The Sermon on the Mount
When you read the red letters, Matthew 5,6,
and 7 is one of the longest running narratives youíll find.
full of wonderful promises and practical wisdom. Jesus sums up the message
of His sermon with this last illustration found in Matthew 7:24-27.
This is a paraphrase of these verses.
"Now, everything Iíve told you today is very
important. And if youíre wise, youíll build your lives on it.
wisdom of God is the firm foundation everyone needs. There are all sorts
of unexpected situations and difficult circumstances in this life that can
cause you trouble. But if youíve built your life on the things Iíve
told you, youíll be able to stand against anything. Just be sure you donít
make this mistake. Many will listen to what Iíve said, but they wonít
take it seriously. Theyíll follow the worldís so-called experts,
instead. These guys are always changing their minds about something,
because most everything they do turns out wrong. Theyíre always coming
up with something new to cover their mistakes. When you follow the wisdom
of the world, your life will be full of insecurity and confusion. And when
problems come, your life will crumble, and you wonít be able to fix it.
Whatís He saying? Build your life on what Iíve said
and youíll do O.K. Disregard what Iíve said and youíre headed for
trouble, big-time. Itís that simple. Most people never stop to think of
the implications of what Jesus is saying here. He tells us to build our
lives on what He says in the Sermon on the Mount. This is a complete
message. All we need to know. We can build our lives on it.
Should we pay particular attention to the red letters?
Iím more convinced of that than ever. As a matter of fact, I discovered
several years ago that as I read the red letters, the wrong doctrines of
the traditional church were destroyed. I also discovered that the
traditional church doesnít usually quote the red letters to establish
their doctrine. They use isolated verses and parts of verses from Paulís
epistles. Whatís my point? If you study the red letters and know what
Jesus said, then youíll have the proper context for Paulís epistles
and will not be easily led into deception. Know what Jesus said.
red letters be the foundation for everything you believe.
Here is a paraphrase of the entire Sermon on the Mount.
And when He saw the crowd that was gathering, He
went up the side of the mountain to find a place where He could
address the people, and His disciples came to join Him.
Then He began to teach
them all, saying:
Those who truly understand what it is to be
completely dependent on God and desperate for Him (the poor in spirit)
are fortunate, because they will enjoy the Kingdom of Heaven in its
And those who grieve over the destructive
consequences of their own sin (those who mourn) are fortunate, because
they will escape its destruction.
Those who have the determination to pursue the will
of God, regardless of the circumstances, (the meek) are fortunate,
because they soon learn that together with God they can overcome
anything the world might throw at them.
And those that believe the righteousness of God is
something they canít live without (those who hunger and thirst for
righteousness) are happy, because the spiritual blessing and joy of
knowing God will always sustain them.
Those who are willing to give away what God has
given them (the merciful) are happy, because they have Godís promise
that He will always give them what they need.
And those who are open to God and donít try to
hide anything from Him (the pure in heart) will experience Godís
favor, because He will reveal Himself to them.
Those who are willing to take the peace of God to
those in turmoil (the peacemakers) are happy, because they have taken
on the true nature of their Father in Heaven.
And those who are punished because they have chosen
to rise above the worldís false standards (those who are persecuted for
righteousnessí sake) are happy, because the Kingdom of Heaven is
their rightful inheritance.
Be happy when others attack you and lie about you
because of Me,
good! Your reward will be waiting for you
in heaven. Just remember. They treated the prophets before you the
very same way.
You are the ones who must influence the world, to
bring out the best in it Ė like salt brings out the best taste in
food. But if you donít do it, then who will? The world will look to
you for answers. So donít disappoint them.
You are the ones who must show them the way. Itís
so obvious. You stand head and shoulders above the crowd.
So donít hesitate to tell others what you know.
Donít try to hide the fact that you really know God. Stand up!
up! Let yourself be noticed.
Let your life shine like a bright light. Give
yourself unselfishly to others. Let them see in you the love of the
Father, so He can draw them to Himself.
Donít think for even a second that Iíve come to
change what God has already spoken through the prophets. Iím not
here to change anything. In fact, Iím going to make sure everything
happens just the way itís been promised.
And you can be sure of this one thing, the earth
and all the stars you can see in the sky at night are fragile and
insignificant when compared to even the smallest detail of Godís
promises. And His Word will accomplish its intended purpose, which is,
to make the Kingdom of God a reality.
It is important that you understand this. There are
many that teach what the rules are, you see them everywhere; but those
who live by the principles of Godís Word and encourage others to do
the same are rare, and they are the ones who will be honored in the
Kingdom of Heaven.
And Iím telling you right now; youíre going to
have to do a better job of following Godís Word than the religious
crowd is doing. Theyíre always careful to follow the rules theyíve
made, but they ignore the important principles behind them. You canít
find the Kingdom of Heaven that way.
Iíll show you what I mean. Theyíve been saying
for a long time now that you canít commit murder. And if you do, youíll
stand trial and suffer the proper punishment for your crime.
What are they thinking? Itís O.K. because theyíve
never committed murder? Is it O.K. to call your brother a worthless
fool? Is it O.K. to hold on to your anger and refuse to make peace?
Murder isnít the only crime that deserves punishment. If you hurt
others with your anger, youíre going to suffer the consequences.
Let me tell you how to deal with anger. When you
come into the presence of God to commune with Him, and then remember
that youíve hurt someone with your anger;
Stop right there! Go to that person and ask for
their forgiveness. After all, how can you ask God to cleanse you when
you know youíre holding on to your own sin by refusing to be
reconciled to your brother? God canít honor that.
Humble yourself. Apologize. Donít let your
brotherís anger towards you grow because you refuse to admit you
were wrong. You should know by now that when anger is not dealt with,
it can get out of hand in a hurry and cause all kinds of problems.
Iím telling you the truth. You will suffer some
very serious consequences, when you refuse to make things right.
Then theyíve always said that you canít
commit adultery with another manís wife.
But they never talk about whether itís right or
wrong to look at a woman and have lustful thoughts about her. They
want to believe that they have protected their virtue because they
didnít actually commit the sinful act. In reality, theyíre
corrupted by their wrong thoughts.
So, when you find yourself thinking such impure
thoughts, donít avoid the personal pain involved in dealing with
them in confession and repentance.
Itís far better to experience the discomfort of
dealing with your sin, than it is to allow that sin to corrupt your
life and keep you from doing whatís right.
And theyíve always said that when a man doesnít
want his wife anymore, he must divorce her legally by doing the proper
paperwork. This gives her the opportunity to marry again.
But, the fact of the matter is this: just because
theyíve established a legal procedure for divorce doesnít mean
what theyíre doing is right. Who are they kidding? When a man
divorces his wife and she remarries, he makes her an adulteress.
when a man marries a woman who is divorced, he becomes an adulterer.
Making something legal doesnít automatically make it right in Godís
Theyíve also said you shouldnít make promises
that you donít intend to keep.
In an attempt to prove their sincerity, people
often try to make their promises sound more believable by adding
something religious to them.
Things donít become true just because theyíre
dressed up in religious-sounding talk.
In fact, the more religious it sounds, the more
reason you have to be suspicious of it.
So, keep it simple. Just say yes, when you mean
yes; and no, when you mean no. Only those who intend to deceive feel
the need to make long, drawn-out, religious-sounding promises.
Hereís another one. Youíve always heard that
the punishment should fit the crime.
But, I propose a different way. When someone hurts
you, donít retaliate at all. What does it accomplish? Your
retaliation only adds to the pain that already exists. If someone
hurts you, take it peacefully. And by that, youíll prove the
sincerity of your love by ending it then and there.
And if anyone ever has reason to take you to court,
if he wins his case, pay him even more than the judge requires.
When anyone wants to take unfair advantage of you,
fine. Let him do it.
If someone asks you for help, donít refuse.
if you think heís trying to take advantage of your generosity.
if they ask you for a loan, give it to them. Even if you have every
reason to believe theyíll never pay it back. I know this is
confusing. But this is what Iím trying to tell you: be willing to
suffer, if you must; but always refuse to make others suffer,
regardless of the circumstances.
And youíve been told to love your friends, but
hate your enemies.
Thatís wrong! Instead, you should love those who
hate you, say only good things about those who dislike you, do good
things for those who want to destroy you, and pray for those who have
Then youíll be like your Father in Heaven. He
doesnít arbitrarily choose those He will love. He loves everyone the
same, regardless of whether theyíre good or bad.
When you only love those who love you in return, do
you think you deserve something special for it? I donít see why,
anyone can do that.
And when you only say hello to those who greet you
first, whatís so great about that? Youíre barely doing whatís
expected of everyone.
But this is what Iím talking
about, we have to
show everyone the same God-like character. It doesnít matter who
they are or what theyíre doing. You have to learn to treat others
the way the Father treats you.
Be careful you donít do the good things you do
just so others can see you do them. If recognition and approval from
men is all that motivates you to help others, donít expect God to
reward you too. After all, why are you really doing it? If itís to
get others to notice you, then youíre only doing it for yourself
and their attention is your reward.
So, when you do good things for others, donít
make a big deal out of it. Do it quietly, so the only ones who know
about it are the people you help and your Father in Heaven.
Always guard yourselves from wrong intentions.
Do your good deeds secretly. Then your Father in
Heaven will bless you in ways everyone will notice. You have to
decide which is better, the approval of men or the approval of God.
And when you pray, donít be religious about it.
Donít recite long, flowery prayers in public, where everyone can
hear. Who are you talking to?
If youíre talking to God, go to a quiet,
private place and just talk to Him. Then Heíll honor your
personal, heart-felt prayers by blessing you in ways that show you
really do talk to Him.
Just try to be yourself. Thereís something
false and impersonal about reciting the same, old, tired, worn-out
formulas. Remember this, the Father responds to sincerity, not to
the length of the prayer.
So donít be like those who have no relationship
with a real, living God. They repeat the same words over and over
again to lifeless images that canít hear. Your Father is much
different than that. He knows what you need, even before you ask.
And this is how you should pray. Talk to your
Father in Heaven like you would talk to your earthly father, with
affection and respect, only acknowledge that He deserves honor and
reverence that is greater than any man.
Tell Him about your desire to see His Kingdom
revealed in your life. Tell Him you only want what He wants, so that
His will can be seen here on the earth, just like it is in His
Ask Him to give you just what you need for every
Then ask Him to forgive your trespasses and
sins. But tell Him you understand that your forgiveness is
based on your own willingness to forgive those who have trespassed
And finally, ask Him to protect you from yourself
and from all the evil that surrounds you in the world.
if youíre willing to
forgive others, then your Heavenly Father will forgive you as well.
But, if youíre not willing to forgive others,
the Father wonít forgive you. When you refuse to forgive others,
itís only because you want to punish them. The Father canít
And if youíre going to fast, donít go around
looking like youíre about to die, hoping someone will notice and
ask you whatís wrong. If you do that, then youíve gone hungry
If youíre going to fast, just act normal.
Donít let anyone know what youíre doing.
question is the same. Who are you doing it for? If youíre only
seeking the recognition of men, youíll probably get it. But thatís
all youíll get.
And donít spend all your time trying to
accumulate the material things this world has to offer. You may
think those things make your life secure, but they donít. Theyíre
easier to lose than they are to get.
Instead, use your time to gather treasures in
heaven. There, theyíre protected, and youíll be able to enjoy
them through all eternity.
You must decide which is more important. You canít
have both. Material things only last as long as you live on this
earth. But, spiritual treasures last forever. And this will always
be true - the thing you invest your life in is the thing you love
If you understand what Iím saying, youíll
know what to do. And youíll do the right thing.
But, if you donít understand, youíre going to
make a serious mistake. The time will come when youíll realize youíve
made the wrong decision, but it will be too late to do anything
about it. Youíll lose all your earthly treasures and have no time
left to gather heavenly ones.
Donít think you can do both, you canít.
impossible to pursue God and the things of the world that make you
feel secure. The pursuit of one will cause you avoid or neglect the other.
And, if you decide to pursue God, donít worry
about what youíre going to eat or drink or whether your clothes
are the latest fashion. Because youíll soon find out there are
things much more satisfying than food and more important than
Look at the birds. Theyíre not worried about
all those things. Theyíre content to just let the Father give them
whatever they need. And, since itís obvious that the Father takes
care of the birds, why wonít you trust Him to take care of you?
You must know that youíre more important to Him than birds.
And why should you worry about your appearance?
The latest fashions donít make you look any different. Donít you
understand you look the same to your Father, regardless of what youíre
So why should you be concerned about clothing?
Look at the wildflowers in the fields. They donít worry about such
And yet, you must agree that even Solomon, when
dressed in his finest, never looked as good.
Again, the Father can take care of the flowers,
and He knows they live for only a short time and then theyíre
gone. Heís going to take even better care of you. Why canít you
So you never need to wonder, What am I going to
eat? Or, What am I going to drink? Or, What am I going to wear?
Those are the questions people ask when
they donít know the real God. But your Heavenly Father knows full
well that you need all of these things.
When you make the Kingdom of God the most
important thing in your life, and become a living demonstration of
the Fatherís way of doing things right; then He will always make
sure you have everything you need.
And by the way, donít worry about tomorrow.
will come soon enough. And when it does, it will bring new
challenges and opportunities for you to learn to trust your Heavenly
Father. But for now, just concentrate on trusting Him to get you
through the trouble youíre facing today.
Itís not for you to decide whatís right or
wrong for others. Keep your nose out of their business, unless thatís
how you want to be treated.
Because if you do it to others, theyíll do it
to you. Then it becomes a vicious cycle of everyone interfering in
everyone elseís life.
You may think you have a real talent for spotting
other peopleís problems. But how good are you at seeing your own?
After all, theyíre the ones you need to be dealing with.
You have to be your own first priority. You canít
spend all your time pretending to "help" others with their
problems, while you ignore your own.
That kind of super-spiritual attitude is useless!
True righteousness only comes when people face their faults and
weaknesses with God in confession and repentance. Then they can
understand how to truly help others by encouraging them to do the
And, itís not for you to decide who should or
who shouldnít hear the truth of Godís word. Donít you know the
purpose of the Good News is to show how God loves everyone,
regardless of how undeserving or unacceptable you might think they
Be persistent when you need the Fatherís help.
It proves your reliance on Him. When you ask Him for help over and
over again, it proves that Heís your only source. When you
consistently pursue Him, it proves you really want to know Him.
when you look only to Him for guidance, it proves you want to follow
Then, when you show the Father youíre depending
on Him alone, Heíll honor your trust and reveal Himself to you.
Your Heavenly Father is just like any earthly
father who truly loves his children. And He will not betray your
trust or disappoint your reliance on Him.
If you ask Him for something good or useful or
needful, could He disregard your request and give you something evil
or harmful instead? Of course not!
Even as bad as some parents are, they still take
pleasure in giving good things to their children. Your Heavenly
Father, Who is perfect, takes even greater pleasure in giving good
things to His children.
And remember, this is the standard the Father has
set; when you think about how you want others to treat you, take the
initiative and treat them that exact same way. Because when you
consider everything the Father has ever revealed to man, it boils
down to this one thing: always be willing to use anything the Father
has given you to be a blessing to others. This is what makes Him
proud of His children!
Take the difficult path on your way to life in
God. Everyone looks for the easy way, but they end up being led
The truth is, the path to life in God is full of
suffering, obstacles and adversity. Most people don't want to
believe that, so they allow themselves to be deceived and go the
wrong way. Only a few are willing to persevere and take the
And be careful. There are those who pretend to
hear from God, but are, in reality, deceived themselves. Theyíll
tell you what you want to hear. Itíll sound really good.
be sincere. But if you listen to them, youíll be sorry.
unfortunately, for many of them, religion is just another way to
take advantage of people and get ahead in the world.
And sometimes these guys are hard to spot. But
this is the key: look for Godly character. Donít be fooled by
their apparent success, their good looks or their talent.
Just remember. Good people do good things.
theyíre principled people with right spiritual values, it will not
be in their nature to want to manipulate you and take advantage of
you. Theyíll only want you to know the truth.
So get to know them. Donít just listen to what
they have to say. Look closely at their lives.
If it turns out theyíre not what they claim,
get away from them. The Father will deal with them when the proper
And if theyíre genuine, youíll know it
because theyíll continually encourage and bless you.
Simply looking and acting religious will not
guarantee you entrance into heaven. Thereís a world of difference
between doing your own thing and being obedient to the will of the
On that final day, there will be many that will
want to talk about all the religious things they did that impressed
so many people.
Then Iíll tell them, and this will be the first
time they have ever really heard My voice, You have to leave now, I
donít know you. We were never intimate. All those things you did
that youíre so anxious to talk about had nothing to do with Me.
You were just using My name to make yourselves look good.
Now, everything Iíve told you today is very
important. And if youíre wise, youíll build your lives on it.
The wisdom of God is the firm foundation everyone needs.
There are all sorts of unexpected situations and
difficult circumstances in this life that can cause you trouble.
But, if youíve built your life on the things Iíve told you, youíll
be able to stand against anything.
Just be sure you donít make this mistake.
will listen to what Iíve said, but they wonít take it seriously.
Theyíll follow the worldís so-called experts, instead. These
guys are always changing their minds about something, because most
everything they do turns out wrong. Theyíre always coming up with
something new to cover their mistakes.
When you follow the wisdom of the world, your
life will be full of insecurity and confusion. And when problems
come, your life will crumble, and you wonít be able to fix it.
Now, when Jesus was finished, the people were
confused, not only because of what He said, but how He said it.
They were used to listening to the public
teachers. They liked to quote religious scholars and recite their
traditional teachings. But Jesus spoke of Himself and of God as His
Father. And He had an unfamiliar boldness and confidence when He
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