Sermon on the Mount

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Sermon on the Mount – Prayer


Read Matthew 6:5-8
But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6:6 (NLT)

The purpose of prayer is not to impress others with our spirituality, but to talk to God, to talk with God, to gain a deeper understanding of His will. As we connect daily to God, we gain His joy, His peace, and can be content with His provision for all aspects of our lives.

Sermon on the Mount – Giving to the Needy


“Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Matthew 6:4 (NLT)

As he does in all the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus here again deals not with what we do, but with our heart. We can choose to bless others with resources in return for public acclaim, or we can do it in response to God’s love and generosity toward us. Staying close to God helps us recognize and respond to the leading of the Spirit as we give to the needy.

Sermon on the Mount – Love Your Enemies


“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” Matthew 5:43-44 (NLT)

The Apostle Paul talks about us being ambassadors of reconciliation, not regarding anyone from a worldly point of view. The worldly view is “hate your enemies.” Christ says here that we are to be different; we are to love even our enemies. So when people mistreat us, we are not only to forgive them, but to work to restore the relationship to a positive mutually supportive one. This is really difficult, which is why we need the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sermon on the Mount – Revenge


But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. Matthew 5:39-40 (NLT)

“Turning the other cheek” has been talked about in a variety of ways, but seldom followed. This isn’t saying not to put up a boundary, but rather to kill the evil intent and break the cycle of “tit for tat.” When we show up with love and forgiveness, God can use that to defuse the situation and hopefully restore, or even begin, a relationship. In the case of court (or other legal judgments) which we feel are unjust, the command is to accept the verdict and let that be the end of the conflict with the other person, allowing relationship, which is always God’s priority, to continue. In any event, God has our back, and He will resupply what we need.

Sermon on the Mount – Vows


Read Matthew 5:33-37 “Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37 (NLT) Jesus is encouraging us not to let our pride cause us to over-promise, to try to sound more powerful than we really are, but to build our lives on a […]

Sermon on the Mount – Divorce


“You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’ But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.” Matthew 5:31-32 (NLT) […]

Sermon on the Mount – Adultery


“So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Matthew 5:29 (NLT)

God prioritizes relationships, especially the intimate relationships between men and women. So He commands us to respect that relationship so fully that we would give up anything rather than let lust reign in our minds or bodies. Only in this way can we maintain both our own intimate relationships and our brotherly (sisterly) relationships with the greater community of believers.

Sermon on the Mount – Anger


“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”
Matthew 5:23-24 (NLT)

In this passage, Jesus explains that God cares about not only murder, but all the steps (anger, insults, curses) that can lead us toward murder. In other words, consider the impact your words and actions have on others. Don’t let them tear relationships apart. In God’s view, real, healthy relationships matter. Protect them, build them, grow them as you are empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Sermon on the Mount – The Law


“But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” Matthew 5:20 (NLT)

The Law is good, but it will never save us. That’s because the only way we can ever live into obedience to the Law is by the power of the Holy Spirit, given to us by grace through faith. May God open our eyes not only to the truth and goodness of his commandments, but also to our own utter inability to obey them in our own strength. Then may He give us the faith to rely on Jesus’ own perfect fulfillment of the Law for both our salvation and our obedience.

Sermon on the Mount – Salt & Light


“You are the salt of the earth. . . . You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.”
Matthew 5:13a, 14a (NLT)

Through the transformative power of the Holy Spirit, we have a new identity, a new destiny, a new calling, and a new purpose. And yet many of us don’t live into this identity. There is so much that is lost when we don’t aim at living ‘all in’ for God, to do whatever it takes to get around people who are living all in, who will encourage us to live all in, who will not discourage us from taking up our cross and following Jesus. As we do live all in, we will see the many ways God will make us salt and light in the lives of those with whom we live and work.