Tag Archives: sermon on the mount

Scary Bible verses

Yesterday our Sunday School teacher said that he found this to be the scariest verse in the Bible:

Matthew 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

As I noted in They wouldn’t like the Sermon on the Mount if they understood it, Liberal theologians and even some skeptics claim to revere the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), but that is just because they don’t really understand it.  If they read it properly they would hate it.  That verse is one of the reasons why.

The first hearers of Jesus’ message would have considered the scribes and the Pharisees to be the most righteous people going.  They worked very, very hard to follow the law.  If they had to be better than that there was no hope for them . . . unless . . . they could attain that righteousness another way.  Say, through Jesus.

I find this to be a rather scary verse as well, and it should also point you to Jesus:

Matthew 5:48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

If those verses don’t make you squirm, you aren’t paying attention.  Sadly, the Liberal theologians are too busy abusing the rest of the Sermon on the Mount to notice those passages.

Here’s a message by Charles Spurgeon pointing out how our inability to be perfect or to have a righteousness exceeding that of the Pharisees doesn’t give us an excuse:

If responsibility began and ended with ability, a man would be out of debt as soon as he was unable to pay; and if a man felt that he could not keep his temper he would not be blamable for being angry. A man may be bound to do what he cannot do: the habitual liar is bound to speak the truth, though his habit of falsehood renders him incapable of it. Every sin renders the sinner less able to do right, but the standard of his duty is not lowered in proportion to the lowering of his capacity to come up to it, or it would follow that the more a man is depraved by sin the less guilty his actions become, which is absurd.

Every Christian will confess that it is his duty to be perfect, and yet he mourns over his inability to be so. It never enters into the Christian’s head to excuse his failings by pleading the incapacity of his nature; nay, this is another cause for lamentation.

Charles Spurgeon, via Pyromaniacs: On the Inability/Responsibility Conundrum.

Remember, you either are Jesus or you need Jesus.  Despite what the lies of the world say, your “righteousness” will not make you right with God.

Jesus says you are evil.

Seriously.  It is right there in the Sermon on the Mount.  He is so matter of fact about it.  And it appears right after the passage where He said “Do not judge,” as if He has some special authority or something.

Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

So if someone says that people are basically good, then they are disagreeing with Jesus.

You either are Jesus, or you need Jesus.  And we aren’t Jesus.

P.S. He says I’m evil, too, and I need him.

False teachers abuse scripture to oppose 2nd Amendment

False teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie and the National Council of (mostly apostate) Churches get scripture wrong, as usual, in advancing their religion-disguised-as-politics agenda in Connecticut Mass Shooting Re-Affirms Need For Gun Control; End To Gun Violence.  Let’s examine the bad reasoning in selected portions:

The Brady Center notes this morning:

This morning at least 11 people lost their lives in two incidents of mass gun violence, one at a Connecticut workplace, another at an Indianapolis party….These two mass shootings are examples of the continual tragedy of gun violence in our country.  Every day in the United States, 300 people are shot and 85 die from gun violence.  We must do better.

Gun violence is a bad thing.  Agreed.  So are car accidents, but we don’t ban cars.  The issue is how to best deal with the bad things of the world.

The National Council of Churches USA (NCC) and other religious organizations have been outspoken advocates of ending gun violence in America.  Earlier this year NCC, a communion of “36 faith traditions encompassing 45 million Americans in 100,000 local congregations,” adopted a statement on gun violence saying:

When thinking about the problem of violence, Christian faith is both “idealistic” and “realistic.” On the one hand, there is a stream within the Christian tradition that counsels non-violence in all circumstances. A seminal text is the Sermon on the Mount,found in Matthew’s gospel, where Jesus instructs his followers to bear violence rather than inflict it.

Even if they get the biblical text right (hey, it could happen someday!) they ignore something obvious: How about all the non-Christians who may not want these (false) religious beliefs forced on them?  Where is the ACLU when you need them?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also…. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you . . . (Matt. 5: 38-39, 43-44).

Great passage, but it is about insults and not violence.  Note Jesus’ specificity in referring to the right cheek.  90% of people are right-handed, so a strike on the right cheek is probably a slap.  Jesus never said that if someone attacks you that it is a sin to defend yourself.

Pure pacifism is a moral evil.  To sit by while innocent people — including yourself — are violently attacked isn’t Christianity, it is cowardice.

It is difficult to imagine that the One whose own Passion models the redemptive power of non-violence would look favorably on the violence of contemporary U.S. society.

Yes, and it is difficult to imagine Jesus looking favorably on false teachers like Chuck and much of the NCC who are pro-abortion.  Abortion is as violent as it gets, but Chuck & Co. think the Constitution says you can crush and dismember innocent people in the womb but you can’t defend yourselves.  The hypocrisy of pro-abortion pacifists is astounding.

Present-day violence is made far worse than it otherwise would be by the prevalence of weapons on our streets. This stream of the Christian tradition insists that it is idolatry to trust in guns to make us secure, since that usually leads to mutual escalation while distracting us from the One whose love alone gives us security.

The facts speak otherwise.  Criminals aren’t totally stupid.  They understand risk-reward scenarios pretty well and prefer to go where people are unarmed.  If the NCC wants to preach to their members about guns, go ahead.  But again, why force their (false) religious beliefs on others?

. . . the stark reality is that such weapons end up taking more lives than they defend, and the reckless sale or use of these weapons refutes the gospel’s prohibition against violence.

That statement is pure fiction.  They have no way to support it.  And again, who said the gospel is opposed to self-defense?  People like Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution”Wallis make up new meanings for the Gospel all the time.  I’ll stick to the Bible, thanks.

They close with these stats. They should include the 4,000 per day who die from abortion, a much more preventable form of violence.

EVERY DAY (on average)

  • Every day, 300 people in America, 67 of them children and teens are shot in murders, assaults, suicides, accidents, and police intervention.
  • Every day, 85 people die from gun violence, 35 of them murdered.
  • Every day, 9 children and teens die from gun violence.
  • Every day, 215 people are shot, but survive their gun injuries.
  • Every day, 57 children and teens are shot, but survive their gun injuries.

They wouldn’t like the Sermon on the Mount if they understood it

bible.jpgLiberal theologians and even skeptics claim to revere the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), but that is just because they don’t really understand it.  If they read it properly they would hate it.

It portrays Jesus as being very intolerant.  He tells the Pharisees how they are doing everything wrong – worship, giving, praying, fasting, behaving, etc.

He upholds every letter and pen stroke of the Old Testament, something they typically abandon first.

He spoke of judgment.  He emphatically shows that there are false religions – the very thing that the liberal theologians teach the opposite of.  He warns strongly against false teachers – people like them!

It sets an impossibly high standard and demonstrates that we need a Savior to reach God.  He raises the bar or shows the real intent behind prohibitions against adultery, murder, etc. and sums up that section by saying, Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).

The problem is that the liberal theologians view it as a checklist, just as they do with Matthew 22:37-40 (“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind . . . Love your neighbor as yourself.”).  He didn’t mean for us to respond, “Thanks for the summary, I’ll get right on that!”  The proper response is to be convicted that we can never be good enough on our own.  You have to be pretty self-righteous not to realize what a joke it would be to claim you followed those passages well enough to merit God’s eternal favor.

When Jesus speaks of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, He is referring to God’s definition of righteousness, not the made up definitions of the theological Left (abortion rights, “same-sex marriage,” etc.).

Jesus says to give to the needy, but He doesn’t teach to take other people’s money at the point of a gun (i.e., taxes) to fund your pet projects.

He teaches not to judge hypocritically (Matthew 7:1-5), but the theological liberals only read the first verse and, ironically enough, use that to judge others for making any judgments.

He teaches of Heaven and Hell, which they often deny.

They completely miss the point of the wise and foolish builder passage at the end of chapter 7.  They have heard his words but don’t put them into practice.  They actively teach that other religions are valid paths to God.

And so much more!

I’ll close with some excellent comments from Bubba from this post about a false teacher:

These are the most prominent questions that come to mind, in response to Chuck’s [Currie] assertion, “A Christian is a person who hears the Sermon on the Mount and says, ‘Amen.'”

1) In that sermon (Mt 5:3-4), Jesus Christ taught the mourning, spiritually poor are blessed, implying a crucial need for God’s grace. Does Chuck agree that God’s grace is absolutely necessary for us to inherit eternal life?

2) In that sermon (5:11), Jesus taught that we are blessed, not when we’re persecuted for any ol’ reason or even for the sake of broad categories of goodness and righteousness, but for HIS sake. Does Chuck agree that we must stand up, not only for Jesus’ teachings, but for Jesus Himself?

3) In that sermon (5:17-20), Jesus affirmed the authority of Scripture to the smallest penstroke. Does Chuck defer to Christ on the question of the Bible’s ultimate authority?

4) In that sermon (7:21-23), Jesus is quite clear that not everyone will enter heaven, even going so far as to say that not everyone who calls Him “Lord” will enter heaven. Does Chuck reject universalism in order to conform his beliefs to this teaching?

5) In that passage of this sermon, Jesus is also quite clear on the determining factor of one’s eternal destiny: whether Jesus knows you. Does Chuck agree that Jesus’ knowing you is absolutely crucial for salvation?

And, if the answer is “no” for any of the questions above — if Chuck [Currie] doesn’t say “Amen” to truly every implication of the Sermon, and what it says about its Speaker, about Scripture, and about judgment — do we have Chuck’s blessing in questioning whether he really is a Christian?

. . . I don’t find the Sermon on the Mount to be non-controversial. On the contrary, its rooted in very bold claims about Christ, His book, and His sheep.

I’m reminded of what Reagan said about Marx: “How do you tell a Communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.”

I’m beginning to think that there’s a similar dynamic among theologically conservative Christians and those theological liberals who border on (and often cross into) apostasy.

The theological liberal claims to stand by the Sermon on the Mount, but it’s only the theological conservative who really grasps the sermon’s contents.

P.S. Here’s a good analysis of why the Sermon on the Mount was aimed at disciples and not just anyone.  Otherwise, verse 11 wouldn’t make much sense.  If you aren’t a follower of Christ then why would someone persecute you because of him?

Matthew 5:11

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.