After His baptism, Jesus began to call His disciples. He first called Peter and his brother Andrew, who were fishing by the Sea of Galilee. Jesus beckoned them to “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:18-19). He then called James, and his brother John who were also fishing. In each case, these first four disciples immediately abandoned their fishing and followed the Lord.
a. Jesus addressed the Sermon to the nation of Israel.
b. Jesus was their Messiah, and He began his public ministry by giving the principles which are revealed in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus will reign from Jerusalem in the coming Millennial Kingdom, and as the coming King and Messiah of Israel, He sets forth the laws and principles of the coming Millennial Kingdom.
c. During the Millennium, Jesus will rule His kingdom, promised to the Jews in the Old Testament. It will be a time of peace, the lamb will lay down with the lion. (Isa. 11:6-7) Jesus, seated on the throne of David, will rule from Jerusalem. (1 Kings 5:9; Isa. 9:6-7 Jer. 33:17) For one thousand years, Israel will occupy the land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob from the Nile river in the south to the Euphrates river in the north. (Rev. 20:5-7)
Isaiah 35:1-10 explains what the Kingdom will be like. (READ)
2. The Beattitudes do not present the way of salvation, but the way of righteous living. They are applicable today as well as in the coming Kingdom.
a. This was Jesus' the first message, and He preached it after His
temptation. He began His ministry with the first miracle at Cana. He left Nazareth as his home and lived in Capernaum on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee.
b. He called Peter, Andrew, James and John there. For a while Jesus preached there and did many miracles. Great numbers of people followed Him because of the miracles He did.
c. Matthew 5:1, says He went up into the mountain. This mountain was by the Sea of Galilee. On the north and west side of the Sea and where there are rolling hills that slope down to the sea. Carolyn and I were there in October 2002. It is called "the hill” by Matthew because it was the place where the message was preached. With the wind blowing from the east and the shape of the land, it was a perfect amphitheater when He could speak to large numbers of people.
d. Jesus was followed by multitudes of people and He spoke to them and His disciples.
e. Israel was looking for a Deliverer, and Jesus had come with great
power and as a prophet, preaching repentance. It is His first recorded message. It was a declaration to Israel to turn to righteousness in preparation for their promised Kingdom.
The principles of godly living were directed to the nation of Israel, God's chosen people and Jesus was announcing Himself as their Messiah. He was offering the Kingdom to them as God had promised in the Old Testament. His message was the same as John the Baptist's which was "repent for the Kingdom of God is at Hand". (Matt. 4:17)
3. The Scribes and Pharisees had perverted the Law into a legalist system of works for salvation. They followed the Talmud, which was the writing of the rabbis, rather than the Torah, the Old Testament Scriptures. The Talmud has two sections, the first being the Mishnah with was the record of the oral traditions. The second section is the Gemara the commentary of the Hebrew Bible written by the rabbis.
The Jews believed their birth as Jews and keeping the law would please God and make them worthy of the Kingdom. The situation is the same today. Many "Christian" religions are teaching the same thing that the Scribes and Pharisees were teaching. You must belong to a particular group or church who are special and everyone else is excluded. You must keep their rituals, ceremonies, keep certain laws, and do good works to be worthy of the Kingdom of heaven.
When these religious Jews asked the Lord what works they should do He replied, "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:29) Another example is the young man who came to Jesus asking what should he do to have eternal life thinking that his good works would save him. (John 19:16-23)
a. Jesus came and presented in sharp contrast the "spirit of the Law"! There is a vast distance between living by a set of laws and living by the principles of the laws. A person can keep the letter of the law or the rules and do so with a proud and unrepentant heart. A person can keep the law out of pride and self righteousness and yet not savingly know the Lord.
A person who is repentant will obey God because He believes and loves the Lord and knows that God's principles honor the Lord. He will live a godly life to honor His Savior and to be a witness to others of God's truth and of salvation. His motivation is spiritual, desiring to please His Savior.
b. God was never pleased with vain rituals or even sacrifices which had not come from the heart. Malachi, the last Old Testament. prophet came and made it clear that God wanted Israel to serve Him out of a loving heart, that loved righteousness. "For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." (Psalms 51:16-17)
c. For 400 years Israel rejected God's message, and God's love. They went further in refining ritual and excluding God from their worship. Out of this period came the Scribes and Pharisees and the Torah, God's word, was replaced by the Talmud which was the writings of rabbi's. They still had the Torah, but they made it almost an idol decorating it in an elaborate fashion, but not reading or following it.
It goes on today as well. Many make Christ prominent in their lives, few make Him preeminent. Many do not deny Him, but they dethrone Him.
4. Jesus was teaching them the Law of the Kingdom of God. It shows the contrast between hypocrisy and truly living a godly life lived by faith.
The Sermon on the Mount is not addressed to the Lost! Only a born again Christian and true child of God can understand or benefit from this message. It is against the very nature of a lost man who, if he tried to follow these teachings would still be, at the very best a hypocrite. Claiming to follow God and yet not even knowing personally who God really is worthless and hypocritical.
You cannot carry out the teachings of the King, when you have not bowed to His sovereignty or when you do not bow to Him as your Lord. The teachings are absolutely in opposition with the world and man's desires and emotions. This is God's plan for those who are His, who have been given eternal life.
5. Although not addressed to Believers today, it can have two applications for us today:
To direct the obedient child of God to a closer relationship with his Savior and God. To teach him how to fully how to be a witness, a mirror to reflect the true spirit of God. How important is this!! To know the true spirit of God and reveal it to others.
To the lost man who would see what it really means to be a child of God and have eternal life and turn from his sin to a loving God. Every child of God should examine their life by God's standards and truth, unpolluted by man's false ideas.
I. THE GREATEST BENEFIT OF BEING A CHILD OF GOD!
A. Would you say the greatest benefit of being a child of God is having eternal life? or heaven? Actually, it is both of these things, and also happiness at being at peace with God! Yes, heaven is going to be wonderful, but heaven is in the future. Now, we live in the present, and what a blessing it is to be in harmony with one's Creator. What peace to be reconciled to our God.
Without being happy and content eternal life or heaven would be worthless and the joy and peace of heaven begins when a person comes to know the Lord. It begins NOW!
B. The English word "Blessed" is Greek an adjective, "mak a rios" which means to be to "well off, fortunate, blessed and happy or blissful.
We would think the word is a verb showing action, but it is an adjective describing the desired character of each believer. The Greeks used the word to describe the state of being contented and blissful unaffected by circumstance. This was a state unaffected by poverty, problems and even death. 1 Timothy 6:15. states in reference to God, that He is "the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of lords." Thus, it encompasses the very character of God Himself in that He is Happy and Blissful.
Old Testament the Septuagint uses it of moral quality. "Shaking itself loose from all thoughts of outward good, it becomes the express symbol of a happiness identified with pure character.”
C. The greatest problem today in churches is that the true spirit of God is not understood.
1. Many teach rules and ritual instead of righteousness.
2. Many have an erroneous understanding of God.
3. Many condone sin, error, false teaching and a have distorted view of God Himself.
4. Many smiles, and spout pretty words about L O V E, yet are devoid of truly the spirit of God.
5. Many call anyone a Christian and without qualification, granting to them the blessings of God. They only require them to say the words without any identifying righteousness in their lives. To many it makes no difference that they don't act like Christians, and don't follow Christ.
6. Many have perverted the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ into a health and wealth scheme in which false preachers, churches, and cults milk millions of dollars from those who do not know God's word and believe their distorted unbiblical doctrines and practices.
ILLUS: It is like the young man who wrote and criticized me strongly because I will not condone CCM (Contemporary "Christian" Music). Many modern “emergent churches” have worldly rock bands in the churches. Their actions are the same as you see at rock music concerts. I wrote back and explained what God's word says and what truly pleases God describing what true worship was all about. He did not respond. His idea of God was infinitely distorted and degrades our Holy and Righteous Savior.
D. It is important that this was Jesus' first message recorded and passed down to us.
1. Many are offended and resent teaching righteous living. WHY? I often get people writing me and take me to task, saying I am "unloving, uncaring" because I preach against sin and reveal false teaching, churches and preachers.
Yet, when the criticism comes I remember Jesus' words "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God" (John 3:19-21).
The Lord’s commission is plain. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Paul warned the young pastor Timothy to, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:2-4).
He further instructed Timothy, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness” (1 Timothy 4:6-7).
2. It is right for professing Christians to sin? Does that please GOD? Is it right and pleasing to God to have false teachers leading folks astray?
God says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2)
Is it right to ignore what God has said in His word and believe and practice doctrines of men and claim God said it? I think not.
E. What is better? Truth or Error - Sin or Righteousness? This is a decision each of us must make. We must decide what we believe and what we will pattern our lives after and for what we will stand. The stakes are high, one's choice will bring heartache, sorrow, and confusion, the other peace, joy, contentment and satisfaction?
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) Those that benefit from salvation are those who live it! Who are ". . . not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18).
1. Sin breeds heartache, suffering and discontentment.
2. Righteousness will bring peace, happiness and freedom from worry and spiritual or material want in the midst of any situation... good or bad.
3. Sin and unrighteous make one a slave - yet Christ sets men free!
4. Why did Jesus preach this message? Out of a love, a deep, abiding protecting well seeking... love.
5. The world does not offer that. Religion doesn't offer that. Only the love of Christ that is received in salvation can bring that.
F. It is not automatic. Receiving Christ and having the peace of God is not received like taking a pill.
1. It is learned. When it is accepted and believed it grows within the heart of man or woman. It changes one spiritually over time and makes them more like their Savior.
2. The heart that loves God, seeks Him. It was recently expressed to me this way. "I was hungry for the truth and could not get enough of God's Word"
3. The peddlers of false religion today offer what? Material blessing! Wealth, health. Empty emotional highs...signing chants and repeatious choruses to work people up in emotion highs. They offer nothing truly spiritual. You will not hear from their pulpits messages of righteousness.
1. What Jesus said is a little confusing looking at it through the worlds eyes.
2. He offered the blessing of the kingdom of heaven to the:
Poor in Spirit (v3)
Eager for righteousness (v6)
Pure in heart (v8)
The Reviled (v11)
Those who have these nine characteristics are said to be blessed, to be happy to be blissful.
3. You see, God is offering a salvation of the soul. Think about that for a minute.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. “ (Philippians 2:12) It means to apply the principles of righteousness to one’s life and reap the reward of the righteous. It means God’s blessing are not automatic, but the result of soul searching and confession of sin.
Peace and fulfillment come from the soul and no where else. Peach does not come from the things of this world, but from living by God’s standards found in His word. It does not come from the world's wisdom, or material things. One may please the body all they want and live the worldly life, but understand it will not bring satisfaction to the soul. There will be no peace and joy until one's soul is satisfied.
4. Christ offers us freedom, which is freedom from the bondage of sin. This is the freedom of one’s soul from the guilt, bitterness, and penalty of sin. It means freedom from one’s carnal nature that is like a consuming monster that destroy from within.
5. He offers a new life! A new spirit! Peace and forgiveness and eternal contentment. And if that were not enough, He offers eternal life and heaven in the presence of God forever.
6. Are you truly saved? Can you give me even one good reason you would not trust Him and receive this gift of the Grace of God right now? Can you give me one good reason not to believe and obey Him?
To believe and accept Christ into one’s life is to gain, an eternity to gain that cannot be lost, that is applicable today and forever.