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) Continue reading “The point of the Sermon on the Mount”

Treasuring Jesus and leaving Mammon

I tried to make a goal of reading through one Synoptic gospel each week, then rotate back through. The goal, I suppose, was to keep my mind filled with the story of Jesus and reflect deeply on some things that stood out to me each time I read through.

So much for that. I’ve spent about 2 weeks on each synoptic, and I find myself yet again in Matthew… and, of course, camped in the Sermon on the Mount. It is so beautiful, powerful, deadly (in a good way), and mesmerizing to me.

And for the past couple of days it’s simply been Matthew 6:25-34.

Don’t worry. It’s the Kingdom you seek, not the stuff of life. Learn to treasure the Kingdom. Let God add in what he wills… and don’t get jealous if he adds in something to someone else! SEEK THE KINGDOM!

In a day of financial strain and ministry stress, these verses are digging deep into me. I am learning to find rest. Learning… still in process.

Learn to trust. Learn to rest. Learn to pursue the Kingdom… and not stuff.

I am learning to be thankful for the provision that comes my way… every day. Learning the beauty of trust every day is, at times, excruciating.

But the words of Matthew 7:7 remind me of the words of Dallas Willard: The nature of the Kingdom is to ASK.

I don’t always have the patience and trust. So, I ask.

Teach me, Lord!

The Great Invitation of the King

While I haven’t paid as much attention to the liturgical calendar for preaching, I have kept our congregation on track with our readings every Sunday. Along with that it is the realization that this is the last Sunday of the liturgical year and it is Christ the King Sunday.

Not being raised in the liturgical tradition, and still on the learning curve in that tradition, I am not going to be able to speak well enough of the meaning of this Sunday. But I do find it wonderfully orchestrated that on this Sunday I am also finishing up my series on the Sermon on the Mount and it ends with the great invitation of the King.

The call of the “message on the mountain” is to enter into the life of apprenticeship. Jesus is the Master Teacher and he is inviting others to apprentice themselves to him. It’s not a school. You don’t go to class then leave and ignore what was just said. You enter into a life of allegiance to the King.

On this Christ the King Sunday, the invitation of the Great King is extended once again. “Come, follow me.”

Let us hear that great call today and follow… truly follow… our King.

Are you finished being God?

Matthew 7:1-6 gives us the ultimate excuse to tell people to back off.

We usually don’t like others prying into our messes, so we say something like, “Don’t judge me.”

The Kingdom ethic is, of course, a bit more involved than us just trying to get people to back off. Scot McKnight’s new commentary, The Sermon on the Mount, gives some good insight. One of the messes we get into is that word “judge.” It’s simply too broad so finding the context is key.

McKnight points out the Kingdom ethic John Wesley used: “The judging that Jesus condemns here is thinking about another person in a way that is contrary to love.”

The Kingdom ethic is learning that we are not God. God alone is judge. We don’t need to be a part of a society of condemnation. We are in a Kingdom that calls us to humility and is marked by love for our neighbor.

To this short point, I am really liking McKnight’s approach to the Sermon, especially as I try to capture the power of this message through the lens of Dallas Willard and The Divine Conspiracy.