Swearing (Matthew #23)

Text: Matthew 5:33-37

A couple of thoughts to open this study up.  The Lord Jesus Christ is interpreting the law and by interpreting the law he is showing what it is that makes you guilty before God.  Jesus Christ is NOT telling people how to get to heaven. He is, however giving sound doctrine for life.

Let me ask you this, when a person trusts in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for their sins, will they be better off if they commit adultery or stop committing adultery?  Will they be better off if they continue to deceive people or if they start telling the truth? WIll they be better off if they hate a brother or if they love that brother?

If a person is not justified before God, then these ARE the indictments against him or her before God.

How about this, will God be magnified in a Christian’s life if they defraud people or will God be magnified when they deal honestly in business?  Will God be magnified if filth pours out of their mouth or if truth and life come out of their mouths? Alright, so to say a saved soul is not under the law isn’t true in any practical sense.  Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

1 Timothy 1:8-11 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

Now the Lord deals with swearing and promising.  Swearing will also be known as profanity, or cursing a.k.a cussing.  This part of speech ranges from reinforcing your speech with profanity in everyday conversation to lying by making promises you don’t keep.

Swearing as profanity takes something holy, sacred, or secret and makes it common.  Profanity is generally a private body part or a private bodily act that is made public by your tongue.  Then it’s often emphasized with an appeal to the throne of God by saying HOLY —-.

The Lord will say not to swear by your own head such as “my goodness”, “cross my heart”, “on my life”.  Or cursing someone like “go to hell” or “damned” or calling God to damn it. All of these things will amount to idle words that will profane the God you claim right now, it will affect your reputation, and you’ll give account for in judgment.

You probably never thought that things that come out of your mouth so easily could be judged so harshly by God.  Matthew 12:31-37 is addressing speech.

The mouth is likened to a rudder, fire, tree, fountain, sword, and grave by God.

The law was taught as “mean what you say or else”

  • The common teaching of the law is keep your promises or mean what you say or it will cost you.
  • Leviticus 5:4-6
  • The religious leaders saw a great opportunity for wealth here so they perverted the law by teaching that if you make a big monetary promise to God, He will really be impressed. Matthew 23:16-22
    • Faith Promise – Guilt if you don’t participate, guilt if you do, guilt if you vow and can’t pay.  This is why we stay away from it.
    • Promise Keepers

The Lord interprets to prevent condemnation

  • Deuteronomy 23:21-23 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. 22 But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. 23 That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.
  • Ecclesiastes 5:1-7
  • The Lord doesn’t need your commitment, he wants your surrender.
  • The Lord doesn’t want your promises, he wants you to accept His promises.
  • James 5:12

The mouth in relation to God’s law

  • Not subject to God’s law
    • By lies
      • John 8:44 the devil teaches men the benefits of lying.
      • Psalms 62:4 …they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.
      • Isaiah 28:15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:  People tell lies to protect themselves.  They think lies make them safe. But that very thought is a lie.
      • Generational lies – Jeremiah 16:19 …our fathers have inherited lies…
    • By excuses
      • An excuse is how we cloak irresponsibility or laziness
      • Sometimes it’s a spiritual excuse: I’ve prayed about this… I feel the Lord is leading me…
      • Sometimes it’s a safety excuse: Proverbs 26:13
    • By exaggeration
      • 2 Peter 3:18-22 …great swelling words of vanity…
      • Boasting is exaggeration.
      • So lies, excuses, exaggerations are all ways you thumb your nose at God and say, I don’t care what you said, I’m not under your jurisdiction anymore.
  • Subject to God’s law
    • By truth – truth is freeing
    • By simplicity – Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.