Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Sermon on The Mount

The Sermon on The Mount

Kingdom Living For Today

Text: Matthew 5:1-12  Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Today, we begin a series that will take the next several weeks to complete. The goal in this message, today, is to provide some introductory remarks that will set the stage for us as we take this journey together. The focus of this series will be on living out the principles that Jesus taught His disciples. It is for that reason that we might entitle this “The Sermon on the Mount – Kingdom Living for Today”

Let us look at three key ideas that will help us understand to fully comprehend what is being through the Sermon on the Mount.

Idea #1 – While the sermon was a teaching for the disciples of His day, we will look at how we can live out these principles in our lives today. One of the key words throughout the book of Matthew is the word “kingdom.” In the Sermon on the Mount, we also see this key word as it is used no less than eight times.

An understanding of “Kingdom” is critical to how we live for Christ because it is God’s desire that His Kingdom would be revealed in and through His people. John the Baptist proclaimed this message to those of his day. He proclaimed “repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). Jesus also proclaimed “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17).  And when Jesus began His ministry “he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom” (Matt. 4:23).

To understand the Kingdom, we must define what we mean by the term “Kingdom of God:” As we read the scriptures the Bible speaks of God’s Kingdom in two phases. The first is the kingdom that is yet to come. This is the kingdom that will be established when Christ returns for the 2nd time to establish His kingdom for an eternity. The second is the kingdom that exists now. This kingdom is a spiritual kingdom where the only access into the kingdom is salvation in the name of Jesus. Jesus taught His disciples to pray “Your Kingdom come your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus also taught that if the disciples of His day were to “seek first the kingdom of God that all the other things would be added to them.” This is evidence that the kingdom was not something that was yet to come but was in existence now.

It is also important to note that to speak of the Kingdom of God is to speak of who or what rules your life. This is the essence of understanding this concept of the kingdom. To fully live out the principles of the Sermon on the Mount we must allow Christ to rule over us.

Remember last week we said that what we focus on we will worship and what we worship we will serve. So that is our desire is that can begin to focus more every day on who Christ is and to invite Him to rule our lives.

Idea #2 – The idea that must be the basis of this study is that in order to enter the Kingdom of God one must have a personal relationship with Christ by way of a confession of faith. Thus entrance into Christ’s kingdom comes only by way of confessing Christ as one’s Lord and Savior. This is the fulfillment of Romans 10:9 where Paul stated that “If we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord you shall be saved.” Therefore, this confession is a prerequisite for entering into the kingdom.

When the rich young ruler approached Christ with the ultimate question of how one could enter into the kingdom of heaven, Jesus answered by saying “truly, truly I say to you, unless one is “born again” he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

In other words, to enter and truly experience the Kingdom of God one must have confessed their sins to Christ and then have invited Christ to enter their lives. Not just the particular areas that one would choose to allow Christ to enter but Christ must have the freedom to possess all that we are and all aspects of our lives.

It should be noted that this kingdom, in the person of Jesus, welcomes us all just as we are, just where we are, and it makes it possible to translate our ordinary life into an eternal one. Everyone who from the center of their being calls upon Jesus as Master of the Universe and Prince of Life will be heard and will be brought into an eternal relationship with the King of the Kingdom.

Idea #3 – This study is not to be interpreted as a legalistic pattern of do’s and don’ts but it presents a lifestyle that will shape and form us into the image of Christ. It cannot be overstated that this study is in no way intended to be a legalistic pattern of what one should do as much as it is a way of living which allows the person to be free. Therefore, the study is not intended as a list of do’s and don’ts but it is a lifestyle of living that impacts all that we are and all that we do. The reason this is that there is a tendency for us to simply want to check off our spiritual list of activities and feel we have accomplished what God desires. Instead, God would prefer that this teaching would become a part of the fabric of our lives. For example, when the concept of being truthful is a part of one’s life, they usually do not battle with the temptation to lie. Mark Twain stated: “If I never tell a lie, I never have to remember the truth.”

Conclusion – If we grasp the truths of this passage we will:

  1. Understand what it means to be a true believer of Christ. This will be an important revelation as we often have a false understanding of what it means to be a believer of Christ.
  2. We will understand how we are to function together as a body of believers. The secondary result of this study will be that we will learn more about what it means to live as the body of Christ. How do we treat one another? How do we respond to criticism? How do we react to conflict?
  3. We will understand how we can impact the world not with our words but by the way we live. Once we understand how to live as a believer and we understand how to function as the body of Christ we will be able to have a better understanding of how to reach those around us with the message of hope.

 

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How to Have a Merry Christmas All Year Long!!!!!!!!!

Text: Luke 2:15-20 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (ESV).

To understand how to have a Merry Christmas all year long we must turn to the characters of the Christmas story, for they teach us much about having a Merry Christmas all year.

  •  Mary teaches us that to have a Merry Christmas all year long we must keep the ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­AMAZEMENT of who Christ is in our heart. Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

What does the word “ponder” mean? The word ponder is a word that comes from an old Greek word. It means placing together for comparison. This meant that Mary took the events and the words that had been spoken to her into her heart and she began to meditate upon on these words and what they meant to her. She “thought” of these things often and anxiously. The word “ponder” means to meditate, to consider or examine attentively or deliberately. meditate implies a definite focusing of one’s thoughts on something so as to understand it deeply.

What does the word “treasure” mean? The second word used here is the word “treasure.” The word means to protect or defend. It is to place great value on the focus of one’s affections. To treasure does not represent shallow emotions but emotions that are rooted in the depths of one’s desires and hopes. To treasure Jesus up in our heart we must make room for Him and not allow the cares and issues of life to crowd Him out. For Him to dwell in us means we can know His love and generosity. The problem too often is that we cease to be amazed at God’s grace and His majesty, not for what He can do for us but for who He is alone. The issues of life can begin to crowd Him out so that He does not seem so amazing any more.

What do you focus on? It has been said that what we focus on we will worship and what we worship we will serve. And what we serve will begin to control our lives. Have you ever been driving on a long trip and you begin to focus on the car in front of you? If you have ever done this then you know that if the car in front of you starts to veer off the road, you do too, because you are focusing on that car. You must look beyond the car to avoid a problem.

Those who are farmers understand this best. If you want to plow a straight line you don’t look down at the ground but you fix your eyes on a point in the distance so that you will plow straight.

 Jesus said this in Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. So where your focus is your heart will follow.

So where is your focus today?  Make it your new year’s resolution to follow Christ all year long.

  • The shepherds teach us that to have a Merry Christmas all year long we must SHARE what we have heard and what we have EXPERIENCED. Luke 2:17 And when they saw it, they made known the sayings that had been told them.

We must not only make room for Christ and never cease to be amazed at who Christ is but we must share His gift of love and generosity with others. We must share His message.

If we found a great restaurant we would want to share it with everyone we encounter. If we watched a great movie we would tell everyone. If we bought a new gadget that helped us save time we would share our joy in finding the new tool.

To have a Merry Christmas all year long we must make it a point of sharing your faith with others this year. Do you have a story about God’s grace? Where have you seen Him move in your life? How have you changed since knowing Christ? Is there a passage of scripture that you have read that has changed your life? Use these things to share with others.

  • The Magi teach us that to have a Merry Christmas all year long we need to SEEK FOR HIM each day and find ways to worship Him in our heart which for us is in essence developing a relationship with Him. Matthew 2:2 We have come to worship Him.

God desires to have a relationship with us by way of our worship because He loves us and He enjoys us. The idea of worship here is founded in the fact that He desires intimacy with us. Can you imagine if I never talked with Michelle, my wife, nor ever spent time with her? Our relationship would deteriorate rather quickly. It would not necessarily mean that we did not love each other it would mean that we were out of fellowship and that our relationship was not growing.

To have a Merry Christmas all year long be a believer that worships Christ in all that you do. Worship Him with the way you live, the way respond to others and how you live when no one else is around. It in this regard that our character, who we are when no one else sees us, is a worship to God. Irwin McManus said that Jesus is not as impressed with our talents as He is our character. You see our character will speak louder than any word ever spoken.

To show our love to God we must seek Him and seek to worship Him at all times.

Conclusion:

What can you do to have a Merry Christmas all year long? Is Christ still amazing to you? Do you share with others what you have heard and seen? Do you search for Christ each day by worshipping Him as Lord?

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