"WHAT DO YE MORE THAN OTHERS?"
I. AS A CHRISTIAN YOU SHOULD BEING DOING MORE THAN OTHERS.
A. Loving those that love you is not a sign of Christianity for sinners do that. To greet only your brothers does not prove anything.
1. Jesus has just told them that they are to love those that hate them.
2. They were to bless those that cursed them.
3. They were to pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.
4. Peter later wrote in his first epistle, "If you are buffeted for your faults and you take it patiently, that does not really prove anything. But if you are buffeted when you are innocent and you take it patiently, then is God pleased." He then points to Jesus as our example, when He went to the cross.
a. We are reminded that as they were nailing Jesus to the cross, He prayed, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."
b. When they were buffeting Jesus, He did not rail against them.
c. He was fully innocent, yet He went to the cross as a lamb that was being sheared without opening His mouth.
B. Our actions and responses should be a witness to others of the fact that we are Christians.
1. A witness for Jesus is not something that you do, it is something that you are.
2. People are far more apt to be convinced of Christianity by the way they observe it manifested in your life, than by some clever argument, or apologetic that you give to them.
II. WHEN WE READ HOW THAT WE ARE TO RESPOND, AND WHAT WE ARE TO BE AS A CHRISTIAN, WE IMMEDIATELY REALIZE THAT THE DEMANDS ARE GREATER THAN WHAT WE ARE ABLE SATISFY.
A. The Christian life is impossible to live. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
B. The minute that you see and confess to your inability to do it, you have taken the first step towards doing it.
C. This had been the problem the whole while with the Pharisees, they were attempting to keep the laws of God in their own power.
1. Jesus had said to His disciples at the beginning of this section of the sermon, "Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."
2. Their righteousness was something of their own doing, they were working diligently to keep the law, and were feeling quite smug in the idea that they were pleasing God.
3. In order to keep the law, they had radically changed the law, and interpreted the law as only regulating outward behavior.
4. Jesus showed in a series of instances how their teaching of the law differed from the original intent of the law.
a. When the law said, "Thou shalt not murder." It did not just mean that you were not to club someone to death. It meant, you were not to have the kind of hatred in your heart that could lead to murder. You were not to consider someone as worthless, or a fool.
b. When the law said, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." It was not saying that you should not physically go to bed with someone other than your marriage partner, you were not to even think of going to bed with them.
5. Throughout this sermon, Jesus has been showing that Christianity is a matter of the heart. That God is interested with the attitudes from which the actions spring.
a. Someone has pointed out that it begins with the beatitudes, not bedoitudes.
b. The Pharisees had been putting all the emphasis upon what they were doing, their physical state. Jesus was redirecting their attention to their inner thought life, their spiritual state.
6. The law was not given to make men feel proud, pompous, and self-righteous. God intended the law to make all men feel guilty before God, so that man would be forced to seek the mercy and grace of God.
a. The Pharisees attitudes were despicable, and vile, they felt that they were better than everyone else. They were always judging and condemning others while justifying themselves.
b. Jesus was always using them as examples of what you should not be. Outward showy religion with great pomp and ornate garb.
D. Because Christianity is a matter of the heart, the inward man, the attitudes, from which our actions spring, conversion must be a spiritual experience. "You must be born again." You must have a a spiritual birth.
1. The true changes are not from the outside in, but from the inside out.
2. It is true that you cannot live up to the demands of the Christian life in your own power. It takes supernatural power to live the supernatural life.
3. This is the power the Jesus promised His disciples that they would receive through the Holy Spirit coming upon them.
E. A Christian is to be vastly different from the ordinary man.
1. Someone has asked, "If being a Christian was a crime, would they be able to find enough evidence against you to convict you?"
2. Are you different from the others in your work place? Does the difference show? Or do you just sort of blend in?
3. Are you being persecuted for righteousness sake? They who live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. If you are not being persecuted it may just be a sign that you are not living Godly in Christ Jesus.
III. THE PURPOSE OF THE HIGHER THAN NORMAL STANDARDS IS TO DRIVE YOU TO JESUS CHRIST.
A. He wants you to depend upon Him for everything. He told His disciples, "Without Me, you can do nothing."
1. He does not want you depending in the weakness of your reformed flesh.
a. They that are in the flesh cannot please God.
b. Without faith, it is impossible to please God, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
2. The purpose to salvation coming only by grace through faith is to eliminate all boasting of the flesh.
a. Throughout the ages to come our song will be, "To God be the glory, great things He hath done."
b. No place for us to glory in man, the works of man, but only in the finished work of redemption by Jesus Christ.
c. And when before the throne, I stand in Him complete, Jesus died my soul to save, my lips shall still repeat.
B. Salvation is something you cannot do for yourself. You cannot imitate Jesus Christ. The church is not something that you can join. You must be born into it.
1. It is the total surrender of my life to Jesus Christ, allowing Him to live His life through me.
2. Filled with the Spirit, till all shall see, Christ only always living in me.
3. Paul wrote to the Corinthians "Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith, prove your own selves." In another place he wrote to them, "Therefore let a man examine himself, for if we will judge ourselves, we will not be judged by God."
4. Look at yourself today, "What are you doing more than others?