This morning we are going to begin a study through one of Jesus’ most famous sermons called the Sermon on the Mount.
The sermon is really probably a collection of longer teachings that Jesus gave over time and we have two similar versions of the sermon recorded in Matthew and Luke.
There are some subtle differences and scholars like to call Matthew’s version The Sermon on the Mount and Luke’s version The Sermon on the Plain, based off of where Jesus was when He delivered each of the sermons.
We are going to be looking at Matthew’s version over the next several months, and we are going to see that The Sermon on the Mount begins with blessings, or Beatitudes, to the follower of Christ who possesses these traits.
These Beatitudes we are going to call Kingdom Attitudes and we are going to take a look at them over the next couple of weeks.
Look with me this morning in Matthew 5.
This morning’s message is going to set the table for us, if you will and then we are going to get into the first of the kingdom attitudes tonight, so you will have to come back then.
Jesus gives this sermon on the mountain that is above the town of Tabgha near Capernaum.
There is a little Byzantine church that marks the traditional location that the sermon was given and its a beautiful spot that overlooks the Sea of Galilee.
Now before we get into the meat of the Beatitudes and our message today, I need you to understand something that may be different than you have ever seen before.
Matthew is trying to show that Jesus took the same route as Israel down into Egypt, out of Egypt, through the Jordan, and into the wilderness, and finally into the promised land as the better Son of God.
Think about the parallels.
When Jesus was born, Herod sought to kill all the baby boys just like Pharaoh sought to kill the baby boys in Egypt.
2. When it was safe for Joseph and his family to return to the land of Israel, he received a dream.
Jacob also received a dream that it was safe to return to the land of Canaan when he had fled from his brother Esau and went to Laban; and also, Moses received a dream from the Lord that it was safe for him to return to Egypt when he was to lead out the people from bondage.
3. The Israelites went through the sea and through the Jordan river, just like Jesus went into the Jordan to be baptized.
4. Jesus was immediately driven by the Spirit to be tested in the wilderness, just like Israel went into the wilderness and was tested.
Israel failed the test, but Jesus passed with flying colors.
5. Moses was called up on the mountain when he received the Law and then came down with it.
Jesus called his disciples up onto the mountain and gave them the Sermon on the Mount.
The Law gave the rules that the community of faith were to live by in the Old Testament.
Jesus gives us the rules that the community of faith is to live by in the Sermon on the Mount, and you will hear Him say, “You have heard it said, but I say to you...” Jesus corrects the misunderstandings of the Mosaic Law in the Sermon on the Mount.
You can see that there are several parallels in the Gospel of Matthew that he draws out to show that Jesus is the better, more faithful Son.
We keep using the word “beatitudes,” but what are beatitudes exactly?
Beatitude comes from the Latin world “beatus,” which means “blessed.”
They are the blessings on those who are of the Kingdom of God and who have these traits.
I want you to understand something very important this morning.
You and I cannot change ourselves by willpower alone.
We must want to change and we must want to look like Jesus, but it takes a specific formula to change who we are.
We must first call out in prayer to God to change us.
Prayer is critical for us to access the Spirit and the power of God in our lives, not because it is a tool or a talisman, but because it is the way we have communion with God.
You will never change if you don’t walk in a relationship with God.
God has to get inside of you through the Holy Spirit to allow the resurrected Jesus to live out in and through you.
Think about it.
You and I fail!
We will always fail.
Jesus is the one who didn’t fail.
He is the one who is the good and faithful Son who is well pleasing to the Father.
Listen to what Paul Miller says about this power that can live out in and through us to change us to have these Kingdom Attitudes.
To understand how the Spirit works in the church, we need to understand how the Spirit works in Jesus; after all, the church is his body.
Let’s go back two thousand years to Easter morning to a garden tomb just outside the western wall of Jerusalem.
It’s still dark, and the lifeless body of Jesus lies on a cold, limestone slab inside the tomb’s outer chamber.
The apostle Paul gives us X-ray vision to see what happens next.
“Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became the life-giving Spirit” (1 Cor.
What does Paul mean that Jesus became life-giving Spirit?
The Spirit unites with Jesus so intimately that, without losing their separate identities, Jesus and the Spirit become functionally one.
Did you catch that?
If you want to please God and receive the blessings, the Beatitudes, of the Kingdom of God, you have to pray and have the Spirit of God move into your life, fusing the life of Jesus with your life, so that as Paul said in Colossians...
And again in...
And one more time for good measure...
Now, I want to stop for a minute and give you a breath, because that is a lot to take in!
In fact, I want to lead us to pray right now for God to make this point stick in our minds!
Pause and Pray
This is such an important point for you and I to understand this morning, because if we don’t, we are going to write down all of these traits that we are about to look at and we are going to try to tick off the boxes and live them out in our own power and strength.
And do you know what will happen next?
You will fail!
I will fail!
And we will exhaust ourselves trying to live up to a standard of perfection that we can never achieve!
So I want this morning to invite you to come and sit down with Jesus on the mountain.
Sit at his feet and listen to Him teach.
But understand that all of these Kingdom traits find their fulfillment in Jesus’ character alone.
He is the One that perfectly exemplified each one of them, and I want to try to help you see Jesus in them this morning.
I also want you to understand that the way you can access them in your life and have them become a part of who you are and receive the blessings from them is to pursue God in a relationship through prayer.
You must then call upon the Holy Spirit to enliven you and make Jesus real to you.
He is real, but you need a personal experience of knowing Jesus and coming face to face with him.
We have to see this passage this morning against the backdrop of Moses on Mt.
Sinai to really grasp all of it’s meaning and see things in full high-definition color.
When Moses went up on the mountain, he met with God face to face.
His face and his countenance were changed.
He radiated the glory of God.
You can’t meet with God through prayer and the Holy Spirit and not be changed to look like Jesus and reflect the radiance of His glory.
But there’s one problem.
Do you know what it is?
The problem is that it doesn’t last very long!
You have to keep coming back.
Paul says this in 2 Cor.
If you want to live out your life like Jesus and have these Kingdom Attitudes, you must, I repeat, you MUST have a daily fellowship with God through prayer by the Holy Spirit.
Now what will happen is as you seek God in prayer, you ask God to show you Jesus.
You read the Bible looking for Jesus.
He’s there on every page!
Then the Holy Spirit will take the life of Jesus and fuse it with you so that Jesus is lived out in you.
Don’t get me wrong.
This is not a second filling of the Holy Spirit.
It is a daily filling of the Holy Spirit.
This is not connected to your salvation.
It isn’t connected to your being regenerated, or another way of saying this is the new birth.
This isn’t connected to you being justified, or legally made right with God because of the consequences of the sin and the requirements of the Law.
This is a daily filling or breath of God on you that is related to your sanctification.
That’s a fancy theological word that means you are being made holy every day until you reach heaven where you are eventually glorified and completely made like Jesus.
Let me show this to you in the Word so you don’t take my words at face value.
Alright breath for just a second.
Here it is...
Do you see the pattern?
We Depend on the Holy Spirit
We Have Jesus Formed within Us
We are Sanctified and Glorified and the Spirit Works though Us Producing Kingdom Attitudes and Works