SERMON ON THE MOUNT
Matthew Chapters 5 - 7
Note to user:
There is power in the Word below. Pray for a spirit of wisdom & understanding in the knowledge of Him so that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened as you seek the ways of His Kingdom.
Please consider the following:
How important is our seeking behavior? Have you considered that you are seeking something every waking moment of everyday? Our world and culture is constantly seeking our energy and our attention. There is a spiritual war happening that is testing our resolve and focus. Do you understand the importance and the weight of your decision to be Christ centered and to proclaim to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God?
As I have grown and walked the Christian life, I’ve learned that spiritual terms such as war and soldier actually paint a real picture of our walk as Christians. We are being attacked on every front and the enemy is taking advantage of every vulnerable moment we have to try and make us stumble and fall.
We have a choice to make. Are we truly serious about having a heart for His Kingdom and bearing fruit? What are you doing to reduce the vulnerable moments in your life? What tools are you using to condition your senses, so that like a highly performing soldier, you are living with a laser like focus on what truly matters in your daily life?
Do you expect to just get up and use the muscles of your body everyday in physical labor without the proper conditioning of those muscles? As you read on to gain a deeper understanding of the tools Jesus has given us from the Sermon on the Mount, please consider the following questions:
- What does your spiritual conditioning currently look like?
- What is the fruit of that conditioning?
- Are you willing to let the Holy Spirit do a new work in you?
- Are you willing to let the Lord reveal new tools for a deeper conditioning?
Tools of the Beatitudes
Use these tools when the “lone ranger” mentality is trying to overtake your life. While seeking involves effort on our part, it doesn’t mean we are to do “all” the work it takes to live as Kingdom people. Our Lord calls us and is faithful to complete the work. As you read the Beatitudes, keep in mind the heart of these words point to a deep repentance that leads to real change in your life. This is about reconciliation to God your Father and about genuine humility of character that leads to receiving instruction, knowing His ways, simply following and being devoted to Him. He will set us upon upon paths of loving-kindness and truth as we keep our eyes continually toward Him. Use these tools to join hands with Him in recognizing His grace and workmanship in orchestrating your life to bear fruit for His purposes.
You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.
NASB: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
NASB: Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
NASB: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of expressing care for others, you will find yourselves cared for.
NASB: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
You’re blessed when you get your inside world, your mind and your heart, put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
NASB: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
NASB: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s Kingdom.
NASB: Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
NASB: Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Prayer of the Beatitudes
Father, in the trials of this life, I have learned that the greater my grip is on the climbing rope, the more often I seem to fail in my attempts to “keep it all together.” I pray according to Matthew 5:3 and rejoice in the strength I have when I’m at the end of my rope. I choose to loosen my grip and reduce my focus on my own abilities and instead I will walk the narrow path that You have prepared. I accept the blessing of Your embrace according to Matthew 5:4. I confess that a strong grip on my own abilities has enjoyed too much participation in my life and has become a false source of strength resulting in a weakened foundation. May Your embrace and forgiveness lead to a radical renewal and transformation in how I live. I would rather have a loose grip and be at the end of my rope because it is in that moment that I have a laser like focus upon Your saving grace. It is in that moment that I fully realize the grace You have given me and that by your strength I may exercise self control that leads to gentleness and humility.
Thank you Lord, that I will inherit the earth according to Matthew 5:5 and it is by Your strength that I will remain connected to You. Matthew 5:6 gives me hope because I know all too well what it feels like to toss You aside and follow the lusts of my flesh and everything this world has to offer. My appetite for righteousness grows daily as I desire to please You. As my Lord and my friend, I direct my seeking to be fully captivated by Your presence so that I may be clear on Your direction in every instance and stay fully connected, spirit and soul.
Teach me to care for the interest of others as Matthew 5:7 directs. I seek to have a full and clear understanding in that I may never miss a moment to minister and show the mercy of Your grace to those that live in the miserable condition of the world’s culture. May the call of Matthew 5:8 be a heart cry for my life. May the thoughts of my mind and the desires of my heart be according to Your purposes. May my thoughts and desires be pure before You in every instance, moment and circumstance. I seek to be a living example in accordance with Matthew 5:9 in that I may show others how to live in love. May the fruit of my life lead to a strengthening of Your church and to an overflow harvest of lives for Your kingdom.
I rejoice for the truth in Matthew 5:10. I am truly blessed to be persecuted solely because of my commitment and pureness of heart in dedicating my life for your purposes. If persecution drives me to a more intense focus in living for Your Kingdom then I welcome it with open arms. My eyes are lifted toward You. My life is open and transparent before You. May my seeking be directed toward You with the purpose of shining the glorious light of Your Kingdom in every frame of my life. I am so very thankful for the tools You have given me to grow in my life and to rest in Your abilities. ---AMEN---
Tools of Kingdom Life
We are called to be salt of the earth and light to the world. Use these tools as a reminder of how we are to live out our faith as Kingdom people.
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court, and whoever says to his brother, You good-for-nothing, shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, you fool, shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
You have heard that it was said, You Shall Not Commit Adultery, but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
It was said, Whoever Sends His Wife Away, Let Him Give Her a Certificate of Divorce, but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, “I’ll pray for you,” and never doing it, or saying, “God be with you,” and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.
Matthew 5: 38-42
“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.
But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
Matthew 6:22-23“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Matthew 7: 1-2
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.
“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Matthew 7:7 “judging & treating others in our lives”
“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in.
NASB: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:13-14 “enter through the narrow gate”
“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.
So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
Matthew 7: 24-27
“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”