You Have Heard That It Was Said

This week is another one of those times where our Sunday and Wednesday studies collide. During our summer series this year, our speakers have been talking about “one another” passages in scripture. We will only look at twelve to fifteen of them during the summer, but there are over fifty in the New Testament alone. God truly cares about our actions toward one another. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that the way we treat one another begins before any action takes place. Our thoughts and attitudes set those actions in motion.
In Matthew 5:21, Jesus begins a section of the sermon where He reminds everyone of rules of familiar rules that His audience knows and likely follows. The weakness of living that way is that breaking those rules is not a giant leap from a neutral place. It is a series of steps in thoughts and attitudes that leads to the action that breaks the rules. Jesus does not want His followers to live one step short of breaking the rules. He wants our hearts to change long before we would ever reach that point.
The way those listening to the Sermon on the Mount thought of these rules is likely similar to the rich young man in Matthew 20 who was confident in all the commandments that he had kept all his life. Then he asked Jesus what he still lacked and got an answer he was not expecting. Those listening to Jesus in Matthew 5 get a similar answer without even asking the question. Jesus has a way of cutting through the legalistic side of the law to get to the purpose God had in mind.
In his book, Living Jesus: Doing What Jesus Says in the Sermon on the Mount, Randy Harris describes what Jesus does in this series of teachings. “Throughout the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is going to talk about these ever escalating cycles of violence and retribution. Over and over again he talks about how things roll and roll and roll and how you have to cut it off at the beginning. The way you prevent murder, the way you prevent war, the way you prevent violence is cutting it out at the root. Congratulations on not killing anybody. How you doing with your anger?”
God loves us as wants us to love one another in the same way He loves us. That love will obviously show itself in the one another actions we have been studying on Wednesdays, but it does not begin there. It begins with having the attitude of Jesus. Beginning with His attitude and the Spirit’s guidance, we can live these teachings.



“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” – Philippians 2:1-3

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