Summary: A series through the Beatitudes: The Victorious Christian Life!
From Rags to Riches
John Stott calls the Sermon on the Mount the “most complete delineation anywhere in the New Testament of the Christian counter-culture.”
Today we launch into a new series that I have entitled “Being the Believing!” as we journey through the Sermon on the Mount, the Greatest Sermon ever Preached by the Greatest Preacher that ever lived, the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
We are freshly off the heels of a journey through the book of Hebrews which was doctrinally heavy. Over and over again we were introduced to what we should be doing: trusting in God, surrendering to His Son, submitting to the Holy Spirit, overcoming through tribulation, pressing on through persecution and rejoicing whether we are dancing on top of the mountain or struggling through the valley.
Now, as we step off the pages of Hebrews and into the pages of Matthew, we make the transition from Doctrine to Duty.
I have struggled for the past two years in the decision to pursue my Doctorate in Philosophy (PHD) or Doctorate in Ministry (DMIN). One is a research degree the other is a practical degree, in other words the PHD would put me in books LEARNING, the other, the DMIN would put me in the field DOING. That is the best way I can describe this transition from Hebrews to the Sermon on the Mount. We are going from learning to doing, and that’s why I have entitled this series, Being the Believing!
And how important it is for modern day Christians living in such a sinful and wicked culture that was best described by Vance Havner when he stated “The world has become so church and the church so worldly, you can’t tell the two apart”. How important it is for modern day Christians living in such a sinful and wicked culture to start living out what they believe to be truth. To take what you learn in Sunday School, through the sermons, your personal devotions, prayer and an intimate walk with God and actually DO something with all of that information. Wonderful that you know that spreading the Gospel is your Great Commission, life changing that you actually act on that knowledge. Great that you know you are to forgive as Christ has forgiven you, powerful when you actually forgive someone that has offended you. It’s nice that you know that you should mourn over your sin but when was the last time you hit your knees broken that you have hurt the very heart of God.
So, now that we have camped out for over two years in Hebrews LEARNING, let’s open to Matthew chapter 5 verse 1 as we start our journey DOING!
1. The God of the universe sees, cares and is ABLE!
“Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.”-Mt. 5:1
The first word, seeing, has captivated me theologically and practically as did Hebrews chapter 1 verse 1 where the author writes “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God SPOKE to our fathers by the prophets” What a life changing event for God did not have to speak, He was not lonely, He did not need a new friend, and He was not incomplete without us! And, we certainly did not deserve or earn the voice of Almighty God! Yet He chose to speak anyway!
Now here, we find that God sees us! Let me jump ahead in this verse to the words “he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down…” In order to understand the significance of Jesus “seeing” the crowds, we must delve into the theological significance of this statement that Jesus went up on the mountain and SAT down.
In this simple statement, the Apostle Matthew is making some Old Testament Moses comparisons to the New Testament Christ. That as Moses the deliverer of the nation of Israel went up to a mountain (Ex. 19:3) and sat down (Deut. 9:9) so Jesus Christ, the better deliverer, went up to a mountain and sat down (Mt. 5:1). As Moses gave a law that would be binding, Jesus gives liberty that would be freeing.
One of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis is “either Jesus was Liar, Lunatic or Lord”. Oh friend to believe that Jesus Christ was more than a: prophet, miracle worker, teacher, healer or priest but God, is to believe that He is the risen living Savior seated before the disciples and crowds, speaking to humanity through the Sermon on the Mount! By comparing Moses to Christ, Matthew seeks to prove that the words of Jesus Christ carry divine authority since He is the better Moses.
Now, having established that Jesus is the Old Testament prophesied Messiah; we can look at this word “seeing”. As I stated earlier this first word, seeing, has captivated me theologically and practically. Theologically to know that God, with all that He has going on in the universe, sees me is compelling to say the least.