Rather than summarize each aspect of the Sermon on the Mount, we're just going to look at the main sections of it
v1-2 - INTRODUCTION
It's not likely that this sermon was preached to a large audience. Notice the opening line: Jesus saw the crowd, but instead of addressing them, Jesus takes His disciples up into the hills.
This amazing sermon is not for everyone. It's just for followers of Jesus.
v3-12 - BE HAPPY
We often summarize the ten commandments as 'Thou shalt not...'. We tend to think of God's rules as things that keep us from doing what we want; things that keep us from having fun. But even those ten rules were given "so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you."
The Beatitudes are given in that same vein. Although it seems sputten (even if you don't know this Dutch word, you can figure it out from the context), Jesus' commands could very literally be translated as 'Happy are those who...".
Blessed people are those who
have everything they need and are content.
are living in a condition the Old Testament refers to as Shalom.
As evidenced by the 10 Commandments in the Old Testament, and the Beatitudes in the New Testament, God wants you to be happy!
But just look at how counter cultural both the Commandments and the Beatitudes are!
v13-21 - YOUR IDENTITY
You are both salt and light,
created to fulfill God's commands (as summarized in the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes).
v17-48 - ANTITHESES
Jesus continues to topple conventional wisdom with six statements that begin with "you have heard..." followed up with Jesus saying "But I tell you...".
These statements, indeed this entire Sermon on the Mount, is just one more reminder of what we've been learning as we go through the book of Revelation on Sunday mornings: things in this world are not what they seem.
Notice how most of these begin with a facet of God's law which has been twisted and abused by people.
It's bad enough to ignore the Law altogether, but that's not the biggest problem.
Rather than flat out ignoring God's law, our sinful instinct is to twist it so that it fulfils our wants and ambitions.
For many generations now, pretty much all of society lived according to the moral code communicated in the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount (or tried to live that way, at least).
But as society has rapidly devolved over these last few years, and the principles taught here are no longer the norm.
That means you are going to look more and more strange compared to your neighbors as you continue to follow your Lord's teaching.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Psalm 73 reflects how hard it is to live out Godly values when the world seem much happier by ignoring them:
A psalm of Asaph.
1 Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
5 They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
11 They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: What three words will complete this quotation from Jesus: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they …” (See verse 8.)
How do you think that most people today would define true happiness in life? How is this the same or different than what it was a decade ago, or 50 years ago?
Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
Today we're going to take a little break from the AAA prayer pattern. Pray through the Beatitudes asking God to give you these characteristics.
As we've gone through the book of Revelation, we've been concentrating on the main message, which is that we can have No Fear for the Future because Jesus has been, is now, and will be victorious. But there are certainly lots of confusing details, and we can't cover everything in our morning sermons, so on October 17 in our 6 PM evening service, we'll discuss the questions you have. Let Pastor Chad know if there's a particular verse, image, or idea that you'd like more insight on. The best way to submit your questions is by using the form below: