In chapters five, six and seven of Matthew are recorded “the Sermon on the Mount,” “The Golden Rule,” and “The ‘Our Father’ Prayer.”
There is a Divine reason why none of this is found in the Gospel of John, and why Paul made no reference to them in his messages of grace to the Gentiles.
Let us note “The Golden Rule”:
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
This is very much law, and not compatible with the message of grace later revealed by Christ from heaven.
Note: “For this is the law and the prophets.”
Note God’s Word concerning the law in:
Galatians 3:10 to 12
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse, for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.”
“For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.”
“Is the law against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”
In Paul’s message of grace we learn how love is the fulfilling of the law.
Galatians 5:22 and 23
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.”
Romans 13:8 to 10
“Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
This will help us to understand how the law of the Spirit of life works in the believer:
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:4.
In the “Our Father” prayer, note Matthew 6:12 and 14: “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
This is further explained in:
Matthew 18:34 and 35
“And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
Now compare these verses with:
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
How different! God hath forgiven you. For Christ’s sake.
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.”
We quote the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:1 to 12:
1. And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Blessed are those who do many different things. Certainly because we are today saved by grace, we should not fail to do what God would have us do.
But compare with the above these words found in:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”
We might ask this question: How faithful would a saint have to be today to inherit the earth?—Note again Matthew 5:5: “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
Let us compare with:
“And having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself: by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
Again we quote:
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
God’s children should be peacemakers. But the Lord Jesus Christ was the Peacemaker Who made the peace an the cross. This is the peace-making that makes believing sinners the children of God.
But surely God’s children, although they are saved by grace, should be poor in spirit, should mourn, hunger and thirst after righteousness, should be merciful, should be pure in heart. And no child of God wants to give up the reward promised in:
Matthew 5:11 and 12
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil again you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
The child of God is told to rightly divide the Word of Truth: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15.
I Corinthians 2:13:
“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
How will the child of God under the present reign of grace, interpret, appropriate and apply such instructions as:
Matthew 5:40 to 42
“And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away?”
And what are we to do with:
Matthew 5:29, and Matthew 6:17, and Matthew 5:48?
“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it form thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish and not that thy whole body should be cast into Hell.”
“But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face.”
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
Most certainly no obedient Christian will eliminate from God’s spiritual program any one of the Lord’s commands which the Lord desires the Christian to obey.
There must be, in the Bible, some intelligent, Divine principle by which the children of God may know what part of the teachings of Christ in the Four Gospels is compatible with the grace message which the same Christ taught Paul by revelation. In what sense can the believer today obey:
Matthew 5:23 to 25:
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.”
Perhaps we can find help in the study of the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth chapters of Matthew by noting:
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”
“And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The Sermon on the Mount, including the “Our Father’s” prayer, has a “kingdom of heaven at hand” setting.
THE LAW SETTING
Let us now read:
“And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.”
This is strictly an Old Testament message. Certainly we have no Scriptural right to give out any such instructions today. Thus we see a mixture of law and “kingdom of heaven” in these chapters in Matthew.
TWO GENTILES IN MATTHEW
In Matthew 8:5 to 13 and in Matthew 15:21 to 28, we have the record of two Gentiles who received blessings from the Lord Jesus while He was on earth. The Gentile in Matthew 8 was a Roman centurion. The Gentile in Matthew 15 was a Greek woman. Concerning the man, Christ said, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Matthew 8:10. To the woman He said, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.” Matthew 15:28.
In studying these two incidents we should keep in mind what the Lord said to the Greek woman. We quote:
“But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
We also quote:
Matthew 10:5 and 6
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
To the Greek woman Christ said, “let the children first be filled;” “it is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it to dogs.” Mark 7:26 and 27. Matthew 15:26. To the Gentile man He said: “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 8:12.
Therefore, in Christ’s dealings with these two Gentiles is suggested God’s program and order. While Christ was on earth He said, “sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” After His death, He said, “first to the lost sheep of Israel;” then to the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy. Acts 3:26. Acts 13:46. Romans 1:16 and Romans 11:11.
Let us remember the two Gentiles as Gentiles of “great faith” and humility. Let us note the fact concerning the Gentile man. He was not only very humble and of great faith, but he took his place as one who was an alien from the commonwealth of Israel, knowing that Christ was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. Ephesians 2:11 and 12. He asked the Jews to intercede for him. He loved Israel and had built them a synagogue.
Now note the fact concerning the Gentile woman: “And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Matthew 15:27.
Indeed, with great faith and great humility, she recognized her place as a Gentile.
Since these incidents God’s order and spiritual program has been changed. No one has Divine authority, in this period of grace, to carry on the program of:
Matthew 10:5 to 9:
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses.”
Note the testimony of the Apostle Paul some years later:
Galatians 1:15 and 16.
“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.”
Acts 22:17 and 21
“And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.”.
Romans 15:15 and 16
“Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.”
“And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.”
Let us note when God opened the door of faith to the Gentiles and let us be sure, in our Bible study, that we do not have that door opened before God did. In another lesson we shall compare the open door of Acts 14:27 with Acts 11:18.
PETER TO ISRAEL
Let us note:
(“For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles.”)
Now carefully look into the ministry of Peter and his associates in the first seven chapters of Acts and you will learn that they are in the cities of Israel (Matthew 10:23) laboring under the orders of Matthew 10:5 to 9. “Not in the way of the Gentiles.” They were preaching the kingdom and healing.
In Matthew 11 we begin to see the truth of John 1:11: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not”
Even in chapter ten Christ said:
Matthew 10:34 and 35.
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I come not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law”
Some day Christ will come and bring peace on earth in fulfillment of Isaiah 9:6 and 7. He made peace by the blood of His cross. Colossians 1:20.
He said to the disciples:
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” John 14:27. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
Individual sinners may have God’s peace today in God’s way:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
Now note Christ’s words in:
“And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.”
Malachi 4:5 and 6
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
Luke 19:41 and 42
“And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept. over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.”
Why? “Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” Luke 19:44.
Many individual Israelites received Christ.. But Christ’s coming was the Nation’s visitation. Christ was born to take David’s throne. Luke 1:32 and 33. God’s messengers declared “peace on earth.”:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
But Israel’s rulers said, “we will not have this man reign over us.” Finally they said, “we have no king but Caesar,” when Pilate said, “shall I crucify your King?” John 19:15.
Then remember those blessed words of Christ:
Matthew 11:28 and 29
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls”
Although rejected by the rulers, Christ offered rest and pardon and peace to anyone who would come unto Him.
ISRAEL’S UNPARDONABLE SIN
In Matthew twelve, we have the record of Israel’s unpardonable sin. Note the words of Christ just before He declared their sin:
“And charged them that they should not make him known.”.
Then He declared the truth concerning Gentile salvation in:
Matthew 12:18 and 21
“Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.”
“And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.”
It was not good news to the Jews that the Gentiles were going to be blessed. They hated the Gentiles. Note what the Jews did when the Lord Jesus and Paul spoke of Divine blessings for Gentiles:
“And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath.”
“And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.”
Israel accused Christ of casting out demons by the prince of demons (Matthew 12:24).
Then said Christ:
Matthew 12:28 and 32
“But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.”
“And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him, but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”
ISRAEL’S PARDONABLE SIN
Then read Christ’s prayer on the cross for those who had sinned against the Son of man:
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”
Acts 3:14, 15, 17, and 19
“But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you. And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”
“And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.”
“ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”
The murderers of the Son of man were offered forgiveness. Some repented. The rulers continued to reject. Then Peter preached to them again:
Acts 5:29 to 32
“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.”
There was the witness of the Holy Spirit. What would they do? Would they commit the unpardonable sin?
Note Stephen’s words to them:
Acts 7:55, 56 and 51
“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”
Then what happened? They added to their sins and their father’s sins by killing Stephen. This brings to mind the words of the Lord Jesus:
Matthew 23:31 to 33
“Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”
1. In what chapters of Matthew do we find the record of the Sermon on the Mount?
2. State the Golden Rule.
3. Mention five of the Beatitudes and just how they would be interpreted to fit into “the dispensation of grace” given to Paul (Ephesians 3:1 to 3).
4. Compare and explain the difference between the petition in the “Our Father” prayer “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” with Ephesians 4:32.
5. Note the dispensational setting of the Sermon on the Mount and the Kingdom Prayer—Matthew 4:17 and Matthew 10:7, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Explain the difference between Matthew 10:5 to 7 and Titus 2:11 to 13.
6. How would a member of the Body of Christ today obey Matthew 5:39 to 42?
7. How should a Christian today anoint his head in accordance with Matthew 6:17?
8. Study Matthew 7:24 to 29 and tell who is like the man who built his stormproof house upon the rock.
9. Is there any sense in which a saint healed of a physical disease could obey Matthew 8:4 and show himself to the priest?
10. Give the account of the healing of the Gentile centurion’s servant, recorded in Matthew 8:5 to 13 and Luke 7, mentioning several things about the centurion and Christ’s words concerning his great faith and Israel.
11. Explain the significance of “let the children first be filled” and “the children of the kingdom shall be cast out.”
12. Let us read carefully the record of the healing of the man sick of the palsy in Matthew 9:1 to 8. This is the only record we have where Christ healed the soul before he healed the body. What words did He use in healing the soul and what did the scribes think?
13. In what verse in Matthew 9 is the call of Matthew, the publican, recorded?
14. Name the twelve apostles recorded in Matthew 10:2 and 3. To whom were they sent according to the verses that follow and with what message and ministry?
15. Is Matthew 10:6 to 9 God’s spiritual program for today?
16. State the words of Christ’s judgment upon Capernaum.
17. What is promised in Matthew 11:28 to 30 to those who come to Christ?
18. Give the verses in which Christ referred to the unpardonable sin of Israel. State that sin. In the light of Romans 5:20 and Ephesians 2:1 to 8 can we say that any sin of any sinner today is unpardonable if that sinner will accept God’s grace and pardon?
19. What was the attitude of the Jews toward the Gentiles?
20. What was accomplished for Israel by Christ’s prayer on the cross recorded in Luke 23:34?
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.