INTRO: The section of scripture we refer to as The Sermon on the Mount is an incredible statement of information, instruction and inspiration. What will following Jesus mean? And the answer comes in three chapters in Matthews gospel. While I have read, studied and become familiar with what Jesus says there, the people who first heard these words must have been stunned by some of the things He said and were (according to Mt 7:28) astonished at His doctrine. This sermon presents us with some great contrasts. For example, it begins with two viewpoints ... the beatitudes.
I. THE CONTRASTS HERE?
A. Total dependence vs. total independence
1. the worlds view? I need no one!
2. the kingdoms view? I am nothing without Christ
B. Deep mourning vs. carefree irresponsibility
1. the worlds view? who cares about sin? not I!
2. the kingdoms view? I am broken hearted because of my sin; my only comfort is in Christ
C. Careful self-discipline vs. reckless freedom
1. the worlds view? do anything youre big enough to do
2. the kingdoms view? control your power, be gentle
D. Thirst for God vs. who needs God?
1. the worlds view? I will do as I please
2. the kingdoms view? I will do as God pleases
E. Compassionate mercy vs. mercy is weakness
1. the worlds view? look out for number one
2. the kingdoms view? be kind; be sympathetic; be helpful
F. Purity from the heart vs. satisfy all your desires
1. the worlds view? grab all the gusto you can get!
2. the kingdoms view? my hope of seeing God rests in sincere moral and spiritual purity
G. Concern for right relationships vs. relationships are disposable
1. the worlds view? relationships are useful if they bring me advantages
2. the kingdoms view? do what you can to maintain happy, right relationships - our treatment of others is our treatment of the Lord
H. Make no compromise vs. avoid pain at all costs
1. the worlds view? be religious; not radical!
2. the kingdoms view? the kingdom of heaven is worth any price ... eternity is in view here
II. WHY SUCH STARK CONTRASTS?
A. First, Jesus kingdom is not of this world
1. Jno 18:36
2. it does not operate by the values, standards of a world very much influenced by Satan
3. so much of what we may consider normal is what Satan has accomplished
4. so, we are called upon to rethink many things
B. Second, this world is passing away
1. Mt 25:35
2. all that is physical or material is going to end - other New Testament writers confirm: 1 Cor 7:31
3. and we must be brought to consider eternity ... we are made for eternity ... no wonder the challenge of the contrasts
4. we have no choice ... our immortal spirits will live beyond this world; our only choice? where they will live
C. Third, the kingdom is where Gods will is done
1. Mt 6:10
2. living now by kingdom standards, values is the way we secure our eternal dwelling place
3. no, itll not be easy to adopt a new way of thinking - but we must ... and the beatitudes help us see reality
CLOSE: Often viewpoints are not critical in their contrasts. Here, however, only one viewpoint is correct and harmless ... and it is Christs.
Cecil A. Hutson
04 August 2002
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)