Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief
corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient,
the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the
word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 1 Peter 2:6-8
What does it mean to build one’s house on a rock?
What does it mean to your salvation if you do not build your house on a rock?
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of
heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say
to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name
have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I
profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken
him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and
the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for
it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and
doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the
sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon
that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. Matthew 7:21-27
To what sayings of His were Jesus referring?
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his
disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed
are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:1-3
And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished
at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
What six things are we encouraged to do in building our house of faith in the first
12 verses of Christ’s Sermon?
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed
are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they
shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted
for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when
men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against
you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward
in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matthew 5:1-12
What next are we told to do in building our house?
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify
your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
What next are we told to do in building our house?
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy,
but to fulfil. Matthew 5:17
What is to be the quality of the work in building our house if it will stand in
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness
of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus next begins to contrast the poor workmanship of the scribes and Pharisees with
that which is required to enter the kingdom of heaven. What is the first way in which
the quality of our acts of righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees? How
serious is name-calling considered by God?
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever
shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever
is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and
whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca1, shall be in danger of the council: but
whosoever shall say, Thou fool2, shall be in danger of hell fire. Matthew 5:21-22
1. rhaka, Greek 4469, Strong’s rhaka, rhak-ah'; of Chaldee or [compare Hebrew 7386
(reyq)]; O empty one, i.e. thou worthless (as a term of utter vilification) :- Raca.
2. moros, Greek 3474, Strong’s mo-ros'; probably from the base of Greek 3466 (musterion);
dull or stupid (as if shut up), i.e. heedless, (moral) blockhead, (apparently) absurd
:- fool (-ish, × -ishness).
Jesus then expands a description of the kind of actions comprise acceptable righteousness. What
kind of act does he use to illustrate the kind of peacemakers the law of love performs?
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother
hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first
be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Matthew 5:23-24
What substandard material acceptable to the scribes &Pharisees will receive unequivocal
condemnation by the building inspectors of the kingdom of heaven?
What does the standard of Heaven call divorce and remarriage if the innocent party
has not been sexually unfaithful?
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed
adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it
out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members
should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right
hand offend thee, cut if off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee
that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast
into hell. It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her
a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife,
saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever
shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. Matthew 5:27-32
Can a righteousness that allows for swearing pass the inspection of the heavenly
inspectors? E.g., by “jo” (jov), by “gollie”, “by God”?
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear
thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not
at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his
footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt
thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But
let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these
cometh of evil. Matthew 5:33-37
How must our righteousness treat our enemies if we are to enter the kingdom of heaven? To
what does Christ equate perfection? Are we to actually strive to be perfect in loving
those who teat us unfairly? Who use us? Who persecute us?
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine
enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good
to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute
you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh
his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on
the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even
the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than
others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father
which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48
How does heaven view a righteousness that makes sure others know the good deeds
and acts of charity we have done? What kind of reward will we receive if we seek
recognition for our gifts of charity?
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye
have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine
alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues
and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They
have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy
right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in
secret himself shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:1-4
What does God think of personal prayers being prayed publicly so as to display just
how righteous we are? What does heaven think of repeating memorized prayers over
and over again? What about “the lord’s prayer”?
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to
pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may
be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou
prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father
which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that
they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them:
for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:5-8
What about reciting “the lord’s prayer”?
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be
thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us
this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And
lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13
If we withhold forgiveness from someone who has hurt us what forgiveness can we
expect from God?
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15
"The truth must not be muffled now. Plain statements must be made. Unvarnished truth
must be spoken, in leaflets and pamphlets, and these must be scattered like the leaves
of autumn." --Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 231