Matt. 5-7-The Sermon on the Mount.
Matt. 5:1-We learn an important principle of the ministry of Jesus here. In the previous chapter (4:23-25) we found that because of His healing ministry many people were coming to Him. Now here, we find that His healing ministry, while certainly a part of His work, had a yet greater purpose…to draw people to Him and to salvation.
Matt. 5:2-When Jesus saw all of the people coming to Him…He began to preach the gospel of the kingdom. This message, which we call the “Sermon on the Mount”, is not a message of salvation. As someone has said, “The Sermon on the Mount is not a message that tells us how to be saved; but, it is a message that tells the saved how they should be”. This message tells us how we, as followers of Christ, should live our lives.
Matt. 5:3-11-Here are nine attitudes, nine spiritual qualities that should be in every believer. They are called the BeAttitudes. The BeAttitudes are characteristics of salt and light…they are evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit. These characteristics are not meant to merely be a list for memorization…but they are to be operative in the life of the believer. Their presence is observed in how we relate with other people and how we treat them. The BeAttitudes generate spiritual maturity in the life of the one implements them, when they are applied. The word “blessed” means “happy”. Someone has called these the “Be Happy Attitudes”. These attitudes are…
:3-“poor in spirit”…humble, not self-confident, but dependent on God
:4-“mourn”…to be convicted and sorrowful for sin
:5-“gentle”…not domineering, or overbearing towards other people…but aware of their needs
:6-“hunger and thirst after righteousness”…have a desire to be holy, as God is holy
:7-“merciful”…ready to extend mercy and grace to other people…this is to be one’s first response, instead of a response of judgment
:8-“pure in heart”…their devotion is not divided; they seek God first, before all else
:9-“peacemakers”…those who take the initiative to maintain healthy relationships among people
:10-“persecuted for the sake of righteousness”…those who faithfully stand with God regardless of the consequences
:11-“men cast insults…persecute you…on account of Me”
Matt. 5:13-16-When Christians live this kind of a life it has an affect on those around them. Like salt and light have an affect on the world…Christians are to have an affect on their world.
Matt. 5:13-Christians are to be like salt in their world…helping people discover the real taste (meaning and purpose) of life; and, being the preservative of the morals within their society.
Matt. 5:14-16-Christians are to be like light…not hidden, but plainly visible…so that the darkness will be dispelled and people will be able to see what it means to be a follower of Christ as they watch the life of the believer. This will bring glory to God.
Matt. 5:17-7:12-Jesus now expands on the principles of the BeAttitudes by showing their application to some specific instances in life.
:17-20-these applications, instead of negating the law of Moses, exceed it. Jesus is not telling the people that He is replacing the law of Moses with something else. Instead, He is correcting how the law of Moses is to be applied. The Pharisees had relegated the law to its letter, but had missed its intent, its spirit. Jesus is clarifying how the law should be applied.
:21-22-It is not enough to just not murder someone. You should also be aware of your attitude toward them.
:23-26-It is not enough to just try to be right with God by making a sacrifice. That cost is only nominal and does not necessarily affect our life. The true quality of our relationship with God is revealed by the quality of our relationship with other people. So, if there is a problem with a relationship with someone, in particular if it is your fault (“your brother has something against you”, :23)…your relationship with God can get no better until you first try to be reconciled with that person. This practice also has a very practical implication. If you take the initiative to reconcile with someone…maybe they will be more forgiving and not seek to have you legally punished.
Prayer: Father, help me to practice the principles of Your Kingdom. Don’t let me settle for the least that I can do. Teach me how to live by the true spirit and intent of the law that You have given us. Let my life be salt and light as others see me serving You.