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Bible Studies

Matthew, Mark and Luke
Lesson 4
The Sermon on the Mount I

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Reading assignment for this lesson: Matthew 5:1-48, Mark 9:50, Luke 6:16-36, 11:1-4, 11:33-36, 12:57-59, 14:34-35, 16:16-18

The "Sermon on the Mount" in Matthew chapters 5-7, contains the heart of Jesus' ethical teachings. Luke has a shorter version and places it on a level place (or plain). Thus, Luke's version is sometimes called the "Sermon on the Plain." In contrast to the legalism of Israel's religious leaders, Jesus taught an ethic of love and respect for all people.

1. a) To whom did Jesus address the Sermon on the Mount? (See Matthew 4:25, 5:1-2, 7:28-29, Luke 6:17-20, 7:1.)
b) Are Christians of today obligated to live by Jesus' ethical teachings?

2. The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12, Luke 6:20-23) and the Woes (Luke 6:24-26) draw sharp contrasts between the values of the kingdom of God and those of the world. What are some characteristics of people who belong to the kingdom of God? (See Matthew 5:3-9.)

3. At the time of Jesus it was commonly believed that wealth, high social status and influence were signs of God's favor. How do the values of the kingdom of God differ sharply from those beliefs? (See Matthew 5:10-12, Luke 6:20-26.)

4. How can you be the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world"? (See Matthew 5:13-16, Mark 9:50, Luke 11:33-36, Luke 14:34-35.)

5. a) Did Jesus reject the Old Testament Law of Moses and the prophets? (See Matthew 5:17-20, Luke 16:16-17.)
b) Why were Jesus' teachings so different from those of Israel's religious leaders, the Pharisees and scribes? (See Leviticus 19:18, Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:33-40, 23:1-39, Luke 10:25-28, 18:9-14.)

6. How did Jesus expand our obligations under the Ten Commandments' law against murder? (See Exodus 20:13, Matthew 5:21-26, Luke 12:57-59.)

7. Anger is an emotion that everyone feels from time to time.
a) What are the dangers of anger for Christians?
b) How do you deal with anger when it arises?

8. How did Jesus expand our obligations under the Ten Commandments' law against adultery? (See Exodus 20:14, Matthew 5:27-28.)

9. What is the meaning of Matthew 5:29-30?

10. In the Old Testament Law, a man was allowed to divorce his wife at will. (Wives did not have the same privilege.) Jesus saw the injustice and pain of divorce, though, and said that neither husband nor wife should separate from the other.
a) How does Matthew's statement about divorce differ from other Bible teachings? (See Deuteronomy 24:1-4, Matthew 5:31-32, 19:3-9, Mark 10:2-9, Luke 16:18, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11.)
b) Despite the Bible's teaching, about half of Christians in many countries get divorced. How do you feel about divorce? What can a husband and wife do to prevent their marriage from drifting toward divorce?

11. At the time of Jesus, the Jews had a disingenuous tradition of assuming it was OK to break an oath if it was sworn by heaven, earth or anything except God's name. In Matthew 5:33-37, Jesus was criticizing this abuse and said we should just tell the truth and not make oaths at all. Why is it important to be truthful with other people? (See Psalms 52:1-3, 101:7, John 8:42-44, Romans 3:5-8, Revelation 21:8.)

12. What does Jesus say about retaliation? (See Matthew 5:38-42, Luke 6:29-30)

13. "Love your enemies" was a unique teaching of Jesus. The Old Testament rule was to retaliate in proportion to the wrong done - an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. When Jesus said, "Love your enemies" (Matthew 5:43-48, Luke 6:27-28, 32-36, cf. Romans 12:17-21), what did He mean by "love"?

14. Why should we love our enemies? (See Matthew 5:45, 7:1-2, 13:49-50, 25:31-45, Romans 12:18-19, Hebrews 10:30.)

15. a) Do Jesus' teachings about enemies and retaliation apply to enemies of our nation, or just personal enemies?
b) Is it morally right for a Christian to fight in a war?

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