Life Application Study Bible For All Generations - Flipbook - Page 4
Full Size - Red Letter
The Life Application Study Bible
full size is the traditional, standardsize Bible. These are in the beloved
New Living Translation.
M AT T H E w 5
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,*
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,*
for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
5:3 Greek poor in spirit.
SIX WAYS TO
5:6 Or for righteousness.
Luke 8:16; 11:33
1 Pet 2:12
Luke 16:17; 21:33
blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and
say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12Be happy about
it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient
prophets were persecuted in the same way.
2 Tim 2:12
1 Pet 3:14
1 Pet 4:14
1 Jn 3:15
More often than not, we avoid sins in their extreme form but regularly commit them in forms that
Jesus is still very concerned about. In these six examples, our real struggle with sin is exposed.
Here Jesus points out what kind of lives are required of his followers. Are you living as Jesus
It’s not enough to . . .
Offer regular gifts
We must also . . .
Avoid anger and hatred
Have good relationships with God
Be faithful and keep our hearts
Be legally married
Live out marriage commitments
Keep our vows
Avoid casual and irresponsible
commitments to God
Seek justice for ourselves
Show mercy and love to others
be surprised by mourning, hunger, and persecution. Jesus’ teachings
were radically different than the teachings coming from most leaders
in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, Jesus assured his disciples that God would
reward them, though perhaps not in this life. There may be times when
following Jesus will bring us great popularity, but also expect ridicule,
scorn, and even persecution because the good news of Jesus can be
offensive to people in this world. If we don’t live by Jesus’ words in this
sermon, we will find ourselves using God’s message only to promote
our personal interests.
5:3-12 This section of Jesus’ teaching is often referred to as the Beatitudes. These verses can be understood in at least four ways: (1) They
are a code of ethics and a standard of conduct for all believers. (2) They
contrast Kingdom values (what is eternal) with worldly values (what is
temporary). (3) They contrast the superficial “faith” of the Pharisees with
the real faith that Jesus demands. (4) They show how Old Testament
expectations will be fulfilled in the new Kingdom. The Beatitudes are
not multiple choice, as if you could pick what you like and leave the rest.
They must be taken as a whole. Jesus perfectly exemplified them, and
we must aim to live as he did.
5:3-12 Each beatitude tells how to be blessed by God. Being blessed
means more than being happy. It describes the fortunate or privileged
position of those who belong to God’s Kingdom. The Beatitudes don’t
promise pleasure or earthly prosperity. Being blessed by God means
experiencing hope and joy, independent of the outward circumstances.
M AT T H E w 5
Jesus Teaches about Salt and Light (50)
To open the door to such hope and joy, which leads to the deepest form
of happiness, we must walk across the threshold of suffering, sacrifice,
5:3-12 With Jesus’ announcement that the Kingdom was near (4:17),
people were naturally asking, “How do I qualify to be in God’s Kingdom?”
Jesus said that God’s Kingdom is organized differently from worldly
kingdoms. In the Kingdom of Heaven, wealth and power and authority are
unimportant. The first and primary quality needed is humility, recognizing
your need for God. Kingdom people seek different blessings and benefits
than people of the world, and they also have different attitudes. Do
your attitudes reflect the humility and self-sacrifice of Jesus, your king?
5:3-5 Jesus began his sermon with words that seem to contradict each
other. But God’s way of living usually contradicts the world’s. Jesus’
life certainly contradicted the status quo and normal way of living in
the first century. If you want to live for God, you must be ready to say
and do what seems strange to the world, what other people may not
understand or accept. You must be willing to give when others take, to
love when others hate, to help when others abuse. By setting aside your
own rights in order to serve others, you will one day receive everything
God has in store for you.
5:11-12 Jesus said to be happy when we’re persecuted for our faith.
Persecution can be good because it (1) takes our eyes off earthly rewards,
(2) strips away superficial belief, (3) strengthens our faith if we endure, and
(4) serves as an example to others who follow as they see the way we live
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13“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make
it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15No
one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand,
where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your good deeds shine
out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Jesus Teaches about the Law (51)
17“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses
or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 18I tell you the
truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will
disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19So if you ignore the least commandment and
teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But
anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom
20“But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the
teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
Jesus Teaches about Anger (52)
21“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’* 22But I say, if you are even angry with someone,* you
5:21 Exod 20:13; Deut 5:17.
5:22a Some manuscripts add without cause.
while going through it. We can be comforted knowing that God’s greatest
prophets were persecuted (including Elijah, Jeremiah, and Daniel). The
fact that Christians in many times and places around the world have
been persecuted is evidence of faithfulness; faithless people would be
unnoticed. In the future God will reward the faithful by receiving them
into his eternal Kingdom, where no one will face persecution.
5:13 If a seasoning has no flavor, it has no value. If Christians make no
effort to affect the world around them, they are of little value in representing God’s presence in this world. If we are too much like the world, we
won’t be able to help or change it; as seasoning, we will be worthless.
Christians should not blend in with everyone else. If we isolate ourselves
from non-Christians, however, we will lose the ability to reach them.
Instead, we should influence others positively, just as seasoning brings
out the best flavor in food.
5:14-16 Can you hide a city that is sitting on top of a hill? Its light at
night can be seen for miles. If we live for Jesus, we will glow like lights,
shining brightly with his love. Many who are living in spiritual darkness
will be attracted by our light and want to step into it. Jesus’ light always
reveals truth. We hide our light by (1) being quiet when we should speak,
(2) going along with the crowd, (3) denying God’s truth, (4) letting sin
dim our light, (5) not explaining our light to others, or (6) ignoring the
needs of others. Be a beacon of truth—don’t shut your light off from the
rest of the world.
5:17-20 If Jesus did not come to abolish the law, does that mean all the
Old Testament laws still apply to us today? In the Old Testament, there
were three categories of law: ceremonial, civil, and moral.
(1) The ceremonial law related specifically to Israel’s worship (see
Leviticus 1:2-3, for example). Its primary purpose was to point forward
to Jesus Christ; these laws, therefore, were no longer necessary after
Jesus’ death and resurrection. While we are no longer bound by ceremonial law, the principles behind them—to worship and love the
holy God—still apply. The Pharisees often accused Jesus of violating
(2) The civil law applied to daily living in Israel (see Deuteronomy
24:10-11, for example). Because modern society and culture are so radically different from that time and setting, all of these guidelines cannot
be followed specifically. But the principles behind the commands are
timeless and should guide our conduct. Jesus demonstrated these principles by example.
(3) The moral law (such as the Ten Commandments) is the direct
command of God, and it requires strict obedience (see Exodus 20:13,
for example). The moral law reveals God’s nature and will for how we
should relate to him and to other people, and it still applies today. Jesus
obeyed the moral law completely.
5:17 God gave his moral and ceremonial laws to help people love
him with all their hearts and minds and to love others. Throughout
Israel’s history, however, these laws had often been misquoted and
misapplied. By Jesus’ time, religious leaders had turned the laws into a
confusing mass of rules that only burdened people. When Jesus talked
about a new way to understand God’s law, he was actually trying to
bring people back to its original purpose. Jesus did not speak against
the law itself but against the abuses and excesses to which it had been
subjected (see John 1:17).
5:19 Some of the people in the crowd were experts at telling others
what to do, but they missed the central point of God’s law. Jesus made it
clear that obeying God’s law means more than just explaining it. Studying
God’s law and telling others to obey it is much easier than putting it into
practice. How are you doing at obeying God yourself?
5:20 Righteousness means having a right love for God leading to a right
relationship with him and others, producing right actions. The Pharisees
were exacting and scrupulous in their attempts to follow their laws. They
thought that was what they needed to do to please God. So how could
Jesus reasonably call us to greater righteousness than theirs? The Pharisees’ weakness was that they were content to obey the laws outwardly
without allowing God to change their hearts (or attitudes). They looked
good and acted piously, but they were far from the Kingdom of Heaven.
God is concerned about our hearts as well as our deeds, because our
hearts show where our real allegiance lies.
Jesus was saying that his listeners needed a different kind of righteousness altogether (out of love for God), not just a more intense version
of the Pharisees’ obedience (which was mere legal compliance). Our
righteousness must (1) come from what God does in us, not what we
can do by ourselves; (2) be God-centered, not self-centered; (3) be based
on reverence for God, not approval from people; and (4) go beyond
keeping the law to living by the principles behind the law. We should be
just as concerned about our attitudes that people don’t see as about our
actions that are seen by all.
5:21-22 When Jesus said, “But I say,” he was not doing away with the
law or adding his own beliefs. He was revealing God’s truth, giving a
fuller understanding of why God made a certain law in the first place.
Jesus, not the Pharisees, knew what the Old Testament really meant. For
example, Moses said, “You must not murder” (Exodus 20:13); Jesus taught
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