Session 12 – Living Right

New CovenantThe Law was part of God’s covenant with Israel which had been established at Mount Horeb. Jesus began a new covenant with his crucifixion. We have the responsibility to obey his commands, not the Law.

After Jesus confronts the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees, he begins a series of teachings on six subject matters. The Pharisees boasted themselves as the vanguard and sole interpreters of the Mosaic Law. In reality, they were just the opposite. They developed an extensive system of oral traditions made up of commentaries and discussions about their interpretation of the Scriptures. They regarded this work equal to (if not more valuable than) the Word of God. They ruled Israel by their oral laws and demanded acceptance by all.

Jesus began each subject with the statement: “Ye have heard that it hath been said…but I say unto you….” He introduces each subject as such because he was providing clarity and insight to the Scriptures and correcting the wrong concepts introduced by the Pharisees. Had his concern been only the former, he would have said, “You have read or heard by Moses or in the Law….”

Dealing with Others

Matthew 5:21 and 22

DECREASING                      INCREASING

Murder                                   Court

Anger                                     Court

Good-for-nothing                   Supreme court

Fool [raca]                              Fiery hell

Jesus is the master communicator and used many effective techniques to paint mind pictures of the truths he taught.  Examples, comparisons, stories, fables, props, history, contrasts, and parables are some methods he employed. In the record at hand, he uses a figure of speech which exaggerates to bring home a very important point.

“Raca” – This is a term of reproach used among Jews in the time of Christ. It means senseless, empty-headed, or fool.

“Hell” is the place of the future punishment called “Gehenna” or “Gehenna of fire.” This was originally the Valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned (a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction).

“Anger” – The crafty deception we face is thinking that ungodly thoughts and actions are justified because of someone or something outside of ourselves. The hate, anger, and lack of forgiveness in our lives come from within and have absolutely nothing to do with anyone or anything outside of ourselves. We are angry because we allow it, not because of someone who has made himself our enemy. Our anger is due to our thoughts, not someone else’s thoughts or actions.

Psalm 37:7-9; Proverbs 15:1, 18; 16:32; 27:4

Ephesians 4:31 – “Wrath” – thumos – an outburst of anger; “Anger” – orgé – mental state of anger

Ephesians 4:26 – “Angry” – Deal with your mental anger quickly before you sin. (orgizo) orgé

“Thou fool” James 3:3-8

Deal with It Quickly

Matthew 5:23 and 24 – If your brother has something against you, it is your responsibility to deal with it. Do not be deceived into thinking you can have a healthy relationship with God while having a contentious relationship with others that is your fault.

1 John 2:8-11; 4:20 and 21 – We cannot determine how a brother responds to our attempts of reconciliation, but we absolutely can (and must) determine our own thoughts and actions.

The word “stumble” is the Greek word skandalon which literally means the trigger of a trap on which the bait is placed and which when touched by the animal, springs shut causing entrapment.

Skandalon is also translated snare, trap, and offense. The parable of the sower and the seed reveals that offenses are one of the two primary ways in which the devil takes believers out.

Belittling or disparaging words and anger offend people. When someone is offended, he becomes snared in Satan’s trap. An offended one is tempted to react with similar, ungodly behavior. The response can be returning evil speaking and reacting in anger, both of which are sin. The offended one may be baited into canvassing, division, strife, separation, isolation, and eventually walking away from the family of God and from God Himself.

Matthew 5:25 and 26 – If you do not deal quickly, there will be greater and greater ramifications.

The consequences grow as you postpone dealing with negative situations in your life.

Proverbs 6:1-5; Luke 12:58 and 59 – If you have wronged someone, have the courage to deal with it straight up, immediately. Honesty and courage go a long way.

Do What is Necessary

Matthew 5:27 and 28 – A matter of heart Luke 6:43-45 Adultery, like all sins, begins with a thought.

Matthew 5:29 and 30 – That Jesus Christ does not wish us to mutilate our bodies is perfectly clear.

We know from verse 28 sin is an issue of the heart, not the eyes or hand.

These verses are a figure of speech called “hyperbole” or exaggeration. “Hyperbole” is to enlarge the truth communicated in order to heighten the sense. The emphatic exhortation is to avoid and remove everything and anything that causes us to stumble [skandalon]. Being cast into hell is also a part of this figure. Hyperbole was also used in verses Matthew 5:21 and 22.

The right eye is the most prized possession. The right hand is the hand of blessing. Whatever we see that causes us to stumble must go. Whatever we do that causes us to stumble must go.

Matthew 18:1-9 – “Foot” is added. Wherever we go that causes us to stumble, we should stop going.

The most important reality of our lives is to maintain pure hearts so we can “see God.” Anything and everything which causes us to stumble from this should be dismissed in our lives. The purity of our hearts so that we can have holiness of life must be our primary concern always. No sacrifice is too great when it comes to maintaining the purity of our hearts. Cost what it will, involve what it may, the heart must be preserved because all other things in our lives are based on it.


Matthew 5:31 and 32 – In the first year in the wilderness, God gave Moses the commandments, and divorce was not considered. In the last month of the fortieth year in the wilderness (Deuteronomy 1:3), the law of divorcement was given. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 Matthew 19:3-6; Genesis 2:24 – The original plan began with Adam and Eve: “…they shall be one flesh.” Although throughout the Old Testament we see those who had more than one wife and some who did divorce, the original plan was “they shall be one flesh.” The behavior of people is not the standard for truth. Those who did not adhere to this truth did suffer consequences.

Matthew 19:7 and 8 – The reason for the writing of divorcement was the “hardness of your hearts.” Again, we see the heart is the main thing. To have a successful Christian marriage, maintain a pure heart. Divorce will never be an issue for those who take heed to the teaching Jesus gave. When our hearts are right, the outer relationships will be right also. When both the husband and wife have pure hearts, they have a great marriage.

Matthew 19:9 – When you make a comparative study of the following Scriptures, you can gain a clear understanding of what adultery is: Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18; Mark 10:1-12; Luke 16:13-18; Romans 7:1-3; Matthew 5:32 and 19:9.

Matthew 5:32 – There is a clear distinction between adultery and fornication. Both words are used two ways in the Scriptures: improper human relationships and improper spiritual relationships with God.

“Adultery” is used exclusively regarding improper sexual relationships with married people: husband, wife, and/or the third party.

James 4:1-4 – When God metaphorically refers to His people as being married to Him, the term “adultery” is used referring to improper spiritual relationship to Him.

“Fornication” is used primarily for improper sexual relationships for unmarried people and sometimes for married people.

“Fornication” is also used many times for improper spiritual relationship to God when God’s people go whoring after other gods rather than faithfully loving the one true God (Exodus 34:15 and 16; Leviticus 17:7 devils; Leviticus 20:5 Molech; Leviticus 20:6 familiar spirits, wizards; Numbers 15:39 after your own heart; Numbers 25:1-5 Baal-peor and 1 Corinthians 10:8; Judges 8:27 ephod; Judges 8:33 Baalim; 2 Kings 9:22 witchcraft; Psalm 106:39 with their own inventions; Isaiah 23:15-17 with all the kingdoms of the world; Jeremiah 3:1ff with many lovers; Ezekiel 6:9 their idols; Ezekiel 16:1ff idols, everyone that passed by, Egyptians, Assyrians, Hosea 4:1ff; Acts 15:20,29; 21:25; 1 Corinthians 6:13ff; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3.

Matthew 5:32 – The Lord spoke of fornication, not adultery, as being the cause for divorce.

Considering the context of Matthew 5:27 and 28, he most likely is not speaking of improper sexual relationships, but a spouse who is actively whoring after other gods. Considering the context of

Jesus’ teaching on the heart, why he would say this is very understandable. Many records are in the Word regarding those who loved other gods and ill-effected their spouses to turn from the true God. The most notable people in the Scripture are Ahab and Jezebel.