New Testament Journey Day 11 – Matthew 5:1-12 – “The Sermon on the Mount”
We pick up in chapter 5 with Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount. (It was likely called this because he was on a hillside near Capernaum.) This “sermon” likely covered several days of preaching. In this message Jesus shared his attitude toward the la. Position, authority, and money are NOT important in God’s kingdom. What is most important in God’s kingdom is FAITHFUL OBEDIENCE FROM THE HEART.
Enormous crowds were following Jesus, he was the talk of the town and everyone wanted to see him. The disciples, who were his very closest associates of this popular man, were certainly very tempted to feel important, proud, and possessive. As the crowds started to gather again, Jesus pulled his disciples aside and warned them about the temptations they would face as his associates. Don’t expect fame and fortune he told them. Instead, expect mourning, hunger and persecution if you follow me. Nevertheless he assured them they would be rewarded – one day – but perhaps not in this life. This resonated with me as instantly my mind went to a few instances I have recognized where people are using Jesus to promote their product instead of using their talents to promote Jesus. If Jesus warned the disciples – it applies to us. We need to keep a humble and pure heart at all times so only JESUS is lifted up. The bible says “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to me.”
He starts in verse 3 with what is commonly known as “The Beatitudes”. Each beatitude tells how to be blessed by God. Blessed means more than happiness, it implies the fortunate state of those who are in God’s Kingdom. The beatitudes don’t promise laughter, pleasure, or earthly prosperity. Being “Blessed” by God means the experience of hope and joy, independent of outward circumstances. To find Hope and Joy – the deepest form of happiness – we have to be willing to follow Jesus no matter what the cost.
Have you seen the t-shirts “Not of this World”? – That’s who we are. We are in this world, but not of this world. The Beatitudes clearly lays out how we are going to look different and act different from the world and these actions may lead to persecution on this earth – but will gain us rewards in heaven. Persecution can range from mockery and exclusion to violence and even death. My question to you today is “What world are you living in?”
The beatitudes vs. the world…. A quick self check
Realizing our need for Christ vs. Pride and personal independence
Mourning vs. Happiness at any cost
Being Humble vs. Seeking Power
Hunger and Thirst for Justice vs. Pursuing Personal Needs
Being Merciful vs. Strength without feeling
Having a pure heart vs. Deception is acceptable
Working for Peace vs. Personal peace being pursued without regard for the world’s chaos
Being persecuted vs weak commitments
If you want to live for God, you must be ready to say and do what seems strange to the world. You must be willing to give when others take, to love when others hate, to help when others abuse By giving up your own rights to serve others, you will one day receive everything God has in store for you!
Let our cry always be “More of you God – Less of me”…