The Sixth Sunday of Epiphany, 16 Feb 2020, Matthew 5:17-37 ~ Kingdom righteousness

The Sixth Sunday of Epiphany

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening Prayer:

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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“Only A Holy God” – CityAlight

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Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:17-37 (NLT)
(NLT)

Teaching about the Law

“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. I 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. So 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 of Heaven.

“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!

Teaching about Anger

“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

“When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.

Teaching about Adultery

“You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye]—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

Teaching about Divorce

“You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’ But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.

Teaching about Vows

“You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’ But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.
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“Psalm 119:33-40” – The Corner Room

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Intercession:

Wise and Gracious  God: Hear your people’s cries for help and mercy in these times of trouble. We pray especially –

  • That all who follow Jesus may make wise choices that not compromise with evil…
  • That all who follow Jesus may seek you all our hearts and walk only in your ways …
  • That all who follow Jesus may live godly lives and not wander from your commands..
  • That all who follow Jesus may be guided in every decision by your Word and Spirit…
  • That all who follow Jesus may live forgiven, shame-free lives, transformed by your grace…
  • That all who follow Jesus may live generously, giving to others as freely as we have received…
  • That all who follow Jesus may speak peace and healing, with Kingdom authority, into the lives of others…
  • That all who follow Jesus may be bearers of Kingdom life and light, dispelling this world’s darkness…

Gracious God, you lead your people along paths of righteousness; hear our prayers and help us stay the course you have laid out before us – we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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“His Mercy Is More” – Shane & Shane

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Closing: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NLT)

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

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+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Tuesday Morning: 20 Aug 2019 – Matthew 5:17-32 ~ Jesus’ teaching on the Law, Anger, Adultery, and Divorce

Tuesday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening (A Collect for Peace – Tuesday)

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Matthew 5:1-16 (NLT)

The Sermon on the Mount (Continued)

Teaching about the Law

“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. I 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. So 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 of Heaven.

“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!

Teaching about Anger

“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

“When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.

Teaching about Adultery

“You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

Teaching about Divorce

“You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’ But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.
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Morning Reflection:

Jesus’ teaching on Anger

“You have heard that our ancestors were told,
‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’

But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!”
– Matthew 5:21-22 –

Jesus began his teaching on righteousness in the Kingdom of God by describing the character and conduct that God blesses. This should not have surprised his listeners since his description conformed to the revelation of God’s will in the Old Testament. In fact, Jesus declares that he came to accomplish its purpose.

But while the Law primarily addressed behavior, Jesus addressed the thoughts and feelings that drive the behavior – in other words, Jesus addressed what’s going on in our hearts. His teaching on anger is a good example.

When God gave the sixth commandment, He did not just want people to refrain from murdering one another. He wanted them to refrain from the hatred that leads to murder. Murder is only the external manifestation of the internal problem. The scribes and Pharisees dealt only with the external act. Jesus showed that God’s concern ran much deeper. (John Stott)

Questions for consideration:

  • What makes you angry? People with full shopping carts in the express checkout line? Slow drivers in the fast lane? Something else? Please explain.
  • On a deeper level, what makes you angry? Betrayal of trust through adultery? Rejection through divorce? Some other betrayal or abuse of trust? Please explain.
  • How have you dealt with feelings of anger, resentment, or bitterness? Have you held on to them? Or have you released them to God? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: Prayer to release Anger, Resentment and Bitterness

Gracious God, hear me and answer me. You know I am troubled by thoughts and feelings of anger, resentment and bitterness. You also know why. And You know how deep the hurt goes and how long I have lived with it. But I don’t want to live with it any longer. I don’t want to be an angry, resentful and bitter person. With Your help, I release my anger into Your hands. I surrender my resentment. I let go of my bitterness. Help me to keep letting go and release these toxic emotions as often as they try to return. I ask this in Jesus’ name through the power of his Spirit at work in me. Amen.

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“Heal My Broken Heart” – Patty Felker

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Daily Reading: 13 June – The Teachings of Jesus – Sermon on the Mount (Part I) – Matthew 5:1-6:4

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

E100:12.a – The Teachings of Jesus

Sermon on the Mount (Part I) – Matthew 5:1-6:4 (NLT)

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5  One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, 2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.
6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.
7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

11 “God 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. 12 Be 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.

The Sermon on the Mount Carl Bloch, 1890 Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle Bjergprædiken, Denmark
The Sermon on the Mount
Carl Bloch, 1890
Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle
Bjergprædiken, Denmark

Teaching about Salt and Light

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. 15 No 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. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Teaching about the Law

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. 18 I 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. 19 So 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 of Heaven.

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!

Teaching about Anger

21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

25 “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.

Teaching about Adultery

27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

Teaching about Divorce

31 “You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’ 32 But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.

Teaching about Vows

33 “You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’ 34 But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. 35 And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. 36 Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. 37 Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

Christ crowned with thorns Anthony van Dyck, c. 1620 Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
Christ crowned with thorns
Anthony van Dyck, c. 1620
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

Teaching about Revenge

38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

Teaching about Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Teaching about Giving to the Needy

Matthew 6  “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3 But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“Beatitudes” – Lydia Shaw (Bethel Church)

Dialogued Prayer on the Beatitudes

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Keep us from being preoccupied with money and worldly goods, and with trying to increase them at the expense of justice.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” Help us not to be ruthless with one another, and to eliminate the discord and violence that exists in the world around us.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Give us patience under our own burdens and concern about the burdens of others.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be filled.” Make us thirst for you, the fountain of all holiness, and actively spread your influence in our private lives and in society.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Grant that we may be quick to forgive and slow to condemn.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.” Free us from our senses and our evil desires, and fix our eyes on you.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” Aid us to make peace in our families, in our country, and in the world.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of justice, for the kingdom of heaven in theirs.” Make us willing to suffer for the sake of right rather than to practice injustice, discrimination or oppression of our neighbors.

Closing Sentence

May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
– 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!