Matthew 5 [Clear Word]
14. WITNESSING STRATEGY
1 One day when Jesus saw the crowds following Him, He went out of town to a hillside where He sat down, surrounded by His disciples and the people. 2 Then He shared with them all the values of His kingdom. He said, 3 "Happiness comes from having the right attitude. If you feel your need of God and trust Him, you have the kingdom of God within you. 4 Happiness comes from grieving when you sin. Confess your sins and you will be forgiven and peace will spring up in your soul. 5 Happiness comes from being eager to listen and obey. When you acknowledge God as the source of life and abilities, you will feel blessed. One day, people like this will fill the whole earth. 6 Happiness comes from loving to do what is right. Those who do right will have an inner satisfaction that nothing else can give. 7 Happiness comes from being kind, considerate and forgiving. People will remember your mercy and they will return the same to you. 8 Happiness comes to those with pure thoughts and motives. Such people will one day have the privilege of seeing God face to face. 9 Happiness comes from being a peacemaker, for such are God's children. 10 Happiness even comes from being persecuted for doing what's right. Just remember that no matter what happens, your place in heaven is already secured. 11 Strangely enough, you'll find yourself blessed even when people insult you, persecute you and lie about you because you have accepted me. 12 When this happens, be glad, because it shows that your name is written in heaven and that your reward will be waiting for you there. Remember, the prophets were treated no differently. 13 If you hold on to these values, you will be the salt of the world. But if you let go of these values, you'll be like tasteless salt. What good is tasteless salt? The only thing you can do with it is to throw it out on the road to walk on. 14 With these values you'll be like a city built on a hill, visible to everyone who passes by. 15 You know that people don't light a candle to hide it, but they put it in a candle holder so everyone in the house can benefit from the light. 16 This is what you should do: Live in such a way that others will see the moral values you have and then praise God when they accept those values. 17 Don't think that I'm doing away with the law or the prophets. I am the embodiment of their teachings. 18 God's teachings have never changed. Not the smallest letter nor the least stroke of a pen will ever change, any more than heaven and earth will disappear, before God's plan has been completed. 19 Whoever lives contrary to these principles and teaches other people to o so does not have the approval of heaven, no matter what he says. Those who teach and practice these moral values are the ones heaven approves. 20 I tell you with absolute certainty that you cannot do everything the scribes and Pharisees tell you and live the way they do and still expect to get to heaven. Unless your life is guided by higher values than theirs, you will have no part in God's kingdom. 21 You've heard the scribes and Pharisees tell you not to kill, and that if you do, you'll be held responsible by the courts for committing murder. They're right. 22 But I'm telling you that even if you don't kill, but you hate someone so much that you could kill him, you'll be held responsible by the heavenly court the same as if you had committed murder. To go a step further, if you treat someone with contempt because you think you're better than they are, you can never be given eternal life. 23 That's why you should make things right with others before you go to worship God. And if, while you're worshiping, you remember that you have something to make right, 24 it's better for you to leave, go and make things right and come back later, than to stay there and worship God with hatred and pride in your heart. 25 Let me tell you something else. If you're faced with a lawsuit, try to settle it before you go to court; otherwise, you may end up in front of a judge who thinks you should go to jail for what you did, and he may end up sending you to prison. 26 You might have to stay there until they get the last penny out of you and your family. 27 You have also been taught not to commit adultery, and that's right. 28 But I'm telling you that if you even look at a woman with lust for her body, you're already having sex with her in your mind. 29 If there's anything that keeps leading you into sin, you need to get rid of it, even if it's as valuable to you as one of your eyes. It's better to go without an eye than to go on sinning and lose eternal life. 30 Even if you had to lose your right hand, it would be better to lose it here than to lose out on heaven later. 31 The scribes and the Pharisees have told you that anyone who divorces his wife needs to make it legal by giving her a copy of the divorce papers, and that's right. 32 But I'm telling you that anyone who divorces his wife on a triviality, even though he does it legally, may force her into getting remarried or supporting herself by prostitution. Her husband will have forced her into adultery, and if he then remarries, he is also living in adultery. Divorce is allowed only for marital infidelity, not for trivialities. 33 You've been taught that you shouldn't take an oath unless you're making a promise to God. Those who teach this are right. 34 But I'm telling you, don't keep taking oaths to confirm what you've just said, whether that oath is understood to be a promise to God or not. 35 Don't swear by anything that's in the heavens, on earth or in Jerusalem, because everything belongs to God anyway. 36 And don't be so irrational as to take an oath to do or to die, because you have no control over your life or of what might happen to you. 37 So just communicate with people honestly by letting your "Yes" mean yes and your "No" mean no. Taking an oath to confirm what you say is one of the devil's ways to create suspicion between people. 38 You've been taught that it's right to fight for your rights in the courts until you get an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. 39 But I'm telling you that the judge will decide what's right, and if you lose, don't be angry about it. If someone slaps you on one side of your face, don't retaliate, even if he slaps you on the other side too. That way the problem will be his, not yours. 40 If anyone takes you to court and sues you for a certain amount, don't fight over every last penny. Let him have more than you think he should have. 41 Furthermore, if a Roman soldier asks you to carry his pack for the mile allowed under the law of occupation, do more than the law says and carry it two miles for him. That kind of attitude gives freedom to your spirit. 42 Be willing to do a favor for people when they ask you. If anyone wants to borrow something from you, lend it to him. 43 You have been taught that you should love your neighbor and it's all right to hate your enemy. 44 But what I'm telling you is to carry out acts of love for your enemy too. Ask for a blessing on him when he curses you. 45 These actions show that you are the children of God. Look at what your heavenly Father does! He makes the sun to shine on everyone, good and evil alike. Also, He waters the crops for those who do right and for those who don't. 46 Now if you do kind deeds only for those you care about or who care about you, what makes you different from anyone else? Even those who don't believe in God do that. 47 And if you greet cheerfully only those who cheerfully greet you, what have you done differently from other people? 48 You need to be like your heavenly Father who is selfless and kind to everyone, even those who don't deserve it."