Pastor's Pen
Do Not Take Oaths But Tell The Truth - Matthew 5:33-37
Jesus was teaching the contrast from the Old Testament Mosaic Law to the heart and spirit in the believer. He wanted them to know the standards of the law and the spirit of the law. Strictly speaking one may follow the standard of the law but still be in sin. Examples:
• “Thou shalt not commit murder” means to not murder or have uncontrolled anger. The heart, or spirit, of the law is to have no hatred toward anyone (Matthew 5:22).
• “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” A person may be physically faithful to their spouse, but Jesus said in Matthew 5:28: “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
In Matthew 5:33-37, Jesus is speaking. “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear (perjure) thyself, but shall perform unto the Lord thine oaths: (Thou shalt not bear false witness.) But I say unto you, Swear not at all.” As Christians, we are to recognize that Christianity is spiritual living. By the way we speak and act, our Christian character is to be evident at all times. We must always tell the truth. Because the principle of sin besets us, Jesus can forgive our sin and give us strength to be truthful at all times.
Christians are to control their tongues and their tempers. We are not to compartmentalize our lives, by living and speaking one way at home and another way at church or work or wherever. We are to always be consistent with our words. Anything we say or promise is sacred. We are always in God’s presence, and He hears what we say. There are no degrees of truth. A half-truth is the same as a lie. Psalm 62:4b: “They delight in lies: they bless with their mouths, but they curse inwardly.”  Where do you stand?
God never lowers his standards. Christians are to be people of honor and people of the Word. Truth must be spoken without insult or injury to others. We are to be identified as being honest and truthful. Proverbs 6 tells us seven things that God hates and one of them is a lying tongue (Proverbs 6:16-17).
Spoken words cannot be taken back. Ephesians 4:29: “Let not corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” James 3 portrays the importance of controlling the tongue.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.7/30/2021 2:07:56 PM

Marriage and Divorce - Matthew 5:31-32
Divorce occurs in both Christian and non-Christian homes. It is not only a great tragedy, but it violates God's standards. Lack of commitment to each other and to the vows taken are a big problem causing great harm to the couple, children, and society. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “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 5:31-32)
God instituted marriage from the very beginning and recognized Adam’s need for companionship (Genesis 2:18-24). Leave, cleave, and weave are words often used to describe and ensure successful marriages. Cleave means to form a firm, permanent attachment to each other. Weave is like forming a tapestry. One flesh is not just physical bonding but also spiritual bonding.
The fall of man brought sin into the world and the consequences of sin affected marriage (Genesis 3:16-19). Women today fall prey to Eve’s desire to have control over their husbands. Men find it difficult to take responsible leadership. Divorce is not the answer to solve problems. God is the answer to having a good marriage or to healing a broken one. See what Jesus says about marriage in Matthew 19:3-12. God means marriage to be between one man and one woman for life. The seriousness of marriage fidelity is seen in two of the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” In the Old Testament, Moses permitted a bill of divorcement because of the hardness of their hearts. Women who were put away may have been accused of adultery, which was punishable with death.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28: “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.” Sin begins in the heart. A man who puts away his wife, does what God hates (Malachi 2:13-16).
God can make a marriage a success. The results on future generations and our nation depend upon strong homes and good marriages. Taking marriage seriously glorifies God.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie, Jr.7/15/2021 5:13:34 PM

Adultery: Sins of the Heart - Matthew 5:27-30
Jesus had taught the multitudes that their righteousness needed to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. Although they strove to follow the requirements of the law, their righteousness in effect was external. Only by receiving Christ and His righteousness could they be righteous. The law clearly spoke against murder, adultery, stealing, lying, and coveting. Even if these sins did not occur physically, one could be guilty of them in their heart. God deals with our hearts, and desires them to be pure. Proverbs 23:7 points out that what we think in our hearts we will become.
In Matthew 5:27, Jesus quotes the seventh commandment: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery.” This commandment was given to protect the sanctity of marriage. Jesus went to the heart of issue. He helped them understand that it was not only the physical act of adultery that made them guilty, but also what was evoked through lust in their hearts (Matthew 5:28). “Looking” in this sense, means more than just casually seeing something. It means to keep on looking, which implants seeds into the heart that leads to sin.
Prohibitions against sexual immorality are throughout the New Testament (1 Corinthians 6:9, Galatians 5:19-21, Revelation 2:22). God designed marriage for three key reasons: companionship, sexual intimacy and fulfillment, and procreation. Jesus used figurative language in Matthew 5:29-30 in saying it was better to pluck out their right eye or to cut off their right hand, so as to avoid the sin of lust or adultery. He wanted them to know nothing is more important than true righteousness and living for God. Job made a covenant with his eyes and had a desire to not have his heart deceived by lusting. He knew if it should occur, God would judge him (Job 31:1-12).
The godly heart needs to plan diligently and determine to avoid all possible places of temptation. Psalm 119:37-38: “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way. Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.” 2 Timothy 2:22: “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
How important is your righteousness? Paul’s testimony is in 1 Corinthians 9:27: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.7/2/2021 2:55:12 PM

Father’s Day - Life of Abraham
Abraham lived about 4,000 years ago, and his name means “father of nations.” He still serves as a role model and an example of fatherhood and leadership. Fatherhood and leadership often go hand in hand.
1.  Abraham developed a relationship with God. James 2:23: “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” Abraham was saved by faith in God.
2.  Abraham obeyed God’s call (Genesis 12:1-9). He knew the voice of God, and he obeyed and relied on God.
3.  Abraham exercised humility (Genesis 13:5-9). Fathers must show humility when dealing with their children.
4.  Abraham protected the weak (Genesis 14:12-17). At his own expense and peril, he stepped in and rescued Lot and five kings from battle. He went out of his way to do good. Fathers should do what is right.
5.  Abraham supported the work of the Lord (Genesis 14:18-24). Children are watching how their fathers support the ministry and make sacrifices for the cause of Christ.
6.  Abraham put God before all others (Genesis 22).  After many years, God gave Abraham and Sarah the promised son.  God tested Abraham to see if he would choose Isaac over Him.  God wants to be first in your life.  Abraham trusted God with his own life and also the lives of his family.
Fathers cannot be godly without a relationship with God. You cannot faithfully fulfill your duties as a father without God. You need His salvation, wisdom, guidance, protection, and power. With God’s help, you can train the next generation to stand for God.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.6/17/2021 4:43:13 PM

The Dangerous Attitude of Anger - Matthew 5:21-26
In Matthew 5, the people believed that they were righteous because of the number of laws they kept.  Jesus told them in Matthew 5:20: “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 wanted them to see their hearts and to recognize that true righteousness comes from God.  God’s righteousness is to flow through our hearts.  
1.  Do not murder - Matthew 5:21
Jesus was quoting from the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:13).  The Pharisees were teaching this commandment against taking the physical life of another person, but those who murdered were to receive a judgment of death.  Jesus goes on to point out that more than the standard of the law is the importance of the attitude of the heart.
2.  Do not condemn - Matthew 5:22
Jesus taught his followers that they should not even become angry enough to murder for they would have already committed murder in their hearts.  It is not our words that put us in jeopardy of hell fire but the attitude of our heart.  Anger here refers to a seething, brooding bitterness against a brother, which could also refer to a fellow believer.  It can quickly lead to a whole range of dangerous emotions and actions and can become out of control leading to violence, emotional hurt, mental stress, spiritual damage, and sometimes even murder.  Angry words and name-calling reveal a heart far from God.  
3.  Deal with sin in the heart - Matthew 5:23-24
Those who come into God’s presence to worship must come with pure hearts. You must not be hindered by broken relationships that you have the power to mend.  Love for God and fellow believers is more important than gifts brought to the altar.
4.  Settle problems quickly - Matthew 5:25-26
Matthew 5:24 refers to a believer dealing with the anger of another believer, and verse 25 focuses on dealing with an adversary.  It is practical advice to resolve our differences with our enemies before their anger causes more trouble (Proverbs 25:8-10).  Even small conflicts mend more easily if you try to make peace right away.  In a broader sense, these verses advise us to get things right with other believers before we have to stand before God.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.6/3/2021 8:46:46 PM

Christ’s Righteousness vs. The Law - Matthew 5:17-20
While Christ was living here on earth, people were trying to evaluate His ministry.  Was He the Messiah, a troublemaker, or one who had come to set them free from the rule of Rome?  Was He a law-breaker or a law-keeper?  The Pharisees and Sadducees were especially concerned with issues pertaining to the law.  Jesus shocked them when He dealt with them over this key issue.
Three Categories Relating To The Law: The Ceremonial Law was for the nation of Israel.  It gave specific instruction relating to their worship of God. The Judicial Law was given to Israel detailing how they were to deal with criminals.  For example: anyone caught stealing an ox had to pay five times more its value. The Moral Law was for both Israel and all mankind.  It is based on the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17).  This is God’s standard.
Jesus Completely Fulfilled The Law.
Matthew 5:17: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”  Jesus met all the criteria of the law.  The ceremonial law ultimately pointed to Christ.  He was the standard for the moral law, and thus automatically, fulfilled the requirements of the judicial law.  
Matthew 5:18: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”  We are to live by the examples and standards of the law.  This includes the attitudes of our hearts.  We can be guilty of sins of commission, as well as sins of omission.  James 4:17: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Matthew 5:19: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”  Christ taught His followers they were to follow and teach His commandments.  As believers, we are to live by the Word of God.
The Scribes and Pharisees obeyed the law externally but not internally (Matthew 5:20).  God wants us to put Him first in our lives.  Jesus came to redeem us and change our lives (Romans 8:1-4). Believers in Christ are called to live righteous lives.  We are called to do this because of our salvation and not to obtain salvation.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr. 5/21/2021 1:31:11 PM

Characteristics of a Good Mother - Galatians 5:22-26
Motherhood is the most important job a woman undertakes. The characteristics of a good mother are found in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
A)  Love - The Greek word agape is used to express a self-sacrificing and Christ-like love. Romans 5:8, Galatians 5:14, Romans 13:10, 1 Corinthians 13:13, John 15:13.
B)  Joy - A deep satisfaction, not a temporary exhilaration of the heart. This is part of God’s nature, and He gives it to us through the Holy Spirit. Nehemiah 8:10, Philippians 4:4, Romans 14:17.
C)  Peace - A tranquility of mind and soul that comes from a saving relationship with God. Peace does not rest in our circumstances but in God. Romans 8:28, John 14:1, 27.
D)  Patience (longsuffering) - Having tolerance, enduring difficulties. Psalm 86:15.
E)  Gentleness (kindness) - Having tender concern, being a comfort to others. 1 Thessalonians 2:6-7, Matthew 11:28-29.
F)  Goodness - Having moral and spiritual excellence, doing acts of good deeds, having a willingness to die for another. Romans 5:7-8: Christ willingly died for us, while we were yet sinners!
G)  Faithfulness - Trustworthiness. We are to be faithful, because God is faithful. Lamentations 3:22-23. Jesus’ faithfulness to us is expressed in Philippians 2:8.
H)  Gentleness - Meekness (power under control), free from revenge or retribution. Colossians 3:12, James 1:21, Ephesians 4:2.
I)  Temperance - Displaying selflessness, having self-control, restraining of our passions and appetites which enables us to minister to others. “Not my will, but God’s will.”
The definition of a hero is one who willingly sacrifices self for the sake of others. Godly mothers exemplify this. Being a mother is an awesome responsibility. While it is not without its trials and tribulations, there are blessings that cannot be measured in this life.
Posted By: Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.5/4/2021 9:22:06 PM