the Mount was not a message to the multitudes but was teaching for His disciples.
The whole purpose of what we are supposed to be doing is to duplicate ourselves many times over as disciples.
v. 17 – “fulfill” means “to bring it to pass.”
The law did not speak of Moses, Joshua, Elijah, or others, it only spoke of and painted the picture of Jesus. Only the One that the Law spoke of could fulfill it and that is Jesus.
Once the law was fulfilled it could not be done away with.
v. 18 – Jots and Tittles were the smallest letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
(Much like dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s.)
Jesus is saying to us that the smallest things that may seem insignificant to us are very important to God and will be fulfilled.
This is where the mentality comes from that categorizes sins as big, important things that need to be dealt with. Then there are the small, insignificant things that may be wrong, but they are not huge in our eyes and don’t get dealt with.
As we get into the sermon, we will see that the small things have to do with the sins of thought and sins of the tongue.
v. 19 – Religious people exalt the big sins and then ignore the small things and then teach people to do the same thing.
Someone who teaches that God is more interested in the small things and wants us to focus in the small things, will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. These small things are the things of the heart.
Proverbs 6:16-22 NKJV (16) These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: (17) A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, (18) A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, (19) A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren. (20) My son, keep your father’s command, And do not forsake the law of your mother. (21) Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck. (22) When you roam, they will lead you; When you sleep, they will keep you; And when you awake, they will speak with you.
All sins start from arrogance. A lying tongue is a manifestation of an arrogant heart.
Hands that shed innocent blood is the only outward sin.
The reason that God hates discord being sown among the brethren is because Jesus died to bring unity among believers.
Notice that the next verses say that the commandments (The Word of God) in your heart and leading you by your neck will keep you from the seven sins that God hates.
Matthew 5:19 NKJV (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.
We must understand that the small things that Jesus was referring to were the commandments that dealt with sins of the heart.
The reason that these commandments that deal with sins of the heart are so important is because ultimately all sin originates in the heart.
Doing and teaching go hand in hand.
Matthew 5:20 NKJV (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.
Jesus said their righteousness needs to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees.
Matthew 23:1-7 NKJV (1) Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, (2) saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. (3) Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. (4) For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. (5) But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. (6) They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, (7) greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’
Matthew 23:13-14 NKJV (13) “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. (14) Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
Matthew 23:25-28 NKJV (25) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. (26) Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. (27) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. (28) Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
If you are Born Again, your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees but it cannot stop there.
There must be a daily temporal righteousness that starts by cleaning the inward (thoughts and intents of the heart).
Matthew 5:21 NKJV (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.’
The judgment is a reference not only judgment before God but is also referring to the civil judgment.
The KJV translates this incorrectly by saying, “Thou shall not kill…” The correct translation is, “You shall not commit murder.” There is a time to kill, and it is not murder. There is a time when killing is right, but murder is never right.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 NKJV (1) To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: (2) A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; (3) A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;
Proverbs defines murder as “hands that shed innocent blood.”
What about Capital Punishment? It is written throughout the Old Testament (most would not argue that point) but it is also in the New Testament.
Genesis 9:6 NLT (6) If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in His own image.
Romans 13:1-4 NKJV (1) Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. (2) Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. (3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. (4) For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
There can be a righteous cause for war.
Revelation 19:11 NKJV (11) Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.
Matthew 5:22 NKJV (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.
Angry (Greek) – “lightly angry”
There is a time to get angry and the cause is righteous before God.
John 2:14-15 KJV (14) And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: (15) And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;
Ephesians 4:26 KJV (26) Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
It is all right to be angry with the devil, sin, and unrighteousness.
But it is not right to be angry with your brother.
“Raca” – “worthless one”, “You are good for nothing” (Chaldean) could end up before a civil judge sued for slander.
“But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” The word translated “hell fire” is not that at all. It is the Greek word “Gehenna” or fiery judgment of God.
“You fool” (Greek – “moros”) dull, stupid, heedless, morally blockhead, absurd; it had more to do with spiritual condition of someone; judging someone’s heart.
The reason that this is so bad in God’s eyes is because you are assuming a position of superiority over another by calling them a bad name and this reveals the sinfulness of one’s heart.
Remember, this is about watching the thoughts of your heart and then this in turn affects what comes out of your mouth.
Matthew 5:23-24 NKJV (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.
The whole point of what Jesus is saying is, “CHECK YOUR HEART” before you do anything in your life as a disciple.
Matthew 5:25-26 NKJV (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.
Jesus is saying that we should conduct our lives so that we are not always fight frivolous lawsuits all the time because we behaved badly.
Proverbs 4:23 NKJV (23) Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
Proverbs 4:23 AMP (23) Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.