November 8, 2009

Sermon on the Mount, #1

Matthew 5

Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5, 6, 7.

Men have spend their lives studying and writing large volumes about this sermon. Though I would love to give more than you all can endure, I will not. This study in the Sermon could get far too long and boring with documentation, so for time's sake, I will leave a good bit of the cross references and documentation out. If someone wants them, I will gladly provide what is missing here.

Deuteronomy 27:1 And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day.

Deuteronomy 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

As God in Deuteronomy 27, 28, pronounced curses and blessings in relationship to the law, King Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount pronounces the blessings or beatitudes in relationship to His law. The Lord's sermon is a continuation of the curses and blessings found in Deuteronomy 27, 28.

Moses commanded Israel to divide up into two sections, one section to stand on mount Ebal, and the other on Mount Gerizim. The Levites were then to loudly pronounce the curses and blessings so all could hear.

In chapter 27, 12 curses were pronounced. Then in chapter 28, only 5 blessings for godly actions were pronounced. When our Lord said blessed, those hearing him recognized that he was completing what was started in Deuteronomy 28.

As the Lord Jesus went around the land of Galilee, he chose the men who he will train to take over when He leaves. As He traveled, He gathered people around Him from all walks of life. These people had 3 things in common:

1. they were Israelites.

2. they had a common distrust of the religious leaders of their day, with good reason.

3. they had a through knowledge of the Old Testament, for it was the basis of their education. Probably much like Muslim children are taught the Koran from their youth up.

The Lord was sent only to the nation of Israel. When he sent out the 70, he told them to go only to Israel. It was the great commission after the resurrection which sent the first evangelists to the Gentiles, and then Peter objected strenuously. He only went to a Gentile at the insistence of the Lord in the vision.

Seeing the multitude, Christ went up to this high place where he could gather his disciples together to teach them. This mount of the Beatitudes has been called the Sinai of the New Testament.

It was common for a speaker to ascend up on a hill and sit down. His hearers would quietly sit around him and listen. Disciples probably refers to anyone who were willing to listen to him.

The Lord Jesus was a teacher sent from God; therefore, He is the best teacher ever to walk upon the face of the earth. Not only is His message the infallible word of God, but His method is God's perfect method of teaching.

Christ had been tempted by the devil in chapter 4. Now he presents himself to the public for the first time as the King of the Kingdom of God, and the only true lawgiver for that kingdom. He is giving the Kingdom laws to the army he is forming. As his army follows these laws, they will conquer the world. We could call this his "Military Code of Conduct."

The King's message starts here in v. 2, and continues to 7:27. His entire Code of Conduct only consists of 90 verses in the English Bible. We see in Psalms 2 that evil men conspire together and make rooms full of laws in order to conquer the world against the Lord and his Christ, but here in just a few words, our King openly lays out his plan to conquer the world.

With these seven things, the new Christians turned the world upside down in their generation. Acts 17:6.

As with other messages in Scripture, in order to understand the Lord's message on the Mount here, we MUST look at the total message. As I mentioned, there are 5 points missing from His message which we should look at, but will not You may say, "How could the Lord not give a complete message here on the mount. It is the Lord speaking, isn't it. And besides, how do we know that there were 12 points given in this message, 5 of which we do not have recorded here in Mat 5?"

The answer is easy. The other 5 points were already known by the hearers because the actual message starts in Deuteronomy 27. The Lord here in Mat 5-7 is completing the message that He started about 1400 year previously. (Time is no object to Him or His word. We can read His complete 12 point message just as though it were one message.)

Illustration:

Let's suppose that my message contains 12 points. I start the message and do not complete it, so I break the message up into two messages of 5 points and 7 points. There is no need to repeat the first 5 points if my hearers heard them, so I can start with the second part without having to review the first message.

In Matthew 5, the Lord Jesus is giving the concluding 7 points of a 12 point message. 5 points had been given previously, and the Jews knew them, so now he picks up where he left off 1400 years previously.

But we have not been schooled in the writings of Moses, so we are not familiar with the preceding 5 points. We weren't there last Sunday. I would love to develop the first five points, but we will only read them. Deuteronomy 28:1- 8 (2-6), and encourage you to read the 12 curses in 27.

Actually then, the Lord's message has 24 points: 12 curses and 5 blessings from His first message and the 7 completing blessings from His second message.

The wicked have found some favorite statements in this Sermon:

5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

It also contains the "Lord's Prayer," 6:9-15.

Illustration:

I flunked English in school. So I figured that rather than worry people with correcting my writings, I took an English course at a Community College two days a week. In addition to the classroom time itself, the teacher offered to meet with any of his students after class who wanted to meet with him. I told him that I wanted to meet with him any time he had the time and until he ran me off. I met with him at least once a week for the next several years until he finished his Doctorate in English at Purdue.

The very first thing that he called my attention to was that in writing you must give a brief outline of what you are going to say, maybe even drawing a conclusion at the opening. Then the rest of the document expands upon that outline.

This is exactly what the Lord does.

These seven things go completely against human nature, and require the working of God's Spirit.

In this sermon, Christ made it clear that he was the King of the Kingdom of God.

1) The King came to enforce His kingship. He came to judge and thoroughly purge His kingdom.

2) The temptation offered by Satan just before this sermon in chapter 4 tried to get Christ to declare Himself independent from God and His law, and make His own will the ultimate law.

3) The Lord came to cause His people to fulfill the law and enable them to inherit the promises of God according to the prophets.

4) He came to give the proper understanding of the law which the Pharisees had so corrupted. In this Sermon, he restates the law as He had previously given it on Mt Sinai.

5) With this Sermon, Christ publically identifies himself as the King and lawgiver who met Moses on Mt. Sinai.

6) Christ here clearly establishes two things:

First, He is the Sovereign and Universal King,

Second, He alone is the source of all law, blessing and judgment. He clearly states his sovereignty in vv 19, 20.

In other words, Christ established not only the proper application of the law, but He establishes the temporal and eternal consequences of the law. Only the King of the Kingdom of Heaven has the authority to develop the full implication of the law of His kingdom. He alone has the authority to give the implications of his laws into every area of life, which he will do in 5:21-7:27.

Vv. 3-9, the Lord gives a seven point outline of what His message is going to be. He also gives a seven point outline of the rest of His life and of his messages while He is here on this earth. These 7 things will be the bases for every thing He does from this time on. His message and life will end according to v. 11: unjust persecution and finally death.

The first word out of the Lord's mouth is Blessed, which immediately tied him in with Moses' in Deuteronomy 27, 28.

Here are 5 things about this sermon:

First, vv 3-9, the King describes 7 actions for which he promises a blessing.

Second, the King attaches no worldly blessings to the 7. However, he did attach physical blessings to the 5 blessings of Deuteronomy 28. For times sake, we will not cover them. The final reward offered here by the Lord is in heaven.

Third, the King develops each of these 7 blessed actions in his message to his people. As is common throughout Scripture, he leaves nothing to the imagination, as he gives 2 practical illustrations for each blessing.

Fourth, 5:17-20. The King completed his 7 blessings with a clear statement that they only add to or expand what he had already given in the law and the prophets.

Fifth. 7:15, the King then closes his sermon with a warning against false prophets who would seek to separate His words here from what had already been given by Moses.

Now, the Lord's 7 point outline and his expansion on the outline:

Starting with 5:21, the Lord gives 6 Ye have heard that it was said, with which he starts his illustrations of the 7 blesseds...

1) V. 3, poor in spirit is illustrated by vv. 21-26, HUMILITY before one another and making things right.

2) V. 4, mourning is illustrated by vv. 27-30, MOURNING over sin; genuine mourning leads to total dedication to purity.

3) V. 5, meekness is illustrated by vv. 31-32, SUFFERING wrongly at the hands of a spouse.

4) V. 6, hunger and thirst is illustrated by vv. 33-37, RIGHTEOUSNESS in all our actions, including our every word.

5) V. 7, mercy is illustrated by vv. 38-42, MERCY toward those who do not deserve mercy.

6/7) Vv. 8 & 9, purity and peacemaker are combined in vv. 43-48. PURITY of heart replaces anger and hatred. Then peacemaker.. a person is at war with his fellow man because he is at war with God and himself. Hatred and impurity of heart results in warfare with all those around us.

5:16 is clearly seen in 5:45.

But the King does not stop with His 6, Ye have heards.. Rather, He continues with His explanations and illustrations. He uses examples which everyone hearing Him can easily understand.

We will do as the King did. We will only give the outline, and then come back and develop these points in their context.

1) 6:1-4, poor in spirit. What is the motive behind our actions?

2) 6:5-15, genuine mourning. Hypocrisy desires that everyone see how much we love God and hate sin. Hypocrisy is spiritual because it desires to impresses people.

3) 6:16-18, meekness. Meekness is meekness before God, not meekness against sin.

4) 6:19-34, hunger and thirst after heavenly treasures as contrasted with hunger and thirst after worldly goods. This is the longest of the points because it deals with the god of this world, money.

5) 7:1-5, merciful. Do we judge others without mercy?

6) 7:7-12, purity of heart. What are our motives in prayer?

7) 7:13-27, peacemakers deals with the only genuine peace: peace with man & peace with God, which results in eternal life. This passage also contains a strong warning against false prophets who would offer any way to peace other than through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Example:

Being on the road more than we probably should be, we hear a lot of radio commercials. One particular one is about their plan to control unruly children with simple words. Use these special words, and your child will be as meek and obedient as a pet dog.

I used to regularly get phone calls at the church from phone "monkeys" trying to sell something. One was from a group in Texas trying to sell a series of tapes which deal with family problems. One of their sales points was that the man on the video was a great well-known phytologist.

My thought on these things is "Why don't you use a Christian Theologian who will tell what God says about the family?" Even pastors and Christian training institutions get sucked into the psychology trap while they turn their backs on the Word of God.

In other words, the devil's crowd offers many answers to the worlds ills other than the true answer—the applied word of God. The sad thing is that this crowd is making multiplied millions from deceived Christians.

The 7 blesseds were already established law as given by Moses. Christ gave to them their proper meanings in his Sermon and in his actions.

5:10, 11, are not actions, but the results of the 7 actions. The 7 things which have blessings attached are not some mystical attitudes of the heart that gets along with the lawless people around us. They are not 7 things which will allow us to fit effortlessly and unnoticed into society and offend no one.

The Great Prophet, Priest and King closes his promised blessings with three warnings:

A. lived properly, they bring persecution.

B lived properly, they hold back corruption in a society which is bent upon self-destruction.

C. lived properly, they shine light upon the hidden evil deeds of the wicked, and will cause great hostility and create persecution from the lawless around us.

I cannot emphasize enough that these 7 things are not some mystical feelings and inner attitudes which offend no one. Rather, they are strong Biblical actions which emanate from the heart. They are practical applications of the laws of Christianity, and cannot be separated from one another nor from every-day life. They create astounding hostility from the wicked, as well as from some professed Christians. When consistently followed, they led to persecution and even death, as happened to the prophets of old, to Christ and to all of the apostles except John.

It certainly does not seem that living out these seven actions would bring about persecution, but the light exposes evil, and the salt holds back and even corrects corruption. Evil men will do whatever necessary to hide their evil deeds so they can pursue their evil goals.

2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

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