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Struggling with the Sermon on the Mount

Discussion in 'Deeper Fellowship' started by PoetStorm, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. PoetStorm

    PoetStorm Wanderer in the wilderness

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    Hi, I'm hoping to get some thoughts on this one as I am really wrestling with it. It's been bothering me for just days. So I've been a Christian all my life for the most part, grew up in one of those families that made a church showing on Easter..sometimes, but always called on God in the storm.

    I've started bible reading plans here and there but never got very far. But this past December I have to say I've really felt called and haven't looked back. I'm praying and in the word often now and took great joy from it, learning more every day and trying to work on ym flaws and be a better daughter of God. I really was trying hard to obey everything and taking joy in it too.

    That was until I read the Sermon on the Mount and got a proverbial frying pan of despair and futility in my face. I'm really struggling with these passages and the high standards to which they hold us. It just seems so insurmountable that it feels pointless to even try!

    This is the first one that hit me like a blow to the gut:

    "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." - Well weren't the Pharisees obeying every letter of the law and so righteous? My mind is translating this as unless you're like super human...too bad.

    Matthew goes on with a whole list of stringent rules.

    And then we come here:
    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" - Again, seems so daunting to me to think even those who dedicate their whole lives doing things like what seems to be described above may still not be known by Jesus?

    And then there are these passages I found elsewhere in the NT:

    "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

    "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

    These passages are so different from the Jesus of love and forgiveness that I've grown up with, and it shook me to the very core and is actually shaking my faith. It feels like we're just set up for something we can't possibly do. I know we're supposed to be forgiven, but it sure isn't saying here, hey even if you mess up a little on these statutes from time to time, you're still OK as long as you repent, try to do better, and love God.

    And when Jesus talks about not serving two masters and not worrying about what you will eat, are we all meant to quit our jobs and roam around preaching? If you have a modest profession and a family you're falling short and doomed to hell? Oh I am just so mixed up now.

    I've looked all over the web to see if anyone else was so floored like I was but it seems I may be in the minority. How do you all get through reading Matthew in one piece, and how do you interpret the passages?
     
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  2. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

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    The standard Jesus holds us to is impossible for sinful man. We are too depraved. Only Jesus, God Himself, can do so.

    This is the whole point of Grace, that we are supported by the Holy Spirit in our efforts, thus borrowing Jesus' ability to do so. We cannot save ourselves nor achieve standards to do so by our own accord. This is why Salvation is a free gift of Grace, undeserved. We must attempt it, but we are inevitably going to fail, until Jesus can rebuild us anew in this life and completes it in the next.
     
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  3. OldWiseGuy

    OldWiseGuy Wake me when it's soup. Supporter

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    Welcome to the real bible, the real God, and the real Jesus. You are indeed in very special company. God Bless and good studies.
     
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  4. Godlovesmetwo

    Godlovesmetwo Fringe Catholic

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    I believe the gospels are an ideal we should aspire to but not take in an absolute literal sense. Some of us cant visit prisons for example but Jesus says "I was in prison and you visited me".
    It can be very discouraging I agree, especially if we are idealists or perfectionists by nature. Still there may be a chance you are called to be a missionary or homeless shelter worker for example. If you aren't just remember the golden rule about loving God and neighbour is paramount.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  5. now faith

    now faith Veteran Supporter

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    Keep studying, it's easier than you think.
    Hint: who did Jesus say was the Father of the Pharisees?

    As well Galatians Ch 3 Vs 13
     
  6. JIMINZ

    JIMINZ Well-Known Member

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    So I've been a Christian all my life for the most part, grew up in one of those families that made a church showing on Easter..sometimes, but always called on God in the storm.

    Hi PoetStorm

    I don't mean to be rude, but I have to ask, in order to know what you mean.

    You say you have been a Christian all your life, but was in a nominal Christian family.

    1) Just what do you mean when you say your a Christian, from what you said about your family, and their not attending a Church on a regular basis, what was the process by which you became a Christian?
    2) Have you been Baptized?


    Like I said, I don't mean to be rude, I just need to know right where you stand.

    I will attempt to answer your post question by question, but I need those answers first.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  7. paul1149

    paul1149 that your faith might rest in the power of God Supporter

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    One of the purposes of the Law was to show man he could not keep it. Thus he could not merit his own salvation. He needs a Savior. This is a major theme of the book of Galatians, where Paul recounts telling Peter that not even Jews keep the law, and then goes on to explain that the law is the tutor which leads men to Christ.

    Jesus used the Sermon to take OT law to its extreme conclusion. Even simply thinking lustful thoughts is committing fornication, for instance. And so the only way to be more righteous than the professional legalists is to rely on Christ's righteousness. This is what happens when we trust Christ for salvation.

    This is confirmed by the warning at the end of the Sermon. All those people doing good deeds in the name of Christ, but who weren't known by Him, had failed to acknowledge their need of salvation. They were doing religious works in order to be approved, instead of relying on the only possible way of salvation, the atonement of Christ. So these two passages are in complete harmony.

    As for hating parents, abandoning everything for the kingdom, etc, basically it means you must place Jesus first, before everything else. And to the degree that other things interfere with Christ's call on your life, you must turn away from them. You shouldn't force false dichotomies in that regard, though. The normal state is to get along with parents, earn a living, etc. But when there is a conflict we must choose Christ.

    HTH. Blessings.
     
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  8. Godlovesmetwo

    Godlovesmetwo Fringe Catholic

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    And the fact that the gospels are an ideal might turn some people off. "how can I possibly do what is required?"
    But ignoring them is a fatally wrong choice IMO.
     
  9. Thedictator

    Thedictator Retired Coach, Now Missionary to the World

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  10. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    You have to ask yourself, who was Jesus talking to? He was talking to unconverted Jews under the Old Covenant, not born again Christians. That is important. There are some scriptures that are for us, which is true in this case, and there are scriptures that are written to us. The sermon on the mount is written for us, but not necessarily to us.

    You need to know the definition of righteousness. It is being acceptable to God. The Pharisees had self-righteousness through their own efforts to keep the Jewish Law. Born again believers have exchanged their defective righteousness for the pure righteousness of Christ. Because we have received the righteousness of Christ, we have absolute acceptance and standing with God. This is what Jesus meant by our righteousness being better than the Pharisees. Our righteousness is as filthy rags before God, that is why it is nailed to the cross with Jesus. We have a new righteousness given to us that makes us totally right with God through our faith in Christ.

    Notice that those who are rejected are saying "I", "I", "I", as though their own works will justify them before Christ. There are many who have "got religion" but they are full of their own achievements and good deeds. I asked God once what was the ticket to heaven. He said, "Jesus died for you on the cross. That's all you need." and He added, "By the way, that's all you needed." So to me, making Jesus truly Lord of my life is acknowledging that my only way of being right with God is to hold on in faith to the crucified and resurrected Jesus and make no other claims for acceptance other than what He has done for me on the cross and that He rose from the grave to give me eternal life.

    The definition of "hate" here is to "love less" What this means is that we put God first, family next, church after that. Being a believer does not mean that you should cut your family ties, rather they should be strengthened. But when it comes to family wanting you to conduct yourself in ways that are contrary to your faith in Christ, you say "I love you to bits, but I cannot do that and deny my Lord." They then have the choice to accept that or reject you. Then it is not you breaking the tie between it, it may be that they are the ones doing the breaking. You are not held responsible for that. But through prayer and faith, family reconciliation can happen, and perhaps family members can be saved through you example.

    Because the devil is the god of this world, and that he hates Christ and anyone who represents Him. You will find that the world will hate you and persecute you when you stand for Christ. This is normal and part of the territory. But God is there to be your shield and defence and the devil can go only so far to do you harm. He is like a large threatening lion from a distance, but as you walk along the path closer to him you see that he is chained so he cannot get on to the path so you can walk right by him without any harm.

    We are meant to live our lives with common sense. We have to earn a living and provide for our families. The scripture says that if we don't provide for our families we are worse than a heathen. What Jesus means is that we don't get stressed out about the future and how we are going to be provided for. If you are called to the ministry then it will be obvious to you and your spouse will be in total unity with you. You have to pay the bills and use your skills in the type of employment that will satisfy you. Christians are in all walks of life. There were even Christians in Caesar's household, working for him. Getting before God and asking Him about these things will make things clearer to you, but the common sense way is the best unless God clearly directs you otherwise. But He will not lead you in ways where you run up debts, neglect those who depend on you. These things will being disrepute to His Name.

    I think that a lot will be cleared up when you realise that the Sermon on the Mount is written for your education and not a set of instructions about how to live as a born again Christian. Make a list of all those things that are important to you, what you want for your future, the desires of your heart and the type of life you would have the most fulfillment and joy in living. Then take that list to God and discuss it with Him. You might be surprised over what He might reveal to you as a result.
     
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  11. Foxfyre

    Foxfyre Well-Known Member Supporter

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    First, in my opinion the Sermon on the Mount is more likely a collection of snippets of Jesus sayings or teachings--they call those pericopes in theology class--rather than a single sermon. They were a combination of teachings never intended to be taken as a single teaching in a single setting to a single audience. But chances are it is representative of how Jesus taught the crowds who came to hear him.

    But whatever one chooses to believe about that, remember that Jesus was speaking to mostly Jewish people at that time. These were people who had been drilled and trained in the fundamentals and traditions of Judaism their entire lives. They lived by the Law as they understood it and that was defined by the scribes and Pharisees.

    I think most of the Sermon on the Mount was to challenge the concept that strict obedience to the Law was not going to get us to heaven, and also to begin infusing what would be Christian values of better understanding, love, encouragement, devotion, respect for all, etc. that would replace strict obedience to the Law.
     
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  12. TimAM

    TimAM God fearing and God loving!

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    I'll tell you how I interpret the passages. I've studied through the Sermon on the Mount and also still read it every so often. By God's grace, I hope I can help.

    Your first one:

    "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." - Well weren't the Pharisees obeying every letter of the law and so righteous? My mind is translating this as unless you're like super human...too bad.

    Let's look at the righteousness of the Pharisees in these verses:

    -Luke 18:9-14

    To some who trusted in their own righteousness and viewed others with contempt, He also told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like the other men—swindlers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and pay tithes of all that I receive.’

    But the tax collector stood at a distance, unwilling even to lift up his eyes to heaven. Instead, he beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man, rather than the Pharisee, went home justified. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    -Matthew 23:23-28

    Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You pay tithes of mint, dill, and cumin, but you have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

    Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, so that the outside may become clean as well.

    Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity. In the same way, you appear to be righteous on the outside, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

    There is more condemnation spoken of the scribes and pharisees in Matthew 23 if you want to read about it.

    Commentary from Andrew Wommack:

    In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was not saying that we have to fast more than twice each week to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Rather, He was exposing the religious leaders’ superficial self-righteousness, and He began to explain, in this verse through Matthew 6:18, that God looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). The scribes and Pharisees had put all of the emphasis on physical acts of compliance with many laws and traditions, but in their hearts, they were still of their father, the devil (John 8:44). They had made the outside clean, but within, they were full of all uncleanness, hypocrisy, and iniquity (Matthew 23:25-28).

    Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

    Hebrews 4:15 "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

    The ONLY way for us to be righteous is to be in Christ:

    2 Corinthians 5:21 "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

    We can't trust our own righteousness. If we do, we're condemned.

    Albert Barnes Commentary:

    "That we might be made the righteousness of God - This is a Hebraism, meaning the same as divinely righteous. It means that we are made righteous in the sight of God; that is, that we are accepted as righteous, and treated as righteous by God on account of what the Lord Jesus has done. There is here an evident and beautiful contrast between what is said of Christ, and what is said of us. He was made sin; we are made righteousness; that is, he was treated as if he were a sinner, though he was perfectly holy and pure; we are treated as if we were righteous, though we are defiled and depraved. The idea is, that on account of what the Lord Jesus has endured in our behalf we are treated as if we had ourselves entirely fulfilled the Law of God, and bad never become exposed to its penalty. In the phrase "righteousness of God," there is a reference to the fact that this is his plan of making people righteous, or of justifying them."

    David Guzik Commentary:

    "d. That we might become the righteousness of God in Him: Jesus took our sin, but gave us His righteousness. It is a tremendous exchange, all prompted by the love of God for us!

    i. “Not only does the believer receive from God a right standing before him on the basis of faith in Jesus (Phil 3:9), but here Paul says that ‘in Christ’ the believer in some sense actually shares the righteousness that characterizes God himself.” (Harris)

    ii. The righteousness of God: “What a grand expression! He makes us righteous through the righteousness of Jesus; nay, not only makes us righteous, but righteousness; nay, that is not all, he makes us the righteousness of God; that is higher than the righteousness of Adam in the garden, it is more divinely perfect than angelic perfection.” (Spurgeon)

    iii. “The righteousness which Adam had in the garden was perfect, but it was the righteousness of man: ours is the righteousness of God.” (Spurgeon)

    iv. This is the whole truth of justification stated simply: Our sins were on Jesus, and His righteousness is on us. And, “As Christ was not made sin by any sin inherent in him, so neither are we made righteous by any righteousness inherent in us, but by the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.” (Poole)"

    -The only way for us to get to Heaven is to, indeed, be more righteous than the scribes and Pharisees, and that is only through Jesus to accept His righteousness, that is salvation!

    Ephesians 1:7 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;"

    2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

    Once a person has been truly saved, we will want and desire to do the best we can do and obey the best we can. But, when we fail, Jesus' blood covers us.

    1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

    1 John 2:1-3 "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate before the Father--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours alone, but also for the sins of the whole world. By this we can be sure that we have come to know Him: if we keep His commandments."

    If a person claims to be saved and still desires to sin and feels nothing, then they should question their salvation:

    2 Corinthians 13:5 "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test?" (NASB)

    In such a case, that person should cry out to God with all their heart.


    Let's move on to your next one:
    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’"

    -There are people that can use the Mighty Name of Jesus and get results even though they're not saved. They haven't had a heart change. They don't have the righteousness of God in Christ.

    David Guzik Commentary:

    " Lord, Lord, have we not: The people Jesus speaks of here had impressive spiritual accomplishments. They prophesied, cast out demons, and had done many wonders. These are wonderful things, but they meant nothing without true fellowship, true connection with Jesus.

    i. Jesus did not seem to doubt their claims of doing the miraculous. He didn’t say, “You didn’t really prophesy or cast out demons or do miracles.” This leads us to understand that sometimes miracles are granted through pretended believers, reminding us that in the final analysis, miracles prove nothing.

    ii. Significantly, they even did these things in the name of Jesus. Yet, they never really had a relationship of love and fellowship with Jesus. “Through my love to the souls of men, I blessed your preaching; but yourselves I could never esteem, because you were destitute of the spirit of my Gospel, unholy in your hearts, and unrighteous in your conduct.” (Clarke)

    iii. “If preaching could save a man, Judas would not have been damned. If prophesying could save a man, Balaam would not have been a castaway.” (Spurgeon)

    I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness: In the end, there is one basis of salvation; it isn’t mere verbal confession, not “spiritual works,” but knowing Jesus and being known by Him. It is our connection to Him – by the gift of faith that He gives to us – that secures our salvation. Connected to Jesus we are secure; without connection to Him all the miracles and great works prove nothing.

    i. “What a terrible word! What a dreadful separation! Depart from ME! From the very Jesus whom you have proclaimed in union with whom alone eternal life is to be found. For, united to Christ, all is heaven; separated from him, all is hell.” (Clarke)

    ii. In addition, these are not people who lost their salvation. Instead, they never truly had it (I never knew you)."

    -For a person to be saved, like David Guzik said above, mere verbal confession can't save us. Our hearts have to be behind our words.

    Romans 10:9 tells us to confess, with our mouth, Jesus Christ as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead (Jesus is Lord means Jesus Christ is in control of your life. If you acknowledge him as Lord, he will clean you up from sin and will guide you in the right direction. Set your love on Jesus.). You can't just mouth words and expect to be saved, you must put your heart behind your words. That's why it says believe with your heart. Trust him with all your heart.

    For those that may not be saved:

    Come to Jesus Christ as you are today! You don't have to clean yourself up before you come to Jesus. You come to Jesus for forgiveness and then he cleans you up. He wants to save you, guide you in the right direction and give you a new heart. Once you truly come to Jesus, a change will start to occur in you. Don't worry if you're thinking you can't live the Christian life. Jesus will give you the power to live the Christian life. Come to Jesus!

    Cry out to God and turn your whole mind and heart towards Jesus Christ and put your faith in him as Lord and Savior. Make him your Lord. Entrust him with your life and put your faith in him to save you. Pray to God (prayer is simply talking to God) and express your belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It needs to be in your own words from your own heart.


    Let's move on to the next scripture you posted:

    "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

    -A lot of times, it helps to look at the parallel passages of scripture. The one you posted is from Luke. Let's look at the parallel passage in Matthew to help us understand better:

    Matthew 10:37 "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."
    So, you can see, the passage from Luke doesn't mean we have to hate, it means we should love Jesus more than anyone else. We should not love anyone more than we love Jesus.

    Andrew Wommack Commentary:

    "Jesus’ instruction here is also found in Luke 14:26, which, if taken by itself, might leave the impression that we are supposed to hate our fathers and mothers, wives and children, and even ourselves. However, Matthew made it very clear in this verse by the use of the words “more than” that this was not what Jesus meant. We are commanded to walk in love, especially to the members of our own families (Ephesians 5:25-33 and Titus 2:4). Jesus was simply stating that we should prefer Him above any other relationship."


    Next one:
    "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

    Albert Barnes Commentary:

    "Christ did not here mean to say that the object of his coming was to produce discord and contention, for he was the Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 11:6; Luke 2:14; but he means to say that such would be one of the effects of his coming. One part of a family that was opposed to Him would set themselves against those who believed in him. The wickedness of men, and not the religion of the gospel, is the cause of this hostility. It is unnecessary to say that no prophecy has been more strikingly fulfilled; and it will continue to be fulfilled until all unite in obeying his commandments. Then his religion will produce universal peace."
    -A lot of times, when a person comes to Christ, that person is shunned. This is especially true in countries where Christianity is outlawed and where false religions flourish. In some areas, when a person comes to Christ, that person is then hated and can be killed because of his\her faith.

    Andrew Wommack Commentary:

    " This statement seems like a contradiction to some prophecies concerning Jesus (Psalms 72:7, 85:10; Isaiah 9:6-7; and Luke 2:14), some of His own statements concerning peace (John 14:27 and 16:33), and what was written of Him in the New Testament epistles (Romans 5:1, 14:17-19; Ephesians 2:14-17, 4:3; Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15; and Hebrews 12:14). However, the peace that Jesus purchased was peace between God and man. We have peace with God (Romans 5:1). We are exhorted to take this peace and extend it to all people (Romans 12:18 and Hebrews 12:14), but it is also made very clear that not all people will receive it (John 16:33 and 2 Timothy 3:12). Therefore, as Jesus was explaining here, the Gospel will always produce opposition from those who don’t receive it.

    This “sword of division,” even among family members, is not God’s will nor is it God who causes it, but it will inevitably come. Jesus was simply preparing His disciples. As much as we would like to see everyone receive the good news, we must not think it’s strange when even our loved ones don’t receive it. Jesus was rejected by His own (John 1:11), and we will be also (Matthew 10:24-25). We must remain faithful to keep preaching the Gospel, for there are others who will receive."


    Your next statement:

    "These passages are so different from the Jesus of love and forgiveness that I've grown up with, and it shook me to the very core and is actually shaking my faith. "
    -Our faith can be shaken and stretched. That's when we grow, but we must never give up our faith. It's important to compare scripture with scripture as I have tried to do above with others' help. The love of Jesus and His forgiveness is still there in scripture. Much of it was mentioned above. Here's some more verses:

    John 15:9-17 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. ."

    John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. "

    1 John 4:19 "We love because he first loved us."

    Romans 5:8 "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

    John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

    Matthew 19:14 "But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.""

    Romans 8:38-39 "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."


    Next:
    Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

    Also Matthew 6:24 (the parallel verse)

    -That doesn't mean we should quit our jobs. It means we should not serve money. We should not "love" money.

    1 Timothy 6:10 "For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (NASB)

    Psalm 62:10b "...if riches increase, set not your heart upon them."

    David Guizk Commentary:

    "Jesus states that serving two masters is a simple impossibility. If you think that you are successfully serving two masters, you are deceived. It can’t be done. As ancient Israel struggled with idolatry, they thought they could worship the Lord God and Baal. God constantly reminded them that to worship Baal was to forsake the Lord God. To be loyal to the one is to despise the other."

    "It can be simply said: Don’t serve your money. Let your money serve the Lord and it will serve you."

    "i. According to France, the idea of mammon itself was morally neutral. The word was used in some ancient Jewish texts that showed this, translating Proverbs 3:9 as Honor God with your mammon (...). Therefore mammon itself represents material things we possess or want, and those things can be used for God’s kingdom and glory or as idols.

    ii. Certainly, Jesus is talking about the heart here. Many people would say they love God, but their service of money shows that in fact they do not. How can we tell who or what we are serving? One way is by remembering this principle: you will sacrifice for your God. If you will sacrifice for the sake of money, but will not sacrifice for the sake of Jesus, don’t deceive yourself: money is your God.

    iii. We must remember that we don’t have to be rich to serve mammon (money and material things); the poor can be just as greedy and covetous as the rich can be."


    Next:
    "not worrying about what you will eat"

    Matthew 6:25-34 "“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (ESV)

    Andrew Wommack commentary:

    "The Greek word used here for “thought” is “MERIMNAO” and denotes “to be anxious about” (Strong’s Concordance) (example: 1 Samuel 9:5). In this account (Matthew 6:25-34), as well as the same account found in Luke 12:22-32, Jesus was commanding us not to worry or be anxious about our material needs being met. It would not be possible to have no thought whatsoever about our physical needs. Even Jesus thought about His need for money to pay taxes (Matthew 17:24-27). We are simply not to be occupied with thinking about riches or spend time worrying about our necessities. They will be added unto us as we seek first the kingdom of God."

    Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary:
    "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought—"Be not solicitous." The English word "thought," when our version was made, expressed this idea of "solicitude," "anxious concern"—as may be seen in any old English classic; and in the same sense it is used in 1Sa 9:5, &c. But this sense of the word has now nearly gone out, and so the mere English reader is apt to be perplexed. Thought or forethought, for temporal things—in the sense of reflection, consideration—is required alike by Scripture and common sense. It is that anxious solicitude, that oppressive care, which springs from unbelieving doubts and misgivings, which alone is here condemned. (See Php 4:6).

    for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on—In Luke (Lu 12:29) our Lord adds, "neither be ye unsettled"—not "of doubtful mind," as in our version. When "careful (or 'full of care') about nothing," but committing all in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving unto God, the apostle assures us that "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" (Php 4:6, 7); that is, shall guard both our feelings and our thoughts from undue agitation, and keep them in a holy calm. But when we commit our whole temporal condition to the wit of our own minds, we get into that "unsettled" state against which our Lord exhorts His disciples.

    Is not the life more than meat—food.

    and the body than raiment?—If God, then, gives and keeps up the greater—the life, the body—will He withhold the less, food to sustain life and raiment to clothe the body?


    Barnes Commentary:
    "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought ... - The general design of this paragraph, which closes the chapter, is to warn his disciples against avarice, and, at the same time, against anxiety about the supply of their needs. This he does by four arguments or considerations, expressing by unequalled beauty and force the duty of depending for the things which we need on the providence of God. The "first" is stated in Matthew 6:25; "Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" In the beginning of the verse he charged his disciples to take "no thought" - that is, not to be "anxious" about the supply of their wants. In illustration of this he says that God has given "life," a far greater blessing than "meat;" that he has created the body, of far more consequence than raiment. Shall not he who has conferred the "greater" blessing be willing to confer the "less?" Shall not he who has formed the body so curiously, and made in its formation such a display of power and goodness, see that it is properly protected and clothed? He who has displayed "so great" goodness as to form the body, and breathe into it the breath of life, will surely "follow up" the blessing, and confer the "smaller" favor of providing that that body shall be clothed, and that life preserved."

    Gill commentary:
    "Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life,.... Since ye cannot serve both God and "mammon", obey one, and neglect the other. Christ does not forbid labour to maintain, support, and preserve, this .. life; nor does he forbid all thought and care about it, but all anxious, immoderate, perplexing, and distressing thoughts and cares; such as arise from diffidence and unbelief, and tend to despair; which are dishonourable to God, as the God of nature and providence, and uncomfortable to men:

    what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. The several and the only things, which are necessary for the support and comfort of human life, are mentioned; as meat, drink, and clothing; Eating and drinking are necessary to preserve life; and raiment, to cover and defend the body, from the injuries of the heavens: and having these, men have everything necessary, and ought herewith to be content; nor should they be anxiously thoughtful about these: for
    is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? And yet, God has given these without man's thought: and since these are better, and much more excellent, than food and raiment, as all must and will acknowledge; and God has given these the greater gifts, it may be depended upon, that he will give the lesser; that he will give meat and drink; to uphold that valuable life, which he is the author of; and raiment to clothe that body, which he, with so much wisdom and power, has accurately and wonderfully made.


    Work is good. Here's some verses:

    Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

    2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”


    Having a family is good, too!:

    1 Timothy 3:5 "For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?" (ESV)

    1 Timothy 5:8 "But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

    Ephesians 5:25 "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, " (ESV)

    1 Peter 3:1 "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives," (ESV)

    Ephesians 6:4 "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (ESV)

    Ephesians 6:1 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. " (ESV)


    When reading the Bible, we should pray and ask God to help us understand the Bible. It is important to let scripture interpret scripture. It's also VERY helpful to have commentaries on hand. I listed some above that I used. Here's links to some of them:
    Albert Barnes: Overview - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
    David Guzik: Enduring Word - Bible Commentary Of The Whole Bible with Pastor David Guzik
    John Gill: John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary
    Jamieson-Fausset-Brown: Bible Commentary Critical and Explanatory; Jamieson, Fausset, Brown

    Note: These men are not infallible, but gleaning from their studies can help us learn.

    Hope that was helpful!
     
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  13. jimmyjimmy

    jimmyjimmy Pardoned Rebel Supporter

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    Congratulations! You understand the Sermon on the Mount better than most today. The feeling of despair when looking at your life and your ability when contrasted with the standard that Jesus lays out, is the correct response. You understand Him perfectly. His words are meant to sober up anyone who thinks that he/she is obedient to the law or ever could be.

    Jesus was making it perfectly clear that we can't do what the law demands. We need a Savior who has lived a perfect life, and died a sinner's death, on our behalf.
     
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  14. PoetStorm

    PoetStorm Wanderer in the wilderness

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    So glad I posted here instead of banging my head against a wall trying to make ense of things alone. Thanks everyone.

    Thanks, and it does seem this is the case. But it makes me wonder why create beings that are doomed to fail, and then taunt them with Hell if they do not do the impossible. At the moment from where I am coming from it feels a set up at the start and right now seems a bit unfair, though I am sure it's just a fault of understanding on my part.

    I have a feeling you speak truth. I think if I can stick with it without getting discouraged, it will be an interesting journey.

    I dunno what I may be called for particularly, but I do feel like thing are changing. I guess time will tell. Yes even the love your neighbor part is not so easy, not just to be outwardly nice but to feel the love from inside and want to sacrifice self for them. It's not so easy. It seems it will take some work to perfect.

    I think I see what you are saying. :)

    Sure, no worries. I was baptized Catholic and like I said went to church sporadically. Then met my husband in college and we started going to Protestant Campus ministries and have attended an Episcopal church at times which we are back to currently. But I always felt like an outsider in church, never knowing the right words to repeat during mass because I didn't go as a kid very often. It felt like a secret club that I missed orientation on. I'm starting to get there though. Now I'm spending time studying alone and journaling.

    Thanks a lot. That makes a lot of sense.


    Edit: Oops I see a bunch of new posts since I was writing this up last night. Lots of interesting stuff to go through. I'll get back at this when I return from work. Thanks a ton everyone. :)
     
  15. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

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    Hi @PoetStorm, I posted this on a similar thread recently, where the OP pondered which works of ours were necessary to guarantee a golden ticket to Heaven, so I thought I'd post it here as well. It's an excerpt from Pastor Spugeon's daily devotional, Morning and Evening.


    “It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ.

    He insinuates, ‘Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.’

    All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that ‘Christ is all in all.’

    Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument—it is Christ’s blood and merits.

    Therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith.

    We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by ‘looking unto Jesus.’

    Keep thine eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to Him; when thou liest down at night look to Him.

    Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee.

    ‘My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesu’s blood and righteousness:
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
    But wholly lean on Jesu’s name.'”​

    –Charles Spurgeon, “June 28 – Morning” in Morning and Evening (Geanies House, Fearn, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 1994), 378.


    [​IMG]
     
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  16. PoetStorm

    PoetStorm Wanderer in the wilderness

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    Wow that must have just taken forever to write up and I want to thank you for going to so much trouble. I did find it very informative and I've been looking for good commentaries but unsure whose to trust so I will check those out. :)

    Thank you so much for the confirmation that I'm sort of on the right track. The nagging question in my mind is though...why did God create beings that he knows can't hold to his laws, and then keep threatening hellfire over them whe they can't. I mean that's why he sent Jesus to save us, but why make faulty children that are going to disappoint you in the first place and then make them feel bad that they can't? I'm wrestling with that.

    Again thanks a lot. I do like listening to Spurgeon on Youtube. I'm feeling much more encouraged than I was, but still wondering why we were made so fallible in the first place if that's not what God wanted.

    I will keep reading on and studying for now. I haven't even read the entire New testament yet so I'd like to get a better overall context here. Thanks a ton really to everyone who gave me their insights. :)
     
  17. Godlovesmetwo

    Godlovesmetwo Fringe Catholic

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    That's a genuine question I want answered too. This eternal damnation threat sounds kind of vengeful to me. Not the God I've come to know as totally loving.
     
  18. PoetStorm

    PoetStorm Wanderer in the wilderness

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    You know, I did find this passage that maybe seems to hint at an answer:

    Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
     
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  19. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    Wow, your post is like Déjà Vu, let's see what you have here.

    For me it was, if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.

    Except they were not super human, they were big on the small details and not so much on things like justice and mercy.

    Matthew goes on with a whole list of stringent rules.

    When God loves someone, he takes what happens to them personally. They were big on ministry but sometimes it's hard to remember, it's not about the ministry, it's about ministering to the body of Christ.

    Hang on, he is talking about going into ministry and not letting your family talk you out of it. That sword Jesus is talking about is the Word of God, the truth. His family came around after a while, there is a lot of hyperbole here that is hard to get at a first glance.

    Well you worked that much out. It should shake you to your core but ultimately what this is called is conviction, it's normal.

    That's about priorities, what is more important, the cares of this life of the one to come. It's intended to shake you up, but don't let that discourage you, God just wants you to get your priorities straight.

    Frankly, about the same way you do. I was in a service once and the Preacher said if you are not sure of your commitment to Christ you should not partake in the Lord's Supper. I'm not sure why, but I was scared to death. I hadn't been a Christian long and I thought eternity was being weighed in the balance. It took forever for the bread and wine to come around and well, it just seemed like the thing to do. I'll never forget it, the fear of God is powerful, we have nothing to fear when we fear God.

    It sounds like your struggling with basic conviction. You'll be fine, just find somewhere quiet and ask God, If you want me you will have to meet me where I am and make me what you want to be. If God meets you there, you never have anything to worry about again.

    Grace and peace,
    Mark
     
  20. FanthatSpark

    FanthatSpark LImited Understanding

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    This is for contemplation... Be not of a mind of judgment but of forgiveness to self. Look at this, Romans 3:10. That snapped my mind for I was in judgment of self compared to another vessel (the sermon on the mount) so sin was my first love.

    Try to think of self as an ant on the beach and a title wave of forgiveness/grace/Jesus is upon you. A lot of people approach scripture like this John 5:39 in knowledge alone/judgment of righteousness. What is missing is learning/perfecting love to self. Love self like this 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to your very id. Once this is accomplished this verse is activated John 5:40 through this verse Romans 12:2 . Knowledge of love is a season to revamp your mind of all things taught (Momma and Daddy too) and soak up the tremendous love/forgiveness to self God has already given you . Then, love/forgiveness naturally pours out of you to others for self does not judge self so why judge another. Or compare self in righteousness to another when no man is righteous for righteousness is God. Ya got to quit thinking in terms of I,Me,Mine for it will snap the mind eventually. Love/forgive self in the wilderness of the mind :oldthumbsup: :hug:.

    In hopes a word of life to any who read this ...
     
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