Large crowds had begun to follow Jesus. He sees them; sits down & teaches His disciples
The sermon on the mount is a lesson to the disciples, followers of Jesus; Believers!!
It is one sermon that spans three short chapters and that if recorded in it’s entirety is a very short discourse but one of staggering depth.
It is a record of believers being taught by the Lord in the presence of a large crowd.
- Not Evangelistic!
- Not a recipe for general living!
- But a description of the person who belongs to the Kingdom of God.
- A reminder of the privileges that belong to the followers of Jesus Christ.
- It is mainly a reminder of what Christians should be like.
Key Verse:- cf. Ch. 5:48 the Lord said “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Probably the most profound discourse that has ever been spoken, but possibly also the most misunderstood.
Many believe it to be a map to heaven: that is if you live a life abiding by the concepts within, then you will be alright.
It is a sermon that breaks many modern preaching rules, not 3 or 4 points but at least 16!
- The way of blessing.
- The Christian’s responsibility; (salt and light in the world!)
- The importance of the Law of God.
- Application of points of law; (murder; adultery & divorce.)
- Promises made before God.
- The rights of the believer.
- The believers love toward his enemies.
- Prayer & fasting.
- Living in the light of heaven.
- Judgement of others.
- Our requests to God.
- The Christian walk of life.
- Warnings concerning false disciples.
- The right foundation.
See how the sermon stars & ends!
- Starts with the way of blessing; the entrance qualifications into the Christian life.
- Ends with the Christian foundation:- The words of this sermon the foundation of true life!!
All 16 points are vital for the church throughout all generations.
It is a sermon full of interest & illustration, simple and yet profound!
The Beatitudes. The way of Blessing.
What does it mean to be blessed? Many believe Makarios (Gk) to mean happy, but that is a poor translation it really means to be approved of or to find approval.
Blessing is God’s approval on your life, blessing is not what we get but God’s approval of us.
A contrast to the world’s ideals:
Modern man tends to believe that it is Jesus' teaching that says that it is the poor in general who enter heaven.
Jesus is not saying that you have to enter into a life of poverty to gain access to heaven.
What He is saying is that the entrance qualification to heaven is poverty; but not being a pauper it is spiritual poverty that is important to God.
Jesus said “ Blessed are the poor in spirit “ It is the spirit that is important. To be poor in spirit is the way to find God’s approval on your life.
What does He mean?
Spiritual poverty. Destitute before God! This is the foundation of Christian experience.
Natural man believes himself to be O.K. The first step into spiritual life is the recognition of our bankruptcy before God.
The blessing received is the Kingdom of heaven; is this blessing yours?
Poverty being the entrance requirement into the Kingdom then the other beatitudes describe our Christian walk.
The more we apply these beatitudes of life to ourselves the closer we will find ourselves to our God.
What blessing can be in mourning?
We must first consider what it is to mourn. It is not merely sadness but more desperation concerning our sinful state, we are impotent to do anything about it, all is humanly speaking lost!
Jesus says that for the believer who mourns there is comfort.
To the sad of heart there is comfort, His Holy Spirit is the great comforter.The closer a Christian's relationship with God becomes the more desperate that his heart appears to him/her. For the Christian there is also a mourning for the sins of the world. We ought to be desperate concerning the sins of our people.
- Do we mourn our own sinfulness?
- Do we weep for the people of the world?
Another thing that causes Christians to mourn is the lack of other mourners, i.e. other Christians. Why is it that the church seems to be so uncaring about the lack of righteousness amongst us and in the world. Do we really mourn concerning sin?
The promise for all who truly mourn is comfort. What comfort? When we see the blackness of our sin in contrast to the grace of God what grea comfort that is! We seek to have the comfort of answered prayer in saving grace gifted by God to lost souls .
But an even greater comfort to come is the promise of a welcome into heaven!!
The world tells us that to succeed we need to be powerful. “Power” today the buzz word.
Contrary to what many believe Jesus teaches His people that in order to inherit the earth then we must be meek.
- Gentleness; not weakness .
- Seeing the needs of others as greater than our own!
If we want to be successful then we need to be meek.
What is it we should want to be successful in?
The answer is in the verse, our success is to inherit the earth. To occupy it and to glorify God in it. The world is currently ruled by a usurper: the devil has no right to the authority he appears to have.
The world belongs to the Lord.
- We are called to take possession of the land.
- Do we take it by force? NO ! Jesus is our example, He could have come with power but He came in meekness.
The meek will inherit the earth, the inheritance is a new heaven & a new earth, it is eternal life.
The meek have an everlasting inheritance.
- A Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness.
Righteousness is to conform to God’s will. A righteous one delights in the Word of God by which God’s will is revealed.
The world is hungry for success, what are we hungry for today?
Why does the Lord use hunger & thirst?
Both hunger and thirst are natural desires for the essentials of life. Righteousness is essential for Christian life. We need it! Are we desperate to be righteous? If we are then the promise is to be filled with righteousness.
The Lord is not saying here that the way to experience God’s mercy is for us first to be merciful to others. That is clearly not the case, we were shown mercy in that whilst we were still sinners Christ died for the ungodly. God’s mercy was extended to the most undeserving people; you & me!
Grace and mercy are often mixed up; Grace is love given to an undeserving cause whereas mercy is love that is prompted by the sight of a helpless & totally miserable person.
Because of God’s grace and mercy extended to us the helpless one we should show mercy to others who are less fortunate than ourselves!
Our rule for living is to show mercy to the helpless & hopeless, miserable people around us.
Are we merciful as God is to us through Christ or are we hard and callous to the needs of others????
- Pure in Heart.
In today’s world we are expected to be as devious as the rest! Purity of heart is something that you portray but never actually achieve! And after all what does it really matter as long as you do not get caught.
But the Lord says that Christians must be pure in heart. It is the heart that is the secret place, the area that is most covered up. The place that no other person can enter. Nobody else knows what goes on in there. But God looks on the heart of man. His requirement for the heart is purity.
What does He see??
He sees our inconsistencies, our grey areas, our compromises. What does He think of us as He observes our daily walk? He promises that the pure will see Him, how can that be possible? He has put a new heart in the believer. Into that heart He has imputed righteousness into it, making it possible for us to see God. At the moment our sight is from a distance but one day we will meet Him face to face.
Peacemakers will be called sons of God. Note that it does not say the peaceful or those whose desire is for peace but peacemakers.
What is true peace?
Jesus said elsewhere” Peace I give, not the worlds peace, but peace with God”
What is peace with God?
Naturally we are at war with God because of sin. But Jesus the Prince of peace came to finish that war, making Christians to be at peace with God. We are then called to bring warring factions together, we are called to be peacemakers. The gospel is the instrument of peace, it is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ who also has the title of Son of God. We are called to be like Him bringing others to peace and then the title bestowed on us is sons of God.
Another aspect is that we are called also to live at peace with each other.
Note that blessing comes for persecution that comes from the righteous life, not from our foolish ways. There is no glory in being picked upon or worse for our outlandish behaviour!
But there is blessing for those who are persecuted for righteousness.
Persecution comes in many different forms, ranging from extreme harm to laughter or mockery.
The Lord says that when people persecute us for this reason the there is blessing.
Look at what that blessing is:- The Kingdom of Heaven! But that is the promise of the first beatitude, yes it is full circle. These beatitudes are not only rules for Holy living but they are also a promise as to what we should expect to happen. Just as Christ was hated so He says we will also be hated and persecuted, it is par for the course.
These beatitudes are a guide for our Christian walk they are also an indication as to how we are doing as Christians but they are also a description as to what we can expect from our God:- there will be difficulty in this life but blessing both now and forever.