Matt 5-7 Sermon on the Mount
The focus of the Sermon on the Mount is not then the wider proclamation of the “gospel of the kingdom”, but the instruction of those who have already responded to that proclamation and now need to learn what life in the “kingdom of heaven is really about. The demands of the Sermon on the Mount do not easily translate into a practical, day to day morality. The standard is set nothing less than perfection, being like God (5.48). The essence of life in the kingdom of heaven is in fact the antithesis of a legalistic code as 5.28 will state and 5.21-48 will repeatedly illustrate, but only those who are committed to the kingdom of heaven, and even they will always find that its reach exceeds their grasp.
Examples of proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant ()
Laborers in the Vineyard ()
Jesus preaches it in one setting.
1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying.
1. Character of the Christian
Beatitudes. There are eight be beatitudes and an expansion on the eighth one (persecution). The term Blessed promising blessing to those whom God cares for. They serve as an invitation to come into the grace God offers. The thought here is “God blesses those who . . . “ The beatitudes represent the character of those in God’s kingdom. All eight are to be included (inlusio. the kingdom of Heaven (Matt 5:3; 5:10).
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven The “poor in spirit” are those who recognize they are in need of God's help. It is the conscious confession of unworthiness before God. “theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. It belongs to those who confess their spiritual bankruptcy.
4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “those who mourn”. The spiritual, emotional, or financial loss resulting from sin should lead to mourning and a longing for God's forgiveness and healing. This is the mourning experienced by a man who begins to recognize the blackness of his sin, the more he is exposed to the purity of God (i.e. ).
5 "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. The “meek” are the gentle. Those who do not assert themselves over others in order to further their own agendas in their own strength, but who will nonetheless “inherit the earth” because they trust in God to direct the outcome of events.
6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” recognize that God is the ultimate source of real righteousness, so they long for his righteous character to be evident in people's lives on earth. They “shall be satisfied” by responding to his invitation to be in relationship with him.
7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. We are to be compassionate and gentle, especially toward the miserable and helpless. We are merciful toward the wretched because we recognize ourselves to be wretched and in the need of mercy.
8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. We have a heart problem. “. . . is deceitful above all things and desperately sick”. “ . . . come evil thoughts, murder adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”
“The pure in heart” are those whose pursuit of purity and uprightness affects every area of life. “they shall see God”. In contrast to Jewish traditions that overemphasized external ritual purity, Jesus taught that purity of heart was most important. ().
9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “peacemakers” The Christian’s role as a peacemaker extends not only to spreading the gospel, to lessening tensions, seeking solutions, ensuring that communication is understood.
10 "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Those who are persecuted” are those who have been wrongly treated because of their faith. God is pleased when his people show that they value him above everything in the world, and this happens when they courageously remain faithful amid opposition “for righteousness' sake”.
2. Conduct of the Christian ()
i. How to live in the world - don’t insulate yourself from the world, but infiltrate and illuminate
ii. How we deal with anger – anger is tantamount to murder. Condescending and looking down to people is not appropriate for Christian.
iii. How marriage is approached. Christians should understand marriage is indissoluble, except for reasons of unchasity.
iv. How we speak to other people – Christian talk is to be straight forward. Treat like a every word is a vow.
v. How we are to respond when we are wronged – don’t retaliate, overcome the evil with good.
vi. How we treat our enemies – love our enemies and pray for those who persecute them. People who look to cause your harm, make them your friend.
vii. How we are to give to the poor - don’t give to look philanthropic.
viii. How do we pray – don’t prayer for not cosmic manipulation. Submit to God being central in my life.
ix. How we fast – don’t fast so you will be noticed. We don’t want “Dude, you are so spiritual.” Done for God and nobody else.
x. How a Christian deals with money
xi. How we handle stress (worry for a Christian is a sin). We don’t need to be anxious, scheming or plotting to achieve what we think we need.
xii. How do we confront others. We need to realize we have our issues (Christians make judgments, but aren't judgmental).
[Jesus ratchets it up at 5.20
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees (people who were look up to for their peity), you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
and then at 5.48
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect]
3. Crossroads of the Christian (How we can live the Sermon on the Mount)
i. 5.3 Acknowledge my own spiritual poverty to meet the responsibilities of the conduct called for.
ii. Be beggar that you are, you have to get on your knees and ask for the resources (beg and don't stop begging)
iii. Despite your sin, which makes utterly spiritually impoverish and indebted to debt you could never repay, God loves you. My conduct doesn't garner God's approval. I am accepted already. Respond not with guilt but to God's crazy love.
iv. Our hope is found is Jesus Christ. (in a person, not a process) Jesus embodies the law and the Prophets. It all points to Him. Until we see it is about Jesus it will never be about you.
When you get convicted of your sin, you can run two directions, you will run to Jesus or you will try to save yourself.
Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.