Sermon on the Mount
Sermon on the Mount
Dear Christ the Redeemer family,
As we celebrate our Lord Jesus’ triumph and ever-lasting reign this Eastertide, we’re going to begin something special. In an effort to know our Lord better—to draw closer to him, to hear his voice more clearly— we are beginning a journey through the greatest of Jesus’ teachings: the Sermon on the Mount.
Now, it’s true that many people, including Christians, have found the Sermon so challenging that they have explained it away. Some have held that Jesus never meant it for us to actually follow. Rather, to them, the Sermon’s “real” purpose is meant only to reveal our inadequacy, driving us to the Cross.
But this is poignantly ironic. God comes to us and tells us plainly how he wired life to work, but we find what he has to say too challenging and so decide he couldn’t really mean it.
To be sure the Sermon is challenging, and, yes, it does point us to our need for the Cross. But also, Jesus does mean it, and—more than that—he means it for our good. The same Jesus who says later in Matthew’s Gospel, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light,” is the same Jesus who, earlier in Matthew’s Gospel, “went up on the mountain, and sat down, so that when his disciples came to him he opened his mouth and taught them…”
Friends, we’re doing this because we want to be close to Jesus. This Jesus. Our Jesus. Just… Jesus. This is what we need, what the North Shore needs: the presence and person of Jesus. It’s going to be an adventure and a pilgrimage.
Won’t you come along with us?
We will divide our study of the Sermon into five parts:
What is the Good Life? – Matthew 5:1-16
The first part of our study explores Jesus’ beatitudes, the most fundamental, yet challenging “rules” we have to live by. The beatitudes, however, are not meant to be a prescriptive list of moral behaviors that we must complete in order to earn God’s blessing. Rather, they are descriptive. It is by following Jesus’ teaching and example that we may come to live in a state of blessedness and truly experience what ‘the good life’ is all about.
Living Well – Matthew 5:17-48
This season we move from blessedness to righteousness. Living the way of Jesus means really living like him. He expects us to do good works, to shine bright. He expects us to not only listen and do, but also to teach others to do the same. It is when we live like Jesus, when we follow his example, that we truly come to see what it means to live well.
Living with God – Matthew 6:1-34
Jesus is now going to teach us a new way of living that goes beyond merely doing, as Moses taught in the old Law. He challenges us to live according to the new Law, to change the ways we think and feel; Jesus addresses not only the hands, but also the heart. While living this way is certainly demanding, Jesus makes it clear that it is equally, if not more so, rewarding, because it is by living the way of the Son that we are brought closer to the Father.
Living with Others – Matthew 7:1-12
When we begin to understand what Jesus is asking of us, we can then begin to look beyond our individual lives and into the lives of those around us. Now we examine how we are to treat each other as a people trying to follow the teachings of Jesus.
Living with Wisdom – Matthew 7:13-27
A community living the way of Jesus is powerful, but it is also vulnerable. Humans have a profound capacity to deceive themselves and others. Once we are committed to being a community that is living out Jesus’ teachings, we need to work out what it means to live that life wisely.