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Listen Closely, Jesus is Teaching!

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5





For me, it comes down to this. No matter what trial I have ever faced, or what hurtful word has ever been spoken to me, if I focus on that alone – I am given over to the prison of my flesh, which is drawn to retaliate and defend myself in acts of sin. When I choose to re-direct my focus to the cross, where my King, my Creator, my Savior, perfect without blemish, willingly chose to walk the road to Calvary, the Via Dolorosa, to the cross where He laid down His life for those who beat Him, forced a crown of thorns into His skull, nailed Him to a wooden cross, and left Him there to die – all the while spitting upon Him, mocking Him and chanting as though they had won some kind of victory – when I re-direct my focus to this truth, to this vivid picture and moment in history – all of a sudden my seemingly horrific trial nulls down in comparison to the cross of my Savior – and I am won over by the Spirit of God who lives in me, who rises up and calls me His own, who declared victory over my life that the enemy cannot take me down, and then, and only then, am I able to experience “perfection,” this side of Heaven – solely by the power and grace of the Almighty God who gives me strength to overcome.


Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. . .


*The Beatitudes


Jesus speaks of a blessed life – and He did not speak on this as we may think of what a blessed life may look like.

He emphasized the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those persecuted and insulted for righteousness.


This puts a different perspective on what we are to expect when we pray for blessings. All the riches in the world, all the popularity, fame, and living it up lavishly are not the blessings He speaks of in these passages.


I certainly feel blessed to have food on the table, to have a home, a career, and to have a family and healthy children. Yet through all the riches God has given me in my earthly perspective, they do not compare to the blessing of the richness of knowing Him as my Savior. The blessing of hungering and thirsting for more of Him, to draw close to Him and to long for righteousness and for every thought I take to be held captive by Jesus.


Oh to taste and see that the Lord is good!


*Salt and Light


Salt surely makes food taste good and can even be used to keep us safe on the roads if you’re in a snowy climate.


Light helps us navigate through the dark. Even the light of the sun can bring us out of depression and bring joy to our lives.


Jesus teaches in Vs 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? Vs 14 You are the light of the world. . . Let your light shine before others.


As followers of Jesus living in a bland, dark world – we are called to be salt and light – to sprinkle goodness, kindness and love for ALL to see – even to those who persecute us, that ALL may come to the saving power of Jesus to enhance His Kingdom for His glory, that none should perish. We who have salt and light must stay firm in the Lord and in His word to remain salty, and we must not fear man or our enemies. We must shine the light for their sake – that they too may be saved, touched by our Heavenly Father, and covered by the sweet blood of Jesus.


*The Fulfillment of the Law


He taught in vs. 19 that we are to practice and teach the commands of the Law and those who do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


Our culture has gone so far out of Biblical guidelines that even as Christians, those of us who claim to believe the Bible as the inherent word of God – even in our Christian culture many have become swayed by the world and taken a relaxed approach to the commandments of the law. We have slowly adopted a view of “It’s ok to not follow the law if you feel something different.” We have become so afraid of speaking truth for fear of offending someone or hurting someone’s feelings. It is not offensive to proclaim truth.


The devil has crafted such a huge lie here – that many Christians have begun to buy into. If we get back to the TRUTH of the Gospel – we find that the law brings freedom. The law was given as a protection, and as a cover over us. Rather, we disregard the law and then blame God for allowing bad things to happen. We have gone so far off course. He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law.


We should hold firm to the truth of the Bible, but another way we fail as Christians is we tend to hold the truth as a method of judgement – which is also not what Christ came to do. He hung out with sinners and tax collectors and those who you may call “less than,” because He came for the broken, the sick and the lost. He did not come for the – excuse me – holier than thou, stuck-up, self-righteous “better than you,” folks. Though – He did die for all and even when we get to acting like we have any right to call ourselves better than another – He still loves us and graciously corrects us and takes us off our pedestal and teaches us to put Him first.


In fact, the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. There is no sooner a path to freedom and peace in your circumstances than to honor the greatest commandment in putting God number ONE!


*Murder


You may think you have a pass here – most likely very few of us can say we have committed murder. Oh, but wait.


Check out vs. 22 – “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. He is clear that we are to reconcile matters with one another before we offer gifts at the altar.


*Adultery


This is one that far more have committed than will ever be willing to admit – however, if you think you have steered clear of this one – read vs. 28 out loud where you are at and hear what it says.


“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.


Lusting after another is as though you have already committed it. My friends, not one of us is without blame. ALL have fallen short.


*Divorce


He teaches in vs. 32 that anyone who divorces his wife, with the exception of sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.


*Oaths


Here in verse 37 He warns us not to swear at all, but rather to let your yes be yes and your no be no: anything beyond this comes from the evil one.


*Eye for Eye


Were you taught to repay evil with evil – to stand up for yourself and get the bully back? Again, Jesus teaches the opposite.


In verses 39-42 He teaches us to never resist an evil person – if they slap your right cheek, turn to them the other also; if they want to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well; if you are forced to go a mile, go two; give to those who ask you and do not turn away from those who want to borrow from you.


Wow. This is completely counter cultural. A life of ultimate sacrifice for your neighbor. I wonder what our world would look like if we were willing to display such a heart of giving and kindness – even to the point of what may seem and look like insanity. This feels so backwards, doesn’t it? Yet, our God, full of mercy and kindness and patience – this is how He teaches us to live.


*Love for Enemies


In verse 44 Jesus tells us, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.


In verse 48 He says to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. I find a bit of irony in this teaching, as in our human flesh we are incapable of perfection, yet we are still taught to strive for perfection. The closer I draw to Jesus, the more I am gaining faith that I in fact can become as close to perfect as possible in my human flesh so long as I refuse the flesh by taking every thought captive to God, by living and breathing every moment in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit, by focusing on the positive light and love He has brought to my life though trial and persecution may come.


For me, it comes down to this. No matter what trial I have ever faced, or what hurtful word has ever been spoken to me, if I focus on that alone – I am given over to the prison of my flesh, which is drawn to retaliate and defend myself in acts of sin. When I choose to re-direct my focus to the cross, where my King, my Creator, my Savior, perfect without blemish, willingly chose to walk the road to Calvary, the Via Dolorosa, to the cross where He laid down His life for those who beat Him, forced a crown of thorns into His skull, nailed Him to a wooden cross, and left Him there to die – all the while spitting upon Him, mocking Him and chanting as though they had won some kind of victory – when I re-direct my focus to this truth, to this vivid picture and moment in history – all of a sudden my seemingly horrific trial nulls down in comparison to the cross of my Savior – and I am won over by the Spirit of God who lives in me, who rises up and calls me His own, who declared victory over my life that the enemy cannot take me down, and then, and only then, am I able to experience “perfection,” this side of Heaven – solely by the power and grace of the Almighty God who gives me strength to overcome.


For in fact, the same spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the same spirit that is ALIVE in me! AND – if you have professed that you are a sinner in need of a Savior and you believe that Jesus is in fact the Son of God and the one and only bridge to God through salvation in Him alone – then my dear friend, that same spirit lives in you – and you have access to that same power! Hallelujah! Amen!


Friends, I urge you, if you know Jesus – What are you doing with Him? Are you in a local church? When was the last time you invited someone to church, or invited someone to Jesus?

If you want more information on sharing the love of Jesus and inviting people to Him, please join me in my Share Jesus Without Fear group to ask questions, attend a discipleship event, and be a part of the Great Commission in Matthew 28 that He has called us all to. Click here to join me! Join Me! And friends who don’t know my Jesus – Who do you say Jesus is? Do you know where you will spend eternity? If you want more information on who this Jesus is I speak of, join me in discussing who He is and how you can come to know him! I would love to hear your story and get to know you. Join me here! Join Me! Be blessed brothers and sisters,

Your beloved sister in Christ, ~Mandy Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit




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