Matthew 5:23-24

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

If you’ve ever left something at home and realized it as you drove away you remember having that “ummmm” moment. How we react speaks volumes. What we choose to do speaks volumes too. If it’s important we immediately turn around and go back home and get that thing we forgot. If it is not that important we debate in our mind whether going back is actually worth it. Our inner dialogue begins. We wait to see who or what wins out.

Jesus is after the heart. He is after our hearts. How we view others, react to others, and love others is vitally important. Jesus says that love sums up the Law and the Prophets. Translated, this is a big deal.

All of us attend church with other things on our minds. Often times it revolves around food or our tasks once we arrive. How often do we stop to do a heart check; to ask God if we have left any relationship, any conversation, which is in need of repair, unresolved? Remember, Jesus is after the heart. Our passage seems to say that the gift is important but the reconciled relationship takes precedent.

Now in our world of go, go, go we can’t fathom turning the car around on our way to church to heal a broken relationship. What we can do instead is work diligently to keep our relationships dedicated to and surrounded with Jesus. Don’t leave the scene of the crime, the accident, without repair. Don’t go be religious and forget the great commands of Jesus.

As we let Jesus live through us He will help us with this. As we keep our relationships whetted in Christ we won’t need to fret about such things. The more WE do to keep our relationships afloat the less we allow Jesus to engage, rearrange, heal, and bless those that we love and those we love to be with.

His Sermon is less about what we do and more about what He can and will do. Will you let Him? Will you let Jesus live His Life through you?

Matthew 5:21-22

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

We want to hear the truth. We believe that we can handle the truth too. We seek out those things we want to know and we don’t want to me misdirected. We hear things in passing and we read articles with opinions but deep down we want to know what is actually true. No beating around the bush. When we realize that what we have been told or read was in fact wrong we enjoy the fact that we discovered the truth. Jesus was excellent at showing people “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” Jesus acknowledged what had been heard, in the past, but he already knew it was skewed, flawed, and had missed the mark. It wasn’t what Moses had written down, those very words of God – it was how the religious leaders, over time, had twisted the words. Sound familiar?

It would very easy for us to say, “Well, I’ve never murdered someone.” True, if we stopped right there we’d be free and clear. No condemnation – five gold stars. The problem is Jesus was after the heart. He was after their hearts and he is after our hearts.

Now our hearts are a different matter. How many times have we been angry, irate, uncontrolled towards another? How many times have we spoken words against someone? How often have we been the one who said that awful word to another? Now we recognize, or we should, that our hearts are skewed, flawed, and indifferent. Jesus pronounces judgment on such things.

The good news is this: Jesus came to save, rescue, change, and create a new heart for each one of us. This heart would beat for Him and Him alone. This heart would love Jesus. This heart would love others because this heart loved Jesus. But our hearts, in the flesh, cannot win this battle. Only Jesus can. What is keeping you from submitting your whole heart to Jesus? What is keeping you from allowing the Heart-Changer to live His life through you? Only when he does this will we be truly able to love others and speak true words to others. This is His Sermon in action.

Let Jesus do the work. We must submit to Him. Our hearts, if they have been changed by Jesus, already love Him. Let Jesus, through our changed hearts, love others.

in Him – a scripture prayer

A Prayer from Ephesians 1:3-14 (personalized)

Praise be to You, God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, you have blessed me in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For you chose me in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

In love you predestined me for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with your pleasure and will— to the praise of your glorious grace, which you have freely given me in the One you love.

In Christ I have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of your grace that you lavished on me. With all wisdom and understanding, you made known to me the mystery of your will according to your good pleasure, which you purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

In Christ I was also chosen, having been predestined according to your plan; you who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of your will, in order that I, who put my hope in Christ, might exist (be) for the praise of your glory.

And I was included in Christ when I heard the message of truth, the gospel of my salvation. When I believed, I was marked in Christ with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing my inheritance until the redemption of us who are your possession—to the praise of your glory.

Thank you Almighty God; my Forever Father.

Amen and Amen.

Matthew 5:19-20

Matthew 5:19-20

19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

The Word became flesh and He is Jesus. He commands adherence to the Law of God. Greatness in the Kingdom of God belongs to those who do and teach the commandments of God. Our righteousness must begin on the inside and work its way out.

Only Jesus can accomplish this change in us. The religious leaders worked from the outside and their righteousness was empty. All of God’s Word is good and profitable. Christ accomplished what we could not accomplish on our own. We needed Him before we realized we needed Him.

What Jesus did we could never do. Thank Him today for accomplishing your righteousness. He lives and in Him so do you. Blessings follow those who humble themselves under His Rule and His Reign.

I’m praying you will Open His Word and Enjoy it today (and everyday).

Matthew 5:18

Matthew 5:18

“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

Yesterday we read that Jesus loved the Law and Prophets. He came to fill it up fully. Building on this, today we read that it will all be accomplished. God is in the details. The sacrifices and ceremonial laws of the OT predicted or foreshadowed events in the life of Christ.

We must recognize that all of the Bible points us back to Jesus Christ. He is One, the First and the Last, Beginning and End. The religious leaders were into the details too but the details pointed back to their works of righteousness and not The Work of Righteousness that is Jesus Christ.

This section of Matthew requires us to dig deep, it is weighty, but it is definitely worth it!

Open His Word and Enjoy it today.

Matthew 5:17

Matthew 5:17

“Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”

Jesus did not come to destroy the Law and the Prophets. Jesus loved the Old Testament! He loved the Law! He loved the Prophets! Jesus came to fulfill them.

Think about it, he came to full-fill it … that is, he came to fill it up fully. Jesus’ words on the mount were to bring fuller meaning to the Law. Let us never neglect the OT. It always has and always will point us to Jesus Christ, our Great Redeemer, Our Sovereign LORD.

Open His Word and Enjoy.

Matthew 5:13-16

Matthew 5:13-16

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

How salty and bright are you? Jesus desires that his followers influence the world for the good. We are not to reflect this world but to influence this world. The world is corrupt; it needs salt. The world is degenerating but the Church is still present. It slows this process down.

Just imagine if the Church were not here? The chaos, the lack of True Hope. The world is dark; it needs the light. As Christ followers we are to so shine our light that others see Jesus and praise God. We will have some sort of impact today. It will either be to lift ourselves up or it will be to lift Christ Jesus up and bring God glory.

Ask for help from the Holy Spirit today to serve the LORD faithfully and fully.

Open His Word and Enjoy.