Friday, July 22, 2011

Matter of the Heart

I hope you're enjoying the Sermon on the Mount series as much as I am, I'm learning new things all the time. 
Last week's message was from Matthew 5:17 - 26
Matthew 5:17-18(NIV) 
17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  
18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 
He reminded the people that He didn't  come to lower the standard of the of the Law and the Prophets  (Old Testament)  He actually  raised it where it belonged.
He redefined and reemphasized the divine standard given in the law of God. Which is that   what you are on the inside is what God is concerned with. Jesus emphasized here in the Sermon on the Mount and throughout His whole ministry, that: external ceremonies, external religious rites, and certain works are not the whole issue He  is concerned with the heart.  The scribes and the Pharisees had a righteousness that was external. God is concerned about what you really are not what you appear to be. It is the internal that is infinitely more important than the external.That is essentially what verse 20 means. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. 
 God  responds to men not on the basis of outward deeds but on the basis of the heart which God alone knows.
The key, I believe is the phrase you have heard it said.”  In virtually every other place where Jesus refers to the Law (or Old Testament), He uses the phrase, “It is written” (e.g., Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; 21:13, 26:31).  Here He uses the phrase “You have heard.” This is a contrast between  what the he scribes and Pharisees taught  and the true letter and true spirit of the Law.

Hatred & Murder
  21“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder,£ and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’  22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother£ will be subject to judgment.
 Jesus' teaching here about murder that's literally shocking, it is devastating to the audience, because he makes it a heart issue. If you hate someone that is just like murder and deserves the same punishment. 
Are you guilty of murder? Well Jesus said if you hate someone you are a murderer.

  John warns us that  "Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer."   We must guard our hearts because hatred is murder.

He makes another shocking statement that bothers me.
23“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 
24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift

 If someone has something against me I need to go to them and be reconciled before I worship. I think I have some praying to  do, people to see

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sermon on the Mount Intro

Last week we started a series in the Sermon on the Mount. It is the greatest sermon ever preached. It is the best know of Jesus teachings, but also the most misunderstood and interpreted. The following is a brief overview of the first message in the series.
Interpretations of the SOM

Ways the Sermon on the Mount has been interpreted over the years

Social gospel.
• Protestant liberals have used the ethics of the sermon as a mandate for the church to usher in the kingdom of God by means of reforming society.

• Leaders of the Social Gospel Movement believed that the kingdom could be attained by understanding and applying the principles of this Sermon to our culture.

 Carry over from OT
• Some believe it is merely a better interpretation of the Law and has nothing to do with the Age of Grace,

Standards are to high
• Some say that the "demands" of the Sermon on the Mount are beyond human capabilities  therefore, cannot be expected to be literally fulfilled. Thus, the Sermon serves to make man aware of his sin and to bring him to repentance.

Kingdom age.
• Dispensationalism teaches that these laws are for the kingdom age (Millennium) and are only an example for us and our day.

The Sermon on the Mount is a description of what the citizens of the kingdom are to be and do. “It describes what human life and human community look like when they come under the gracious rule of God.” (John Stott).

Why study the Sermon on the Mount

1.  The Sermon on the Mount will show you the absolute necessity of the new birth.
2.  it clearly points to Jesus Christ.
3.  it's the only way to happiness for Christians.
4.  it's the best means I know of evangelism.

The layout of Sermon on the Mount

I. Our character Matthew 5:3-12

• is to be completely distinct from the character which the world admires (through the qualities in the beatitudes)

II. Our influence Matthew 5:13-16
• is like light to darkness and salt to moral decay

III. Our righteousness Matthew 5:17-6:18-

 • Our righteousness must exceed the superficial righteousness of the established religious community:

• The Sermon on the Mount impacts the way we live our lives in the following areas:

   a. In Ethics 5:17-4 
       Murder/anger: 21-26
       Adultery/lust: 27-30
       Divorce: 31-32
       Oaths/honesty: 33-37
       Retaliation/non-retaliation: 38-42
       Hatred/Love for  enemy: 43-48

  b. In devotion 6:1-18

     Giving: 1-4
     Praying: 5-15
     Fasting 16-18

  c. In ambition

Our ambitions are to be different. Though the world around us is preoccupied with material necessities, the followers of Christ must seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness.

IV. Our relationships Matthew 7:1-20

Relationships must be transformed and different from those around us
With our spiritual family 7:1-6
With our heavenly father 7:7-12
With our spiritual opponents 7:13-23

Matthew 7:24-25(NIV)

24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.