Word from Scotland: Introducing the Sermon on the Mount
Having completed a series of studies in the Gospel of John, I was about to embark on the book of Revelation, when I thought we should take a few weeks to read and study what is called, “The Sermon on the Mount”.
What is the Sermon on the Mount all about? What can it accomplish? What may it achieve? Many people know parts of it and can quote from it, without reading the Bible.
This ‘sermon’ of Jesus is for those who are living in the Kingdom of God – or – how to live the Christian Life, or how to construct or build our lives.
Our lives will not drift then, because we will be anchored or tied, and we have said a lot about that over these past few months, and we cannot build such a life by accident.
This type of life is fundamentally and radically different from any other life.
Do you realise that your life is totally different from most other lives? You may just have got used to your way of life – your values – your morals – your outlooks and attitudes – with all their weaknesses and failings – but they are so different.
This Word has an incisiveness, and an appropriateness, and relevance, for the people then, and for us today. Listen to what Jesus says.
This sermon teaches us what holiness is all about. Holiness can spell problems and questions for many people, but not for Jesus Christ.
This shows us how we can be free from sin and be living for God. It all has to do with our relationship with God.
Holiness has to do with hard practical living and The Sermon on the Mount deals with many of these issues – adultery – divorce – murder – money – and those aspects of life regarding – giving – prayer – fasting – and what kind of people we are going to be.
We read about the life of the Christian, and daily Christian living, and daily obedience, and daily discipleship.
Read the end of this section first in Matthew Chapter 7 and verses 24 to 29. This is more than an action chorus for children.
It is for anyone who hears these words of mine, and it is for anyone who does not hear these words of mine. This word is for everyone.
Why am I starting with these concluding words in the ‘sermon’? To remind us of how important every aspect of Jesus’ teaching is. It will take some weeks to make our way meticulously through the Sermon on the Mount and it would be sad if when reaching these verses someone wished their attention had previously drawn to this vital emphasis.
Jesus speaks about foundations. If there is something wrong with our foundations then whatever we try to build will be suspect. Foundations are vital.
Jesus gives us a very simple but profound picture. This passage can have an evangelistic effect through our lives. Jesus talks about us being salt and light. We can preserve a life that is going off, although there is much more to salt than that.
We can help someone who may be in the dark and not know it, and we may not even know we are influencing that individual, at the time.
We will be a good or bad advertisement for Christ whether we think about it or not.
It is significant that Jesus does not give us techniques, and the apostles did not have special techniques as they went around, but they made an impact.
In the Sermon on the Mount, there is what might be called “The Secret of Holiness”. This is the secret of being different, and the practical implications are profound and immense, spiritually and physically, and even materially. So let’s start this study afresh and anew, open ourselves to what God says to us through His Holy Word.