- Sermon 31 -
Fifth Sunday After Trinity. True Righteousness

t. Matthew V, 20: "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."

(April 2, 1872)

This chapter presents to you My whole teaching, the essence of all that concerns man. It is pointed out to you how his suffering, his sacrifices and struggles will one day have a spiritual worth and how he is to use his conscience as guidance in weighing all his thoughts, words and actions if ever he wants to be called My child.
The Sermon on the Mount was the most powerful sermon ever delivered by Me during My pilgrimage on earth and thus it comprises everything that made Me descend to this dark earth and to suffer the greatest humiliation - resulting in My and My teaching's greatest triumph.
In this sermon I held out hopes of great beatitudes to My listeners and disciples for all who keep My commandments of love and for their sake take upon themselves hardships and sufferings. I also illustrated to them the importance of their mission, that I do not wish to preach My teaching in vain, and that everyone who hears it should also apply and spread it. I refer to those verses that deal with the salt of the earth, the city on a hill and the lighted candle that should be allowed to shine and not burn hidden under a bushel.
I told them that they were the salt of the earth, which corresponds to the burning or stimulating part of the spiritual world of the soul, as it is needed for activating, for the elimination of the inferior, for the material metabolism.
Where there is no salt or stimulant, there is no life, no motion, no warmth, no light. And where the salt has lost its savour - as it says in the Gospel -, that is, where it has deteriorated, it achieves the opposite. Therefore, it must be cast out that people may tread on it. Trodden upon into the dust and sand it will help build other creations on another basis, just as the evil committed by men must in the end, through My providence, contribute to progress, to the betterment of the spiritual beings, only in another form and under different conditions.
Thus I admonished the people and My disciples not just to listen to My word and keep it to themselves, but also to pass it on to others and practise it in their actions. I also told them that My teaching was not new, but that it only presented in a true light the directions received from Moses and the Prophets. I explained the meaning of the words and showed all mankind how all these divine predictions and instructions by the men I had sent had always one and the same purpose, namely, to teach people to recognize their spiritual worth and to prepare them on the shortest way for their passing into the spiritual world, as befits beings with a divine spark from Me in their hearts. I assured all that My words were everlasting because they came from the Eternal, Supreme Being.
I also told them that I would punish any disparagement of these My laws, here and in the hereafter, because I knew beforehand that in times to come men would use My commandments of love as a cover for following their own interests and safely practising their passions of hate and revenge. The Pharisees and scribes did the same already during My time with the teachings of Moses and the Prophets. And that is why I said to My disciples and the people gathered around Me: "For I say unto you that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven!"
Although it is only this verse that is given for this Sunday, I had to explain also the preceding ones of the same chapter which lead conclusively to the twentieth verse from which we can then proceed.
Referring to the deceitful and hypocritical righteousness of that class which during those times had been given the power and the right to teach and interpret to the people the meaning, cult and dogmata of their religion, and knowing in what way they performed this - not according to My wishes, but according to their own ideas and plans - it was, of course, up to Me to give the people and My disciples better interpretations of the existing laws and to render their conscience more sensitive. I had to do this also because in those times the priests and scribes interpreted the laws in such a way that they were not hard to fulfil and gave them plenty of scope for committing the most abominable acts without apparently offending against the divine laws of Moses, and even giving the impression of adhering to them strictly.
Therefore, the twentieth verse is followed by all the other true commandments of love which in those times were regarded as contrary to what was believed, for retaliation, revenge, hatred, persecution appeared justified through some religious texts. They were also considered as inconsistent because it is much easier to satisfy hatred's thirst for revenge than to forgive an enemy or overwhelm with favours one who has evil intentions.
It is because of this that this particular sermon, especially from the twentieth verse onward, has been described as the more important, for in it the symbol of love, the standard of love for the fellowman, and of forgiveness, was laid down by Me as the sole guiding principle for life's journey, when I called out to all: "Under this banner alone and with this all-embracing love with which I, as the God and Creator, hold all My created beings, only with this love can you humans become citizens of a spiritual realm, citizens of My heaven!"
In the subsequent verses I mentioned various circumstances in life where man shall and can practise this love of his brother and fellowman. I showed how far this love shall and must go if its acts are to be of any spiritual value before Me. I set the corner-stone for man's readiness for sacrifice which, unfortunately, was a stumbling-block then and still is to this day.
I told My audience: Justs as I, as God, make the sun rise on the evil and on the good and send the blessed rain to moisten the fields of the unjust, as well as the just, thus also My true followers - superior to all human passions, with My example, as the Creator and as Jesus, always before their eyes - shall help everybody with equal love, unconcerned whether they are ever thanked for it or not.
In this sermon, I set up the ideal of a spiritually superior man and proved through My own way of life that it is possible to live like that, if desired. The contents of this sermon: The promised blessings for those who suffer, those who struggle and those who endure, and also how far the love of one's fellowman has to extend, are still valid today and will remain so as long as I, My spiritual and My material worlds are in existence. For, only through these commandments and their observance, are intelligent living beings perfected and prove their divine origin. Whereas, if they pursue the opposite road, which is the more popular one, and also today, unfortunately, by many described as the righteous road, they will sink into the depths of matter instead of rising to spiritual heights.
In the subsequent chapters of Matthew, this teaching is still more elaborated on so that no one can excuse himself with not having known what the love of God and the love of one's neighbour actually means. Thus you find in the sixth chapter the only prayer I taught My followers, which you can still today regard as the quintessence of all prayers. But you have to conceive the profound spiritual meaning of every one of its words; for you must realize that it is something quite different whether you pray with your own words or whether I put words into your mouth which you should direct to Me when in trouble, and in fact daily, so that I may give you My helping hand in the troubles of every new day, that you do not fall, but always keep in mind My Sermon on the Mount as the sole rule of conduct in the trials of your journey on earth in order to qualify for the beatitudes promised at the beginning of our chapter.
Yes, My children, this warning, concerns you, just as it did those who listened to Me when I delivered My Sermon on the Mount, when I said: "For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." So I am telling you, too: If you do not take the concepts of righteousness, love, meekness and forgiveness more seriously than they are preached to you and wrongly interpreted by many, you cannot enter My Kingdom and become My children. For only those can be regarded as My children who follow My example and willingly carry their cross and who, as did I, to prove their meekness and self-abnegation, put all earthly pleasures far behind the spiritual and adopt My guiding principle which is expressed in the words: "My kingdom is not of this world!"
My children must not be children of the world! They must aspire after the highest moral standard that man can achieve. They must master their passions as I did and accept with faith what I send them for their good. They shall not flee the world as dangerous, but judge its ways, its pleasures and temptations by their true worth, so that they do not succumb to them. In thoughts, words and deeds, they must have a clear conscience, so that others may not only believe their words, but see them proved in their actions. They must, as described in the Gospel, shine like a lamp that pours forth its tranquil light far above the difficulties of human life, - the light of love, of trust and of forgiveness.
Only if they themselves are more righteous, loving and trusting than many other erring children, can they serve them as guides, and only this way can they, after they have completed the course of their life and trials, claim to be adopted by Me and enter My eternal, great spiritual kingdom, My heavens, where all the blessings mentioned at the beginning of My Sermon on the Mount, will fall to their lot to make up for their sufferings.
Take this to heart! Read this sermon often, which I delivered to My disciples and the people almost two thousand years ago! It holds great promises and demands for you and My spirit-world.
The life of a person who does not wish to fulfil these conditions is like a nicely bound book that contains only blank pages.
Therefore, endeavour to take your book of life with you to the other world filled with good thoughts, words and deeds. In these verses I have shown you how thoughts can already constitute an offence against My commandments of love; for often it is only through lack of opportunity that they are not caried out. If this opportunity were given, the will would carry out what would otherwise have remained but fleeting thoughts.
So, first of all, beware of sinful thoughts! They degrade your inner mental being. Further avoid the opportunity to realize them. Fight the thoughts and you have a good chance of controlling your actions. But once you give in to these thoughts, you are already enmeshed in the reign of sin, and it needs just a favourable moment and through an ill-advised action your soul is deprived of all that adorned it - its purity, its peace and tranquility and all its fine resolutions.
Therefore, do read all these verses, and do it often! They draw your attention to so much wherein you are still weak and where you often sin against yourselves and against Me. Due to this you are still far from having a share in My.spiritual kingdom.
Do not grumble if, through various circumstances, I keep giving you an opportunity to prove yourselves in that which is still your greatest shortcoming, namely, the trust in Me and the constant watch over the emotions of your heart, so that you may nip in the bud all that is evil and bad.
Thus, through continuous practice, your strength will keep growing; thus you will master the temptations as they arise; and thus, keeping in mind the Sermon on the Mount, you will one day, when your mission on earth is ended and victory won, receive the award of My disciples, so that in the beyond you will, with renewed strength, be ready for greater tasks; for the one who has been faithful over a few things, I will there make ruler over many things.
Remember your Father who does not send you these words in vain! Remember that He wants to make you into that for which He has created you, that is, His spiritual children, beings that one day in His Kingdom are destined to spread the light of their eternal loving Father's love and grace over worlds and millions of beings. It is obvious that for such missions only beings who have been proven and steeled in suffering and hardships are suitable because only they, pure in thoughts and actions, can lift up others through the nobility of their spirit.
Therefore, I gave you this detailed explanation of My commandments of love that you may not give in to the influence of your self-love and excuse that which may be the greatest sin before Me - playing with thoughts that are the seed for many immature and evil actions. Amen.