Summary: Jesus challenges our common ideas about what it means to live the good life.
An Invitation to Lasting Joy
“What does God expect of me?”
“How should a Christian act under pressure?”
“Am I pleasing the Lord and honoring Him?”
Answers to these questions can be found throughout the Bible, but there is one section of the Word, where Jesus Himself answers these questions and more! I invite you to open your Bible to the wisdom of the Sermon on the Mount.
TEXT – Matthew 5
Home Depot’s ad line addressed to people like me who aspire to do our own home repairs says, "You can do it, we can help!" It’s a great line, but I am not sure how accurate it really is. Sure, I can buy the materials there, but the work, the necessary skill is still my responsibility! Anybody ever attended one of HD’s workshops that teach skills?
There is another building project in my life that requires even more of me than maintaining my home. I am
building a temple of the Lord, a place for the display of His Glory before the world. In the Scripture God says,
"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. . . . Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple." (1 Corinthians 3:11-14, 16-17, NIV)
Since I read there that He will thoroughly inspect and that He expects to find quality - I conclude that it important to follow the building codes. Don’t you agree? I want to encourage you with this thought - You can do it! He will help! Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit to live in us, to help us to understand, to give us insight and wisdom, to guide.
As we study His sermon, it is important to be clear- He is not pointing the way to earn God’s favor, or a place in God’s kingdom! He is describing how a person who has entered God’s Kingdom by faith, will live by the power of the Spirit. There is a benefit for us - right here, right now, too. In addition to creating a home worthy of Him, following His plans creates a life that is strong and stable. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus concluded with this statement– READ Matthew 7: 24-25
So, over the next few week, I invite you to explore the Divine Building Code for life with me.
Sometimes we skip over verse 1 like it really doesn’t matter, but it does. 5.1 says “Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down.”
There is a clue about the importance of what Jesus is about to say in those words, "he sat down." In Jesus’ time, there were many itinerant rabbis, another word for ‘preacher.’ These men gathered little groups of people around them on the side of the road, in the marketplaces, and at city gates. They had dialogues and debates about God’s Law. but when a rabbi was really serious about his teaching and wanted to make sure his audience understood him, he took them to a place aside from the rush and he sat down with them.
Do you sit down regularly with Jesus? Do you give Him the kind of quality time that is needed to build a rich relationship with Him or is He always speaking to you from the sides of the road of life? Think about it, friend.
Jesus opens his sermon with a series of saying we call the “Beatitudes.”
In the text we will read in a moment, you will notice the way each of the verse starts. You will see the word, "blessed." What does it mean? Some say, “Happy,” but when Jesus pronounces a person “blessed,” He means much more than simply happy.
The word in the Greek of the original NT is "makarios" which meant to be full, satisfied, and thus, contented. In these verses, Jesus declares how you and I can find a life that is complete, God-approved - yes, Blessed!
Let’s read these radical words that turn the usual ways of understanding life and happiness upside down!
READ vv. 2-12
Most of us are not happy because we believe that JOY is a product of favorable circumstance and pleasant situations. However, because of something called "the greener grass syndrome," we always feel that there are more favorable circumstances out there somewhere.