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The Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5-7
The Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5-7

Last week we began to take a look at Matthew

The big theme that unifies the entire Book of Matthew is this: Jesus is the promised Messiah, Savior, and King of the Old Testament prophecies. He is the ONE.

This morning we are going to take a look at Jesus' most famous sermon-- the Sermon on the Mount.

-It stretches from Matthew 5-7
-It was first given to his disciples
-It contains what is called the Beatitudes
-It addresses the subjects of murder, adultery, divorce, oath taking, loving our enemies, worry, giving to the needy, fasting, prayer, etc
-It features what we call the Lord's Prayer
-In it Jesus unpack various aspects of the Old Testament law and explains their full/true intent and meaning

While we could easily spend several months digging into the Sermon on the Mount-- and it would be well worth the effort-- for today's lesson there are 3 things that I want to draw your attention to...

1. How to come to have right standing with God
2. A very special way we can address God
3. An oft misquoted passage-- so misquoted that T-shirts have been made declaring it

First: Our scripture reading. Matthew 5:1-11 and Matthew 7:13-29

LESSONS AND PRINCIPLES FROM MATTHEW 5-7

I. How to have right standing with God. Matthew 5:17-20

A Closer look at the meaning of "Unless our righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven"

Key related texts: Romans 3, Philippians 3:1-11

Usually when we think of the Pharisees we think of them as bad people (for from amongst there number many conspired to kill Jesus and criticized and attacked him at every turn), HOWEVER this is only part of the story-- for the Pharisees were highly esteemed by the people.

When people looked at the Pharisees and considered there lives, they considered them to be holy men. If anyone tried to keep the law and was careful about doing it, it was them. They gave to the poor, they taught the word of God, they were faithful husbands, they were at synagogue every Saturday, they spent much time in prayer, they taught their children to be respectful and about God.

In Philippians 3:1-11 Paul talks about when he was a Pharisee and how proud he once was that he was circumcised on the 8th day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, as for zeal- persecuting the church, as for legalistic righteousness- faultless. YET what was Paul's conclusion-- all that was useless--- for he recognized that apart from Christ and his righteousness that all else was self effort and that one is saved by grace and not by works.

So-- if those men-- considered to be "good" in the eyes of the people were not going to Heaven, How can a person come to have right standing with God? How can a person come to have a righteousness that surpasses that of the Pharisees? (who tried with all their might to obey the letter of God's laws)

KEY: SALVATION, RIGHT STANDING WITH GOD IS BY FAITH

-Salvation, the forgiveness of sins is a gift from God. It can't be earned. Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.
-The Law which is good, convicts us of sin and proves us guilty before God-- for all have sinned and fall short of God's glory
-Romans 3:20 declares that no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by observing the law.
-In Romans 3:21ff we are told that "righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus
Christ and is given to all who believe in" READ ROMANS 3:20-22 -note what it says earlier in the text too (no one righteous)
-In John 6:28 the people asked Jesus a most important question "What must we do to do the works of God?" to which Jesus replied "The work of God is this, to believe in the one he sent"

So: Righteousness comes not by our attempts to obey the Law but by our faith in Jesus Christ-- the one who came down from Heaven to die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.

As Abraham was saved and justified by faith, so too are we (see Genesis 15:6)

Now- as ones saved by grace and standing in Christ as righteous (because the Father sees us in Him) we do not do as we want, but we attend to God's Word-- seeking to obey Him and be holy as a response of our hearts to Him.


Interesting: In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus unpacks the spirit of the Law-- it's true intent-- which goes far beyond the letter. Jesus shows us what the Law was really about-- teaching us that following God comes from a heart that is devoted to Him.


II. FATHER: A VERY SPECIAL WAY WE ARE/CAN ADDRESS and relate to GOD

A multitude of times in Matthew 5-7 Jesus tells us that as his disciples and followers that we can address and should relate to God as our Father.

Matthew 5:16 says; "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven"

Matthew 5:44-45 "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."

Matthew 5:48 "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect"

Matthew 6:1 "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven."

Then, there's also: Matthew 6:4,8,9,14,15,18, 26,32; Matthew 7:11,21

Observations from those texts

-He's in Heaven. He is our Heavenly Father
-He wants us to obey Him
-He's watching us
-He rewards faithfulness and obedience
-We are to pray to Him
-He knows what we need before we ask Him
-In our prayers to Him and in the the way we talk about Him we are to be deferential and worshipful--- praying to the Father, in the name of the Son, by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
-We are valuable to Him. He cares about our physical needs and will supply what we need
-He gives good gifts to His children who ask of Him--- committing our way to his will
-We are to be busy doing His will --- such is a mark of being His child Matthew 7:21


FURTHER THOUGHTS on the fatherhood of God

-For all my Christian life I've been trying to figure out the fatherhood of God. I find relating to God as such a mystery and difficult-- though I'm trying
-Interesting: The more I think about it (through the lens of the Bible and contemplatively) the more real it becomes
-While the Creator of all God is not a Heavenly Father to all -- For Jesus plainly said to those who were opposed to him that Satan was their spiritual father. (John 8:44)
-One becomes a child of God by putting their faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. When one does this they are adopted into God's family. It is at that moment that one becomes a child of God and heir of His good promises. (Romans 8:14-16)
-In being a good Father he gives us what we need (whether it be material goods or discipline when we stray from Him)
-There is a tenderness to the Fatherhood of God
-As our Father, He loves us
-We have fellowship with Him through Christ and the Holy Spirit
-As good fathers protect, provide, and sometimes withhold things from their children, so God the Father does in a perfect way with us.
-Jesus reveals to us the Father. He has made Him known. If seen him, seen the Father -- is what he said to his disciples (John 14:9)
-Interesting: In the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks about 115 of his relationship with the Father. The intimacy of Jesus and the Father is something we are invited to know. John 14:23


To develop our walk with our Heavenly father

-Address him as such (not in a rote or unnecessarily repetitive fashion but in a personal way understanding we are His son/daughter).
-If visualizing yourself as a son/daughter of God helps in your prayers to God, go for it
-Contemplate it
-Ponder things from His perspective as Father and we as his obedient children. We need to change the way we think about the world and our relation to it.
-commit to obeying and following Him from the heart
-Ask Him for help in relating to Him as such
-Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you

3. "JUDGE NOT LEST YOU BE JUDGED"--- one of the most abused texts of the Bible. Matthew 7:1-5

Usually, when a person wants to do what whatever they want, they think that quoting Matthew 7:1 will end the conversation. They will say something like "Don't judge me", "Stop judging me" or "Only God can judge me". Don't you know that the Bible says "Judge not, lest you be judged"

How fascinating that this Bible verse is used as a license for sin.

So what did Jesus mean?

-When we talk to others, we always need to be mindful that we are sinners ourselves--- sinners saved by grace. Hence we never talk to someone about the sin in their lives without first recognizing that we are just as prone to sin as they are. We are not better than anyone. We ourselves must always be personally vigilant about rooting out sin and wickedness in our own lives. (see also Romans 14:10)
-When talking to someone about the sin in our lives our goal is clear--- to present to them from the Word what is right and holy, to call them humbly back to God.

The facts on judging

-Luke 17:3 "If your brother/sister sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him"
-Galatians 6:1 "Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted."
-"Judge everything, hang on to what is good" 1 Thessalonians 5:21
-"Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?" 1 Corinthians 6:2 (On settling disputes)


Application:

If a brother or sister who cares about you says something to you about your walk with God and your life--- from the WORD, don't get all bent out of shape and throw a hissy fit. We are our brothers keepers. If the goal is to cross the finish line together and there is something in our lives which is tripping us up which we are blind to, why should we shoot the messenger. We need to be humble and remember that we are called to holiness and Christlikeness.

CONCLUSION

3 things we have looked at this morning

1. How to be right with God--- BY FAITH
2. Father: The special way we are to address God and relate to Him
3. The meaning of "Judge not, lest you be judged"

closing song: Glory