Sermon Outline based on Matthew 5:33-37
1. “Who Can I Trust?”… The dangers of breaking your word.
Matthew 5:33-37 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. (see also James 5:12)
- The leaders who are most untrusting, are seldom worth trusting. (Matt. 23:16–22)
- A broken promise corrupts community.
2. “Who Can I Trust?”… It begins by looking in the mirror.
- Make your word worthy of trust.
Acts 5:1-11 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. 7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
- Don’t fear the consequences; trust in the Lord.
- Don’t follow your heart.
Ecclesiastes 5:1–7 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words. 4 When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6 Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.
- If you speak it; do it!
- You cannot “mean well” unless you “do well”.
- Your actions will always both define & lead your heart.
3. “Who Can I Trust?”… It begins by looking toward eternity
Psalms 56:9b-13 This I know, that God is for me.10 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, 11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you 13 For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling that I may walk before God in the light of life.
- The World can take your wealth, but it cannot take your integrity before God.
- Model your life after the God who never lies.
- Your word is your worship.
Digging Deeper Study Notes: “The Integrity Of Your Word”
Imagine you are looking at a beautiful mansion full of lavish comforts… the home of your dreams! Now your friend tells you, I am giving you this house absolutely free and you can move in immediately. You gather your family together and approach the mansion, only to see a notice taped to door, “This building has been condemned by the State of California.” Would you move in and risk the life of your family?
Compare this to the words we use everyday, why does the integrity of our words matter to God?
The Old Testament allowed for oath taking, or vows, as a means of affirming one’s resolve to do something. By Jesus’ day, however, oaths were being used selfishly to avoid commitment. In light of Joe’s sermon, read again Matthew 5:33–37. What is Jesus’ point about truth-telling?
Later in Jesus’ ministry he confronted the Pharisees about the oaths they were taking. Read Matt. 23:16–22. What was Jesus’ warning to these religious leaders to avoid?
Read the following passages about oaths and discuss their importance for keeping your word:
- Exodus 20:7
- Leviticus 19:12
- Numbers 30:2
- Deut. 23:21–23
- Ecclesiastes 5:1–7
- James 5:12
TAKING IT HOME
1. Have you made an oath to someone in the past? Have you kept your word or did you find a way to avoid fulfilling your promise? What do should you do now to make it right?
2. In light of the Scripture, what will you do in the future when it comes to making promises?