The teaching of the Lord has been given for the purpose of being put into practice. -Conrad Grebel
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount isn’t a message for another time or place. It is a three chapter call from Jesus to follow Him and to live out His Kingdom standards in the now. The things Jesus says should awaken us, should challenge us, but ultimately He intends that we believe His words beyond a mental assent as listeners only and wrestle them into our daily lives as doers. My survey of Jesus’ sermon really only scratches the surface, but maybe it will challenge you, as it does me, to look again at His words for the purpose of personal application.
The Beatitudes [a]
This is a beautiful list of those who are blessed. . . and it just doesn’t make any sense, except in the Kingdom. Would you consider yourself blessed if you were on this list?
Salt and Light [b]
Jesus wants the world to “see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Does this fit our theology?
The Fulfillment of the Law [c]
Jesus came to fulfill all righteousness and to call us to righteousness living. Are we living righteously?
Murder is not just an act of the body, but also an act of the heart. According to Jesus, ungodly anger and name-calling equals murder. This would include anger and name-calling towards our enemies, bad drivers, bad customer service, bad politicians, etc.
Adultery is not just an act of the body, but also an act of the heart. Where are our eyes?
Jesus gives striking clarity to the permanence of marriage. Divorce begets adultery. Jesus gives only one exception. Read about it.
Jesus doesn’t want His followers to swear oaths, plain and simple. It’s either “yes” or “no” so that our words have meaning. He doesn’t give exceptions for private or civil circumstances.
Eye for Eye [h]
Jesus doesn’t make nonresistance conditional. His outrageous principle of love should apply to every area of our lives: personal injustice, litigation, social strife, war. What excuses have we made to ignore this standard?
Love for Enemies [i]
Christians should love their enemies because Jesus loved His enemies. . . enough to die for them.
Giving to the Needy [j]
This isn’t a socialist agenda, this is what Jesus wants us to do, to give to those in need. Jesus says, “when you give” not “if.”
These are the things Jesus wants on all our prayer lists.
Not just for the super spiritual, or a past generation. Jesus says, “when you fast” not “if.”
Treasures in Heaven [m]
Don’t be accumulating a bunch of stuff that will end up being the evidence for our condemnation. Instead, make heavenly investments (see [j] above).
Do Not Worry [n]
Once we’ve stopped living like the rest of the world, in our efforts to accumulate stuff, don’t worry. Instead of pursuing stuff, pursue the Kingdom of Jesus and we’ll have the things we need for each day.
Judging Others [o]
Remember the mercy we were shown? Now, show it to others.
Ask, Seek, Knock [p]
Just a few verses prior Jesus told us what it is we should ask for when we pray, and then He told us to “seek first the Kingdom.” Ask, seek, and knock for these things and you won’t be disappointed.
The Narrow and Wide Gates [q]
Followers of Jesus, you are the minority.
True and False Prophets [r]
There’s a whole lot of deception out there, so be careful.
True and False Disciples [s]
Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” or says the sinners prayer, is going to be okay. Do we continue in “lawlessness?”
The Wise and Foolish Builders [t]
This is the grand finale. Jesus says, “Whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them is like a wise man. . .” and “Whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them is like a foolish man. . .”
Jesus doesn’t make His sayings optional. Jesus doesn’t say we have the right to pick and choose. Instead Jesus says that if we don’t do what He says that we are fools and that our fall will be great.
What if Jesus meant everything he said?