Since last fall, we’ve been studying Matthew 5-7, a passage that we’ve been calling The Disciple’s Handbook because basically it contains instructions that Jesus gave us about what he expects of his followers. This week I’d like to do something a little different. We’ve finished examining at the Sermon on the Mount verse by verse. But now I’d like to go back and try to tie all the pieces together. So this morning we’re going to take another look at the Sermon on the Mount. It’s kind of a speed reader’s version of the Disciple’s Handbook. Hopefully, at least some of these things will be familiar to you.
For just a few minutes I’d like you to imagine that you were there that day that Jesus taught his followers about what he expects of you and me.
The Disciple’s Character - Matthew 5:1-16Jesus begins by describing the kind of people he expects his followers to be. The answer might surprise you. You might expect heaven to be filled with the best and the brightest, the most worthy, the most spiritual. But here’s what Jesus says. He begins with one word, “Blessed”. Basically, it means, “Congratulations! You’re the lucky winner.”
God’s kingdom is not for the strongest or wisest or most deserving. Instead He’s opened his kingdom to the spiritually bankrupt, the deeply dismayed and the completely inadequate. God’s kingdom is a place where our cries for justice will be satisfied at the same time that we are forgiven. But knowing that we will be declared absolutely innocent, we ourselves can be unexpectedly forgiving. While we wait for eternity, we go about promoting harmony, but we ourselves can expect to be mistreated for doing right and for Jesus. If you can relate to any of these characteristics, then “congratulations”, because you’re exactly the kind of person heaven is designed for. As we await the “new heavens and new earth”, we live here on earth here and now. Jesus uses two metaphors to describe our task on this planet:
Salt represents our basic goodness. We are a moral influence on the world. We make it a better place because of our own good behavior. Light represents our visibility. As people are able to see us and the way we behave, they will notice that God has made a difference in our lives.
The Disciple’s Code - Matthew 5:17-48What does that goodness look like? Jesus calls it righteousness. It means doing the right thing. He says,
Jesus taught that we enter God’s kingdom through grace. It doesn’t depend on what we do. But that doesn’t mean that we can do anything we want. Jesus doesn’t abolish God’s law, he embodies it. And he says to us…
Entrance into the kingdom requires perfection. Our perfection comes from what Jesus did. But as those who belong to the kingdom, we still live out the principles of God’s law. We still make it our goal to live out God’s law—not just conformity in our outward behavior, but willingly, internally, in our attitudes and our motives. It’s easier to conform our external behavior to a set of standards. That’s what the Pharisees did. But Jesus wants more from us. He lays out six examples:
Adultery is wrong. God set the limits of sex within marriage. But unrestrained sexual desire is also wrong.
There were actually four reasons for divorce that were accepted by everyone in Jesus’ day. They were recorded in Exodus 21:10 & Deuteronomy 24:1-4.Failure to provide food, clothing or conjugal love (Exodus 21:10) & Sexual immorality (Deuteronomy 24:1)However, in Jesus’ day, Rabbi Hillel had introduced a new “no fault” divorce that he called an “any cause” divorce. He based it on a novel reading of Deuteronomy 24.The debate in Jesus’ day was whether Deuteronomy 24 included two causes for divorce (immorality & “any cause”) or only one. That is the question Jesus is answering.Note: Every divorce in CA today is a “no fault” divorce. Just because it is okay with society does not mean it is okay with God.
Oaths should be honest. But people should be able to trust all our words, not just those we say under oath.
It is quite natural to love your neighbor, the likeable guy next door. But God wants us to love those who hate us.
All these behaviors, attitudes and motivations are characteristic of God. He wants us to be like him, because we are his children.
What kind of righteousness should we have? Our righteousness must be genuine, not just external actions, but internal attitudes. That changes our focus on the kind of wrong behavior we need to remove from our lives: Not just murder but unresolved angerNot just adultery but unrestrained desire Not just abandoning spousebut capricious divorce Not just breaking an oath but being untruthfulNot just excessive paybackbut revenge Not just loving a neighbor but loving an enemy
The Disciple’s Worship - Matthew 6:1-18While we’re on the subject of being honest—having our internal heart match our external actions—let’s talk about worship.
Acts of worship are supposed to be done for God, not for people. Jesus gives us three examples: giving, prayer and fasting.
When you give, give so that God will notice, not so that people will notice.
When you pray, pray so that God will notice, not so that people will notice. In fact, Jesus even gives us a model prayer:
Our prayer is focused on God’s purpose being accomplished. Our prayer includes the things we want him to do in our lives.
Here’s the third example: When you fast, fast so that God will notice, not so that people will notice.If that’s the way you worship—truly directing your actions towards God and not towards men, [then] your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
The Disciple’s Economy - Matthew 6:19-34One of the things that most quickly captivate our allegiance is money. So if we’re to be citizens of God’s kingdom, we need to pay special attention to how we deal with wealth.
The reason: Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Second, we need to stick with our long-term investments. That is, we need to make sure our loyalty lies in heaven, not here on earth. We have a choice everyday to serve God instead of money. But what about the things we need?
Third, we should count on social security, that is, not on the government, but on God’s ability to take care of us. Jesus gives two examples: God takes care of the birds. God takes care of the flowers. He can certainly take care of us. Since God will take care of us, we don’t have to worry about stockpiling to meet any possible future physical needs. That means we can concentrate on saving up treasures in heaven.
We can throw our time, our talents and our treasure into things that will last forever—building up God’s kingdom here on earth.
The Disciple’s Relationships - Matthew 7:1-12Turning from money to relationships, Jesus tells us that belonging to God’s kingdom also affects the way we live with each other.
First, I need to be careful to guard my thoughts about other people. Making quick, unfair judgments of other people only leads to an unfair judgmental environment where we too will be judged. Hasty judgment is often distorted. So when we do make judgments, we need to be careful and we especially need to examine our own shortcomings.
Second, when it comes to fulfilling my desires, instead of fighting about what I want, I should ask God for what I want. God may not give us everything we want, but we know that he will always give us what is best for us.
Finally, I should plan my actions to treat others the way I would like to be treated. 1. guarding my thoughts2. fulfilling my desires3. planning my actions
The Disciple’s Choices - Matthew 7:13-29At the close of his lesson, Jesus presents us with three choices. Each of us must decide: where are we going? who will guide us? and what will we change?
Where are you going? We all face two paths. The path to death: Easy, broad, many travelers, but leads to destruction.And the path to life:Difficult, narrow, only a few travelers, but it is the only path that leads to life. You choose.
Who are your guides? There are two teachers. There are many voices out there claiming to tell the truth. but not all of them speak the truth. How can you tell them apart? You can tell by comparing what they say to God’s word. Also,Study the long-term effect of their teaching and their leadership. And remember that not everyone who names God knows God.
Finally comes the biggest choice of all. What will you change? There are two foundations: One who puts God’s word into practice has a solid foundation. Nobody ever promised life would be easy. But the one who puts God’s word into practice will be able to survive the storms of life when they hit.
By contrast, there’s another way you can respond to God’s word: One who hears the word, but doesn’t do anything about it, who won’t allow God’s word to change them, that person has an unreliable foundation. When the storms of life hit them, their house will be destroyed. What Will You Change? What is your response to God’s word? You have heard it. Will you do it? The sermon on the Mount has huge implications.
The Case for Christ documents Lee Strobel’s journey from atheism to faith through his two-year investigation of the Bible and the life of Jesus Christ. Strobel, the former legal editor for the Chicago Tribune, draws upon his investigative skills to examine the historical accuracy of the Gospels, the personal claims of Jesus and His resurrection from the dead.
That’s the Sermon on the Mount. Amazing words that are still as fresh, challenging, insightful, penetrating and true as they were 2000 years ago. God offers us his kingdom by grace. How fortunate we are to be part of it. In order to let others discover his kingdom, He calls us to live by a higher standard of right behavior—to a harmony between our external actions and our internal attitudes. And our worship should have the same integrity—truly directed toward God. Jesus promises to provide for our physical needs so that we can concentrate on developing the kingdom. He calls us to treat others as we would want to be treated. And finally he gives us a choice: will you put these words into practice or will you simply walk away informed and possibly amazed. A disciple is one who follows Jesus. Who are you following today?
1. THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOKSUMMARYMatthew 5-7THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOKStudies in the Sermon on the Mount
2. Sermon on the Mount – Reality LAhttps://vimeo.com/49688710
3. Matthew 5:1-2Now when he saw the crowds, he went up ona mountainside and sat down. His disciplescame to him, 2 and he began to teach them…
4. THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOKDisciple’sCharacter
5. Those who are Spiritually BankruptMatthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
6. Those who are Deeply DismayedMatthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn,for they will be comforted.
7. Those who are Completely InadequateMatthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for theywill inherit the earth.
8. Those who are Crying for JusticeMatthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hungerand thirst for righteousness, for they will befilled.
9. Those who are Unexpectedly ForgivingMatthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, forthey will be shown mercy.
10. Those who are Absolutely InnocentMatthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, forthey will see God.
11. Those who are Promoting HarmonyMatthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called sons of God.
12. Those Mistreated for Doing RightMatthew 5:10 Blessed are those who arepersecuted because of righteousness, fortheirs is the kingdom of heaven.
13. Those Mistreated for JesusMatthew 5:11-12 "Blessed are you whenpeople insult you, persecute you and falselysay all kinds of evil against you because of me.12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is yourreward in heaven…
14. THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOKDisciple’sCharacter
15. We are a Moral Influence on the WorldMatthew 5:13-16 You are the salt of theearth. … 14 You are the light of the world. …16 …let your light shine before men, that theymay see your good deeds and praise yourFather in heaven.
16. THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOKDisciple’sCharacterCode
17. We Cannot Earn Our SalvationMatthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have cometo abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have notcome to abolish them but to fulfill them.
18. But Salvation Makes Demands on UsMatthew 5:20 … I tell you that unless yourrighteousness surpasses that of the Phariseesand the teachers of the law, you will certainlynot enter the kingdom of heaven.
19. Murder & HostilityMurder is WrongMatthew 5:21 You have heardthat it was said to the peoplelong ago, ‘Do not murder…’Hostility is Also WrongMatthew 5:22-24 But I tell youthat anyone who is angry withhis brother will be subject tojudgment. … 24 …go and bereconciled to your brother…
20. Adultery & LustAdultery is WrongMatthew 5:27 You have heardthat it was said, Do notcommit adultery.Lust is Also WrongMatthew 5:28 But I tell youthat anyone who looks at awoman lustfully has alreadycommitted adultery with her inhis heart.
21. Divorce is Not to be Taken LightlyGod Permits DivorceMatthew 5:31 It has beensaid, Anyone who divorces hiswife must give her a certificateof divorce.But NOT for Just Any ReasonMatthew 5:32 But I tell youthat anyone who divorces hiswife, except for maritalunfaithfulness, causes her tobecome an adulteress …
22. Dishonesty & HonestyOaths should be HonestMatthew 5:33 Again, youhave heard that it was said tothe people long ago, Do notbreak your oath, but keep theoaths you have made to theLord.We must be True to Our WordMatthew 5:34-37 But I tellyou, Do not swear at all: … 37Simply let your Yes be Yes,and your No, No; anythingbeyond this comes from theevil one.
23. Retribution & RevengeRetribution is LegalMatthew 5:38 You have heardthat it was said, Eye for eye,and tooth for tooth.Personal Revenge is WrongMatthew 5:39-42 But I tellyou, Do not resist an evilperson. If someone strikes youon the right cheek, turn to himthe other also. …
24. Love & HateIt’s Easy to Love the LovableMatthew 5:43 You have heardthat it was said, Love yourneighbor and hate yourenemy.Can you Love the Unlovable?Matthew 5:44 But I tell you:Love your enemies and prayfor those who persecute you, …
25. God Wants Us to Be Like HimMatthew 5:48Be perfect, therefore, as yourheavenly Father is perfect.
26. THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOKDisciple’sCharacterCode
27. THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOKDisciple’sCharacterCodeWorship
28. Worship is for an Audience of OneMatthew 6:1Be careful not to do your acts ofrighteousness before men, to beseen by them. If you do, you willhave no reward from your Father inheaven.
29. Do’s and Don’ts of GivingDon’t Give so People NoticeMatthew 6:2 So when yougive to the needy, do notannounce it with trumpets, asthe hypocrites do … to behonored by men. …Do Give so God NoticesMatthew 6:3-4 But when yougive to the needy, do not letyour left hand know what yourright hand is doing, 4 so thatyour giving may be in secret.Then your Father, who seeswhat is done in secret, willreward you.
30. Do’s and Don’ts of PrayingDon’t Pray so People NoticeMatthew 6:5 And when youpray, do not be like thehypocrites, for they love topray … to be seen by men. …Do Pray so God NoticesMatthew 6:6 But when youpray, go into your room, closethe door and pray to yourFather, who is unseen. Thenyour Father, who sees what isdone in secret, will reward you.
31. “This, then, is how you should pray:”1. Focus on God’s PurposesMatthew 6:9-10Our Father in heaven,may your name be honored,may your kingdom come,may your will be doneon earth as it is in heaven.2. Focus on Our NeedsMatthew 6:11-13Give us today our daily bread,and forgive us our debts, as we... have forgiven our debtors.And do not lead us intotemptation,but deliver us from the evil one
32. Do’s and Don’ts of FastingDon’t Fast so People NoticeMatthew 6:16 When you fast,do not look somber as thehypocrites do, … to show menthey are fasting. …Do Fast so God NoticesMatthew 6:17-18 But whenyou fast, put oil on your headand wash your face, 18 so thatit will not be obvious to menthat you are fasting, but onlyto your Father, who is unseen;…
33. The General PrincipleIf you perform religious acts toimpress other people then you’llmiss God’s reward.
34. THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOKDisciple’sCharacterCodeWorship Economy
35. 1. We Need to Choose the Right BankDeposits Here DisappearMatthew 6:19 Do not store upfor yourselves treasures onearth, where moth and rustdestroy, and where thievesbreak in and steal.Deposits in Heaven LastMatthew 6:20 But store up foryourselves treasures in heaven,where moth and rust do notdestroy, and where thieves donot break in and steal.
36. 2. We Need Long-term InvestmentsChoice: God or Money?Matthew 6:24 No one canserve two masters. … Youcannot serve both God andMoney.But what about our needs?Matthew 6:25 Therefore I tellyou, do not worry about yourlife, what you will eat or drink;or about your body, what youwill wear. …
37. 3. We Can Count on God’s Per DiemGod takes care of the birdsMatthew 6:26 Look at thebirds of the air; they do notsow or reap or store away inbarns, and yet your heavenlyFather feeds them. Are you notmuch more valuable thanthey?God takes care of the flowersMatthew 6:28-30 … See howthe lilies of the field grow. … 30If that is how God clothes thegrass of the field, … will he notmuch more clothe you, O youof little faith?
38. Put First Things FirstMatthew 6:31-33 So do not worry, saying,What shall we eat? or What shall we drink?or What shall we wear? ... 33 But seek firsthis kingdom and his righteousness, and allthese things will be given to you as well.
39. THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOKDisciple’sCharacterCodeWorship EconomyRelationships
40. 1. Guard Our Thoughts About OthersMatthew 7:1-3 Do not judge, or you too will bejudged. 2 For in the same way you judge others,you will be judged, and with the measure you use,it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look atthe speck of sawdust in your brothers eye andpay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
41. 2. Trust God with Our DesiresMatthew 7:7-11 Ask and it will be given to you;seek and you will find; knock and the door will beopened to you. … 11 If you, then, though you areevil, know how to give good gifts to your children,how much more will your Father in heaven givegood gifts to those who ask him!
42. 3. Treat Other People RightMatthew 7:12 So in everything, do to otherswhat you would have them do to you, for thissums up the Law and the Prophets.
43. THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOKDisciple’sCharacterCodeWorship EconomyRelationshipsChoices
44. Where are You Going?Matthew 7:13-14 Enter through the narrowgate. For wide is the gate and broad is theroad that leads to destruction, and many enterthrough it. 14 But small is the gate andnarrow the road that leads to life, and only afew find it.
45. Who are You Following?Matthew 7:15-23 "Watch out for false prophets.They come to you in sheeps clothing, butinwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By theirfruit you will recognize them. … 21 "Not everyonewho says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter thekingdom of heaven, but only he who does the willof my Father who is in heaven. …
46. What Will You Change?Matthew 7:24-25 Therefore everyone who hearsthese words of mine and puts them into practiceis like a wise man who built his house on the rock.25 The rain came down, the streams rose, andthe winds blew and beat against that house; yet itdid not fall, because it had its foundation on therock.
47. What Will You Change?Matthew 7:26-27 But everyone who hears thesewords of mine and does not put them intopractice is like a foolish man who built his houseon sand. 27 The rain came down, the streamsrose, and the winds blew and beat against thathouse, and it fell with a great crash."
48. The Case for Christ – Lee Strobelhttp://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/case-for-christ/first-church-service
49. That’s the Sermon on the MountMatthew 7:28-29 When Jesus had finishedsaying these things, the crowds were amazedat his teaching, 29 because he taught as onewho had authority, and not as their teachersof the law.