Gospel of St. Matthew V

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Nathan A. Hughes

Puritan Board Freshman
I am currently writing a commentary on st. Matthew's Gospel. Here is chapter 5. https://nathanahughes.wordpress.com/2019/08/14/gospel-of-st-matthew-v/





V1-12



Happy are those



Here we have the start
of what we have come to know as the Sermon on the Mount, also known as the
beatitudes.



Ponder on who the
blessed are. These are those who are poor in spirit, mourn over their
sinfulness, meek at heart, have a desire to be filled with righteousness and
holiness of living. They are merciful, peacemakers, and do not seek revenge
when persecuted for the sake of the Gospel. They will have all manner of evil
said against them, but they seek not to harm or fight back against their accusers.
They rejoice and are glad in the Lord because they are God’s people. A chosen
people, a holy people and a blessed people.



Theirs is the Kingdom
of Heaven, a comforted people, a people with a glorious inheritance. They are
satisfied and filled. God’s people are happy in Him. All their needs are met in
Christ. The character of the Christian displays joy in Christ, a public witness
of the changed heart. The greatest joy in life is knowing Christ as Lord and
Saviour. Our joy is completed in Heaven, although we do have a foretaste of
this on earth.



The sermon Jesus gave
deals with our real problem, the heart. Our heart must be set free from the
bondage and demands of evil and this sinful world to have true lasting joy and
happiness. We cannot be truly happy in sin. We cannot change the outward
appearance to obtain happiness. The meaning, purpose and fulfilment of life is
ours only in Christ Jesus, the author and finisher of life and all human bliss.



V13-16



Salt and Light of the
World




Matthew writes that
Christian people ought to be the salt and light of the world. Salt has two main
purposes. Firstly, to persevere and secondly, to season or flavour. Salt is the
main ingredient in the food. People have appreciated the value of salt for many
centuries. In the Book of Job salt is mentioned as a source of improving the
taste of food (Job 6:6). Salt in Scripture is an emblem of friendship and
loyalty.



God’s people are
placed in every corner of the world and in every level of society and life to
persevere their community from evil. We are not here to simply gather dust and
wait to die. We are here as servants of righteousness, to be God’s mouthpiece
as it were in a lost and sin-cursed world. The church of God is to be a
lighthouse of truth, grace and hope, shining forth the Gospel in a darkened
world of sorrow and woe to fallen men and women. Christians are called by God
to share the hope that is found in Christ alone and warn against sin and to
promote holiness and righteousness in their respected nation.



If those who are
called to be salt neglect their purpose, then what good is that salt? The
church is useless if we do not what we ought to. Think of the church of
Laodicea who lost their joy and love for God. At the heart of their estate was
a dry and casual attitude for the things attaining to spiritual well-being.
This kind of position is not fitting the true Christian, for it is useless and
worthy to be cast out and trodden underfoot. Be zealous for God. True Christian
is to be in the world not of the world. In the world for good, to be a shining
light, a beacon pointing to the Saviour of souls.



Light in every regard is opposite to darkness. A tiny spark in a dark room can be seen from every angle of the room. Darkness is the absence of light. Sin is the absence of salvation’s king.



Men love darkness. The
natural man finds comfort in the gloom and blackness of darkness. They can hide
in its shadow; they fear a beam of light lest their wickedness should be revealed.
In the dark men and women unwisely enjoy their sin, thinking that no-one can
see nor known the depths of their heart. Just like Adam and Eve hid from God in
the Garden of Eden so do the ungodly. When knowledge of sin is exposed to great
dread and dear besets the soul. The law of God shows our sinful and fallen
reality. The light of the Gospel points to the way of redemption and
reconciliation.



Christians are
to be that light that points to the remedy of wickedness. By the grace of God
men and women are brought to a knowledge of sin and to faith
and repentance in Christ Jesus. Only God can redeem a hell-bound soul. The
Christian is the ambassador of truth, a soldier in the battlefield against sin,
a proclaimer of peace. Salvation is a work of God’s grace. Mortal man can never
revive his dead soul. As Paul wrote to the church in Rome, how can lost souls
believe on God is no-one tells them, for faiths comes by hearing, and hearing
by the word of God. If our Gospel is found hiding it is hidden to them that are
lost. Our light is not to be hidden under a bushel but set on a hilltop for all
to see. The reason for this is so that men and women may give God glory.



V17-20



Christ fulfils the
demands of the law.




The Lord Jesus Christ
came to meet every requirement of the law. He is the Messiah who God sent to
fulfil the words of the prophets. Jesus goes on to speak about the importance
of personal righteousness. He says that our righteousness must exceed that
displayed by the Scribes and Pharisees. This means that true godly
righteousness is from the heart to be seen of God and to glorify God. The
outward vain display of righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees was to be
seen of men, they had no desire for godly worship. Their hearts were drawn to themselves
and a superficial view of righteousness. The righteousness that Christ is
talking about here changes the heart. It causes men and women to honour God and
fix their gaze on things above and not on the vain things of the world. Those
that have the righteousness of Christ as a result of salvation shall enter the
Kingdom of Heaven.



V21-26



Christ’s teaching on
anger




Other passages on
anger – Gal 4:6, Job 5:2, Psa 55:3, Pro 16:14, Eph 4:26, Col 3:8, Jam 1:19-20.



Jesus starts by
quoting the law on anger and says that this law of old is still for us today.
Jesus stated the sixth commandment, “you shall not murder.” Jesus says here
that this commandment deals with more than the actual act of murder, it is also
a matter of the heart. The root of actual murder is in the heart, so if you do
as much have an evil thought against another in the sight of God you are guilty
of actual murder, even though you may not carry out the deed. All thoughts are
known to God. There are no secrets with God, He knows all things. Jesus says
that anger is murderous. This is a very hard-hitting statement. The Christian
ought not to be bitter, malicious and should not seek revenge. Many human
hearts have been destroyed by anger. Souls and hearts are changed in the light
of God’s grace when matters are dealt with in Him. Jesus says that we ought to
do all we can to be reconciled with each other. In other words, deals with that
matter now, don’t let unresolved issues go on. May God give us the grace to
have hearts that are free from the dangers of anger.



V27-30



Jesus deals with lust



Again, Jesus states
the principle fact that sin comes from the desires within the heart. Jesus
states the law of Moses on adultery. He says that this commandment goes much
deeper than physical acts. Jesus teaches that even lustful thoughts are sinful.
Here the teaching of mental adultery is set before us.



Lust is the pursuit of
illicit thoughts or images in the mind that stimulates sexual pleasure. The
Bible teaches that sexual relationships are to be enjoyed within the bounds of
marriage, between one man and one woman. Marriages make sexual activity
righteous and a blessing from God. Anything outside of a biblically defined
marriage is sinful. Marriage is a godly remedy for lustful thoughts. It is my
view that lust, passion and pride is the devil’s foothold in every adulterous
thought and relationship. It is
important that we guard and protect
both our heart and eyes, especially in a society that has a very casual view of
lust and sexual relationships.



V32-32



Divorce



The teaching of
Scripture is that divorce is not a godly pursuit but is permitted in some cases
such as marital unfaithfulness. An agreement of divorce was given to the woman,
which was a certificate ending the marriage. Safeguarding and protecting the
woman from divorce for no reason is at the heart of Jesus’s teaching in this
passage of Scripture. When a man divorces his wife for the wrong reasons, he
causes her to commit adultery.



V33-37



Oaths



We need to be very
careful what we swear to and promise. Many times, we make a please and do not
honour them. When or indeed if we make an oath, we should do so if we were
making it to God and before God. Remember that every word we speak will be
judged by God. No-one can escape that day when the account for our words will
be given.



V38-42



Retaliation



Be not fast to react
is the lesson here. Before we take any action to think about it first. Consider
the Scriptures on such matters at hand. Bear in mind that vengeance belongs to
the Lord. We ought not to hold the burden of resentments in our heart towards
those who have wronged us. Christians have not the spirit of bondage, but of
freedom. Freedom to forgive as we have been forgiven in Christ. Be ready to
suffer patiently with those who have hurt us. Let go and forsake bearing
grudge. Fostered not a spirit of hatred, harden hearts and strife.





V43-48



Love toward enemies



The Lord Jesus Christ
taught his follows to display love even towards their
enemies. How do we love those who hate us and persecute us a very important
question to consider? Going good towards those who treat us badly is a key
principle and teaching of Christ. Christian charity is a vital teaching of the
Bible. Paul wrote without such the Christian is nothing. God exhorts his people
to diligently consider love towards others. Christian love is unselfish, a love
that seeks not its own gain, but the best for others. Self-Denying love
is a great virtue.



The mark of the
Christian is not to return evil for evil
for that is the standard of the
ungodly. If your enemy is hungry, give him food. If your enemy is thirsty, give
his water. The greatest display of true love shown to others is a clear and
simple explanation of the cross, where God displayed his love for sinners.



Christ shower an
unfailing gracious love towards sinners. God is kind and merciful even to the
unloving, unthankful and evil, thus a Christian ought to show Christ’s grace on
the just and unjust, the thankful and thankless. Never become tired of going.
We may never trap the benefits of such love on earth, but rest assured in
heaven above we will see our rewards.



In this life out
goodness may be abused and misused by the ungodly and we may suffer some
mockery for such compassion. Behold, we seek not earthly riches but seek the
furtherance of the gospel and the expansion of the kingdom above.
 
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