The 9.10.06 Sermon Summaries

This Sunday we went through the sermon on the Mount in just two messages. The material in the Lord’s sermon is worth much more attention than we are able to give it in this survey series. I have two volumes in my library by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones which are basically the transcripts of his sermons on the Sermon. I have heard Mark Minnick preaching on the Beatitudes recently, sometimes devoting two or even three messages to each quality. So our sermons were on the ‘thin side’ in trying to do a survey-like view of this mountain of material.

The first message was devoted to the first 16 verses, The Characteristics of Kingdom Citizens. I was working on this central idea: The foundation of your philosophy of life should come from the preamble to the Sermon on the Mount: the Beatitudes should characterize your life. We first discussed the general characteristics of kingdom citizens, then noted the change in person from “they” to “you” in v. 13. At this point the Lord is beginning to make application of these principles to those who have embraced him as Lord (this sermon is primarily directed to disciples). The first application is a reiteration of the last beatitude, but personalized: ‘blessed are you if men revile you for my sake’. The next two applications have to to with the kingdom citizen’s influence: You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world. If you live with the beatitudes as your philosophy of life, you will have an impact on the world. Lives will be changed for eternity if you will give yourself to the Lord and his ways without reservation.

The second message was entitled, The Invitation to Exceed the Righteousness of the Pharisees. It was a summary of the last 95 verses of the sermon. I summarized it this way: The all-encompassing demand to exceed the Pharisees means that your whole life needs to be wrapped up in knowing and doing the will of God. You need to exceed the Pharisees in your understanding and application of the Law, you need to exceed the Pharisees in the manner of your ministry of grace (alms giving, prayers, fasts), you need to exceed the Pharisees in your view of treasure [value the treasure of heaven, not of earth], you need to exceed the Pharisees in your relationships (to others, antagonists, and God). The Lord concluded the sermon by contrasting the choices that lie before every man: the broad way vs. the narrow way, the false prophets vs. the true, the works of righteousness vs. the works of lawlessness (depart from me, I never knew you), and the sure foundation and the false foundation. If you will be characterized by the qualities of a kingdom citizen, your life will be occupied with discerning the false from the true, the earthly from the heavenly, the way of man from the way of God. And you will live out the way of God.

The third message involved the worry of John the Baptist. In ‘Answering a Wavering Prophet’ I preached on three questions, primarily in Lk 7.19 and following. The first question came from John: “Are you he that should come or look we for another?” The next two questions came from the Lord, “What went you out into the wilderness to see?” and “Whereunto shall I liken the men of this generation?” I used these questions to answer this question: The question for doubters and deniers is, ‘what will you do with Jesus?’. To John, the Lord replied by simply manifesting his wonderful works and quoting the words of Isaiah (29.18, 35.5-6). For those who doubt, look at what he did. Look at what the prophets said. He is who he said he is. Then Jesus turns to the crowd, doubters and deniers. He asks them what they went out to see. What was the attraction of this strange man? What they saw was the greatest prophet of all time, the one prophet who could see the object of his prophesying. Every preacher since then, every Christian since then, stands on the work of John and sees even further and better than John, but we don’t see without John. For doubters and deniers, do you see what John pointed for you to see? The Lord goes a step further (in Mt 11.16ff.): What is this generation like? They are like spoiled children who complain about their playmates. Jesus warns them: If my mighty works had been done in Tyre, Sidon, or even Sodom, those cities would have repented. Jesus offers them rest if they will believe. So the Lord closes his sermon with an invitation: come unto me, and I will give you rest. The bottom line for anyone confronted with Christ should not be doubt or denial, but faith, which produces rest.

These passages are presenting a spectacular picture to us of our mighty Lord Jesus Christ. The unbelief of man, even men who witnessed his mighty works, provides a sober backdrop to the brilliant glory of the revelation of his person. It is incredible that men are able to persist in unbelief, but it is also undeniable that they stubbornly do.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3