Sermon on the Mount

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What Is the Meaning of the Sermon on the Mount?

Posted by on 04 Feb 2017 | Tagged as: F.B. Meyer, Jesus Christ, Oswald Chambers, Sermon on the Mount

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 5:3 ESV

What is the Sermon the Mount really about? Is the Sermon a new set of commandments for Christians? Or just a re-interpretation of the Ten Commandments? Or as some say, a Divine directive for U. S. government policy? Or, nice teaching from the Great Teacher?

In reality, the Sermon on the Mount is about the interior life of the Christian. The Sermon on the Mount is what our lives will look like when the Holy Spirit is having his way in us.

Beware of placing our Lord as Teacher first instead of Saviour. That tendency is prevalent to-day, and it is a dangerous tendency. We must know Him first as Saviour before His teaching can have any meaning for us, or before it can have any meaning other than that of an ideal which leads to despair. Fancy coming to men and women with defective lives and defiled hearts and wrong mainsprings, and telling them to be pure in heart! What is the use of giving us an ideal we cannot possibly attain? We are happier without it.

If Jesus is a Teacher only, then all He can do is to tantalise us by erecting a standard we cannot come anywhere near. But if by being “born again from above” we know Him first as Saviour, we know that He did not come to teach us only: He came to make us what He teaches we should be. The Sermon on the Mount is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His way with us (emphasis mine).

Oswald Chambers, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (Hants, UK: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1960).

Listen to Him; learn of Him; be like Him; receive Him into thine heart; let Him be revealed within thee, so shalt thou also be conformed to these qualities, and participate in this bliss.

F. B. Meyer, Blessed Are Ye: Talks on the Beatitudes

When It’s Good to Mourn

Posted by on 14 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: Puritans, Sermon on the Mount

When We Grieve Our Sin, God Promises to Heal

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matt. 5:4 NLT

We discussed the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) here and here. We found that the Sermon on the Mount is what our lives will look like when Jesus is having his way in us. With much encouragement, we discovered that Jesus will make us what he teaches what we should be. Then, we saw that spiritual bankruptcy is a good thing. It’s a good thing for God does not call us to be adequate, he only calls us to be available. Jesus yearns for us to come to the end of ourselves. He is waiting for us to stop trying to prove ourselves and to start trusting his sufficiency.

Surprisingly, mourning also becomes a good thing. Jesus speaks of a mourning that grieves over our sin, the corruption of our motives, the loss of innocence, and the pain we caused God and others. Gospel mourning opens the door for God’s healing, forgiveness and restoration. It is good to mourn our sin for there God’s redemption is found.

What is the right gospel-mourning?

It is spontaneous and free. It must come as water out of a spring, not as fire out of a flint. Tears for sin must be like the myrrh which drops from the tree freely without cutting or forcing. Mary Magdalene’s repentance was voluntary. ‘She stood weeping’ (Luke 7). She came to Christ with ointment in her hand, with love in her heart, with tears in her eyes. God is for a freewill offering. He does not love to be put to distrain.

Thomas Watson, The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

 

 

Who Are the Poor in Spirit?

Posted by on 10 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: Ash Wednesday, Oswald Chambers, Sanctification, Sermon on the Mount

The Spiritually Bankrupt

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 5:3 NIV

Every year, the gospel reading for Ash Wednesday is the Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7); it is a privilege to yearly meditate and preach on this great sermon. Last Ash Wednesday, we examined several significant truths found within Jesus’ magisterial teaching, let’s look at one of those insights in this post and several more in the coming days.

Who are the poor in spirit? Eugene Peterson paraphrases this verse in The Message, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” For Peterson, the poor in spirit are those who are at the end of their rope: they have nowhere else to turn, nowhere else to hide, and no one else who can help. They have nothing left, but God.

Indeed, the poor in spirit acknowledge their complete and utter bankruptcy before God. They are afflicted and know deep down inside that they cannot save themselves. The poor in spirit confess their unworthiness and utter dependence on God’s mercy and grace. The “poor” have confidence only in God. These dear ones will receive God’s kingdom: the rule and reign of Christ in their hearts now. They will experience the very life of God: all he is and who is in their lives today.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit”—towards God. Am I a pauper towards God? Do I know I cannot prevail in prayer; I cannot blot out the sins of the past; I cannot alter my disposition; I cannot lift myself nearer to God? Then I am in the very place where I am to receive the Holy Spirit. No man can receive the Holy Spirit who is not convinced he is a pauper spiritually.

Oswald Chambers, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, electronic ed. (Hants, UK : Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1996).

 

“He Came to Make Us What He Teaches We Should Be”

Posted by on 09 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: Christ in You, Oswald Chambers, Sanctification, Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 5:3 NIV

It’s just impossible! Absolutely impossible! I thought to myself as I read the Sermon on the Mount for the first time. I can’t, and no one can, live and obey Jesus’ directives in this sermon. Three chapters of loving those who hate you, laying down your life for those who persecute you, and forgiving those who have used you. Not only are Jesus’ words difficult to keep, but also, these admonitions should be obeyed out of love with a joyful heart. This sermon is impossible to live. But, that’s the rub.

We can’t live the Sermon the Mount in our own power. We must be poor in spirit desperately needing God’s strength in our weakness (Matt. 5:3). We must be mourners, a people who grieve the state of our fallenness yearning for help (Matt. 5:4). We must hunger and thirst for righteousness for we have no means within ourselves to overcome the world’s influences, sin’s grip, and the devil’s temptations (Matt. 5:6). The Sermon on the Mount is lived not by being adequate, but by being available. That is, available to Christ’s all-powerful and sufficient grace (2 Cor. 9:8; 12:9).

The Sermon on the Mount can only be lived by trusting Christ to live his life in and through us (1 John 4:9). Only Christ successfully lived the Sermon on the Mount and he can do it again in us (Col. 1:27). By summary, the Sermon on the Mount is what our lives look like when Christ is having his way in us.

Beware of placing our Lord as Teacher first instead of Saviour. That tendency is prevalent today, and it is a dangerous tendency. We must know Him first as Saviour before His teaching can have any meaning for us, or before it can have any meaning other than that of an ideal which leads to despair. Fancy coming to men and women with defective lives and defiled hearts and wrong mainsprings, and telling them to be pure in heart! What is the use of giving us an ideal we cannot possibly attain? We are happier without it.

If Jesus is a Teacher only, then all He can do is to tantalise us by erecting a standard we cannot come anywhere near. But if by being born again from above  we know Him first as Saviour, we know that He did not come to teach us only: He came to make us what He teaches we should be. The Sermon on the Mount is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His way with us (emphasis mine).

Oswald Chambers, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, electronic ed. (Hants, UK : Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1996), 10.