The Sermon on the Mount, Part 11

Welcome to Timeless Truth with Pastor Jim Thomas. This season, Pastor Jim is leading us in a study of The Sermon on the Mount.

The Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew, chapters 5-7.

Using 6 illustrative antithetical statements, Jesus focuses on an inner disposition of heart that will lead to greater righteousness…

  • #1: Christian Righteousness means avoiding anger and pursuing reconciliation v21-26 
  • #2: Christian Righteousness means avoiding lust and pursuing sexual purity v27-30
  • #3 & 4: Christian Righteousness means maintaining faithfulness in relationships and keeping our word V31-37  
  • #5 & 6: Christian Righteousness means non-retaliation and being perfected in love for God and others v38-48

Illustration #3: Maintaining faithfulness in relationships:

The Pharisees were preoccupied with the rules and grounds for divorce; and they tried to entrap Jesus in discussions on the subject. But while they wanted to talk about divorce, Jesus turned the focus onto faithfulness within the institution of marriage. 

The Pharisees called Moses’ provision for divorce a “command;” Jesus called it a concession because of the hardness of human hearts. 

God loves faithfulness and promise keeping. God hates unfaithfulness and promise breaking

Jesus focuses on an inner disposition of heart that will lead to greater righteousness…

Illustration #4 Keep your word v33-37

The need for making public oaths and securing written contracts, treaties etc has arisen for at least two reasons: 1. We are such poor communicators and 2. Most of us simply cannot be trusted.

Christians should say what we mean and mean what we say. We should let our yes be yes and our no be no. We must be people who faithfully keep our word.

Illustration #5 and #6:  Non-retaliation and being perfected in love for God and others v38-48

#5: We have seen what the text says. We have seen how Jesus wants us to live in light of it. But we have also seen how we simply cannot do it on our own steam.

And so, here, just as with all the other antithetical statements, we look to the Lord as both our example and as the only one who can give us the desire and the strength to follow Him!

“If I don’t believe that there is a God who will eventually put all things right, I will take up the sword and will be sucked into the endless vortex of retaliation. Only if I am sure that there’s a God who will right all wrongs and settle all accounts perfectly do I have the power to refrain.”
Tim Keller, The Reason for God

#6: What in the world did Jesus mean by calling us to be perfect in v48? 

If we belong to Him, if we are truly His, we can now act and think just like him. In Christ we have the fulfillment of all that is required of us by God. It is the righteousness of Christ that God sees when He looks at us because we are “in Christ.” And because His ways are so very different from the ways of this world, and because His life is within us, we are now becoming different people. 

“Looking back over all six antitheses, it has become clear what the ‘greater’ righteousness is to which Christians are summoned. It is a deep inward righteousness of the heart where the Holy Spirit has written God’s law. … And this righteousness, whether expressed in purity, honesty or charity, will show to whom we belong. Our Christian calling is to imitate not the world, but the Father. And it is by this imitation of him that the Christian counter-culture becomes visible.”
John Stott

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