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Sermon Notes – Matthew 5:33-37

Sermon Notes – Matthew 5:33-37

Matthew 5:33-37

Tell the truth!

Pastor Edgar Aponte

 

  • As disciples of Jesus, our integrity of heart should be reflected in our speech.

    • Matthew 5:20, For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.


  • Do not try to hide a heart issue by looking for loopholes in the Law of God.
      • Exodus 20:7, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”
      • Leviticus 19:12, “You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.”
      • Numbers 30:2, “If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.”
    • Picture: taking an oath, crossing fingers.

 

  • To follow Jesus is to live under a constant oath of integrity.
    • Matthew 23:16-17, “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred?
    • Matthew 23:21-22, And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

 

  • Saved people are marked by a radical honesty. Tell the truth!


    • Ephesians 4:25, Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
    • “Accustom your children constantly to this: [the telling of the truth]; if a thing happened at one window and they, when relating it, say that it happened at another, do not let it pass, but instantly check them; you do not know where deviation from truth will end.” Samuel Johnson
    • “It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentional lying, that there is so much falsehood in the world.” Samuel Johnson
    • James 5:12, But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

SERMON-BASED DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Scripture: Matthew 5:33-37

Pastor: Dr. Edgar Aponte

Date: September 24, 2023

 

LEADER’S NOTES:

  • The purpose of your group time is to reflect on God’s truth together, discussing how it impacts your life and walk with Jesus.
  • There are more questions than you can cover in one group. Just use the ones that will best facilitate discussion in your group.
  • Feel free to edit/rephrase the questions to fit your personality and style.

 

GENERAL REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

  1. What stood out to you from the sermon (or from the passage)?
  2. What parts are the most challenging and why?
  3. What parts are the most exciting/helpful and why?

 

SERMON DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

 

READ MATTHEW 5:33-37

33 Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn. 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply Yes or No; anything more than this comes from evil.

 

LEADERS NOTE: This can be a challenging passage to interpret, especially without the historical context. Simply put, the Pharisees had come up with an elaborate system of swearing oaths in which swearing by some things was more binding that swearing by others (see Matthew 23:16-22). Jesus is responding to this, saying that you should not need such a system of swearing oaths, because whenever you say simply “yes” or “no”, you mean what you say.

 

A helpful paraphrase that communicates this historical context is as follows: “You have heard it being said don’t swear falsely in God’s Name (see Leviticus 17:12) and that you should keep your oaths, but I say to you don’t swear by anything else falsely either.”

 

  1. What are some examples in our culture (or in your everyday life) of times when lying (or at least intentionally misleading) is expected?
    • Why do you think deceit in these cases is so socially acceptable?
    • What would it look like to follow Jesus’s teaching about being people of truth, even in these areas?

 

  1. How often do you find yourself exaggerating or underplaying the truth in everyday conversations? What steps can you take to align more closely with the teaching in this passage?

 

  1. READ 1 CORINTHIANS 15:33. Have you found it difficult to keep your ‘Yes’ as ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ as ‘No’ due to the influence of others? How can you safeguard your integrity?

 

  1. Why is following through on your word so important as a Christian?
    • How does being a person of truth help us to represent God well in this world?
    • How does dishonesty or unclear language affect the unity of a community, especially a spiritual community?

 

  1. Trust is hard to gain, easy to to lose, and extremely difficult to gain back after losing it.
    • When have you experienced this reality in your own life?
    • What did you learn from this experience?

 

  1. How does this passage challenge your personal integrity? Are there areas in your life where your ‘Yes’ hasn’t really meant ‘Yes’, or your ‘No’ hasn’t really meant ‘No’?

 

  1. What are some specific and practical ways that we can become people for whom ‘Yes’ truly means ‘Yes” and ‘No’ truly means ‘No’ (without having to swear that we aren’t lying)?

 

  1. How does the message in this passage relate to MATTHEW 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”? What connection do you see between purity of heart and honesty in speech?