Sermon on the Mount / Matthew 5:1
Cost of discipleship
- The Sermon on the Mount - is the greatest of all sermons ever preached. The sermon, preached by Jesus 2000 years ago was the springboard that would define His public ministry. This, in and of itself, is worthy to study.
- Even though this sermon was preached 2000 years ago, this sermon has relevance for us today:
- Happiness - Today’s Christian struggles with happiness. More and more Christians are seeking therapeutic help which is emblematic of their unhappiness. In this sermon, Jesus gave time tested ways in which His disciples can experience real, lasting and meaningful joy and happiness. As we go through this sermon, we will discover the reason we struggle with happiness is because our compass for happiness is pointing in the wrong direction.
- Responsibilities that Christians have - We are living in a society that pushes responsibility onto others. This attitude is becoming a pandemic within Christianity. In this sermon, Jesus reminds us that we are all personally responsible for who we are and what we do.
- Jesus held nothing back by dealing with anger, lust, retaliation, love, prayer, judging, anxiousness, etc… - This sermon shows us how we are to respond to others and God.
- The audience of this sermon is Jesus’ disciples. Not just the 12 disciples. But many who decided to follow Jesus. Never forget, Jesus had a large following.
It was not until later in His ministry that many of His followers began drift.
And within this large following, many were not following Jesus for the right reason.
John 2:23–25KJV 1900
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
So within these disciples there would have been two groups of people. Most people were disciples of Jesus because of what He offered. This was the largest group. They were not authentic disciples of Jesus. The second group, a much smaller group, believed who Jesus was and what he could offer. In some ways, there was not much difference between Peter’s hope for the Messiah and the average Jew. They both wanted Israel’s restoration. Yet, the difference between them was Peter believed Jesus to be the Son of God and the average Jew did not. Why is this important? This sermon makes clear who and who are not His disciples. We are not disciples of Jesus because our hopes for a better tomorrow; rather, being a disciple of Jesus is marked by recognition of who He is and how this has radically changed our life.
To the non-believer, the message;
- Convicts us of sin for it reveals their inability in keeping God’s laws.
- Convinces pseudo believers they are lost. They do not have the desire to live these principles out.
To the believer, the message reveals:
- Character of the disciple - who he or she is from within
- Conduct of the disciple - outward.
SEE THE WHOLE
One of the many problems people have with the Sermon on the Mount is they pick out passages or phrases from the sermon to be pillars, without understanding the relationship these self-made pillars have to the rest of the sermon. In other words, they make the tree the forest, instead of the tree being a part of the forest. When this happens we:
- Cheapen the forest
- Cheapen the designer of the forest
- Cheapen our commitment to the forest
I use a phrase quite a bit - “Keep the main thing the main thing.” Satan is really active and efficient is causing us to forget the main thing. And when it comes to this sermon, Satan has had a measure of success because people are trying to understand this sermon without knowing what the main thing is.
To help us understand the main thing and see the forest for what it is, I have broken this sermon into five equal parts, all leading us to a theme:
All five of these thoughts connect to one singular theme: are you a disciple of Jesus Christ?
Discipleship is so much more than a confession.
Dietrick Bonhoffer wrote “The Cost of Discipleship”
“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
In a classic comic, Calvin and Hobbes are talking about the New Year when Calvin says, “I’m getting disillusioned with these new years. They don’t seem very new at all. Each New Year is just like the old year. Here another year has gone by and everything’s still the same. There’s still pollution and war and stupidity and greed…I thought things were supposed to improve. I thought the future was supposed to be better.” After listening to this skeptical soliloquy, Hobbes replies, “The problem with the future is that it keeps turning into the present.”
The purpose of this sermon was to transform His disciples into something refreshing and new. But, if they were to become this kind of person then they must not be mechanical.
So, with that I have three objectives as we examine this Sermon
- Love Jesus
- Learn from Jesus
- Live out what we learn