I am building a group of men to think for themselves. To rightly divide the word of truth. The vehicle for this building is a study on the Sermon on the mount. It is in Matthews Gospel Chapter 5,6,7.
But as I read these words over and over again, I am amazed at the teachings of Jesus. He was teaching the disciples on a grassy hill about the Kingdom of Heaven. The hearers were amazed at the teachings of Jesus for it was from authority. It meant something to them. The sermon was one of those in which after the last AMEN, you simply said, “wow”. It pierced their hearts with truth. Not like another law book or set of rules. Jesus taught them about the things which impacted their lives.
The Scribes and Pharisees taught speaking and re-speaking the same words. Words without life and conviction. Jesus said to those who listened, “your righteousness must surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. This new law of the Kingdom of Heaven, this new way of truth and life, this abundant life points to dire need for a new righteousness.
The Kingdom of Heaven is a righteousness of faith empowered by the Holy Spirit to enable you to lovingly, willingly and delightfully yield your will in total submission to His examination of your heart so that you may be completely set free.
As with any revolutionary idea these words of Jesus were and still are misconstrued. It would be easy for anyone reading the Sermon on the Mount to wince once and a while. We have to be different from everyone else. We can’t even think about getting angry and wishing someone ill, just looking at a woman is the same as having relations with her, divorce is out of the question, can’t make a oath, turn the other cheek and pray for my enemies.
In a quick read the task of obedience is overwhelming. “Jesus have you just traded one set of laws for another?” The demands of Jesus are simply too difficult. Who among us have never hid wrong attitudes in our heart? Who is not guilty of disobeying the rule of the King?
The inevitable result is to fall short of God’s glorious ideal. We try and try to uphold that ideal with every ounce of our strength, but we fail again and again. We end up living a life full of disappointment, guilt and failure. And that is just the point.
your conscience burns within you knowing that Jesus does not rule simply until you’ve had enough. But rather than leaving you naked in your rebellion and exposed to judgment, He forgives you. He heals you. He restores you. He lifts you up and strengthens you to carry on the journey of faith for yet another day.
In our men’s study we simply say, “there are only two things in the Bible, 1) Revelation and 2) reconciliation.” God reveals Himself in his plans and ideals and we are to reconcile ourselves to that revelation. When we fail. And fail we often do. Failure should lead ourselves back to God for His strength, His guidance, His forgiveness, His love, His reconciliation.