SERMON ON THE MOUNT: CORE VALUES OF THE KINGDOM
A. The Sermon on the Mount is the constitution of God’s kingdom. It is Jesus’ most comprehensive statement on a believer’s role in cooperating with the grace of God and is the “litmus test” to measure our spiritual development and ministry impact. In this sermon, Jesus calls His people to perfect obedience and to make this their primary goal in life. We do this by seeking to walk in all the light that the Spirit gives us. Pursuing obedience is not the same as
48You shall be perfect [walk in all the light you receive] as your Father…is perfect. (Mt. 5:48)
B. Jesus calls us to live out the eight beatitudes (5:3-12) as we pursue 100-fold obedience (5:48). The 8 beatitudes are being poor in spirit, spiritual mourning, walking in meekness, hungering for righteousness, showing mercy, embracing purity, being a peacemaker, and enduring persecution.
3Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt. 5:3-10)
In Matthew 5-7, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls us to live out the 8 beatitudes (5:3-12) as we pursue 100-fold obedience (5:48), as we resist 6 temptations (5:21-48), and pursue 5 kingdom activities (6:1-18) that position our hearts to freely receive more grace. We do all this with confidence in His rewards (eternal/temporal 6:19-24) and His provision (6:24-33). We do this without criticism of others who pursue God with less intensity or who oppose us (7:1-6) while we seek Jesus to intervene in our relationships (7:7-12), yet without drawing back from our wholehearted pursuit of God (7:13-14) as we discern false grace messages (7:15-20). We do all of this knowing that our obedience will be tested (7:21-27). By walking in these truths, Jesus said that we will impact society (5:13-16) and will be great in His eyes (5:19), receive treasures in heaven (6:19–20) and will live in this age with our hearts exhilarated in His grace (6:22-23).
D. The Beatitudes are like 8 beautiful flowers in the “garden in our heart” that God wants to fully blossom. They define love, godliness, and spiritual maturity and describe the kingdom lifestyle. Implied in all of God’s commands is the promise of the enabling to walk out the command. Blessed in this context means having a happy heart, or vibrant spirit, as opposed to a dull or irritable spirit.
E. These 8 flowers must be cultivated as we “weed our garden” by resisting 6 temptations related to our natural lusts (5:21-48) and as we “water our garden” by pursuing 5 activities (6:1-18).
1. The 6 temptations: anger, immorality, disregarding the marriage covenant, making false commitments, demanding personal rights, and living with a spirit of retaliation (5:21-48).
2. The 5 kingdom activities: prayer, fasting, giving, serving, and blessing enemies (6:1-18) are spiritual disciplines that position our heart before God to freely receive more grace.