On November 20, 2011, I had the opportunity to preach at Tree of Life Church in Smithville, Ontario. The message was preached from Matthew 5:1-12. The audio is forthcoming—I hope you find my sermon notes below helpful.
When you’re reading your Bible, have you ever just stopped and wondered what it would have been like to be at the event being described? What would it have been like to see the Red Sea part? What would it have been like to see the sun stand still so the Israelites could defeat their enemies?
And what would it have been like to see Jesus preach the Sermon on the Mount?
This message, which begins in Matthew chapter five and continues through to the end of chapter seven, is without a doubt the most comprehensive collection of Jesus’ teaching that we have.
And it’s absolutely devastating, isn’t it? This teaching wrecked its hearers in Jesus’ day and continues to do so in our own. It flipped their world upside down as Jesus described what life in the kingdom of God is like. Why? Because the sermon’s powerful ethical teaching offers us a clear understanding of what is expected of God’s people—perfection.
In your love, in your actions, in all you say, think and do, “you therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” Jesus says in Matt. 5:48.
Can you imagine being part of that crowd and hearing Jesus say that God’s standard is perfection? How do you measure up?
You can’t. Read the whole thing and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be left in a little ball on the floor thinking, man, I suck! But here’s the good news: Jesus didn’t start with the demands of citizenship. He started with grace! And that’s what I want you to see today—Jesus, before He ever makes demands, gives grace.
Something we need to consider as we read the Sermon on the Mount—and particularly the Beatitudes, which we’ll look today—and the content of the sermon almost give the impression that perhaps he was standing with his hand outstretched as he preached with passion and thousands marveled as he taught.
But that’s not what we read in verse one. While some of Jesus’ listeners were present merely out of curiosity, he delivered this sermon to and for the benefit of his disciples. He was not talking to neutral observers, people on the fence. He was talking to the committed. Verse one tells us that, “Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.” So this is not a massive open-air preaching type event—this is not Paul at the Areopagus, it’s more like a fireside chat. “And,” the text says, “He opened His mouth and taught them, saying”,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:1-12 ESV)
So, what does Jesus tell His disciples in the Beatitudes? Continue Reading…