THE LIFE OF CHRIST
reached the point in Jesus’ life where He preaches what is commonly called the Sermon
on the Mount, which is found in Matthew 5-7. Another sermon He preaches that is
similar is found in Luke 6 and it is often called the Sermon on the Plain.
Though it is an abbreviated version of the one in Matthew’s account, many of
the things Jesus teaches in Matthew’s account is spread throughout the first 8
chapters of the Book of Luke. There are only 6 verses that are not found in Luke’s
account. Jesus did not just preach His
message one time in one place, He would preach His message many times in
different places. While I personally think the sermon in Luke’s account is at a
different place, some do believe these are talking about the same place.
Whether it is the same or not is not really all that important, but the message
sermon on the Mount is the longest recorded sermon we have from Jesus. Some
have said that it gives us a brief overview of everything that is taught about
living the Christian life as can be found in the 27 books of the New Testament.
Before I talk more about what the Sermon of the Mount is all about, I want to
share some misconceptions that some have had about this beautiful and life
changing sermon. All these misconceptions I am going to share with come from
David Padfield’s lesson on the Beatitudes:
Nietzsche (1844-1900), the German philosopher, looked upon the New Testament
morals as a “malignant disease.”
George Bernard Shaw called the Sermon on the Mount an “impractical outburst of
anarchism and sentimentality.”
Dispensationalists believe it to be for the future Kingdom, not for us.
note in the Scofield Bible reads: “For these reasons the Sermon on the Mount in
its primary application gives neither the privilege nor the duty of the
Jesus said “Blessed are those who are persecuted…”
this the “new earth”?
Seventh Day Adventist turn this sermon into an extension of the Ten
Commandments that were given on Mt. Sinai.
Others look at the sermon as a contrast to the Ten Commandments.
Christians turn it into a modern version of the Ten Commandments.
have done to the Sermon of the Mount what the Jews did to the Law – they have
drained the life right out of it.
have turned it into a series of “Thou shalts” and “Thou shal nots.”
Sermon on the Mount is one of the least understood, least followed teachings of
contains meat for the mature and will challenge you as long as you live.
take the time to study the Sermon of the Mount, and see the high standard that
it sets for us as Christians, it will cause you to see how much you need to
grow as a child of God. Jesus does not just cover the act of a sin itself, but
challenges us to gain control of just the thought of doing a sin because once
we think about doing something, many times we end up doing it.
can read through the Sermon on the Mount without feeling like you need to grow
stronger in your faith, then you are not reading it close or enough nor are you
being realistic. If you truly want to understand what it means to be blessed to
be a child of God, this beautiful sermon will teach you that. As we make our
way through this sermon by Jesus, we look at some more misconceptions that
people have made about what Jesus said along the way.
what R.L. Whiteside wrote about the Sermon on the Mount:
“It seems certain that no other
speech ever delivered has so influenced man as has this sermon on the mount.
Its contents, so superior to any production of man, proved the Deity of its
author. Its teaching is out of harmony with any school of religion of philosophy
of that day; hence there brightest lights could not have produced it. It is not
eclectic, that is , its contents are not a collection of the best thoughts of
that and previous ages. Its teaching is distinct, revolutionary, challenging
every school of religious thought of the times, both Jewish and heathen. It is
not a product of the times, but of Deity.” (R. L. Whiteside, Bible Studies,
Vol. 4, p. 117).
more could be said about how powerful and important the Sermon on the Mount is,
but let’s begin to discover why.
Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was
seated His disciples came to Him.
Jesus had a great following. How many, we do not know,
but He would take advantage of moments like these to teach the people important
lessons that they needed to hear. We can see that Jesus goes up on a mountain,
which would allow Him to be seen by everyone and it would make it much easier
for them to be able to hear what He had to say.
Notice that He sat down to speak, which was the normal
procedure during that time. As we have observed in earlier lessons, the speaker
would stand up when reading from the Old Testament Scriptures. Consider what
Mr. Coffman wrote about this:
traditional site of this mountain is seven miles southwest of Capernaum; the
place is known as The Horns of Hattin. Note the custom of sitting down to
teach, a procedure that was long followed in the early church. Sitting to teach
was an indication of authority. Dummelow noted that in the "early church,
the preacher sat, and the congregation, including the emperor, stood." Most of the cathedrals of Europe are still without pews or
other seating facilities for the congregation. The reformer, Martin Luther,
alluded to this custom when he said, objecting to the Pope's remaining seated
to observe the Lord's Supper, "Let him stand up when he takes the
communion, like any other stinking sinner."
 J. R. Dummelow, One Volume Commentary (New York: The
Macmillan Company, 1931), p. 638.
 John Bainton, Here I Stand (Nashville, Tennessee:
Next we read:
Matthew 5:2 Then He
opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is
the kingdom of heaven. 4
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, For
they shall inherit the earth. 6
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they
shall be filled. 7 Blessed are
the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see
God. 9 Blessed are the
peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are
persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you
when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you
falsely for My sake. 12
"Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in
heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
This section of the sermon is called the
Beatitudes from the Latin word “beati” which means blessed or happy. There are
nine beatitudes listed in Matthew’s account and they all begin with the word
Beatitudes teach us that we no matter what may be going on in our lives, we can
find joy in the Lord. Most of the Beatutitudes teach the opposite of what the
world would teach, yet we as Christians are to work at having all the
characteristics found within these sayings. All these characteristics personify
begin by breaking these Beatitudes down.
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs
is the kingdom of heaven.
The word “poor” can mean you have nothing materialistic
wise and some in the religious world would say that you are better off to be
poor, but there is a much deeper meaning to this than one being without money.
It certainly does not mean that if one is poor in spirit or poor in their faith
that they will see the kingdom of heaven. One who is poor in spirit is not one
who suppresses his personality or is ashamed of his abilities or what he has
worked for. While we certainly must be careful about our riches, we should also
be concerned about what deep poverty can do as Agur points out in:
Proverbs 30:7 Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): 8 Remove falsehood and lies far
from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches -- Feed me with the food allotted
to me; 9 Lest I be full and
deny You, And say, "Who is the LORD?" Or lest I be poor
and steal, And profane the name of my God.
What does it mean to be poor in spirit? It is a complete
absence of pride and self reliance as Paul said:
1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this
age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.
It is the kind of person that realizes how small he is
Psalm 8:4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?
One who is poor in spirit does not stand on his ancestry,
wealth, or his worldly education. Paul had all these things, yet he said:
Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, who
worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in
the flesh, 4 though I also
might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have
confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5
circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of
Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the
church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me,
these I have counted loss for Christ. 8
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of
Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and
count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which
is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the
righteousness which is from God by faith;
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and
the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
Paul is a great example of what it means to be poor in
spirit because once he realized that he was fighting against God, he completely
emptied himself of everything he knew so he could be filled with Christ. This
is the starting point for every person who wants to become a child of God. You
must be poor in spirit by humbly accepting you are a sinner and that by
yourself, you are nothing without Jesus. You must let go of all your vanity and
pride and put no trust in the flesh. Instead, put all your trust in Jesus and
the plan God has for us. So, whether you are rich, poor, or somewhere in
between is of no consequence, but those who are poor in spirit and have become
like Paul and other great men and women in the Bible that have done the same
can know without doubt that the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
This may sound strange to the
world because how could one be blessed who mourns? Before I answer this
question let’s look at what the word “mourn” means:
BDAG to experience sadness
as the result of some condition or circumstance, be sad, grieve, mourn. To
engage in mourning for one who is dead,…
This is the strongest form of mourning you will find in
the Scriptures. So, to be clear, this is not the kind of mourning that happens
when you burn your toast or a something you ordered did not come in on time.
This is the kind of mourning that will cause you to weep as you might weep for
one who passed away.
One aspect of mourning that
Jesus is talking about here will follow naturally after a person becomes poor
in spirit, because once you have emptied yourself and made the commitment to
follow Jesus, you will begin to mourn about your own sins and the negative
influences you had on those around you while living like the world. Once you
get beyond that, you will continue to mourn for the world including your loved
ones and friends that are still entangled in sin. In order for us to get to the
point in our lives where we will repent, we must mourn or be sorry for what we
have done. As Paul said in:
2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to
be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
One of the reasons we are blessed when we mourn is that
it leads to salvation because it pricks our hearts and causes us to change.
Those who are not convicted by the sorrow of their sin are of the world and
they will not be blessed or comforted.
As Christians, we can have great comfort knowing that our mourning will
draw us closer to God and that we can and will be comforted by Him.
We can learn this great lesson from Paul who said:
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the
revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to
buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times
that it might depart from me. 9
And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is
made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
When we mourn for the lost we are following the example
of Jesus because He came to seek and save the lost. Notice what Jesus said in:
Luke 19:41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, "If you had known,
even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your
peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
43 "For days will come upon you when your enemies will
build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every
side, 44 "and level you,
and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one
stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."
All Jesus ever wanted was for these people to believe and
to embrace the salvation that He was offering. When we have this same passion
for the lost as Jesus does, we will be blessed because it means we are
following in the footsteps of Jesus and we will be motivated to reach out to
Even when we mourn at the loss of a loved one, we are
still blessed because we can gain strength and comfort from God. No one living
like the world can do that. David certainly found great comfort in the Lord
when He mourned. For example, notice what he wrote:
Psalm 40:1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. 2 He also brought me up out
of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established
my steps. 3 He has put a new song in my mouth -- Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD.
All these things show us why we are blessed when we mourn
because we have God on our side, and He will help us through whatever we are
going through. As Jesus said:
Matthew 11:28 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will
give you rest. 29 "Take
My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you
will find rest for your souls. 30
"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Our next Beatitude says:
5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
If you go to a modern dictionary, you are going to find
them saying that being meek means you are weak in spirit and in courage, but
that is not the meaning of “meek” in the Bible.
BDAG …to not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance, gentle, humble, considerate,
Being meek is far from being passive, timid or weak. It is
one who has great balance in his life and is able to keep himself under control
though he has all the power and courage to do whatever he wills. Moses was such
ASV Numbers 12:3 Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men that
were upon the face of the earth.
Being meek is a quality that we should all strive for as
Christians. Since being meek includes the idea of being humble, we can know
that if we are not meek then we cannot have the grace of God according to:
1 Peter 5:5 …"God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."
Perhaps one of the greatest commentaries that explains
what is involved with being meek is found is two different sections of the
Bible. The first is from the O.T.
Psalm 37:3 Trust in
the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4
Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your
heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He
shall bring it to pass. 6 He shall bring forth your
righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. 7 Rest
in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who
prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 8
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret -- it only causes harm.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD,
They shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while and the
wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more. 11 But the meek shall inherit
the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
The second is from the N.T.
Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of
love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2
fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one
accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through
selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better
than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own
interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be
in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of
God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made
Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming
in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He
humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the
death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and
given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of
Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of
those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Everything you want to know about being meek is found
within these verses. It breaks it down for us and shows us that we must be well
balanced in our lives by trusting in God, being as humble as we can be, and by
keeping ourselves in control. When we do this, we will be blessed. Don’t think
for a minute that being meek is optional. Paul said:
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender
mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and
forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as
Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond
What does it mean when it says the meek will inherit the
earth? Does it mean that we will own this land and everything in it? I like the
answer given by Albert Barnes:
In the time
of our Savior they were in the constant habit of using the Old Testament, where
the promise perpetually occurs, and they used it as a proverbial, expression to
denote any great blessings,perhaps as the sum of all blessings. Ps. 37:20; Isa.
60:1. Our Savior used it in this sense, and meant to say, not that the meek
would own great property or have many
lands, but that they would posses peculiar blessings. The Jews also considered
the land of Canaan as a type of heaven, and of the blessings under the Messiah.
To inherit the land became,therefore, an expression denoting those blessings.
When our Savior uses uses this language here, he means that the meek shall be
received into his kingdom, and partake of its blessings here, and of the
glories of the heavenly Canaan hereafter. (Albert Barnes, Matthew and Mark, p.
I also like what Mr. Coffman says about this as well:
Inherit the earth ... does
not refer exclusively to the "new heaven and the new earth" (2 Peter 3:13),
but to this present earth as well. This is not a mere prophecy that the
Christians shall be the landed gentry; but it is a statement that their
relationship to the earth and its possessions shall be such as to bring them
the greatest possible benefit and enjoyment of it.
talked about three of the Beatitudes so far. We will have to continue looking
at the other Beatitudes and the rest of the Sermon on the Mount in the upcoming
lessons. I hope as we take a close look at the Beatitudes that will examine
your life to see if you have these characteristics. If you do not, I hope that
you will learn to develop them because as I said earlier these Beatitudes
personify Jesus, and we should all want
to be like Him.
believe that this list of the Beatitudes are not in just some random order, but
that they build upon each other. For example, we started out with poor in
spirit, which is where we must begin to appreciate what God has done for us and
our sin problem. Second, we will certainly mourn because of our sin and the sin
of others. Third, once we empty ourselves and turn ourselves completely over to
God, it will lead us to be meek because we will clearly see just how little we
are in comparison to God and His wisdom, and how much we much we need God in
our lives. It will also teach us that we are not more important than anyone
else. I hope you will be able to hear all these lessons on the Sermon on the
Mount because there is much for us to gain and grow from what Jesus has taught