But I say unto you . .
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In last week's text, Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus taught His disciples about their revolutionary mission. They were, and we are to infiltrate society with the gospel message. Our behavior is to be so radically different that we preserve and enlighten our culture and in doing so, bring glory to God.
This week we are looking at a lengthy text. In Matthew 5:17-48, Jesus makes a central point and illustrates it with 6 applications. In the previous text, Jesus gave instruction to guide our behavior, in this text, He gives instruction that goes to the heart of a Believer's character.
Some readers of this portion of scripture object to it because Jesus sets a standard so high that it is impossible to reach. But if you will carefully listen to the text, you will detect a pattern. Though the text is lengthy, I am going to take time to read it all today. Please listen prayerfully to the words of our Lord.
"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.  "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.  "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.
 "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not commit murder' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.'  "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.  "If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.  "Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, in order that your opponent may not deliver you to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.  "Truly I say to you, you shall not come out of there, until you have paid up the last cent.
 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery';  but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.  "And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  "And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell.  "And it was said, 'Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce';  but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
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