Gamma 15 – Sermon on the Mount (Study 7)




John Goh012 207
Dr Lee Fook Sin019 230
Moh Ee Lin019 273
Ng Cho Hoo012 878
Susanah Ng012

Kindly contact any of these Gamma Facilitators. They will be hosting Zoom meetings for Discussions every Wednesday starting from April 1, 2020.


Please look at the questions and discuss the answers. The case histories are designed to let you apply what theoretical knowledge you have gleaned from the study. There are intentionally many more questions and case histories than you can manage in one session but this is designed to
cover the many and varied needs of the individuals in the church hence please pick and choose which ones to discuss as long as it gets people sharing and applying the Word to real life situations. Never feel obligated to finish all the questions. The answers will be posted on the web the next day

Jesus was addressing the problem of the Jews using oaths on the various objects to bolster their own credibility and using these oaths in order to lie and deflect from the truth. There were various levels of seriousness of the lies which corresponded to the object upon which the oath was based on. In their minds if the oath was based on the temple then if one broke oath it would not be such a serious breach compared to if the oath was based on the gold of the temple. They were just making up arbitrary distinctions to sooth their own consciences or defraud their neighbours. The system of oaths was used to justify their deceit and lack of integrity

The issue was not that the swearing was wrong as there are plenty of instances of oaths in the bible. Covenants are oaths where God issues promises and keeps them. Paul makes them as well. The issue here is using them to bolster one’s lies. Hence there is nothing intrinsically wrong in making oaths but one must keep ones word or oath.

Integrity means wholeness or oneness. Someone with integrity has perfect alignment between their words, actions, and beliefs. A person of integrity is not divided. They do not say one thing and do another. They are consistent to their core. The consequence are the destruction of human community, identity and dignity. Ultimately it will put us on a collision course with reality which will unravel all our lies and deflections.

It destroys human community because the lack of integrity or lies will be used to divide people along their natural fault lines of race, gender, nationalities or even ideology. Imagine two people who do not get along in church or have a falling out after some inappropriate comments and then they both tell their respective groups of friends of their own versions of the truth slanted to gain support. Most friends will coalesce around their loyalties rather than objectively discern the truth.

Then what we have is a fracturing of community in church. This is because people value friendship and loyalties more than they value the truth. The lack of integrity will result in a spinning of a web of lies to achieve ones purpose. Hence with one group one will speak in a certain manner to conform to the ideology or social mores of that group, one will tell them what they want to hear to fit in to the group by fitting into their narrative. However with another group the same is done even though their ideology may be completely at odds with the first group but the person says what he or she says in order to fit in or gain prestige or influence. He or she does not hold his own views and in the end it destroys his own identity because his views have been so malleable and he lies so often that he does not know what his true beliefs are.

The lack of integrity destroys human dignity because it uses others to our own agendas. Politicians are the most prominent example of this as they will speak and act differently to different crowds in order to gain their support. Hence they do not really care enough about the particular demographic to give them the dignity of the truth but merely uses them as tools to get re-elected. The flood of fake news during this Covid-19 crisis is a good example of how politicians use fake news to bolster their own nation’s narrative and to deflect blame from their own short comings. People are now tools and the internet and facebook serve politicians and their lies.

Can you discuss how the loss of integrity in our society and our world has impacted our lives especially during this Covid 19 crisis ? Give example and how you have been personally affected. Can you share why it is so important in today’s society that Christians are to be a people of integrity and hence be the salt and light of society ? How will being people of integrity inevitable be costly to us personally ? Why is it that of all people, Christians are in the position to tell the truth regardless of the cost?

Obviously the more theologically accurate view is the first view as our yes must be yes and our no must be no hence we are to regard whatever we say to be said in front of God who sees us and hears us all the time. We cannot hide. We tell the truth because we realise we are always in his presence and because we love Him and want to please Him and staying on the side of the truth pleases Him. We are only cognisant of His approval and we do it for His approval and the opinion of others holds no sway over us.

The second view is practical and we often remind ourselves to tell the truth because of this but unsound because our desire to tell the truth is based on the fear of being found out to be liars because our lies are recorded on face book for the world to detect all our inconsistencies . We tell the truth simply because we don’t want to be found out to be liars hence our compliance to the truth is based on our own self esteem and fear of loosing the respect of others.

How do we balance tell the truth and not slant it in a way to gain an advantage or to be acceptable to others and yet the bible tells us to tell the truth in love? Apply your discussion on these situations. In addition to these examples can you also give your own examples of when you had to struggle with the truth and lessons learnt?

A. Giving feedback to the poor performance of a son or daughter who has low self esteem?
B. Giving feedback to the performance of a friend who did badly?
C. Putting details on your CV when applying for jobs?
D. You are a salesman and you have to sell a poor product for your company.
E. Some one is bugging you to help them and you are not really inclined to do so because you really don’t like them or are convinced of their need. How do you decline in love?
F. Some one in your group is always bringing up inappropriate comments that upset the discussion and side tracks the conversation away from the main points . How does one tell the truth in this situation in love?

Answers are available.