Summary: Making a choice about our direction in life
Life is full of choices. [Share some they came up with while discussing the question “What choices do we have to make in life?”).
Often (though not always) we put a lot of thought into the choices we make. But what happens when we don't think about our choices? What happens when we don't know what to do? Do we do things by trial and error? Hope for the best? Who do we listen to?
If a person was given the main ingredients to make a scrambled egg in the microwave, but no recipe, advice or experience on how to make it what would happen? How many eggs? How much milk? When do I put the salt and pepper in? 2 or 20 grams of margarine? How long in the microwave? (Do this as you talk through it.) DISASTER!
That was trial and error. Anyone fancy a taste? The problem is that in life you don't really get much opportunity for trial and error. For a start, we only live once - an experiment with drugs or sex or driving a fast car may kill you. And then there is the destruction we leave behind while we practice before we get it right.
If we want to stand any chance of making the scrambled egg first time, the best way is to get hold of a recipe book or a master chef _and follow the instructions. This time follow the instructions from the recipe perfectly. Anyone like a taste of this?
It is like this with our lives. God has the perfect plan for your life and he knows what ingredients are good for you and in what proportions. This is what the advice from Jesus in this Sermon on the Mount has been all about. He is the Master Chef, the Bible the best recipe book ever written.
Every good sermon leaves you with having to make a choice at the end of it and that choice can determine where your life gors from that point onwards. So as the Master teacher and Preacher Jesus sets the standard. This is now decision time in Jesus’ sermon. Let’s quickly recap.
In the sermon Jesus has presented his listeners with a framework of what true followers of God are like:
• They will be blessed even when the world does its worst (5:1-12)
• True followers will influence everything – salt & light (5:13-16)
• True followers will fulfil the Law because love is the fulfilment of the Law (rest of Chapter 5)
• True followers will know how to worship by the way they give, pray and fast properly and without show (6:1-18)
• True followers place their trust in God not in material things (6:19-34)
• True followers will know how to treat those around them - not through judgement but through love (7:1-12)
The power to do all this comes from God living in the followers of God. So whilst it is true that Jesus is speaking to the unsaved, still under Law, he is showing them what being a true believer looks like. Which is why what Jesus says is very relevant to those who are followers today.
As followers, our aim is to be like this. The world will treat us badly, but we are blessed with the supernatural presence of God in us. That gives us influence and helps us love. The presence of God helps us worship in Spirit and in Truth not in a showy, hypocritical way. That type of worship is awesome. When God is present in your life day to day your trust in him increases and your reliance on the things of the world lessens. Our attitudes change and peace reigns in our life and is spread to those around us.
So Jesus was putting the facts of what it is like to be a true follower in front of those still under the Law so that they could come to him and be saved.
But there is teaching there for those today who are Christians. Choices to be made. Many people come to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation and they think it stops there. Jesus is speaking to those of us who have turned to him and is reminding us of the truth also:
• Many forget they are blessed when things get bad. All these blessings are there for us to use.
• Many forget that in living a Christian life they will influence those around them. It matters how we live.
• Many forget that Jesus didn’t remove the Law he showed us how to fulfil it through love – the love he wants us to spread around even to those we don’t like and don’t get along with.
• Many forget that trusting God comes first, not when all your rational or material options run out.