We may argue about church stuff. We can disagree about methods and practice. But we must be clear on one thing. Jesus came to this earth on a rescue mission: “to seek and save the lost.” (Jesus, Luke 19:10) Of all the great debates within Christ’s Church, none is more important and divisive that the question, “How is a person forgiven of his/her sin.” Many agree that Jesus is the only way, but what is the appropriate response to the Gospel? Read More…
“Summer School with Jesus” Series
(The Sermon on the Mount- Matthew 5-7)
The greatest sermon ever was delivered not from a pulpit or a professional speaker at a modern mega-church. Jesus took his small band of new followers up the trail for an orientation session and spoke the greatest oration to flow from anyone’s lips. We title this teaching the “Sermon on the Mount” and find the Master’s instruction in Matthew, chapters five, six, and seven.
These three chapters have intrigued me since I trusted Christ for salvation twenty years ago. I have gravitated toward this section of my Bible on a frequent basis. Even though this section comprises only 1.2% of the New Testament and .3% of the Bible, the “Sermon on the Mount” is unique. It is like the view from the mountain that rewards the devoted hiker with a panoramic presentation. With a clear day and unobstructed view, one may be able to see ten, if not one hundred, miles away. Likewise, the “Sermon on the Mount” is a breath-taking look at Jesus’ definition of discipleship. With this teaching, we have a guide for obeying the call of “follow Me.”
Jesus focuses on six topics in this monumental teaching. He begins with the attitude that each disciple should possess (also called the “Beatitudes” in 5:3-12). He exposes the calling of the disciple in 5:13-16 by using the metaphors of salt and light. In a larger section, Jesus looks at the heart by examining the integrity and ethics of a disciple (5:17-48). After setting the foundation, Jesus turns His attention to the practice of a disciple by examining one’s giving, fervency in prayer, fasting habits, worship, faith in God to supply every need, and treatment of other people. Jesus concludes His discourse with a warning on spiritual warfare (7:13-27) by exposing the reality of false religion, false prophets, false converts, and the façade of a fancy house built on sand. When Jesus was finished the crowd was in shock by the content of what He presented, the authority by which He spoke, and the expectations of which He demanded. Following Christ was serious business.
Following Christ today is just as serious. Until the Church realizes this truth and becomes resolute on being fully devoted disciples, she will remain in her weakened state.
“Follow One, Lead Others” Principle #1: A disciple proves his or her faith in Christ by following Him and seeking to teach others what the Master has revealed to the disciple.