I love the Sermon. This is where Jesus tells us everything we need to do and not do in order to live a righteous life. As mere humans, we are all sinners and imperfect but these are the lessons by which we should try to live so that the light of Christ shines out from us for everyone to see.
What in the world is righteous charity? A while back, I had a neighbor who would constantly tell me all of the charitable things they had done in recent past. I considered it bragging. It is wrong to be self-righteous in the company of others, about doing charitable deeds. This includes contributing money, helping the elderly and/or assisting in an organized event such as a Thanksgiving food drive. True righteous charity comes to you when you do these things from the goodness of your heart, expecting absolutely nothing in return. When you do this, the Holy Spirit will dispense upon you a feeling of great peace, love and a level of satisfaction that you pleased God; a satisfaction that you cannot obtain by yourself.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”(Matt 6:1-4)
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
“Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”(James 2:2-4)
Jesus told us: “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”(Matt 5:31-32)
Today, it seems like couples are divorcing left and right. For what reasons? I’m sure there are plenty of divorces for the one and only single reason Jesus told us divorce was proper. But I feel there are many separations due to “irreconcilable differences”. If we are to be Christ-like and obey His direction, couples need to find common ground and stand on it together while finding ways (together) that will cause the flood waters of the relationship to recede so that both can walk farther to find harmony. Now I also will say that to live a truly righteous life in matrimony, we would have never let the waters rise so high in the first place. In a truly righteous life, a marriage would last “until death do you part”. This is true if we take what we just quoted Jesus and add to it what He says about adultery, the final product being a life-long marriage. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”(Matt 5:27-30)
In essence, what Jesus is telling us is that we are doomed to the blazing pits of hell with every adulterous thought we think, with every sinful act we watch and with every sinful act we commit with our hands, feet and bodies save for the fact that He served Himself up to be sacrificed on the cross and paid those sin debts, in full, so that we would be able to live in His light for eternity. Thank you God for sending your Son to save a society of sinners, like me.
Jesus told us: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”(Matt 6:19-21)
Jesus was trying to send the message that EVERYTHING on earth, ALL earthly pleasures and ALL worldly wealth is only TEMPORARY. It will last, maybe, in this life only and even then sometimes not that long (… “where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal”). Heavenly treasures are forever. We store them in heaven every time we do good deeds which serve others and/or God in Heaven. Additionally, our hearts will remain righteous when we keep our minds on spiritual treasures in lieu of treasures of the flesh.
We must remember to always keep heavenly treasures in our hearts and minds. Earthly wealth is actually sin because it takes our minds away from God, who gave us life, eternal. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matt 6:24)