25th February 2024

Back to the Beatitudes? No, Forward to become More Like the Father

Passage: Matthew 5:27-32, 5:48
Service Type:

Automatically Generated Transcript

In our studies of in the beatitudes, Jesus has been speaking against the backdrop of
the ideas of traditions coming from the teaching of the Pharisees,
coming from the background of the history of the Jewish religion,
and he presents himself as an authority.
One of the things we found as we went through the beatitudes is
just how much the folk listening were amazed how much authority Jesus had and how different
that was from the normal teaching they were used to hearing.
The thing about Jesus' authority wasn't just that He had a rich voice and waved his
arms properly, it wasn't just authority in a human sense, it was authority in what is
always the case when Jesus speaks.
Just mentions the times when Jesus spoke I have my sheep and said know my voice and
they able to hear him.
Now it comes down into the authority of God who comes from Jesus after all, he is God's
eternal Son.
As the Bible represents who is Jesus in John's Gospel at the beginning, it says in the beginning
was the Word talking about this person about to be introduced .
ه is the out speaking of the internal God, this is one God in three persons, God the
Father, Introducing Son, and God the Holy Spirit, something that we
can never fully rationally explain.
But Jesus is the out speaking of the trinity of God, one God, three persons.
That's a mystery.
If you try and explain it, you'll blow your mind.
If you deny it, you'll lose your soul, because you can't be a Christian without admitting
that you've come back to Father God through His Son, sent into the world.
there is one mediator between God and man the Man Christ Jesus and his humanity.
That he is both god and man is how he has one arm on the Father and one arm,
reaching out to you and to Me, that He might bring the two together.
He is the mediator.
And this Jesus, this Jesus when he speaks, His authority comes through.
And it was very different and so they were amazed.
We have been going through in the Beatitudes just how amazed they were differently that
Jesus spoke, but it wasn't only in the authority that just somehow
existentially was coming through him.
It was that the content of what Jesus said was so amazingly different.
One of the areas in which is different is that the old covenant was one
which addressed the problem of human misbehavior, human sin, in terms of illegalism
as it were, or in terms of the rights and the wrongs, in terms of what is to be done
or not done.
And in many respects, it was just on the basic principle that was being addressed
But Jesus, he took the matter further, not just the precise, law stated,
and punishment coming, if you break it, but Jesus took the intents of the heart,
He took the thoughts of the mind and he addressed the questions that those laws were really
getting at at a deeper level.
In that sense Jesus was an amazing teacher.
And when it comes to the matters that he then went on to in, in the chapter five that we've
got, there's quite a number of verses through to the end of the chapter, where Jesus addresses
six areas of human behavior and in the six areas he's turned it around not so much to
be against the negative breaking of a law or positive keeping of it.
But He turns it around to be also about the intents of the heart, the thoughts of the
mind, and showing that sin can be something which is present in terms of your thoughts
even if you don�t break the rules.
so Jesus ups the ante, he ups the requisite, he ups the requirement of what it was
to be a person. And so he makes a contrast between doing it because it's
the right tradition to follow or because he says so. And in verse
21 he said, you've heard that it was said to those of old. In the Greek
Community language, the words of old is the ancient ones.
As a general term, there is immediate reference back to much of Jesus's teaching
of the Pharisees and the Jews to the law of Moses, which of course was given by God – it
wasn't false, there was nothing wrong with the Old Covenant other than that it was preparatory
for the New Covenant.
The Old Covenant was God speaking through Moses and those things that he taught were
definitely to be believed.
It's very interesting. I have in my office, in my library,
these commentaries where some of the commentaries are more written from what we
would call
a theological liberal position, that is, one that doesn't necessarily
take the Bible to be correct. They will want to think again
with their own opinions, depending on other ideas.
And there are commentaries that tend to want to say whatever was written in the
Scriptures is the word of God, and has to be believed and as to be believed in the very
expression of what language the words say.
Which of the two do you think is correct?
The one which is correct is Jesus had and Jesus believed that all that was written the
Testament prophecies were to be believed to be true. What's more, he took some of the
statements of the Old Testament and referred to them as Mose's writings – but gave his
tickers it's accurate and in other places referred to the same Moses
writings and some of the same statements and called it the Word of
God. The Bible Society had an article written back earlier 30-40 years ago
which was about the scriptures being both the Word of God and the Word of
Man. What makes a liberal scholar is somebody who is going to listen to the
맓ve words of man and overthrows some other words of God.
But that's not really open to us.
If God has said it, then it's true.
That's what Jesus believed and what I believe we should believe.
Well when he said you have heard it was said,
it could sometimes refer further back than the Law of Moses,
but it could also be referring forward to some of the interpreters of the
Law of Moses because there had been some sort of a struggle, as I told you the other Sunday,
between the Pharisees, who wanted to take the power away from the people who ran the
And for about 100 years before Jesus came, they had a campaign on to get the power away
from just the priests, and to be the teachers of the law —
Which was—th forces themselves an authority.
There were two different streams of authority in interpretations
— who argued backwards and forwards.
And that's part of why the pharisees, the teachers,
didn't have much authority,
because they were busy quoting so and so said,
and someone else said that,
someone else has got the opposite opinion.
And I don't know about you,
but whenever I get a whole lot of different people
saying different opinions, I tend to switch off.
I'm looking for something more authoritative
than just human opinion.
The trouble is that our modern society
is built upon a scientific idea
Comparing one idea with another person's idea and there is something very good
In giving people the freedom to look again as a matter of fact in our idea of being people who are conservative
I call myself a conservative person not in culture, but in theology
I am and probably in other ways as well
But to be a person who is Liberal
in the society, especially if you mean politics, it means that you're free to think again and
And I think that's the great place to be in.
And so when it comes to the interpretation of the scriptures,
always leave yourself free to think again, and not necessarily have to believe it,
because the ancients said so, or some background that you had in your family,
or something that you've taken on board to be the way that you run your life.
Just something that your great grandfather instilled in your family line.
That would fit in also to those who are the ancients.
And there are some places in the bible refer to in the book of Galatians where it refers
to the fact that people had ideas that had come up through society.
And it were just the ill and mental beliefs of back вw backpack and they call what the
ancient said.
It is our human nature that we sometimes don't like to have to think everything over ourselves
and sometimes we land on convictions, we call them that, but in fact they sometimes can
be just a whole lot of solidifications and there is a very big difference between becoming
solidified in your opinion because uncle Harry told you so and you are actually looking into
a matter and examining all the facts and being free to think again and in that sense I think
we should be liberal but that's not theologically liberal, that is politically liberal and that
is culturally progressive.
So if you're culturally progressive, theologically conservative,
and intellectually, liberal minded, then you're in the spot
that I think you should be, but that's just me.
But Jesus he kept contrasting his opinion to what folk knew because
that's what the ancients said, you've heard it was said to those of
Now if you go through this chapter five and right through to
and back through to the end of it on these six occasions of Christ making comments on
Christian behaviour, you'll find that sometimes he says, you've just heard it said.
Other times there's another spot where he says you've heard of it old but he's referring
back to an attitude that someone is stuck.
So last Sunday my sermon was the title, are you ready to go or are you stuck in the mud.
can't remember the exact wording now. But the idea being that there's a difference
between being willing to look and to seek and to do something that is shown to
be the right way and someone who doesn't actually want to bother thinking about
it and our problem in the Christian church and particularly in Australia is
that we've had a history where evangelical Christians often have been
stuck in the mud and didn't think again and so we gave over the whole area of
the drama world, and of the theatre world, and of films to the secular
people who didn't like Christianity and we let them so put
things over that we said oh that's very bad and not scriptural, that we withdrew
from those areas and left it to the non Christian people. When someone asks me
should we draw all our kids out of the schools I always sympathize with them
because I don't think schools today are anything like as good as they were when I was a kid,
I'll go back to the year of the Slates, if you want to know.
And my kids when they grew up, they were told to use the computers, and Kieran, he got better
at typing than he was at writing.
He was quicker than most secretaries in typing and in doing ... using the computer.
And there are things that have happened along the way.
Don't misread what I'm saying.
But I preferred the era when right and wrong in society was more commonly held.
We're living in an era where there are so many people who are confused as to right or
I'm not going to report to you some of the things said to me, but
even during these past weeks about what is right morals, it's amazing to find people
proclaiming all the times of change that's not right anymore.
Jesus would say the same thing,
You've heard it said."
So those of old – quote the old ones,
or even what is now the new ones in Australia
– and he who might not agree,
go back to Jesus and check him.
Well, here he is checking them and he says,
You've heard it said, You shall not murder.
And whoever murders will be liable of judgement.
Now that wasn't an incorrect statement.
It was that, in all of these six areas
you can look across your chapter yourself and see that Jesus is wanting to address the
thoughts that underlie them. He's wanting to call us to a higher level of holiness and
sanctification and right at the end of the chapter if we look at the final verse of the
chapter, you'll see what he says again...could you jump ahead with me please to that final
personal' verse of the chapter. You will see that Jesus gives the reason why he is
putting in a new ethic or tightening what is required of God to be righteous, and eventually
in verse 31 he says,
NONo. keeps going further, for the last verse 32
Thank you!
I say to you that everyone who divorces the wife, go to the last verse in the chapter,
it's the last verse on my list, I'll tell you what it is, Matthew 28,
you can count some of you better than me, verse 48, keep going, and verse 48.
Now you therefore here's what Jesus is aiming at must be perfect,
and this is where I left off last time where the word imperfect in the ancient Greek is teleos,
but when it says perfect it's not meaning correct score on the test 100 percent for you
when this is perfect it means fully developed so you've got into the goal
And in the sanctification that's meant to happen to us as Christians. You get
justified when you come to Christ you get sanctified through the Christian
journey and by the time you get to heaven he's going to make it perfect by
your sanctification and you'll get glorified. And that word tele, means
to get to the perfect completion of the whole process of salvation.
You therefore must be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect he's saying
I'm aiming for you perfection. That's why he's up the ante.
3 And so he begins to speak about some of the things that were there in the old covenant
laws that were put out and show that just keeping the law. So take the one you want
murder I think that's the first one in the list.
4 Where he speaks against it he says but if you're angry with someone in your heart you've
really got the same sin, especially if it's a type of anger that you won't let go off,
If it's a time of thing that makes you machinate against the person or if you even change your
face and wreck their reputations.
That sort of anger is an anger that is the same thing as murder and his eyes, it might
be a smaller undeveloped part of like murder, but it's not, and in its perfection going
in the opposite direction from righteousness, you end up murdering.
But there's not much difference in God's perspective of you, if you're full of anger, you say,
I haven't murdered anybody yet.
Let me just say some more.
Because Jesus is aiming at perfection.
And so he brings that outlook to each of these six.
And I'm not gonna try and do the whole six of them
this morning, I've just touched on one.
But I wanna go to what is the second and the third I believe.
We've got the right verses up there now
that we are doing what I asked you, thank you.
Again, you heard that it was said.
It doesn't bother repeating that to the ancients,
but is probably referring to something in the law, first five books of the Bible.
You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the law, what you has sworn.
I hope that that's the one I wanted.
But anyway, the idea is that swearing, giving an oath,
is doing more than what you need.
The one I'm really wanting you to look at for this moment,
is one that is about adultery.
Now I want to tell you as a preacher from past experience I generally avoid some passages
because it's very hard to say anything and some people think he shouldn't have done that
in the church.
I'm just going to read what Jesus said.
I'm looking at verse 21, or is it verse 27, you've heard that it was said you shall not
commit adultery, but I say to you that everybody who looks at a woman with a lustful intent
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Now this is a very difficult passage to interpret.
First of all I think for some of us men we'd have to go around like this because I don't
know about you but I notice beautiful women'.
Does that mean this verse is applying to me?
Thers is that people can get the total wrong
idea, or I could be seen as not owning up to what
it really says You shall not commit adultery
but I said you, everyone who looks at woman with
lustful intent."
So in order to speak today I looked up again
the meaning of the words with lustful intent. And what those words do is qualify the type
of looking. If the type of looking is in order to stimulate you to lust, you're breaking
this commandment of Jesus. He sees it the same as adultery. If you actually get busy.
So there s a time of movies, the young people or the old people. Michelle once had a woman
s meeting that they asked her to come to and they wanted to show a movie but the movie
that they showed was of one that she couldn t stay in the room, honestly. And if you put
that movie on and you know what it s like and you put it for that women s meeting, what
you're doing. You're putting forth something to titillate them to draw forth lustful thoughts,
that's what Jesus is talking about he's not talking about someone who notices beauty I
don't know how to put this carefully in him I might be wrong about this but I think
that he is saying something far more so he went on with lustful intent
And I looked up the word actually in the Greek. And in the Greek it's got a word
that when you look it up has a list of possible meanings in its semantic range,
the range of different English words that would cover it. And the word is Epithum Esai,
to and the list of possible meanings is to long for, to lust after, to set your
heart upon and then the biggie to covet. Why do I call coveting the biggie?
Because it was the Apostle Paul's one big sin that he had to own up to.
coveting got him, when he thought he was keeping all the commandments he got
convicted that he was a covetous person. Now, he didn't only need to be coveting
over somebody else's wife, he could be coveting over somebody else's position
in the church, he could be scheming for you to get someone else's job at work.
Series. Someone else has something and so one English
dictionary give me a meaning of the word comfort said to feel.
Inordinate desire for what belongs to another. And the meaning of coveting is it you see
something that doesn't belong to you. And you want it.
What Jesus says is that when you arrange a circumstance
so that you can do that wanting what doesn't belong to you.
Such as, if you go and see something to make you
want to have someone else's wife.
It was a moment in the college, a long time ago,
where Michelle used to take a shower, in the unit that was ours
and the window of it was such that there was a student who used to position himself to be able to see.
that's positioning yourself to be able to see the actual word for seeing is just a normal word
for seeing or viewing if you look at a woman with the word for look just means to see but it's with
With the lustful intent that makes it wrong, that you have sought to give yourself some
voyeuristic opportunity to be wanting what's not yours, that's what the verse says.
And Jesus puts it further into the arena of one's thought and emotions.
When you do is a list of meaning of covert that you're being a person
who longs for something that belongs to another, then that is what is just as
bad as going and actually committing adultery.
Now you see what Jesus is saying here there's a lot more I could talk on on this topic and
I won't now, but he's wanting us to be perfect
and when we do consult the verse at the end of the chapter
where Jesus explains how it is that he's taking the requirement so much more
deeper and personable and to do with the thoughts and intents of your life
then the law addresses your outward actions
But when he explains himself, it
is because you should be perfect.
And what he actually says there, as your heavenly Father is
Now it's something to do with people in our humanity
that we have been made of God with a capacity
to have children.
And when you have children, one of the blessings of it
is when you realize some of their foibles,
you gave them to them.
and when you realize some of the good points you have, right?
They come from a very interesting exercise to look at the
grandparents of your kids
and realize a whole lot of things
that come down through the genes
and that's a part of the joy of children
both good and bad
uh... if you... anyway...
What it is to be someone who has a child is a beautiful thing that God has given to us
as humans to be like Him.
Because He is one who has made us, that we might be like Him, and He's made salvation
to recruit us back from our sin,
and to bring us back from those things that make us not like Him,
that soil the image.
In the image of God we were made long ago, you know, that song, with a purpose divine,
hear his glory to show.
But we failed him one day, and like sheep when astray,
not thinking of the cost, we his likeness had lost.
So the Salvation, that he brings about by sending his Son into the world,
to die upon the cross and to rise again, and to make a new humanity,
that when we come for the forgiveness of sins that his death on the cross bides for us,
we come in repentance, and say sorry, we're sinners,
and we ask him to come into our lives
and change us by his spirit.
At that moment he begins the process
of sanctification, which is to make us
more and more like him.
The sanctification process, that second step in salvation,
justification at the beginning,
sanctification through your Christian life
with all the ups and downs, sometimes God
letting you have some downs, which has a deeper purpose,
you. And sometimes you think it is all goodness I've lost my job. And then you think that's
all a statement it might be that God wanted to teach you to pray. I've only learned to
pray to some degree because God gave me things to pray over I'm not going to go into the
details but when he gave me something to pray for I came out having learned to pray and
I learned something about God, and he's got your sanctification this is the will of God
the book of Thessalonians says, Even your sanctification, this other btion is
even your holiness because that's what the process of sanctification you are
becoming more and more, as this verse says, like the Father. When we get to
glory it's gonna be a spectacle and I know you hear me this every now and then
but I can't help but sighed that when we get to glory one of the beautiful thing
is going to happen is that we're gonna see all these Christian people there
displayed as trophies of Jesus's salvation, and we are
going to be among them.
I'm going to look down at the thing and say, Boy, look there, there...
so and so ….
The Bible says, that when He comes again at the end of the age, when we see Him, we shall
always be like Him.
That's where you are headed.
That's the perfection.
Jesus is the perfection that He wants to draw you into.
And all the circumstances in your life and mine,
are those that are under His arrangement.
You know there has been missionaries overseas.
I don't know whether they are in Turkey or not,
but there have been missionaries who
suddenly realised that the whole purpose of there being there
wasn't only wasn't just wasn't simply to win the last they were there because
God was giving them a chance to be what is a son or a daughter of God and to
learn through all the ups and downs what it is to be coming like him. You know our
missionaries are not perfect. You'd be surprised at how many difficulties
happen on the mission field because of the imperfections of the missionaries.
Nothing to be surprised about. The same thing happens in a theological college.
The same thing happens in a church. But all the purpose that God has for us in
the church or in the college or in being the mission field is because He's honing
us to be like Him and His will for you is not just where you go and what you do and what is
your job but his will for you is that you become like Him. He longs for, what is His
right to long for? Your heart, give me your heart, He says, let me have you at the
deeper level. Let me change you to be like me because He's the Father and you are the
son or the daughter." Can't you feel the heartbeat? Or can't you
hear the heartbeat that God has for your future and He's busy arranging circumstances for
you to get there. He doesn't give up. And he's going to get you where he wants you in the end.
One way or another our cooperation is needed, makes a difference. I'm not saying it's all just
cut and dried, and God doesn't, we have no saying that, we have to cooperate with it,
and He'll work on you until your cooperation is happening well.
and then he'll take you through things that you'll come out more and more like Jesus I
love the Beatitudes now I have to be honest to say that are very rarely in the past reached
on them because I didn't understand them but what I understand now what I'm telling you
when you bring to these six we already done mine I'll do another one next week
it's fantastic what God is planning to do with us. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, thank
you for today. Thank you for our visitors and for their future planning. Going, maybe
April if they can, off there to Turkey. Bless them and the organisation they're with and
the arrangements that are to happen. May your hand be upon all of those.
Be with Heather too as she is going to be working, looking after the kids,
six of them. That's not a little job. Being in a foreign country she'll have her own opportunities
I'm sure along the way that you make and we pray that your hand will be upon the whole family.
we commend them to you and we commend ourselves to you. Lord help us to learn
from Jesus and what he says. Please continue working on our perfections
there much need still for Lord don't give up on us we pray in Jesus name

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