THE FIRST OF FIVE DISCOURSES
- Mat. 5. The Teacher imparting His character to His disciples.
- Mat. 10. The Master revealing principles of Christian service.
- Mat. 13. The King enlightening His subjects to the character of the dispensation.
- Mat. 18. The Head controlling the members in happy church relationship.
- Mat. 24. The Judge calling His creatures to account at the end of the age.
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
WHAT JESUS TAUGHT, Chapter 5-7
The ten-fold message:
- The Beatitudes, v.3-16: the subjects of the kingdom
- Moral standards, v.17-48: what Christ said versus “It was said…”
- Religious motives, Mat. 6:1-18: alms [v.1]; prayer [v.5]; fasting [v.16]
- Mammon worship, v.19-24: “earthiness versus godliness”
- Temporal cares, v.25-34: anxiety versus trust in God
- Social discernment, Mat. 7:1-6: censuring [v.1]; indiscretion [v.6]
- Encouragements, v.7-11: prayer makes it practical
- Summary in a sentence, v.12: such a life fulfills the scripture
- The alternatives, v.13-14: two ways – broad and narrow
- Final warnings, v.15-27: false prophets [v.15]; false professions [v.21]; false foundations [v.26]
“Seeing the multitudes…”
- Without prejudice; without any idea of social caste
- Looking on people as sheep without a shepherd; without a moral leader and moral laws
- Knowing people needed a kingdom with a benevolent Leader who cared for them
- They came with all their diversity; with all their needs
“Went up into a mountain…”
- His teaching was for His disciples; to train them how to reach the multitudes in days to come
- His teaching would not be understood nor accepted by those who did not accept the King
“Taught them saying…”
- He taught those who were loyal to the King and His Kingdom
- He cannot teach those who will not obey the teaching and laws of the Kingdom
- People will not obey the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount until they are willing to obey the King
- Even the disciples were a long time understanding the teaching of the Kingdom.
- He taught character before conduct. All the “blessings” of the Kingdom are based on being not doing.
THE BEATITUDES: v.3-12
The word “blessed” is best translated here “happy,” as a state of peace, joy and rest. There are 4 passive characteristics and 3 active characteristics.
How is the heart changed? Back away from the beatitudes and view them in sequence…
- 1st step: an admission of poverty. God’s gladness is not received by those who earn it; but by those who admit they don’t deserve it. “Poor” does not suggest happiness. This is a recognition of lack and that there is something that supplies that lack. The poor in spirit is happy because he has the kingdom. Poor in spirit means he is in subjection to the King. I must truly surrender my life to the King. You are blessed when you are at the end of your own rope because there is less of you and more of God and His rule. To develop this attitude – [James 4:7-10]
- 2nd step: sorrow. Joy comes to those who are sincerely sorry for their sin. We discover gladness when we leave the prison of pride and repent of our rebellion. We “mourn” over our own sin and failure. Then the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, comes and abides within us and comforts us in spite of the failure. We are blessed when we feel we have lost what is important to us because the Spirit embraces us with His assurance. [Psalm 51; James 4:7-10]
- 3rd step: meekness. Those who are willing to be used by God. They are amazed that God would save them. They are just as surprised that God would use them. In the spirit of unconscious humility, we have partaken of the spirit of the King Himself who said, “I am meek and lowly in heart…” When we are content with being just who we are, then we possess what cannot be bought. [Matthew 11:27-30]
- 4th step: hunger and thirst for righteousness. This is the result of the first three steps. You admit sin – you get saved. You confess weakness – you receive strength. You confess wrong – you find forgiveness. We are discontented with everything that is not like God. This is a deep desire to see the kingdom of God among men filling and bringing satisfaction that comes with a good appetite for God. He is our food and drink providing the best for us. [John 16:5-11; Philippians 3:7-11]
- 5th step: mercy. The more you receive, the more you give. You find it easier to give grace because you have been given much. Giving and serving; benefiting the suffering who are around us on every side is the best possible service we can give our fellow-man. We are blessed when we care. When we care for others, we find ourselves cared for. [Ephesians 5:1-2]
- 6th step: pure in heart. Deception is never acceptable to the pure in heart. There is wholeness, undivided affection in those who are totally loyal to the King. When the mind and heart is right, this is an inward condition that allows us to see God outwardly in the outside world. We see what God is doing when others cannot. [1John 3:1-3]
- 7th step: peacemakers. The peacemaker brings peace wherever he comes. He manifests the nature and likeness of the Father. This has a positive effect on others. This person can show other people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That is when we discover who we really are and our place in God’s family. [Romans 12:9-21; Hebrews 12:10-11]
- 8th step: persecuted. When our commitment to God brings persecution; that drives us even deeper in our commitment to the kingdom of God. When you are lied about, discredited or put down; that means the truth is too close for comfort to those people. Be glad when it happens because the Lord is glad and heaven is glad. The prophets who spoke for God before experienced the same thing. [2 Tim. 3:12]
SALT AND LIGHT, v.13-16
Salt is needed where there is corruption; light is needed where there is darkness. Corruption must be stopped and light is needed to know what is right. Kingdom-living people have influence. We do not dispense salt, we are salt. What we say only has value if I am what I profess. Private and public life cannot be different if I am to be a good influence. The work of salt is on the “earth.” Salt cannot change corruption into in-corruption, but it prevents corruption from spreading. I can prevent things from being corrupted in the first place. It creates opportunity for good to work. We are the medium by which earth-bound men and women stop and repent. Salt preserves, that is influences; salt purifies, a little salt cannot purify a big mess; salt promotes thirst.
Light reveals what is right. The world (cosmos) needs kingdom-living people to give light to it. We are not illuminating the universe but the world in which we live, so the truth of God can be seen. Light by its nature is energy. It reflects on objects. It shines. There is generated light and reflected light. There are seven colors in the prism that indicates completeness.
SIX WAYS TO THINK LIKE CHRIST, v.21-47
|IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO…
|Avoid anger and hatred.
|Offer regular gifts.
|Have a right relationship with God & others.
|Keep our hearts from lusting, and be faithful.
|Be legally married.
|Live our marriage commitments.
|Make an oath.
|Avoid casual and irresponsible commitments to God.
|Seeking justice for ourselves.
|Show mercy and love to others.