The Pharisee in me

“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisee, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20)

For us, as self-righteous white conservative evangelicals in America, we can all too often quickly declare, “Done. And done. I’m not a Pharisee!”

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The power of the Sermon on the Mount

Since reading Dallas Willard’s book, The Divine Conspiracy, about 20 years ago, the Sermon on the Mount has been more influential in my living and study and mindset than any other portion of Scripture, with the possible exception of Ephesians.

Can you tell I get something out of it?

This is the fascination and wonder I will always have with Scripture. Every time I move through even the most familiar passage, I am stunned with something new. It’s a joy that often leaves me asking, “When did they put THAT there?”

Our grand invitation

Matthew 7:13–14 (NIV)
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

I recently finished up another journey through the Sermon on the Mount and come away once again with awe. The Kingdom of God is so grand and powerful and our King invites us into this incredible life.

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Disordered faith

Matthew 6:28–31 (NIV)
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

Whenever Jesus gets to that phrase… “you of little faith”… (and he does it a lot)… I feel small. How come I don’t have enough faith?

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The point of the Sermon on the Mount

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:43-45, NIV) Read more