The Sermon on the Mount, Part 15

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.

“If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith.  Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mudpies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

What Jesus taught about our treasures… 

  1. We can direct our heart’s affections
  2. The human heart will seek to “lay up” = stockpile those things that have become the object of our affections.
  3. The treasures of heaven are of higher value 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
1 Peter 1:3-5

Which kind of “treasures” are you laying up? What are your affections set on? What is forming and influencing your values?

“A tree may always be known by its fruit, and a true Christian may always be discovered by their habits, tastes and affections.”
J. C. Ryle

What do you see when you take stock of your own habits, tastes and affections? Your habits are your default settings, your tendencies and practices. Your tastes are your preferences, your predilections and inclinations.  Your affections reveal those things we love and serve, these are the things we are fond of and give preference to in life. How they are formed in us is an important matter for us to think and talk about.

We live in what has been described as an “attention economy.” When we go on social media, most of us begin because we are looking for community. But for most social media companies, our time and attention are a commodity. The algorithms are designed to attract our eyes and ears for as frequently and as long as possible.

Years of cultural influence and shepherding from various entertainment industries and social media has reshaped our hearts, retrained our minds, and redirected our affections. And most of it has been done without us even noticing it.  We need to be awakened and renewed by the Holy Spirit and by the Word of God.

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
Colossians 3:1-2

“The whole of Christ, in His adorable character as the Son of God, is by Himself made over to us most richly to enjoy. His wisdom is our direction, His knowledge our instruction, His power our protection, His justice our surety, His love our comfort, His mercy our solace, and His immutability our trust. He makes no reserve, but opens the recesses of the Mount of God and bids us dig in its mines for the hidden treasures.”
Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, May 18

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