Thursday, January 19, 2017
Going Deeper than the Old Commands
Note from Jesus
Today's message is very important because many in your religious world turn grace into an excuse to do whatever they want rather than seeing it as a joyous reason to live for the Father. In My days on earth, some accused Me of being easy on sin and negligent on ritualistic obedience to the traditions. So it is important that you not only receive the teaching that you will read below but that you also pay close attention to the emphasis.
The words I say are hard words to obey. However, I want you to obey them — to put them into practice, to make them real in your daily life. I'm not giving you a few more rules to obey so that you can feel superior to others who are not as good at being religious. What I want is for your heart to yearn for God's righteous character as well as His gracious compassion.
There are two things I want you to realize as you read and take My words below to heart.
First, I speak with authority. My authority doesn't depend on human sources because I speak with divine authority. Moses and the prophets spoke for God, but I fulfilled the law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). My words are more important than those from Moses and the prophets because I AM the Son of God (Hebrews 1:1-2)! My words matter eternally. My words must also matter to you and how you choose to live.
Second, I want your heart. I want you to move beyond surface obedience to My teaching. Keep asking this simple question: "Lord Jesus, what is the Father's intent for my heart and my behavior in this truth?" The Father and I have given you the Holy Spirit to help you hear My answer each day (John 14:23-27; Titus 3:3-7).
If you do this, you will be a true child of your Father — the Father of all grace and mercy for all those who seek to honor Him!
Verses to Live
Jesus:Do not think that I have come to overturn or do away with the law or the words of our prophets. To the contrary: I have not come to overturn them but to fulfill them.(Matthew 5:17-48)
This, beloved, is the truth: until heaven and earth disappear, not one letter, not one pen stroke, will disappear from the sacred law — for everything, everything in the sacred law will be fulfilled and accomplished. Anyone who breaks even the smallest, most obscure commandment — not to mention teaches others to do the same — will be called small and obscure in the kingdom of heaven. Those who practice the law and teach others how to live the law will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you this: you will not enter the kingdom of heaven unless your righteousness goes deeper than the Pharisees', even more righteous than the most learned learner of the law.
As you know, long ago God instructed Moses to tell His people, "Do not murder; those who murder will be judged and punished." But here is the even harder truth: anyone who is angry with his brother will be judged for his anger. Anyone who taunts his friend, speaks contemptuously toward him, or calls him "Loser" or "Fool" or "Scum," will have to answer to the high court. And anyone who calls his brother a fool may find himself in the fires of hell.
Therefore, if you are bringing an offering to God and you remember that your brother is angry at you or holds a grudge against you, then leave your gift before the altar, go to your brother, repent and forgive one another, be reconciled, and then return to the altar to offer your gift to God.
If someone sues you, settle things with him quickly. Talk to him as you are walking to court; otherwise, he may turn matters over to the judge, and the judge may turn you over to an officer, and you may land in jail. I tell you this: you will not emerge from prison until you have paid your last penny.
As you know, long ago God forbade His people to commit adultery. You may think you have abided by this Commandment, walked the straight and narrow, but I tell you this: any man who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery in his heart. If your right eye leads you into sin, gouge it out and throw it in the garbage — for better you lose one part of your body than march your entire body through the gates of sin and into hell. And if your right hand leads you into sin, cut it off and throw it away — for better you lose one part of your body than march your entire body through the gates of sin and into hell.
And here is something else: you have read in Deuteronomy that anyone who divorces his wife must do so fairly — he must give her the requisite certificate of divorce and send her on her way, free and unfettered. But I tell you this: unless your wife cheats on you, you must not divorce her, period. Nor are you to marry someone who has been married and divorces, for a divorced person who remarries commits adultery.
You know that God expects us to abide by the oaths we swear and the promises we make. But I tell you this: do not ever swear an oath. What is an oath? You cannot say, "I swear by heaven" — for heaven is not yours to swear by; it is God's throne. And you cannot say, "I swear by this good earth," for the earth is not yours to swear by; it is God's footstool. And you cannot say, "I swear by the holy city Jerusalem," for it is not yours to swear by; it is the city of God, the capital of the King of kings. You cannot even say that you swear by your own head, for God has dominion over your hands, your lips, your head. It is He Who determines if your hair be straight or curly, white or black; it is He Who rules over even this small scrap of creation. You need not swear an oath — any impulse to do so is of evil. Simply let your "yes" be "yes," and let your "no" be "no."
You know that Hebrew Scripture sets this standard of justice and punishment: take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say this, don't fight against the one who is working evil against you. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, you are to turn and offer him your left cheek. If someone connives to get your shirt, give him your jacket as well. If someone forces you to walk with him for a mile, walk with him for two instead. If someone asks you for something, give it to him. If someone wants to borrow something from you, do not turn away.
You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you — in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us — good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. It is easy to love those who love you — even a tax collector can love those who love him. And it is easy to greet your friends — even outsiders do that! But you are called to something higher: "Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect."