I love a good sermon. It is so evident when the Holy Spirit speaks through His messengers. I love how God uses His people to speak His words to encourage, restore, equip and launch forward. (Also, while I am on this topic: Happy Pastor's Appreciation Month to all of our amazing pastors here at Central Assembly!) Today, we are audience to one of Jesus' most familiar messages, The Sermon on the Mount. As I was reading this, I kept picturing myself as one of the people in attendance. Maybe it is because I am a verbal person, but if something is good I want to say a couple of "Amens" and "Preach!" here and there! In honesty, I probably would not have been saying anything in those times, but I did receive so much in these passages from Matthew and Luke.
We begin with the beatitudes. We are blessed when we follow Jesus. We are blessed when we walk in His ways and obey his commands. Jesus then continues with another of my favorite messages. Matthew 5:13-16, where Jesus says that if we are carrying God's light inside of us there is no reason it should be hidden to those around us! We are the salt and light of the world! Amen!
What I love about this message is that Jesus is preaching with authority and we are told that the people listening noticed something was different about Him (Matthew 7:28,29). He did not speak like the other teachers around Him. Jesus stepped into the authority of His Father!
Jesus also made it a point to talk about the difference between sincere devotion to God and devotion for the sole purpose of bringing attention to self. In much of His sermon He talks about God seeing into our true motives and examining our hearts. He says that "our Father who sees what is done in secret..." (Matthew 6:16,18) can tell whether we are being sincere or not. Jesus also says that we do not have to worry about a thing, because every little thing is going to be alright! Well, okay, maybe not exactly like that, but we are told that God is watching out for us and will take charge to oversee every area of our lives! (Matthew 6:25-34) Awesome!
I could go on about all the amazing points and truths that Jesus made but I want to highlight this last one that you may be very familiar with:
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bred. And forgives us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." (Matthew 6:5-15)
Jesus kept things simple because He was not about strict religion, but rather He came to open the door for true, one-on-one relationship with His Father. I love the way Jesus tells us how to pray because it was not elaborate and elegant, but anyone, no matter the background, could sincerely pray that prayer from the depths of their heart.
I am so thankful Jesus came. I love reading about Him and what He did! If I would have been in that crowd, I would have tried to make my way to Jesus to tell Him that He is my favorite preacher.