sermon on the mount

Of light bulbs and revelation.

It’s an earth shattering thing when it hits you one day that everything that you knew and understood growing up was wrong.  Yikes!  Your parents were wrong.  Your spiritual leader and care-giver was wrong.  Your religion was wrong.  Your creed was wrong.  All of a sudden, the light bulb went on and you saw where they were wrong and where God was right.

That’s what happened to the apostle Paul when he was on his way to Damascus.  He had grown up a good Jew and did what all good Jews did.  He followed the rules that his parents and the rabbis handed on to him. Except Paul was more than a good Jew. He was a great Jew!  He was not just a follower of Judaism, he was an advocate of Judaism and worked tirelessly and aggressively to put down anything opposed to it. 

And then one day, God rocked his world and showed him the truth.  Then one day, God shook his heart.  In that moment and in the moments that followed, Jesus turned the light bulb on and Paul saw that what he had been taught had all been wrong.  He was trying to be saved by morality, but morality without Jesus is demoralizing and only ends in defeat. In that moment, Paul discovered that everything he had learned was wrong.

Jesus the same thing as he sits down with his disciples and with the church of his day and says, “Let me fill in the gaps for you. Let me help you understand the law and the prophets.  Let me help you understand the Scriptures.  Let me turn the light on for you.”  Already then they were missing some key parts of the Scriptures.  They were teaching some of the Scriptures, but not all of it.  They were teaching morality and ethics, but not grace and redemption.

Too often the Christian church is known for its morality and ethics. And Jesus did teach morals and ethics.  In his morality and ethics, Jesus holds the lie and urges us to toe it.  In fact, he urges us to step our game.

But Jesus has more to teach us.  He’s coming to turn the light on for us, to fill in the gaps, and teach about a greater righteousness than morality and ethics could ever give.  He’s coming to show us a greater path to righteousness than any 4- or 7- or 10-step program ever could. 

“I’m right here,” Jesus quietly proclaims.  “I am the one who fulfills the prophets.  I am the one who accomplishes all righteousness.  I am the one who gives you a righteousness that far surpasses the greatest and saintliest person who ever lived.”

The Sermon on the Mount is not just about morality and ethics.  It’s about Jesus who turns the light on for us and shows us what we’ve been missing all along.  He not only sheds light on the fullness of God’s moral expectations, but he also and especially shines the spotlight on the fullness of God’s grace for us and his redemption of us.  And that’s game changing.

I can’t wait to show you what I mean.  Join us this Sunday as we continue our study of the Sermon on the Mount.  Matthew 5:17-20.

#Blessed

A quick survey of our lives and we quickly and easily find things that makes us #blessed. We are blessed with family and friends, food and games, sports and entertainment, toys and riches.  A quick survey of survey of Facebook or Twitter and you will find people counting themselves #blessed for all kinds of blessings.  Even the person in the most desperate situations can find a reason or two to count themselves blessed. We are all #blessed in more ways than we can number. 

Jesus would heartily add his “Amen” to our thanksgiving as we count the blessings that God has poured into our lives.  He would thoroughly agree that our family is a tremendous gift of God.  He would completely concur that good friends are an awesome find.  Jesus thoroughly encourages our thanksgiving for all these blessings. 

Then, he would add nine more reasons.  Then, Jesus would give us nine more reasons that we are #blessed. When Jesus sat down on the side of a mountain one day, he opened us mouth and nine times said, “Blessed are the … for theirs is.”  “Blessed are the… for they will…”  Jesus piles up reasons that we are #blessed! (Read Matthew 5:1-12 to get the whole list).

He piles up reasons that we are blessed, but it’s not what you’d expect. In fact, when you first read through these blessed statements (we call the Beatitudes), you might even say, “That’s not true!”  “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” “Blessed are those who mourn…” “Blessed are the meek…”  Really!?! Really, Jesus!?!

And Jesus would nod his head and say, “Yes.  This is most certainly true!”  Here again, Jesus would heartily add his “Amen” to ever word that comes out of his mouth.

In these nine blessed sayings, Jesus aims to teach us truths that aren’t immediately clear to us, things that are counterintuitive, truths that we might even think are false and untrue.  Jesus wants us to believe these truths and find joy in this blessedness that comes from God.

This Sunday (2/5) we’ll be taking a look at these blessed sayings of Jesus because we want understand what Jesus is saying here. We’ll dig into these seemingly counterintuitive truths and find out that they aren’t false at all.  These are blessed truths which, when we understand them, will be a great blessing to us.

Join us as we kick off a brand new series: Jesus // Uncut: A sermon series on Matthew 5.