In an effort to better understand what Jesus was telling us to do I copied below only those statements which were action terms. The rest of the sermon, which begins with rewards for various levels of attainment, involves things to avoid and commentary on the effects of various actions. If the statement was marginally outside of the loose definition of action it was included and thus the statements below should include all the statements of things to do, plus a little surrounding text for clarity.
The action advice in the Sermon on the Mount
Holy Bible – Matthew 5
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
20 Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
22 whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:
24 first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
25 Agree with thine adversary quickly,
29 if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee:
34 Swear not at all;
37 let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay:
39 That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
42 Give to him that asketh thee,
44 Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
3 when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
6 when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door,
7 when ye pray, use not vain repetitions,
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for every. Amen
14 if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18 that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
20 lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
25 Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
31 take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? What shall we drink? Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
34 Take no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Mk. 4.24
5 first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine,
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: Lk. 6.31 for this is the law and the prophets.
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: – strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life,
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit;
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
The central message in the sermon is from Mat 7:2 – For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (See also Mk. 4.24) – The message is that what you do to others, even what you think of others, will come back to you again. This means that when you develop a habit of treating people a certain way, you will then treat the many aspects of your own self that same way. Thus, if you are nice to others they will be nice to you, and if you are mean to others they will be mean to you, but more importantly you will be recipient of those personal habits to your own self repeatedly because you are always with yourself.
However, that weak form of the Golden Rule is greatly surpassed a few lines later where Jesus says in Mat 7:12 – Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: (See also Lk. 6.31) for this is the law and the prophets. The key term here is should and you must determine in the conscious moment how others should be treating you in the multitude of situations which you will meet in a lifetime. This is the strait gate through which one ascends on the path to a higher spiritual plain. And this is the rock upon which to build your life.
Intentionally practicing these ideas, combined with the habit of kindness, will bring you and those around you to a contented time and a happy place.