Summary: Jesus presents a clear description of what it is followers are to be like internally and how they are to live outwardly in the Sermon on the Mount.
Sermon on the Mount- Pt 4
In studying the SOTM, or the Bible in general, never think that if you do not understand it, it is of no use
What is important is that we expose/read/study it so it becomes available to us when we need it.
Mind has two compartments- conscious/subconscious.
A truth may be of no use now- when circumstances arise- HS will bring it back to remembrance, and
enable us to apply it in that situation.
Jn 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. NASU
Real question is this- when the HS brings back a truth to us and applies it to a situation- will we obey it?
If we expose our minds to God’s Word, and live a life in communion w/God- HS will bring back truth.
Look at Mtt 5:13-20
The beatitudes described the character of a disciple.
In these verses, Jesus talks about the influence a person with the character of Christ should have.
As we practice godly righteousness in the world, it will result in opposition and persecution- V10.
But, the church’s calling- serve the persecuting world.
As Rudolf Stier said, we should offer …
love and truth for hatred and lies.
In these verses we see two distinct groups of people.
The church- to be salt to the earth/light to the world.
The church is distinct from the earth or the world.
Too often we blur the distinction between the two.
The world is- dark place in a constant state of decay.
The church has a dual role in the world …
to hinder decay, and
to dispel darkness.
God-established institutions to curb sin of mankind …
1. The state (government)
We may not like government, but we better remember that it is God ordained and that …
the men/women who run it are fallen as we are.
The state- given the authority to make/enforce laws.
2. The family
In the family- parents- curb their children’s sinful bent
Both of these should exert a wholesome influence.
Beyond these institutions, there is even a greater force
3. God’s regenerated people (the church)
Salt preserves wholesomeness and prevents decay.
That is the function of the church in the world.
Salt- stable compound- cannot really lose its saltiness.
But it can become contaminated by mixture.
When we allow- principles of the world to mix with- principles of God’s Kingdom in our hearts,
we lose our saltiness/preserving function.
Our influence as Christians depends on our being distinct from the world, not identical to it.
Light- reveals/guides- men dislike it- prefer darkness.
The light from a city can be seen from a long distance, it cannot be hidden on a dark night.
Likewise, a Christian living the life of the beatitudes, cannot be hidden from the world.
As Christians- should bring light into every situation.
Isa 42:6 "I am the Lord , I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations, NASU
From the beginning, God’s people were to be a light.
This idea finds fulfillment in Christ as the light of the world and in Christians who bear witness to Christ.
V16 The light is our good works.
As people see our good works, they will glorify God.
Good works are everything a person says/does as a result of being a Christian.
Good works are works of love as well as of faith. They express not only our loyalty to God, but our care for our fellows as well. John Stott
Good works come out of obedience to God/Kingdom.
Summarize some thoughts from these verses …
1. The church is different from the world
Non- Christian behavior denies the name of Christ.
The greatest short-coming of the church has been its tendency to conform to the prevailing culture.
2.Must accept the responsibility this distinction brings
We must not fail the world we are called to serve, even if they persecute us for righteousness.
3. Our responsibility as Christians is two fold
Salt- has a negative function- prevent decay.
Light- has a positive function- illuminates darkness.
For it is one thing to stop the spread of evil; it is another to promote the spread of truth, beauty, and goodness. John Stott
You cannot blame unsalted meat for going bad.
You cannot get mad at a community whose standards continue to decay if we are not being light.
To try to improve society is not worldliness but love. To wash your hands of society is not love but worldliness. Sir Frederick Catherwood