Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Matthew 5

Key verse: Matthew 5:20

Big Idea:  Jesus’ Kingdom is not on the surface, but in the heart.

The Pharisees were professional do-gooders. They not only kept the Old Testament, but their own oral law that added hundreds of additional requirements. Consumed with displays of righteousness, they were defined by their apparent holiness, but in the first chapter of the Sermon on the Mount (which will continue through chapter 7), Jesus told His disciples that unless their righteousness exceeded the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, they could not enter the Kingdom of God.

How could their righteousness go beyond people like that? Obviously not by doing more good things. Their righteousness does not need to go farther, but deeper. Jesus explained to the disciples that if they hated, it was like murdering, because God looks at the heart. If they were going to be a light for the world, and salt to preserve it, they would need to follow Him from the inside out.
Sometimes, we might say we are sorry on the outside, while fuming on the inside. This kind of thing might fool some people, but will not impress God. The reign of Jesus is so complete that it must touch every part of us. What better model of radical love is there than the One who gave His life to change ours?

Discussion idea: Have you ever done the right thing for the wrong reasons? How does the call to obey Jesus from the inside call us to greater righteousness than just keeping a set of rules?

Prayer focus: Jesus calls us to go the extra mile, stepping past what can reasonably be expected of us and to make a move of pure love. Pray for an opportunity to see people the way that Jesus sees them, and for God to direct you to a random act of kindness today.

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