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To Understand The Sermon On The Mount presents difficulties in time and culture. Once past what people have said about Jesus for 2,000 years, we can examine what He means for us, today. 

Understand The Sermon On The Mount-A1

Harmony Of The Gospels Series 11, Mt 5:1-16

For more information about Jesus see these books on the History of Jesus Christ.

Also, consider these best-sellers for more detailed analysis of The Sermon On The Mount.  

Side Point: We promised to take on the hard things when they came by, here's one of them. This 'Sermon On The Mount' is not the same event as the sermon in Luke 6. Many people have used the similarity of these two sermons to "prove" the Bible contradicts itself. Just because Jesus discussed many of the same things doesn't mean it's the same sermon. If we believe the Bible is God's Word, we have no problem with the seeming contradictions. That's because there is no contradiction between what Jesus said at either event. The things that appear to contradict actually prove they were 2 different events. One on a mountain, the other on a plane; Jesus taught while seated at one, standing at the other; the disciples came to Him at one, He went to the disciples at the other; He taught a small group at one, a large crowd at the other. The "Sermon On The Mount' is, basically, an explanation of His vision for the disciples. He takes on legalism and religion and sets a different standard for God's law-dependence on God. We could spend a year on these 3 chapters and still miss a lot-we're only spending 4 weeks to 'skim' it.
    Our 'human condition' seems always to be one of struggle. I get one struggle out of the way just to find another, bigger one behind it. I'm not going to ask if you're struggling with anything. If you're breathing, you're struggling. But, what is your struggle? Are you going through divorce, a chronic illness, conflict at work or home, addictions, financial problems, weight loss and diet, employment, school pressure, family strife, maybe a legal battle? All of the above or something different? You're not alone! We all have them. How do we react to them? Do we control our reaction or does the struggle control it? How we react is often based on how we interpret struggle in the first place. Do we see it as punishment for something in our past? If true, struggle is of very little use because we don't know the specific cause, like a child that's spanked with no explanation 3 days after they did something wrong. We can't correct our behavior to avoid the next whipping, 'cause we don't know what we did wrong. Do we see struggle as harassment from the devil? That would cripple our faith in God if we understood the devil as having power to control and derail the life of one of God's servants. The Jesus in you is bigger than that! What Jesus teaches us in this weeks passage is that we should interpret our struggles as blessings from God, because…Every struggle we're in is an opportunity for Jesus to shine.  He will shine In us, On us, and Through us to reveal Himself and his love to us and others.

The Beatitudes-What They Mean to Us Today:

1. Shine In Us: vs 1-10 "Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
a. Not law but light: Jesus uses the words 'they' and 'theirs', speaking in third person of people (may or may not include His audience) who find themselves in these conditions He refers to as blessed. How many times have we heard these beatitudes taught as if they were some law that must be followed in order to receive God's blessing. In fact, I've read in many a commentary how the Sermon On The Mount is the "Christian Law" as if it must be obeyed like the Jewish Law "or we lose God's favor." I say, "Bull!!!" Please, show me where the Bible says that. If the Bible is all we say it is, it's good for us to compare what people say about God and His Word with what His Word says. Please hold me to the same standard. There is one law of Christ mentioned several places in His Word. Here's a paraphrase…"love!" Let me give you a way to remember such a short law...The Law of the Lord is "Live Love"
    If Jesus were directing His disciples to act a certain way, He would have spoken directly to them and used imperative wording… you will, you must, etc. He didn't do that. I believe He was telling them how things work in God's kingdom; that, what we think is down is really up; just like He taught them so many times in other ways. It's like He was saying, 'What you think are places of defeat and pity are really…
b. Places to see God shine: He seems to be saying to them, and to us, 'there are special places to see God's blessing; to see Him shine'. If we find ourselves spiritually down, or grieving over some loss, when our condition is humble and meek, when we need righteousness so much it's like hunger or thirst, when others have hurt us and need our mercy, when our hearts are pure, and when we aim for peace no matter who is aiming at us…it's at these times and in these circumstances God will really shine for us. These are opportunities to see God shine that never could exist when everything seems to be going our way. Here's a dependable practice: During struggle, look for God's blessing.

Concluded at Understand Sermon On The Mount-A2

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