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Summary: Introduction to Studies in the Sermon on the Mount

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And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, (Matthew 5:1-2 AV)

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20 AV)

Jesus wanting to get away from the multitude decides to go up into a mountain. The people had come from all walks of life. Some came to observe. Some came to criticize. Some came to learn. Yet others came to follow. If you want to know how to break the followers from all the others then all you have to do is look for the people who are willing to follow Christ into the mountain. I believe Christ did this not only to weed out the people but to get alone with his disciples, his true disciples.

The word disciple here means a “learner or pupil”. Jesus wanted to know who was following him for the show and who was following him for the life changing experience. This easily narrowed the crowd. So he taught them.

In the next few chapters we see one of the longest discourses by Christ. There are four major discourses of Jesus in the gospels

1) the Sermon on the Mount 5-7;

2) the Mystery Parables Discourse, chapter 13 and

3) the Olivet Discourse chapter 24-25.

4) the Upper Room Discourse is found in John 13-17.

Yet this one is different and one of the earliest in his ministry. He again wants to establish and make a point for his disciples and make a distinction from the religion of the religious and his new way. Although though the old way is in somewhat contained in the new it is actually more fulfilled.

But in these passages we are missing one thing that would almost seem to fit right in amoung it. You could read the passage many times and never catch because it almost seems to fit. But in these passages there is not the gospel. The gospel is not here. The plan of salvation is not here although it would seem that it should. Yet purposefully it is not.

Ro 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

What is the gospel? "the good news"

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 AV)

Why is the gospel missing? This discourse is not about the way or plan of salvation it is about the life after salvation. It is about living a pratical Christian life. It is about being the salt and light of the earth. Reaching this world with the gospel but using our life to do it.

But again notice if we were to follow each teaching in these passages to a tee it would still not get us into heaven.

This is what has always been the difference between Christianity and all other major religions. Christianity is not about following a list of codes or rules. About a time a prayer (although this is important) or a cleansing by working.

Although we do believe in works it is just as if our motives are different. One man does good because he is afraid to do wrong or because he hopes by doing good he will abtain recompense. We as Christians have both of these feelings, but neither is our motive for action. Our motive is love. We love and we are loved back again.

By the love of God do we have a salvation and by the love of God shall we exceed.

The theme verse for this discouse is found in

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20 AV)

In it Jesus explains that no amount of goodness will help us to enter into the kingdom of heaven. If it were so then the Pharisees and scribes would already be there yet they could not do it and then he tells us that we must exceed their own righteousness to get there.

Bringing us to a puzzling and perplexing question of how? Or as the disciples asked “Who then can be saved?” But what seems to be impossible with man is possible with man. From the rich to the poor. From the chief of all sinners to the one who would seem to be the greatest candidate. Maybe Christ gave us these passage to show us that with him we are nothing but with him we can accomplish the impossible.

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