Sermon on the Mount Series: God’s People and God’s Ethics
Matthew 5: 1-12, 38-48
A lot of ink has been put on paper related to the Sermon on the Mount. That being said it would make sense that we would want to spend considerable time with it in the next several weeks. We will be talking about this famous message of Jesus both in worship and in Sunday Seminars starting next week. By way of introduction, this morning we will reflect on how the sermon calls for his people to be identified by their character more than their culture and how Jesus call for a certain ethical framework for his people to operate with and in.
Part 1: Persecuted? Don’t Worry , be Happy Matthew 5: 1-16
Jesus doesn’t say blessed are the persecuted. He says blessed are those who are persecuted for doing right. What does that mean and how can we think about the reality that there is a wide range of what is perceived as right and wrong.
Anger at the Idiots Matthew 5.17-26
Our anger has a way of taking over and being justified for all kinds of ‘good’ reasons. This section of Jesus’ sermon challenges our thinking on this subject. How can we be angry and not sin?
Enemies, Revenge and Generosity Matthew 5.38-6.4
In the Catcher and the Rye, Holden Caulfield says: “If you do something good, then after awhile, if you don’t watch it, you start showing off. And then you’re not as good anymore.” If chapter 5 teaches the ‘what’ of the Christian life, Chapter 6 teaches the how. It is important, when it comes to enemies, revenge and generosity, that we not only do WHAT is right but that we do it in the right WAY!
God’s Guide on How to Pray Matthew 6.5-15, 7.7-11
Martin Luther said that he was never taught to ASK in prayer but rather simply to approach God without inhibitions. We all know that we have asked for things in prayer that have not been given to us. What do we do with that and is there a different way to pray (or be) before God that will be less hurtful and more fulfilling as we walk with God?
Part 2 Don’t Worry, Be Happy Matthew 6.25-34
It is clear in the sermon on the mount that Jesus wants his disciples to be different from the world around them…not so much different in diet, clothes or appearance, but different in deed, direction, aim and motivation. That becomes even more clear in the passages before us in these next two weeks.
Note: Please excuse the audio quality when listening to the sharing at the end. New audio equipment brings new bumps and bruises.
Lust, Money and Stuff Matthew 5.27-30; 6.19-24
Fredrick Bruner says: “Jesus’ command here puts a fire wall around a married (and even around a divorced) couple and writes on the wall: Do not touch! This couple belongs together for life even when they are not together.” There is much to think about today related to lust money and other stuff.
Who’s in and Who’s out? Matthew 7.1-5, 12-27
Fredrick Bruner says: “The slide rule that we apply to approved and unapproved behavior is taken from our hands at the Judgment and applied to us!” We often think that we have the responsibility to disburse judgments that we feel people deserve. We are not to live in the delusion that God forgives our sin when we do not forgive others their sin. What does this tell us about who’s in and who’s out…and who should decide!?