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The Sermon on the Mount--Godly

Serenity and Cheerful Contentment

(Chapter 5, verses 1-12)

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       (1) After Jesus saw the crowds he retreated to the mountain. When he sat down the disciples approached him; (2) at which time he commenced teaching them, saying:

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       (3) "Those who recognize their spiritual need have godly serenity and are cheerfully content since they've embraced the kingdom.

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       (4) "Since those who mourn know that they'll be com­forted, they're cheerfully content and have godly serenity.

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       (5) "Those who are docile and even-tempered have godly serenity and are cheerfully content since the earth has been willed to them. They will inherit it.

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       (6) "Those who have a healthy appetite, thirsting for righteousness are cheerfully content and have godly serenity since their appetite will be satisfied and their thirst quenched.

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       (7) "The compassionate are cheerfully content and have godly serenity since they, too, will be shown compassion.

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       (8) "Those whose hearts are pure and undiluted have godly serenity and are cheerfully content since they will see God.

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       (9) "Those who are composed and peaceable have godly serenity and are cheerfully content since they will be identified as ‘God's sons.'

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       (10) "[As strange as it may seem to the uninitiated], those who have been victims of religious persecution have godly serenity and are cheerfully content since the kingdom of the heavens is all but theirs.

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       (11) "You yourselves have godly serenity when others condemn and persecute you. When they spread all kinds of horrendous lies about you, and use all types of wicked words against you for my sake, you maintain your cheerful contentment. (12) Be happy and jump for joy, for a great heavenly reward awaits you. Yes, count yourselves in good company since the prophets before your time were perse­cuted just like you.

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Christ's Disciples Light of World

(Chapter 5, verses 13-16)

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       (13) "The earth has salt, and all of you here are that salt. But salt that is not salty is no good. That doesn't make sense, does it? Since the saltiness of salt cannot be restored, it is cast outside only to be stomped on by people walking by.

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       (14) "The world has light; you are that light. [You cannot help but be noticed!] It's like a city, full of light, that's built on the top of a mountain. You can't miss it. (15) When people light a lamp in a dark house they don't set it under a piece of furniture. The house will still be dark if they did! No, they leave it in the open so that the entire house (or at least the entire room) can be illuminated. (16) Likewise, let your light shine in the open, before all men, that they may observe your fine works and give glory to your heavenly Father.

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Mosaic Law Fulfilled, Not Destroyed

(Chapter 5, verses 17-20)

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       (17) "Don't get the wrong impression as to why I have come. I've come to satisfy the requirements of, not to destroy the Mosaic Law and the Prophets. (18) In fact, heaven and earth would disappear before even the smallest letter or speck of the Mosaic Law goes unsatisfied. (19) And if anyone breaks or teaches others to break even the very least of these commandments, he will, correspondingly, be called the very ‘least' one in relation to the kingdom of the heavens. Conversely, if anyone teaches them he will be called ‘great' in the government of God located in the heavens.  (20) I'm telling you, if your righteousness doesn't overflow more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you can forget about entering into that kingdom that rests in the heavens.

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Court Action Against Improper

Thought, Word, and Deed

(Chapter 5, verses 21-22)

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       (21) "I know you heard of what our forefathers were told, namely, ‘You must not murder. If anyone commits a murder, he'll pay for it in court.' (22) But, I have more to say than that. Everyone who has murderous anger toward his brother will have to pay in court for that too. In fact, whoever even addresses his brother with a word that decor doesn't allow me to repeat here will be accountable to the Heavenly Supreme Court. And whoever says, ‘Just die, you God damned fool!' (or anything like this), he can forget it. The Heavenly Supreme Court holds the utterer liable and sentences him to eternal death as represented by the fiery Gehenna.

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Settle Matters Before They Escalate

(Chapter 5, verses 23-26)

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       (23) "If you happen to be going to the alter with your gift and you recall that your brother is upset with you, (24) stop dead in your tracks, leave your gift right there in front of the altar, and go find your brother to make peace with him. After you have accomplished your mission, come back and offer up your gift to God. (25) Waste no time in doing this! Settle issues with the complainant (or plaintiff) right away! It could be that an out-of-court settlement can be worked out, if you only talk. On the other hand, you could actually be the one at fault and the judgment could be against you. What happens then? The judge finds you guilty, turns you over to the bailiff, and he escorts you to prison! (26) I'm telling you, you'll rot in jail until you come up with every single penny of the money.

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Adultery Committed

in the Heart

(Chapter 5, verses 27-32)

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       (27) "I know you've heard the saying, ‘Don't commit adultery,' and that's correct; you shouldn't. (28) But I have more to say than that. If a man stares lustfully at a married woman, imagining that she'd have consensual sex with him, and in his mind, sexual fantasies whirl about, he's already committed heart-adultery. (29) So that this doesn't happen to you, if the better one of the pair of symbolic eyes in your figurative heart causes you to desire that which is not rightfully yours, rip it out. It's better to wear a patch over your symbolic right eye than it is to have your entire body flung into that symbolic fiery garbage dump called Gehenna. (30) Also, if your symbolic right hand (the one you use more often) is being used as a fantasy feeder in a sexual way, amputate it and toss it away from you. Again, it's better for you to have a nub where your symbolic hand used to be than it is to have your whole body loafed into the symbolic rubbish dump where an inextinguishable fire burns. You know the place. It's called Gehenna.

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       (31) "In the past, oral law stated, ‘Whoever divorces his wife for even seemingly insignificant things need only give her a divorce certificate.' (32) However, I'm changing that. Anybody who divorces his wife for anything other than sexual misconduct with a man, woman, child, or animal, is guilty of leaving her open for committing adultery. And if anyone marries this exposed woman, they're both committing adultery.

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Mean What You Say

(Chapter 5, verses 33-37)

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       (33) "I know, you heard our forefathers were told, ‘Don't swear unless you can back it up. If you have sworn to Yehowah, back it up with action.' (34) Let me clarify this right now: Don't swear at all!  If you swear by heaven, watch out! That's God's throne. (35) If you swear by earth, watch out! That's God's footstool. Don't use Jerusalem to swear by either because it is the city of the great king. (36) And please, don't swear by your head because, it's not really yours. God created you. You don't even have the power to naturally turn one hair permanently black or white, and you're going to swear by something that's not yours? (37) To eliminate all of your ponti­fication, when you say "Yes," just mean what you say. When you say "No," mean just that, no. So, mean what you say and say what you mean. Anything else is in reality a lie in some form or another, which, any way you slice it, would identify you as a liar.

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Turn the Other Cheek

(Chapter 5, verses 38-42)

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       (38) "We've all heard the saying, ‘An eye for eye and a tooth for tooth.' (39) But there's more to it than that. I'm telling you today that you shouldn't allow yourself to be drawn into a fist fight over words. If someone insults you, just don't return the insult. Turn the other cheek, as it were, by not retaliating with an insult of your own. (40) And if someone had a legal reason to sue the pants off you, be willing to give him your shirt too, in a manner of speaking. The point is, don't be vindictive or retaliate in kind. (41) And if a civil official, or his representative, forces you into undesirable temporary civil service, do more than what is asked. (42) Be generous to persons asking you for necessities, and don't reject the poor one who is trying to get a loan from you. Give it, but without the traditional interest.

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Love Your Enemy

(Chapter 5, verses 43-48)

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       (43) "The old saying, ‘You must love your friend and hate your enemy' seems to make sense on the surface. (44) But, don't be fooled. I'm telling you to keep on having principled love for your enemies as fellow humans, and to even pray for the ones persecuting you. (45) When you do this it proves that you're really sons of your Father in the heavens. You see, he causes the sun to shine on everyone, good and bad. The same with the rain; he causes it to fall upon the wicked and the righteous. (46) Ask yourself, is it difficult for you (or anybody else) to love those loving you? There's no reward in that. Everybody does that! Aren't persons looked down upon in society doing the same thing? (47) Along these same lines, do you think it's impressive to speak or say ‘hello' to your brothers only? Doesn't every­body (even non-Jews) do that? (48) The bottom line is: All of you must operate at an optimum level just as your heavenly Father operates at an optimum level when it comes to interacting both with people you like, and with people you don't like.