The Kingdom path of life: Sermon on the Mount
Category : General
Rev. Michael Lau
Matthew 5 – 7
Jesus commanded his disciples to make disciples for him in all nations. A key part of these disciple-making efforts is to teach them to obey all that he has taught the disciples (Matt 28:18-20). Matthew was instructed by the Lord and also inspired by the Holy Spirit to put together all teachings of Jesus as in five teaching sections in the Gospel. Sermon on Mount (Matt 5-7) is the first and also the most important spiritual foundation for Christians.
The key result that we should anticipate in studying and practicing Sermon on the Mount is that we will become like a wise man building his house upon a rock (7:21-23). Jesus started his instruction with the last five Commandments, even though he only used three in Chapter 5. Then he used the first five as the base to reflect on what is a good living relationship with the Father in Chapter 6. It will be a life that lives within the protective boundary of the Law of God, and yet will move toward the center of the Law where God and his love reside. Such daily renewal of a loving relational with the Father who is watching and interacting with in secret will channel the wisdom from above (James 3:15). Such wisdom will enable the children of God to build a spiritual community by practicing the will of the Father in Christ Jesus.
The question about “how can we do it?” has its answer from within the Beatitudes. The Beatitude is in the beginning of Jesus’ sermon, but also as the continue steps of disciple-making spiritual disciplines in the Kingdom of God. The first part of each Beatitudes reveals individual and communal virtues. The second part is the outcomes that reveal the works and the glory of God through an individual and/or a community.
The Beatitudes: spiritual pathways [Matt 5:1-12, 7:24-29; Matt 5:11-12 Mercy (V)]: The beginning part of the Sermon Jesus starts with the most important instruction. He taught of how people in the Kingdom of God should journey deeper into a relationship with God and in His Kingdom. The first four Beatitudes reveal a deeper relationship with God that allows God to work inside a person. The last four reveal the result of the first four while God works through the person among people. In such way, the glory of God shines through the deeds of the Kingdom disciples.
The inner being of King’s disciples [Matt 6:1-18; 6:33 Goodness (V)]: Each disciple of King Jesus is being invited to become perfect as the Father in Heaven. Christians do things in the love of the Father, no matter in religious practices such as good deeds, prayers, and fasting or in our daily livings. Such desire is from the inner being of the disciple who interacts with the Father who is watching in secret. They are not hypocrites but genuinely seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
The Spiritual disciplines of the King’s disciples [Matt 5:21-6:34 Love (V)] Jesus emphasized the importance of the Law and his coming as its fulfillment. He used three out of the last five Commandments to lead his disciples to move deeper into center where God and His love reside. Even though we are not perfect as the Father, but we are invited to journey with Him into His perfection. Therefore, the first five Commandments are expressed in their essence of love. In entering into His perfect love, we know that we do not worry about tomorrow, but daily walking with God with His wisdom and strength.
The ministry of wise discernment [Matt 7:1-23; Matt 7:21-23 Personal God (B)]: Jesus concluded his sermon in the topic of being wise in obeying the will of God (7:21) and all his teachings (7:25). What Jesus has taught is about discerning the wise counsel from God through prayers. Such prayer practices will lead a person to move into the kingdom path of life (The Beatitudes). The best thing from God through prayer can be a discernment and solution for a personal and communal problem; or a discernment of the bad fruit from the false prophets.