A Storm is Coming
Jesus’ Rosetta Stone
What is the Coming Storm?
Symbolism of Similarity
Symbolism of Differences
Who Will Be Impacted by the Coming Storm?
How Do We Withstand the Coming Storm?
The Sermon on the Mount is probably the best-known part of the teaching of Jesus, though arguably it is the least understood, and certainly it is the least obeyed. It is the nearest thing to a manifesto that he ever uttered, for it is his own description of what he wanted his followers to be and to do. To my mind no two words sum up its intention better, or indicate more clearly its challenge to the modern world, than the expression ‘Christian counter-culture’.
For if today’s young people are looking for the right things (meaning, peace, love, reality), they are looking for them in the wrong places. The first place to which they should be able to turn is the one place which they normally ignore, namely the church. For too often what they see in the church is not counter-culture but conformism, not a new society which embodies their ideals but another version of the old society which they have renounced, not life but death. They would readily endorse today what Jesus said of a church in the first century: ‘You have the name of being alive, and you are dead.’2
No comment could be more hurtful to the Christian than the words, ‘But you are no different from anybody else.’
For the essential theme of the whole Bible from beginning to end is that God’s historical purpose is to call out a people for himself; that this people is a ‘holy’ people, set apart from the world to belong to him and to obey him; and that its vocation is to be true to its identity, that is, to be ‘holy’ or ‘different’ in all its outlook and behaviour.