10. PRINCIPLES THAT BUILD CHARACTER:
The Path to Holiness
I. SEXUAL MORALITY
10.1. If you lust after (eagerly desire) a married woman in your heart, of what are you guilty? (Matt.5:28)
Yahweh considers adultery to be second only to murder in its abomination (Ex.20:14; Matt.15:19). Adultery is desiring, or having, sexual relations with another man's wife. In the Old Testament the punishment for adultery was death (Lev.20:10). Even desiring to 'own' another man's wife in any degree - mental or emotional - is adultery. And if this is done by both parties, an ungodly soul-tie results which must be renounced and broken in the Name, and by the power of the blood, of Yah'shua (Jesus).
Under the New Covenant adultery is no less serious, and its punishment is spiritual death -- the offender is cut off from the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and excluded from the fellowship of the Messianic Community (Church). Yah'shua (Jesus) goes to the heart of the problem of sexual immorality, commanding His disciples to go to the root by dealing with our heart-attitudes. Sexual purity is an absolute requirement of the Gospel (Mark 7:21; Eph.5:3).
This not only means that unmarried people should abstain from sexual relations with others but that sex within the marriage relationship should be pure and in the Messiah (Christ). Christians are not to associate with sexually immoral people (1 Cor.5:9).
2. Which people will not inherit the Kingdom of God? (1 Cor.6:9-10)
NOTE: "Homosexual offenders" (v.9) refers to practicing homosexuals and lesbians, i.e. those engaging in fornication or adultery (unlawful sexual activity). The Gospel is open to all homosexuals and lesbians who are aware that their condition is abnormal, desire to be healed, and are celibate in body, mind and heart.
10.3. What does Yahweh liken our physical body to? To Whom does it belong, and why? What should we do with our body? (1 Cor.6:19-20)
II. THE BODY AS A TEMPLE
To honour Yahweh with your body means keeping sexually pure, generally keeping if free of harmful substances, and living a holy life. This includes abstaining from narcotics (drugs), stimulants (like caffeine-based drinks), tobacco, alcohol, and anything that is addictive, from unedifying computer games to rock music and excessive eating.
10.4. What is the rule of thumb that Paul gives when it comes to things that lead to compulsive addiction? (1 Cor.6:12)
The goal of all Christians should be self-mastery. Indeed, the goal of all Christians should be nothing less than perfection (Matt.5:48). To be perfect, we must overcome every tendency to idolatry. For one rich man it was his wealth (Matt.19:21). Whatever stops us from following the Messiah (Christ) and obeying Torah (the commandments) is our personal idolatry. Anything that comes between us and Yahweh is idolatry. The love of anything evil is obviously idolatrous, but can you think of good things which can become idolatrous (see, for example, Luke 14:26)?
Our love for Yahweh should be so great that by comparison our love for our own family will seem like hate. Yah'shua (Jesus) is not, of course, saying that we should hate anyone -- we are to love even our enemies (Luke 5:44). The only thing we should hate is evil itself (Heb.1:9) -- we are never to hate people, no matter who they are or what they have done. "Hate the sin, love the sinner" should be the Christian's motto.
10.5. What does Yahweh promise those who overcome their sinful tendencies? (Rev.2:7)
10.6. How do we overcome? (1 John 5:1,5,2-3)
III. MORALITY AND INTER-PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
10.7. Are you to make a vow or an oath, and what is your statemement to be? (Matt.5:33-37)
10.8. What is anything beyond that? (Matt.5:37)
This passage has sometimes been interpreted to mean that we should never make promises or enter into obligations of any kind. That is not correct. Rather, we are not to make oaths we cannot possibly keep or which bring dishonour to Yahweh or are used to conceal sin.
Let us take two examples. John accuses Tim of stealing. Tim replies: "I swear by my mother's grave that I did not!"
Sometimes children, when sworn to secrecy, say: "Cross my heart, and hope to die!" as the penalty of breaking an oath.
This is what Yah'shua (Jesus) condemns. The answer in both cases should simply have been "yes" or "no". To swear by something or someone else shifts the responsibility away from self by using the itegrity of someone else (either one's mother, or God, for example) to legitimise one's own integrity. Why do you think this behaviour is described by Yah'shua (Jesus) as evil?
As a reminder of making foolish oaths the Bible records the tragic story of Jephthah and his daughter (Judges 11:30-40). Christians should consider carefully any promises they make so as not to compomise their personal integrity or to bring dishonour to the Messiah (Christ).
10.9. What will happen to us for speaking careless words? (Matt.12:36)
10.10. How shall we be justified, and how shall we be condemned? (Matt.12:37)
10.11. What does the mouth speak? (Matt.12:34-35)
10.12. What should your attitude be toward someone who mistreats or slaps you? (Matt.5:39)
This is not speaking about laws for governing society, but this is speaking of personal persecution.
The point of offering the other cheek is to let Yahweh plead our cause and execute His own judgment. We have His promise that He will smite our enemies on the cheek (Ps.3:7).
10.13. How did Yah'shua (Jesus) demonstrate this principle? (Matt.26:51-52; 27:12,29-30; 1 Peter 2:21-23)
10.14. What is to be your attitude when persecuted? (Matt.5:10-12)
10.15. What did Yah'shua (Jesus) say our attitude toward our enemies should be? (Matt.5:44-47)
10.16. How does Yahweh set this example? (Matt.5:45)
10.17. Therefore, what are we to be? (Luke 6:36)
18.18. If you love only those who love you, is that any credit to you? (Luke 6:32)
10.19. If you do good only to those who do good to you, is that any credit to you? (Luke 6:33)
10.20. What are the three attitudes that Yah'shua (Jesus) condemned, and how did He measure each offence? (Matt.5:22) NOTE: "Raca" ("Raka") means "empty-headed" or "good-for-nothing".
a. The offence:
b. The offence:
c. The offence:
The Valley of Hinnom (Gk. Gehenna, Eng. hell) was a rubbish dump south of the old City of Jerusalem in which fires were continually burning. This became a metaphor for hell with its burning fire of punishment for the unrighteous, as taught in Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 66:24. Elsewhere in the Tanakh (Old Testament) Dt.32:22 talks about a burning hell; 2 Sam.22:6; Ps.18:5 and 116:3 show that hell is a sorrowful place. Ps.9:17 says that the wicked go to hell and Job 26:6 shows that hell is a place of destruction. The Heb. word in all places is She'ol and mostly corresponds to the Gk. Hades. Thus hell is not a New Testament chiddush (novelty). When liberals and advocates of the soul-sleeping doctrine (no consciousness after death) like the Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists and some Messianics assert that Judaism teaches that there is no hell, they are introducing a later doctrine of their own not based on the Old Testament (see David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, p.28).
Thus the judgment for calling someone a 'fool' is not just a temporary seared conscience but to risk eternal judgment - not just because a careless word was uttered but because of the harsh demonic spirit that typically lies behind such extreme and unrighteous judgments of people.
10.21. If you judge others in this way, what will happen? (Matt.7:1-2)
10.22. By what standard will you be judged? (Matt.7:1-2)
10.23. How, then, are we to judge? (John7:24)
We are to be careful in how we judge others. The Judges in Israel (Apostles, Pastors, Elders) are to judge the local assemblies (churches) according to New Covenant Torah by holding the people accountable to clear infractions of the commandments and to admonish them in the truth.
We cannot, however, condemn someone to hell or pretend to know their every motive. Only Yahweh knows the truth about the whole soul. Final judgment is His, not man's. There are terrible consequences for presumptuously judging as only Elohim (God) can not only in the spiritual damage it can do to another but acting in the capacity of Elohim (God) Himself.
10.24. In light of this, what are we exhorted to do? (Luke 6:37)
Yahweh is not saying that we should never judge for we are to hold one another accountable in love. However, if we do judge - whether as appointed Judges (Heb. elohim) in the local assembly (church) or as fellow Christians, we must at all costs avoid hypocrisy by making sure we are guiltless of the sins we charge others of (see Jn.8:7).
10.25. If you are presenting your offering to Yahweh and remember that your brother has something against you, what are you to do? (Matt.5:23-24)
10.26. Of what are you to beware? (Matt.6:1)
10.27. What should your attitude be in giving to Yahweh? (Matt.6:4)
10.28. If you do not forgive others, then what attitude does the Father take toward you? What, in the light of this, should the attitude of Christians be to other Christians who will not forgive their brothers and sisters for real or imagined offences? (Matt.6:14-15)
10.29. How often are you to forgive others? (Matt.18:21-22)
This is a symbolic number meaning 'indefinitely' (see Gen.4:24), the point being that the moment we stop forgiving others, Yahweh stops forgiving us of our sins against Him which has terrible consequences for the eternities. This is such a cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith that it bears emphasising again and again: If you do not forgive others, Yahweh will not forgive you.
10.30. How are we to treat others? (Matt.7:12; Luke 6:31)
10.31. What should be your attitude toward giving to others? (Luke 6:29-30,34-35)
This scripture needs to be understood intelligently and in the conext of Elohim's (God's) other teachings on wealth, poverty and ownership. We are to give freely to those who have need - in other words, those who are proper objects of charity, who have need of necessities, which is to be given of our surplass. These we cannot deny. This is the stewardship of the giver, not the imagined 'right' of the one in need. The giver is to respond to the demands of the Master, not the demands of the one soliciting for help. The poor are not justified in demanding from Christians, only in asking.
If we are forcibly defrauded, as in having our coat robbed, we are not to resist with violence but maintain our peace. See Mt.18:21-35.
10.32. What are we to be aware of and guard against? (Luke 16:10)
10.33. What did Yah'shua (Jesus) say about faithfulness? (Luke 16:10)
10.34. What did Yah'shua (Jesus) say about unfaithfulness? (Luke 16:10)
10.35. What attitude will Yahweh honour? (Luke 18:10-14)
10.36. What will happen to those who try to exalt themselves? (Luke 18:14)
10.37. What should you do if you want to be great in the Kingdom? (Matt.20:26-27)
10.38. What example did Yah'shua (Jesus) set in this area? (Matt.20:28)
10.39. When invited as a guest, are you to seek the best seat for yourself? If not, then what are you to do? (Luke 14:8-11)
10.40. When you have a luncheon or dinner, whom should you invite? (Luke 14:12-14)
10.41. What is the greatest sign of love? (John 15:13)
10.42. What did Yah'shua (Jesus) tell us to do if we love Him? (John 21:15-17)
10.43. What six things are we to do for our brothers and sisters? (Matt.25:35-40)
10.44. What does John (Yochanan) exhort us to do? (1 John 3:16-18)
10.45. What are nine types of people who are blessed and find favour with Yahweh? (Matt.5:3-11)
Those who "mourn" are those who feel sorrow for sin, i.e. the repentant.
Write down and memorise the following verses: Luke 6:47-48
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