The Sermon on the Mount

Contents

Background. 1

The actual temptations. 2

The principle of the temptations in greater detail 3

The Beatitudes. 3

Salt and Light matt 5:13-16. 6

Be a peacemaker V25-26. 7

Your heart's attitudes are important 7

Marriage matt 5:(31-32) 7

Promises and vows Matt 5:33-37. 8

Justice Matt 5:38-39. 8

Possessions Matt 5:40-47. 8

Perfection Matt 5:48. 9

Matt 6. 9

Matt 6:1-9 All religions have three practices: They fast, they pray and they give to others. 9

The Lord's Prayer Matt 6:9-15. 9

Matt 6:17-21. 10

Matt 6:24-34. 10

Matt 7. 11

Conclusion. 12

 

Background

When God calls a person to serve Him in an area that person is first tested.  Satan gladly does this in the hope the person will sin in a way to disqualify them for that service. God allows it to show Satan the person is worthy of the service and ready for it.

So it was with Jesus.

Having been anointed by God at His baptism for the ministry He was to do Jesus then went into the wilderness for Satan to tempt.  Satan did not immediately tempt Jesus but waited until Jesus was hungry and weak.

Jesus overcame the temptations of Satan.  He then went throughout the countryside demonstrating that He was a representative of The Kingdom of God by doing the work of The Kingdom: casting out demons, healing the sick, teaching about The Kingdom, calling people to train for the purposes of The Kingdom then training them.

He called 12 people to be His students to learn about The Kingdom, demonstrate it and teach others about it.  So any  minister who says they follow Jesus will also be doing these things or they will not demonstrate the Kingdom of God and may not even belong to it.

Having demonstrated His Authority to represent The Kingdom Jesus then started to teach His followers about it.  This He first did in the Sermon on The mount. In this sermon He taught the attitudes necessary for a citizen of The Kingdom of God to have.

The actual temptations

These three temptations of Jesus by Satan demonstrate three very important attitudes a citizen of The Kingdom of God should have and the fact that the truths of The Kingdom will keep you safe from falling into the traps Satan sets for you.  He answered the first two temptations with Scripture but there was none to cover the idolatrous request of Satan.

In Summary, the three temptations were to do with:

Doubting God's provision

Doubting God's protection

Worshipping someone or something else apart from God (idolatry)

These are three basic attitudes a Citizen of The Kingdom of God needs if they are to be a faithful citizen.  The worship of God is important as we will obey Him because we believe He is God.  So if you really believe Jesus is God you will obey all He taught.

Clarke in His commentary made the following observations

In the course of this trial, it appears that our blessed Lord was tempted,

1st. To Distrust. Command these stones to become bread.

2dly. To Presumption. Cast thyself down.

3dly. To worldly Ambition. All these will I give.

4thly. To Idolatry. Fall down and worship me, or do me homage. There is probably not a temptation of Satan, but is reducible to one or other of these four articles.

From the whole we may learn:

First. No man, howsoever holy, is exempted from temptation: for God manifested to the flesh was tempted by the devil.

Secondly. That the best way to foil the adversary, is by the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, Eph_6:17.

Thirdly. That to be tempted even to the greatest abominations (while a person resists) is not sin: for Christ was tempted to worship the Devil.

Fourthly. That there is no temptation which is from its own nature, or favoring circumstances, irresistible. God has promised to bruise even Satan under our feet.

As I wish to speak what I think most necessary on every subject, when I first meet it, and once for all, I would observe -

First, That the fear of being tempted may become a most dangerous snare.

Secondly, That when God permits a temptation or trial to come he will give grace to bear or overcome it.

Thirdly, That our spiritual interests shall be always advanced, in proportion to our trials and faithful resistance.

Fourthly, That a more than ordinary measure of Divine consolation shall be the consequence of every victory.

The principle of the temptations in greater detail

The first temptation is for you to take matters into your own hands rather than wait for God to provide what you need or show you where to obtain what He desires  you to use for Him.

The second temptation is to do with testing God by doing something that is a bad stewardship of your body or of what He gives you to be steward of.  If you really believe God Loves you you will not need to test His Love of you.

The third temptation is not to do idolatrous activity by worshipping someone other than God or given the credit for something that God does to another being.  Whenever you disobey God you are committing idolatry.

The Beatitudes

Jesus starts off by describing the attitudes of a person who is a Citizen of The Kingdom of God.

Mat 5:3  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 5:4  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Mat 5:5  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Mat 5:6  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Mat 5:7  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Mat 5:8  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Mat 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Mat 5:10  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 5:11  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Mat 5:12  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

These were common sayings amongst the Jews and here Jesus combines them into one passage and relates thsee to the attitudes of those who live successfully as a citizen of The Kingdom of God.

Matthew Henry says the following about the attitudes behind the sayings of Jesus in this section

"Our Saviour here gives eight characters of blessed people, which represent to us the principal graces of a Christian:

 1. (v3) The poor in spirit are happy. These bring their minds to their condition, when it is a low condition. They are humble and lowly in their own eyes. They see their want, bewail their guilt, and thirst after a Redeemer. The kingdom of grace is of such; the kingdom of glory is for them.

2. (v4) Those that mourn are happy. That godly sorrow which worketh true repentance, watchfulness, a humble mind, and continual dependence for acceptance on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, with constant seeking the Holy Spirit, to cleanse away the remaining evil, seems here to be intended. Heaven is the joy of our Lord; a mountain of joy, to which our way is through a vale of tears. Such mourners shall be comforted by their God.

3. (v5) The meek are happy. The meek are those who quietly submit to God; who can bear insult; are silent, or return a soft answer; who, in their patience, keep possession of their own souls, when they can scarcely keep possession of anything else. These meek ones are happy, even in this world. Meekness promotes wealth, comfort, and safety, even in this world.

4. (v6) Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are happy. Righteousness is here put for all spiritual blessings. These are purchased for us by the righteousness of Christ, confirmed by the faithfulness of God. Our desires of spiritual blessings must be earnest. Though all desires for grace are not grace, yet such a desire as this, is a desire of God's own raising, and he will not forsake the work of his own hands.

5.(v7)  The merciful are happy. We must not only bear our own afflictions patiently, but we must do all we can to help those who are in misery. We must have compassion on the souls of others, and help them; pity those who are in sin, and seek to snatch them as brands out of the burning.

6. (v8) The pure in heart are happy; for they shall see God. Here holiness and happiness are fully described and put together. The heart must be purified by faith, and kept for God. Create in me such a clean heart, O God. None but the pure are capable of seeing God, nor would heaven be happiness to the impure. As God cannot endure to look upon their iniquity, so they cannot look upon his purity.

7.  (v9)The peace-makers are happy. They love, and desire, and delight in peace; and study to be quiet. They keep the peace that it be not broken, and recover it when it is broken. If the peace-makers are blessed, woe to the peace-breakers!

8.  (v10-12)Those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake are happy. This saying is peculiar to Christianity; and it is more largely insisted upon than any of the rest. Yet there is nothing in our sufferings that can merit of God; but God will provide that those who lose for him, though life itself, shall not lose by him in the end.

Blessed Jesus! how different are thy maxims from those of men of this world! They call the proud happy, and admire the gay, the rich, the powerful, and the victorious. May we find mercy from the Lord; may we be owned as his children, and inherit his kingdom. With these enjoyments and hopes, we may cheerfully welcome low or painful circumstances."

These people worship God and trust in His control over all circumstances so that they trust God for their provision and protection and gladly serve Him in all He asks them to do.

In this passage the word 'blessed' refers to those God has blest who are happy because of God's favour towards them regardless of what God allows to happen to them.

Those who are 'poor in spirit' are not spiritually poor but have an attitude that holds the things of The Kingdom in high regard and do not chase or hold onto the physical things of this world because they value the things of The Kingdom more than the things of Satan.  They are a good steward of what God has given to them in this world but do not control these but use them as God directs them too.  Their spirit poorly looks on (has a low regard) to the things of the earth.

Happy are those w ho can mourn over things that are iportant:

The lost

The abuse to God and His Kingdom

Their evilness in certain areas

That Jesus is not exalted in this world.

They will be comforted.

Note it is future tense so will happen in the future when the things on earth Change and Jesus rules in the Millennium and the earth is as it should be.  Going to heaven comforts them but leaves these things unchanged  until Jesus returns.

The meek person does not assert their rights as they know they have none except Jesus gives it to them.  They express God's Love to all and the nature of love is service so they serve those that need their help and do not seek to gain anything from this service: wealth, authority, men's praise, anything that brings them glory.  They know all they do is because God helps them do it and give Him all the glory for whatever happens to prosper people and The Kingdom.

Their meekness is a result of knowing their correct relationship with God.

We need to pursue righteousness - our correct relationship with God  as a citizen of His Kingdom and as one whom He Loves.  We need to pursue it as if our life depended on it (which it does in eternity) and as if we would lose what we have if we did not continue to pursue our intimacy with God.

Mercy is an expression of God's Love so merciful people are carrying out the attitude of God to these people, the same attitude He had toward them which is why they have this personal relationship with Him.  They want others to have it so show them God's quality of Love to them when it is not deserved by them.

These people have a heart untainted by the attitudes of the world system around them controlled by Satan so they do not dwell on the things of the world but on the things  of God.  They have a conscience void of offence to all, just like God has to them.

These people desire all to be at peace with God so tell others about what God has done for them and help them develop their relationship with God.  They try to reconcile because Jesus came to earth to reconcile and He is our example.

In all things they rejoice because God's attitude about these things is in them and God rejoices over these thing.

The happily suffer for The Kingdom and its purposes because they have the same attitude to others as Jesus did who suffered for them.  They have the same attitudes as Jesus and know because of this they will be with Him in heaven so rejoice in this fact regardless of what happens to them, knowing that the sufferings of this present world are a short time compared to the eternity of blessedness they will have with Jesus in heaven.

Jesus continues with the attitudes a citizen of The Kingdom should have but adds new material and does not quote what The Jews already had heard in the past.

Salt and Light matt 5:13-16

Salt is used to preserve and flavour and this talks about two roles of a Christian:

To preserve The Kingdom of God on earth (carry out their side of this as good stewards of w hat God has given them of His Kingdom to look after for Him) and to flavour (influence) the world system of Satan so the people in it turn to Jesus.

Light shines in the darkness and so a Christian should shine the truths of God into the spiritual darkness of the world so that the truths of God will free people from the darkness.

Unless you are doing these three thing in some way, to the best of your ability, even if only by the example of your life and in your everyday speech you cannot really say you belong to the Kingdom.  Half-heartedness does not belong to The Kingdom of God as something has become an idol to make you half-hearted.

Remember, anything placed before God's requirements of you, even if it is only to be wholehearted in all you do, is an idol.

The Law (Mat 5:17-24)

Jesus did not come to remove The Law and lived according to its requirements and expects us stiill to do this where possible.  He referred to the Love behind the Law because He spoke about righteousness not being what you do by mentioning the scribes (Sadducees) which only kept the Mosaic law to the best of their ability who obeyed The Law but did not show the Love behind it. The Pharisees were mentioned berceuse they kept all the commandments of God and of man but still did not express the Love behind The Law.

In otherwords it was how you kept God's commands in your heart that mattered and not how you carried them out.  This is why He spoke about the attitude of Love and its expression in verses 5:24.

Jesus was showing it was attitudes that were based on rejection and not on love to others that were the problem not the actual actions these attitudes could result in.

The correct expression of Love is so important to God as He desires all His children to love each other like He loves us and if we are His children we will do this and not reject others for any reason.

You may not like what they do but you must still love them as people The Father created and do no evil to them.  This does not mean you let them hurt you as you have a responsibility to protect what God has given you which includes your body, but you do not verbally or in your heart show a lack of Love towards them .

Be a peacemaker V25-26

Make peace with those who attack you rather than fight them or Satan will use them to attack you more.  God is a peacemaker and expects you, where possible to be at peace with all men.  In discussion is usually a solution but in fighting their is only more intense attack and the result will be devastating for you, especially if you are found guilty by the Law of the Land when a simple peaceful discussion could have solved it.

By not reacting and fighting back to defend you 'rights' but seeking to resolve the issue you show that Christians are different to worldly people.

Your heart's attitudes are important

Matt 5:27-28 Jesus emphasized it was what was in your heart that mattered and not what you did.  There is nothing wrong with looking at a beautiful woman.  The problem occurs when you start to desire her in  a wrong way.  You do not have to actually do anything about your wrong desire but the fact you desire her in a wrong way is sufficient to make it sin.

Jesus was showing how important it is to get our heart attitude correct and not just our actions.

Matt 5:29-30  The correct heart attitude is so important that whatever leads you to cause a wrong attitude in your heart is better removed, no matter what it is, in preference to keeping it and ending up in hell.

Marriage matt 5:(31-32)

Verse 32 is more properly read " But I say to you, Whoever divorces his wife, even in a matter of fornication, causes her to commit adultery."

In otherwords but whatever causes divorce has the same effect as if it was for adultery or other sexual sin.

The man only could obtain a divorce so the woman was an innocent victim and if she remarried the sin was the man's for placing her in that situation.  In those days a woman could only survive with a husband or a family that was able to support her so she had to get remarried to live.

There would have been few women rich enough to stay unmarried.

Clarke states very clearly the attitude a modern Christian should have to his wife

"A real Christian ought rather to beg of God the grace to bear patiently and quietly the imperfections of his wife, than to think of the means of being parted from her"

If both are guided by The Holy Spirit they will settle their problems.  It may need deliverance to heal both spouses of the past hurts that cause the problems in the marriage relationship. Spiritual warfare is also necessary to  remove the demons behind the problems in the marriage.

Promises and vows Matt 5:33-37

You should never promise or vow anything without asking God if you are to do it in case it goes against what He requires you to do.  If it is God's Will for you then you do not need to make a promise or a vow and neither should you need to call God as your witness to verify what you said is correct.  You should always speak only the truth, that which is correct so that you do not need to justify what you said by appeal to God as a witness as He is not there to physically verify what you said.

Vows and oaths serve only your purpose as these are not needed to serve God and He does not require them but religions do and it is a sign of religiosity that they are made.  Christians are not religious so do not need these signs of their truth.  Their life should show they always speak the truth in obedience to the commandment "Thou shalt not lie nor deal falsely with one another".

Justice Matt 5:38-39

God has not taken revenge on you for your sins and expects you not to take revenge on another for their sins against you.  He expects you to be a peacemaker and not a judge as He alone can judge.

You can judge according to what God says should be done but the punishment must b e from Him and not determined by you.  Even then you are to love the person even though you may hate what they did and help the person to know God to the degree they will let you help them to overcome what is causing them to do what they are doing that is wrong.

His Law of Love applies in all tings and that includes when you are offended.

You should commit the situation to God and not attack back and this will stop the matter escalating and will help defuse the situation usually.

Possessions Matt 5:40-47

When a person in need asks you for something you should give it to them if they really need it otherwise they are asking for the wrong reasons.  You give what they need trusting God for the results and He will replace it if you need it.

If a person needs help you help them if they really need it.

Love helps a person do what they need and does not do for another what they should be doing for themselves.

This is why you do good for your enemies when they need it and not reject their need.  One day they may come to Jesus as a result of your love and that alone will make it worthwhile to do this.

Jesus came to reconcile people to God and the whole purpose of a Christian is to serve Jesus in this regardless of the cost to them.  Anything else and you are not following the example of your God!

God looks after their needs without their even asking Him in the hope that one day they will come to Him and be His citizen and He is our example.  It is this demonstration of loving those the world would reject that shows we belong to God and which makes the world take notice of our beliefs.

Perfection Matt 5:48

This does not mean we do everything perfect but that we do everything to the best of our knowledge and ability, to the level of the maturity we are at.  On earth we are not perfect and will fail but all God requires of us is to repent of anything we have done wrong and to wholeheartedly to try and do it right.

We will not go to hell because we wholeheartedly tried and failed.  We will go to hell for not trying or for only halfheartedly trying.

Matt 6

Matt 6:1-9 All religions have three practices: They fast, they pray and they give to others.

They fast as a form of worship believing it will get them closer to their God

They pray repetitious prayers that appear to have 'worked' before

They give to others to get brownie points for when they face their God.

Christians do not need to do this as they have a personal relationship with their God which cults and religions can never believe they will have.  So Jesus shows them how they s ould approach their God!

The Lord's Prayer Matt 6:9-15

Jesus now tells us how we should approach our heavenly Father.  We are told to approach Him as our spiritual Father in the same was we would approach our earthly father.  If you love Him you will also desire His Will to be done on earth and if you love your fellow man you will desire His Kingdom to be on earth so they can share in the joy of it and the benefits it gives them.

The petitions in that prayer were met at Calvary or are promised to be fulfilled by Jesus so they are no longer necessary to be asked for.

If you Love The Father and HIs Kingdom you will declare His greatness as ruler of The Kingdom and demonstrate it by your lifestyle which is why some of the attitudes are dwelt on further in the chapter.

After Calvary and the promises of Jesus the relevant Lord's Prayer is as follows:

Mat 6:9ff  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

The primary attitude is to show God's Love to others which is why you should forgive others otherwise you are not showing God's Love and cannot enter heaven.  God is not a hypocrite to let you in to heaven if you do not show His Love to others in the way He desires you to show it.

There are many Christians in hell whose only sin was refusing to forgive another the wrong that was done against them by these people.

Matt 6:17-21

The things we do should be directed to The Father out of Love for Him and so Jesus gives examples of how we should do this.  In other words how a Christian should approach denial of self (fasting), giving to others and seeking God's approval so they will be given things by Him that they want.

When we do things that requires us to deny ourselves we should not do it to please men but to please The Fathers do we will not try to show to men that we are doing it so that He alones knows what we are doing for Him.

When we give it should be out of Love for a person and to meet a need and not to gain anything from God or man even if only their approval for doing any of these things..

When we desire something it should be for the purposes of The Kingdom looking for any rewards in The Kingdom and not on earth.  Even then a reward will not be important if we are doing it out of Love for The Father. Besides treasure is a security against things happening and if we trust The Father we will not be concerned with what happens as He is in control of all things and all things work for our best, even if we cannot see it at the time.

Our perspective on how we see things will determine our attitude towards them.  If we see things in relationship to The Kingdom and its purpose for us we will live properly.  If we have other reasons for doing things apart from the purposes of God and His Kingdom then we will not live as God desires us to live and may end up in hell.

Matt 6:24-34

Who you serve is your ruler.  You cannot serve God and yourself and do it properly.  One will suffer because of your not obeying correctly.

You should not worry about what you need to live and do the work of The Kingdom as God is a good King and will provide all you need to live and obey Him correctly, just as He provides for the animals of the world who do not even know they need His provision.

All we should be doing is finding out what God's will for us is and developing our relationship with The Father and all we need will be given to us.  We should not worry about the coming day as that has its own problems and we should be concerned with meeting the ones we are facing today.

Matt 7

Matt 7:1-5  Do not judge (criticise or evaluate) another spiritually to criticise or condemn them and show a lack of God's Love toward them.  God alone knows their true spiritual nature and alone has the right to judge and condemn a person.  The way you treat them will be the way God treats you, otherwise He would be a hypocrite.

Why Point out the faults in another and their wrong way of thinking about The Kingdom and not deal with it in your own life first.  Or how can you tell another to let you help them with a problem if you have not been able to deal with it first yourself.

Go calls you a hypocrite for not dealing with a thing yourself before expecting another to deal with it.  Remember that hypocrites do not go to heaven.

There is a difference between helping each other and admitting faults to each other for this purpose than telling another they have a fault to condemn them.  Love helps and does not condemn which it is why is it so dangerous to judge others spiritually.

All anyone can do is to show what God says in His Bible and say to them they are not doing it and then help them in any way you can to overcome the problem they have.  This is how love deals with a situation where someone with a weakness offends you.

Matt 7:6 The things of God should not be to those who do not appreciate them as they will not respect them or treat them as special but will treat them wit indifference or disdain.

Matt 7:7-11  Jesus is talking about Kingdom attitudes and says if you need anything for the purposes of The Kingdom ask God and He will give it to you.  If it is for any other purpose it is for personal reasons and may be given but usually is not really necessary for a person to have.

God is efficient and will only give you what you need.  Anything else will cause problems with the efficiency your life should have.

What God gives you will be far better for you than anything you can desire for yourself.  If it is for the purposes of The Kingdom, one of which is for you to mature into the Character of God, then God will give it to you.

Mat 7:12 Whatever attitudes you should have for The Kingdom should result in doing for others what God desires to have done for them.

It should be noted that the apostle Paul only ever prayed for the spiritual envelopment of others and not their physical wealth or prosperity.  So we too should look at how to help a person spiritually than condemn them and do nothing to help them overcome their spiritual problems. After all, when you go to heaven all you will take with you is the relationship you had with them.  Everything physical will be left behind so that we should always look at the spiritual aspect of a thing, how it should be used for The Kingdom and not what it can do to make you  more wealthy or comfortable or more recognised by others.

Matt 7:13-14 I will take self discipline to do the things, to reject the wide variety of things the worldly system of Satan says you should be doing and not to stop doing the one thing God wants you to do at that time.  The way to heaven is narrow as you do only the one thing God desires you to do and reject the many ways Satan desires you to go that are on the way to hell.

Matt 7:15-20 Judge people who claim they speak for God or teach about God by their lifestyle and what they say.  If they promote The Kingdom and the values of God then they are from Him.  But if they do not promote The Kingdom of God but their own agendas then you know they are tools of The devil.

The principle test is how they show the Love of God in all they do and how their attitudes are towards God and His things, the things Jesus has been teaching so far in this sermon.

A religious person will tell you to pray with rituals and written prayers, and to give to please God and will tell you that you have to provide for your own needs and not trust God to do it.  While they do not demean God purposely they do not promote The Kingdom but their own spiritual agenda and so are in danger of hell fire once they know the truths about these things and reject it.

Conclusion

The principle purpose of a citizen of The Kingdom of God is to know their King intimately and His Will for t hem which will be directed to maintain, expanding and demonstrating The Kingdom and  helping them and other prepare themselves for heaven through their learning experiences on earth.  These things will be the prime focus of a citizen of The Kingdom of God,

Any other focus shows you do not love you King as you should.  Your focus is independent of your knowledge of Him which means you have no excuse for not focusing fully on Him and His Will and are not expected to know everything required to do this but only need to do what you know is His Will and will wholeheartedly do it to satisfy Him in this.

If you really love God you will work at these attitudes to please Him and to become like Him in your character and also through this be more prepared for when you get to heaven

All God does is for your best as He seeks to mature you into what you are capable of being and to prepare you to live with Him forever in a beautiful place He has prepared for you with all the joys and benefits you could desire!.

All Glory b to God who created you,  sustains your life, gives you all you need to do what He requires of you and continues to mature you in preparation for eternity with Him to be with Him forever in the most wonderful place He has prepared for you in which are all that you could ever desire!

Amen