Again, you have heard that it was said to the ancients, 'Do not break your oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.'
this. And they had the least of what was legitimate. They covered equivocation, promoted familiarity with what under any circumstances should be reserved for solemn occasion, and nourished the deeper distrust between man and man. Excepting, therefore, from condemnation what we have every reason to believe that Christ did not mean to include in condemnation, we have his most express discouragement of all frequent, ordinary, idle use of forms of swearing - nay, of all use of swearing, except such as specially safeguarded, is therein, and, other things being equal, to be regarded as authorized. We have the opportunity of a divinely suggested glimpse into the moral ethics of Christianity, and are invited to note of all swearing, that while it proceeds on the very showing, when between men, that it adds inducement to the faithful performance of the promise, and confidence to the calm trust of the person to whom the promise is made, in these very things it carries the reminder of its own discredit. And the way is paved for Christ's more excellent version. Notice -
I. SIMPLE ASSEVERATION OR DENIAL THE RULE OF CHRISTIAN LANGUAGE.
II. SIMPLE ASSEVERATION OR DENIAL THE BEST HONOUR TO THE CHARACTER OF THE LIP THAT SPEAKS.
III. SIMPLE ASSEVERATION OR DENIAL THE BEST CREDIT TO THE TRUSTFULNESS OF THE PERSON WHO HEARS.
IV. WHAT IS MORE THAN SIMPLE ASSEVERATION OR DENIAL MEANS "EVIL" IN THE ONE PARTY, OR IN THE OTHER, OR IN BOTH. IT PROCEEDS ON THE VERY SUSPICION OF EVIL PRESENT. - B.
Swear not.I. This precept does not absolutely forbid all use of oaths. An oath is a solemn appeal to God, as a witness of the truth of what we declare, and of our sincerity in what we promise. Oaths are assertory and promissory.
1. It is not uncommon for Scripture to use general expressions, which are to be understood in a qualified sense.
2. From the reasons of the charge and other passages of Scripture. Oaths are necessary in civil society: they are of Divine institution; St. Paul used them; God swears by Himself.
II. CHRIST CONDEMNS —
2. Customary swearing in common conversation.
3. As we may not use the Divine name wantonly so neither may we swear by any of God's creatures.
4. He forbids all rash imprecations.
5. All scoffing at religion, contempt of the writings of God, and all sporting with Scripture. Profane language is a sure evidence of a bad disposition of mind. It tends to produce greater hardness and to extinguish all reverence: it is most pernicious in its consequences:it is unreasonable yet infectious; it heaps guilt upon the soul.
(J. Lathrop, D. D.)
II. The Christian law of retaliation.
III. Practical lessons. The sin of perjury is said to be growing appallingly frequent. Whilst technical vows are no longer in harmony with the liberty of the new dispensation, still the spirit of the vow by which one dedicates himself to Divine service is as sacred and as useful as ever. Avoid using expressions that are in the nature of an oath without having its technical form. Outright profanity is a terrible sin, as useless as it is hardening. What a confession of man's proneness to lie, is his habitual appeal to God as a witness of the truth! The law of retaliating love laid down by Christ shows Him to be the one and supreme Teacher.
(J. S. Doolittle, D. D.)1. Language should be the simple expression of the heart.
2. Christianity seeks to simplify human communications.
3. Exaggerated expressions lead to an untrue life.
4. Christ's law of speech will regulate our social intercourse.
(W. W. Whythe.)
I. The EXCUSES usually made for it. Ignorance, custom, example, surprise, passion, confirmation of what is said, meaning no harm, inconsistencies of professors, etc. (2 Samuel 12:14; Ezekiel 36:20; Romans 2:24; 2 Peter 2:2).
II. The evil CONSEQUENCES of it. Destroys the little remains of the fear of God. Leads to the disobedience of all His commands. Such a horrid example to others, especially to the young, etc.
III. The powerful ARGUMENTS against it. God hears. He is holy and jealous. Before His bar the swearer must appear. He is able to punish, and declares He will (2 Kings 19:22, 28; Isaiah 37:23, 36, 38; Ezekiel 20:27, 33; Ezekiel 35:12-14).
(A. Tucker.)I. EXPLAIN THE SIN IN QUESTION.
1. One branch of this sin is cursing and swearing.
2. Another branch is the familiar introduction of oaths into common conversation.
3. A mingling religious language in our common discourse without any corresponding feelings in our heart.
II. ITS AGGRAVATED GUILT.
1. It is a gratuitous sin.
2. It is a wilful sin.
3. It is a presumptuous sin.
III. THE AWFUL STATE OF THOSE WHO PRACTISE THIS SIN.
1. Awful because God has denounced His vengeance against them.
2. It is a state of fitness for destruction.
3. It is a sure sign of an unregenerate condition.
(E. Cooper.)Swear not at all! ..... Did:He? Well, I didn't know it was swearing to say 'By thunder,' or 'By golly.' Is it, grandma? .... All such expressions, my dear, in which ' by' is used, partake of the nature of swearing, and a boy who wishes to be good will never let them fall from his lips." Charlie sat silent for several minutes, in grave thought, and then said, "'Grandma, what makes the newspaper swear every morning? .... Does it," inquired the old lady, looking over the top of her spectacles with curious eyes. "Yes, it says, 'By telegraph.'" The old lady could not help laughing, but she explained to Charlie the difference between an exclamation such as " By thunder," used to give emphasis to a remark, and an incomplete sentence such as "By telegraph." The little boy determined that he would not offend in this way again, and I have told you the story, hoping that you may make the same wise rule.
(J. N. Norton.)can keep from swearing!" said the little fellow. There were some blushes on four manly faces, and there seemed to be very little anxiety for further information on the point.
Sermons by Monday Club.1. The language of irreverence.
2. The language of retaliation.
3. The language of revenge.
(Sermons by Monday Club.)
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