The Sermon on the Mount
When Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 through 7, He
gave us the most extensive revelation (piece of teaching) that we have
from Him. This section of the first gospel includes popular
(and emotionally-charged) Scripture passages such as the Golden Rule and the
Lord's Prayer. However, we must understand that much of it
doesn't directly apply to this, the Age of Grace (Age of the
Church). Just as the Old Testament dietary laws applied
mostly to the Age of the Jews, the Sermon on the Mount applies mostly to the Age
of the Kingdom. It is a declaration by Christ on just how the
Messianic Kingdom will operate. It explains how a theocracy
will function. In fact, He was offering to set up the Kingdom at that time, if He had been accepted.
Matthew 5 - 7
Although righteousness reflected in any age gives us the underlying
basis of truth, there are few who would suggest a direct application of
the Sermon on the Mount today in the Age of Grace. For example, Matthew
5:38-39 says, "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth
for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.
If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."
While this might apply if someone is simply bullying us, it certainly apply when the "evil person" is a foreign aggressor.
Matthew 5:42 says, "Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
Again, while we should give to the needy, we cannot simply lend money to every who asks for it. This type of lending without
hesitation in the business world would quickly cause an economic catastrophe where companies (and individuals) could not survive financially,
and it would ruin the world economy. In fact, this is what led to the housing collapse of 2008--Banks were giving mortgages to people
with no down payment and little-or-no documentation, knowing full well that many of those people would be unable to afford to pay it back.
No, the Sermon on the Mount doesn't present Church Age truth. (Jesus spoke on the Church in John 15 through 17.) Also, the
Sermon on the Mount contains no gospel presentation for securing
righteousness, as well as no mention of the Holy Spirit, the Church,
the body of Christ, or praying in the Lord's name.
However, even though Christ was not talking about the Church Age in His
most extensive piece of teaching, the principles in the Sermon on the
Mount (and in all Scriptures) certainly do apply to us. We
can categorize these principles of truth as follows:
Matthew 5:1-12 - The Beatitudes
An analogy can be drawn between the Beatitudes and Christians.
Jesus pronounced blessings on eight categories of people who exhibit
certain attitudes, and if we are believers, we should possess these qualities:
1) The poor in spirit will inherit the kingdom of
If we are believers, even if our spirit seems poor or weak, we should
take comfort in knowing that we will go to heaven.
2) Those who mourn will be comforted. As believers, we
will mourn in this life, but we will be comforted in eternity.
3) The meek will inherit the earth. In the end, we will thrive on the new earth (Revelation 22).
4) Those who hunger for righteousness will be filled. At
salvation, God imputes the righteousness of Jesus Christ to each
believer. Although we will not be fully sanctified in this life, a
day will come in eternity when we will put sin behind us forever, we
will possess perfect righteousness, and we will be able to bring
perfect glory to God.
5) The merciful will receive mercy. Our salvation
causes us to be truly merciful, and at the judgment seat of Christ, we will be rewarded for our good deeds in this life.
6) The pure in heart will see God. Our faith assures of
that we will one day fall at the feet of God and worship him
7) Peacemakers will be called the Children of God.
At salvation, God gives us peace, and He inherits us as his children.
8) Those who are persecuted will inherit the kingdom of
heaven. If we are persecuted for our faith in this life, we
should consider it a joy, because we will be rewarded in eternity.
Matthew 5:13 - Salt
Just as salt meets the world's needs by adding flavor; preserving food;
melting coldness; and healing wounds, believers should add flavor to
the world by exhibiting Christ who lives within us. If a
Christian doesn't do this (loses his saltiness), his testimony to men will not be effective.
Matthew 5:14-16 - Light
Believers should the light of our good deeds shine, before men, and this will bring glory to God.
Matthew 5:17-20 - The Fulfillment of the Law
Christ fulfilled the law, although He did not abolish it. As
believers, we should obey the commandments of Christ because we are
enslaved to Him. Our obedience to Christ will determine who
is the least or the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:21-26 - Murder
The sin of anger is just as bad as murder; and, anger leads to
murder. When we find that we are angry toward someone, our
first duty is reconciliation. We are called upon to be the better person, and we should settle such matters quickly.
Matthew 5:27-30 - Adultery
Just as anger is equated to murder, so is lust equated to adultery. If we look upon someone with lust, we are
(symbolically) told to gouge out our sinful eye. In our day, we can make an additional analogy here. Not only can we still
(physically) look upon another person with lust, just as those in Jesus' day could, but now we also have the Internet. Lust is
easier than ever before, because we can use our sinful eyes to view pornography on the Internet.
Matthew 5:31-32 - Divorce
Jesus declared that divorce is allowed only in cases of marital unfaithfulness. Otherwise, the act of divorcing one spouse
and marrying another constitutes adultery. In this way, adultery is always either the cause or the effect of divorce. In the
former case, if one spouse commits adultery, then a divorce is allowed biblically, so the adultery was the cause of the divorce. In
the latter case, a divorce (non-biblical separation) occurs, and one partner marries someone else. When the new couple consummates
their marriage, this is seen as adultery in the eyes of God, since the first marriage was not ended biblically, so the adultery was the effect
of the divorce.
Matthew 5:33-37 - Oaths
The lessons taught here include those that parents teach their small
children, even though the parents are often guilty of the same hazards
that they warn their children about. We are to keep your
promises, and simply do what we say we will do. How different
would this world be if everyone did this? We should be slow
to make a promises, because it's always difficult to pre-determine that we
will indeed be able to keep those promises. Then when we do
make promises, we should be quick to keep those promises.
Matthew 5:38-42 - Turn the Other Cheek
Jesus tells us that when we are confronted by an evil person, we are to
reject the principal of "an eye for an eye." Instead, we should
turn the other cheek, and reject the natural tendency to react with
resistance. If someone takes our jacket, we are told to offer him our shirt as
well. After all, he may need it more than we do.
However, even if he doesn't, we must consider others to be better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4).
Matthew 5:43-48 - Love and Pray For Your Enemies
Jesus tells us that it's easy to love those who love us. Even
tax collectors and other evil-doers do that. Even pagans greet their own brothers, so there is no godly reward in that. However, He
commands us to also love our enemies, and those who persecute
us. In addition, we are to pray for them. We must strive to be perfect, even loving those who hate us. This doesn't mean
that we should expect sinless perfect, for we all sin in our flesh (Romans
3:23), even after salvation. However, this does mean that we
must strive for spiritual maturity, loving all, just as Christ loves us.
Matthew 6:1-5 - Give to the Needy
We are to give to those in need, but our best acts of righteousness are
those done secretly. If we make sure that others see our good
works, we will receive no heavenly reward for them, because we will
have already received our rewards from the attention from
men. This is huge: We will be rewarded either by men in this life,
or by God in eternity, but not both. We must resist the
temptation of drawing (inferior) human attention to our good works in this life,
knowing that this will bring us ultimate rewards from God in eternity.
Matthew 6:6-13 - Prayer
Again, we are commanded to pray, but reminded that our best prayer is
done secretly. We should not babble with many words, in order
to draw attention from others. After all, God knows what we need
before we ask. We need only to acknowledge our request.
Again, we can choose to either be rewarded by men in this life, or by
God in eternity, but not both.
Matthew 6:14-15 - Forgiveness
God forgives us only if we forgive others. Although this is a
powerful statement, it is referring to temporal forgiveness (1 John
1:9), not eternal forgiveness--that which we receive at salvation.
Matthew 6:16-18 - Fasting
We are called upon to fast, but to do it secretly. Just as
with giving to the needy and with prayer, we will be rewarded by men in this
life or by God in heaven, but not both.
Matthew 6:19-24 - Treasures
We are told to store up eternal heavenly treasures, not temporary earthly ones. We can serve only one master--not both God and money.
Matthew 6:25-34 - Do not Worry
We are commanded not to worry about food for life, or clothes for the
body. Worry doesn't help our cause. God provides
for (inferior and temporary) animals and plants, and he loves us
eternally--much more than He loves them. Our faith is
small. We simply need to seek God's kingdom and
and He will provide all of our temporal needs.
Matthew 7:1-6 - Judging Others
We will be judged according to how we judge others, and we are all
guilty. Falwell adds, "... it is futile to present truth to
those who have refused what they have already heard."
Matthew 7:7-11 - Prayer
God answers our prayers. As earthly fathers, we have some
reasonable wisdom as to how to care for our children.
However, God is a perfect father, and he longs to care for us perfectly.
Matthew 7:12 - The Golden Rule
We are told to do to others as we would want them to do to us.
Christ says that this simple rule actually sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:13-14 - The Narrow and Wide Gates
Most people enter through the wide gates, on broad roads which lead to
destruction. Few people enter through the small gate, on the narrow road that leads to life.
Matthew 7:15-23 - A Tree and Its Fruit
We are to watch out for false prophets. They are wolves in
sheep's clothing, not unlike the Big Bad Wolf in the fairy tale of
Goldilocks. We will know these false prophets by their
fruit--not by their appearance! We don't pick grapes from thorn bushes
(or tomatoes from weeds). Good trees bear good fruit, and bad
trees bear bad fruit. Trees that don't bear good fruit are cut down
and burned. It is not those who say the right words (prophesy)
who will enter heaven,
but only those who inherit the righteousness of
Jesus Christ through faith in his sacrifice on the cross to cover their sins.
Matthew 7:24-27 - The Wise and Foolish Builders
Those who hear and practice Christ's teachings have a strong foundation
of truth that will last eternally. Those who hear Christ's
teachings but don't practice them are weak, and they will fall.