THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 7-17-05
LESSON TITLE: "GREAT LESSONS FROM THE SERMON ON
THE MOUNT: DO NOT SWEAR"
In Psalm 119:105 we read, "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path." I hope it is this precious word of God that is your guide on this His special day.
Furthermore, it is because of this glorious word that we assemble this day, as those who love God. How wondrous it is at this time to assemble before God's almighty throne to offer worship unto His name. And what a blessing we have this morning to reverence our God through prayer, song and the study of His matchless Word. Won't you do your part this morning to see that our assembly together is acceptable to God, that we may glorify Him in all things?
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
As we continue to think on the Word of God, we want to begin with a song which focus's our hearts and minds to this magnificent book divine. So, won't you do your part in this worship to God, as we sing together, "Give Me The Bible."
(SONG # 1)
We have already mentioned just how important God's Word is this morning. But now I want you to notice the reaction which David had to this precious Word of God. Let's read the next verse from our text of the morning, Psalm 119:106. There the Psalmist adds, "I have sworn and confirmed That I will keep Your righteous judgments." Notice that this child of God says that God's Word is the lamp and light of his life, and that he will keep God's judgments which are found therein.
However, David doesn't stop there, in verse 108 he continues, "O LORD, And teach me Your judgments." How does God teach us His judgments, again through His Word. How blessed King David was to be guided by His God to know exactly what he should do, what he should say and which way he should go.
Now where do we fit in to this equation? What had God done for us and given us that we as well might know what to do? In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, we read, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." God has given us scripture which profits us in all areas of life. It completely equips us for every good work which we need to do in His precious name.
Peter proclaims the same idea in 2 Peter 1:3. There we read that God has given us something special through His divine power. The verse says, "as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue." God has not just given us a few ideas or some things to guide us. This verse says God has given us all things which pertain to life and godliness. Praise be to God and thanks be for His wondrous Word - The Bible! The Almighty's book of books, guide of guides and manual of manuals. Our God is truly a loving and caring God!
As far as our main study of the morning, today we will continue to focus on the "Great Lessons From The Sermon On The Mount. Our specific discussion this day is entitled, "Do Not Swear." So please stay with us this morning, and after our next song together, I will be leading us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "To God Be The Glory."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Our main text of the morning in the Great Sermon on the Mount is again found in Matthew chapter 5. We'll begin reading together at this time in verse 33 as Jesus said, "Again, you have heard that it was said of old, You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord. But I say to you, do not swear at all, neither by heaven for it is God's throne, nor by earth for it is His footstool, nor by Jerusalem for it is the city of the great king, nor shall you swear by your head because you cannot make one hair white or black, but let your yes be yes and your no, no, for whatever is more than these is from the evil one."
I want you to notice here what Jesus has to say about swearing. Notice right off the bat that it seems as if He is indicating here, "Do not swear!" But we need to get a little bit more specific because as we look at the text, we certainly see that there are ideas and even suggestions and commands given of old that they were to commit their word. They were to make sure of what they were saying and even at times to swear that they would do certain things which simply meant that they were to give an oath.
I want you to notice with me if you will in the book of Deuteronomy. This is just after we find here God here is instructing His people in the things which are the great commandments and in fact here in chapter 6, we find some of the very specific commands that are now being given as far as how one man interacts with another man. I want you to notice there in verse 13 of chapter 6. He says, "You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him and shall take oaths in His name." Notice: You shall serve the Lord your God. You shall serve Him and take what? Oaths. You shall commit or swear something.
We can also go over to Deuteronomy chapter 10 and we find again a similar idea in chapter 10. If you look in that chapter in verse 20, the Bible says the following, "And you shall fear (it states) the Lord your God. You shall serve Him and to Him you shall hold fast and take oaths in His name." As we look here at this idea again of swearing or these oaths, even in our main text of the day, we find that clearly the discussion was being had that one should not swear, but notice that it is actually prefaced with... There was something added to it. Always before or after it. And that is "falsely." Notice that even in verse 33, it says of old, but it says, "You shall perform your oaths before the Lord." I want you to notice and discuss just for a moment with me the idea that was being presented here by Christ that the thoughts that He was putting across. What is it that He was trying to say? What was the problem? Well no doubt there were many problems like even we have today. Think how flippant many are with their words even this day in the time that we live. Think how often people swear and they say, "I swear," or they swear by God or they swear by this or that and that's as if in our society today that if someone says, "I will," or "I will not," that you can't believe them, that you can't trust anybody anymore. How sad it is when a society gets to that point. How sad it is that Judaism and the Jews of early times had gotten to that point, that the Jews of Jesus' times were at that point where it had become just common that they swear. Will you do something? I will do it and I swear I will do it. Well why would it be necessary to swear if we simply mean what we say, and when we say something, we can be trusted and counted as trustworthy and people can really know that we will do exactly what we have committed to. So here again the idea of falsely swearing or forswearing, the idea of really being able to perjure oneself in the fact that they are not really going to be committed to their word that they have spoken.
So what is it then that we must do? We must learn from what He said. He said of old, this is the way it was and He committed them that they should not swear falsely nor give false oath. But then in verse 34 of our text, He turns around and He says, "But I say to you, do not swear at all." Now He clarifies here the idea of not swearing, and we also see clearly that Jesus tells us by not what to swear. In other words, there are certain things we just should not swear by. And what are those types of things? He says first of all, heaven. Why? Because if you say heaven, then that is God and God's throne, so it says that if you are swearing in the name of God, and then when you don't do what you have sworn, guess who is accountable. The one who has sworn falsely.
Notice also there in verse 35. "Don't swear by the earth because this is God's creation, His footstool." Don't swear by the earth because you don't have power over the earth. You aren't able to make it or you're not able to destroy it. Do not swear by it.
And He also says, "Not even by the city, the great city of Jerusalem where the great king is." Why? Because again it is God's holy city. Don't swear by it. Again, flippantly using words in an improper way.
And then He even adds in verse 36, "Don't even swear by your own head." Have you ever said, "I swear on my life," or "I commit that I will do it if I have to die." How sad. As God says, "How can you swear on your life when you yourself do not hold your life in your own hands?" You're not the one who created yourself and you're not the one who will take you out of this world except the fact that maybe you commit suicide which certainly would be a transgression of the law of God. So you don't have that power. You don't even have the power to make your hair in a literal way, white or black, He says. Now you might dye it, but you can't actually have exactly that. Why? Because God made you. So don't swear as if you have control over yourself, control over the earth, control over a city, control over God or control over heaven. Simply let your yes be yes, and simply as we read here as well, let your no be no. Let people count on what you have to say.
I want you also to notice with me that Jesus and Paul and others at times spoke of a committing of one's oath or a swearing as we might call it today. Even in our court of law today, someone might be asked if they swear to tell the truth, if they're committed to speaking what is truthful and then being counted on in what they have said. Well here again, if you'll notice in Matthew 26 verses 63 and 64 show us an example where Jesus, and it says, "held His peace." And then it was the High Priest that answered and said unto Him, "I adjure thee by the Living God and tell you and asked you to tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God," and Jesus said unto him, "Thou has said, "I adjure you. I ask you to swear. I ask you to give oath that you are the Son of God." And what does Jesus do? He says, "You have said it. I have affirm it. I have confirmed it." Jesus gave His word. Jesus committed. Paul made the appeal there in Romans 1, verse 9 as He stated there, "God is my witness whom I have served with my Spirit in the gospel of His son. Without ceasing (He says), I make mention of you always in my prayers." He says, "For God is my witness. Before God, I have committed these things." So what is it then that all this is speaking about? What is the point that He is trying to make? The false things that were being done, the ability that one would again commit to something but then would not follow through, that would say something but be lying because they had no intention of fulfilling that thing. Or they would deny something, yet that it was actually the fact that it was true or that it had happened. You see, swearing falsely. And even carrying it to the next realm of using words flippantly or even curse words. How often do we use the name of the Lord in a way that might be as if we are swearing by? Maybe we don't think it is as if we are swearing or making an oath by it, but we are doing that. What about when people simply just holler "God" or yell "God" when they hurt a finger or when they are making a sentence and they use the words "Jesus Christ?" They are not talking about religious things. They're just flippantly throwing out these confirmations of their words with the holy things of God and Christ. Do not swear falsely. Do not misuse those things that are what? Of God. That are of the earth which is His footstool, that are of His holy city, the temple or any of the... your self, your own body being the temple of God. Do not swear or misuse these things that are God's things as if they were common, as if one cannot be trusted.
And I don't know about you but another thing that always pops into my mind is why does someone need or again have to swear? That's the point Jesus is making as well. If what I say when I say yes means yes, why does someone have to know that Ray says, "I swear," that I will mean what I say when I say yes. If I mean no, when I simply say no, why would someone need me to swear? Again, I think you can see the problem, the complication that was coming in to those who claim to love God but they were swearing and abusing heavenly and holy things on and on and on and were even un-trusted and unconfirmed as being righteous.
I want to also look at another text over in the New Testament that helps us with these ideas and that's over in the book of James as James clearly helps us in chapter 5 of his book to see that again we really should not swear by these same types of things because God wants us to be like Him, those who can be counted... When God says it, He doesn't have to say, I swear. Why? Because He is trustworthy. When He says, I will not or thou shall not, He means it. We can take it to the bank. There in James chapter 5 and verse 12 notice what James says as guided by the Holy Spirit. "But above all my brethren," he says, "do not swear either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath but let your yes be yes and your no be no, lest you fall into judgment." Notice how similar that is. Where do you think James got that idea? Well certainly he got it from the Lord Himself, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ as He had made the same statement and spoken this many times that one should not swear but rather he should be an individual who has proven himself in every walk of life to be one that is trustworthy again and counted on, one who is assured in the things that they claim they will do, that they say, or that they affirm or again we might even say, do not affirm.
I want you to as well think just one step further and think about even if we don't do it in word. I might ask you the question, "What do we do when we sign a form, a legal form, a government form, a government document that says that now you are ascribing the fact that all the things you have written are true and that you can be trusted?" You sign that. What are you doing? You are giving your word. In a sense, you are giving your oath. You're swearing again. What about when you get into this situation possibly where maybe you are trying to get a loan with a bank or you are doing this or that, again what you are being asked is are you trustworthy? Are you truthful? Can you be counted on? And so when you sign, in a way we might could say that you are giving that confirmation, that oath, but really again not needing to say, "Oh by God, I will do it," or "Oh by heaven," or "Oh by earth," but just saying, "I will do it," and then people saying, "Yes, he will because this man has been shown to be trustworthy. This man has been shown to be counted on because he is a child of God and he has shown himself to be worthy because he employs, really puts into practice those things that are of God and those things that are godlike.
I want you to notice finally with me what James said back in verse 37, what there as well Jesus said after He had stated the fact, "Let your yes be yes, and your no, no." He says, "For whatever is more than these is of the evil one." As James said that it will bring judgment. It is contrary to God, anything more than being able to just say yes and mean yes or no and mean no, is of the... Why? Because it is a lie. If I say yes and I can't be trusted and someone hears me say yes and they see that I do not fulfill that, what happens? I have lied and if I'm a liar, then guess what. I am the son or a child of the father of lies. And who is that? Jesus said Satan himself. So we must not lie. And therefore if I say yes, I must mean it. Or if I say no, and again I have no intention or I do not fulfill what I have said no about, and you see it, again who am I following God or the evil one? So know important this topic is as we swear or we give oath or as we say things. Do not swear especially falsely by anything that you have no control over, but let your yes be yes and your no, no. Why? So that people might know that you are of God but ultimately so they might as well know that you are not of the evil one and when we have been found faithful in our words and with our words, know that God will reward us and bless us with all those things which we find in His Holy Word.
(SONG # 3 - "Amazing Grace!")
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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May we all strive more every day to control the things we say in this life. Furthermore, may we learn to be those who have no need to swear for our Word is our bond and thus it can be counted on as true!