What Did Jesus Teach About Marriage (Matthew 5:27-30) – Sermon on the Mount Series, Part 2

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Matthew 5:27-30

The authors of a popular marriage book say we grow up believing the romance myth. We believe that if Cinderella happens to meet Prince Charming, they will live happily ever after. However, if friction arises or a couple “falls out of love,” they believe they married the wrong person and are destined to live “unhappily ever after” or need to get a divorce. In such a culture, marriage becomes a whimsical ideal rather than an accessible reality. Continue reading

The Blessed Life (Matthew 5:1-12)

 

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Matthew 5:1-12

The heroes of our time rarely accomplished the great things they are known for easily. Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa; these were people who faced abounding adversity, yet remained resolute. Those who confess Christ and seek to demonstrate to the world the life he calls us to will not find convenience and coziness in this world. 

 

The Beatitudes are one of the best-known portions of Scripture (Matthew 5:1-12). They predicate the characteristics of the blessed person. However, there is a rhetorical irony contained within them. The type of people mentioned are not those you might expect to be blessed. “Blessed are the poor in spirit… Blessed are those who mourn… Blessed are the humble… Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness… Blessed are the merciful… Blessed are the pure in heart… Blessed are the peacemakers… Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness… Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of [Christ].” Jesus takes what is so often valued in the world and turns it upside down. And he promises these upside-down people the Kingdom of Heaven.  

 

Let’s look at just one of these beatitudes. “Blessed are the merciful.” After apartheidism ended in South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was formed. It provided an opportunity for those who committed gross human right violations during the apartheid era to give testimony and request amnesty. There is a story of a frail black South African woman who sat-in on one of these trials. Former police officer Mr. van de Broek confessed that he with other officers shot the woman’s fourteen-year-old son dead at point-blank range. Then, eight years later, they seizing her husband and burned him at the stake. The commission asked the woman what she wanted for Mr. van de Broek. She said she wanted three things: 1. She wanted him to take her to the place they burned her husband, so that she could gather the ashes and give him a proper burial. 2. She said that Mr. van de Broek took her whole family and she still had lots of love to give. Twice a month she wanted him to join her in the ghetto, so that she could be a mother to him. 3. She wanted him to know that God had forgiven him, and that she forgave him too. 

 

The blessed life is rarely the easy life. Which predications in the beatitudes do you resonate with? Which ones challenge you? 

 

Talk of the Devil (Matthew 6:13), Sermon on the Mount Series, Part 9

Click here to read Matthew 6:13.

An eighteen-year-old Dutch student planned a trip to Sydney, Australia. Delighted to find a plane ticket online that was cheaper than all the rest, he booked his flight. He arrived at the airport, boarded his plane, and all seemed well. But then he saw his connecting flight, a small Air Canada plane coming out of Toronto. He wondered if the plane could make it to Australia. The plane landed unexpectedly too soon. When he disembarked, he found himself in near blizzard conditions, with nothing but a light jacket on. This was not the warm Australian air expected. Apparently, he booked a flight to Sydney, Canada! Continue reading

Forgiving Debt (Matthew 6:12), Sermon on the Mount Series, Part 8

In 2005, Jameel McGee was arrest for dealing drugs by Officer Andrew Collins. McGee insisted he was innocent, but was convicted and sentenced to several years in prison. Four years later, it was discovered that Officer Collins had falsified several police reports, including McGee’s. McGee was exonerated. Yet, nothing could give him back those years in prison. McGee told himself he would hurt Collins, when he got his chance. And that chance came five years later. Both Officer Collins and McGee found themselves working at the same café. If faced with the person who stole four precious years of your life, what would you do?

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Daily Bread (Matthew 6:11), Sermon on the Mount Series, Part 7

Click here to read Matthew 6:11.

The past two posts we have looked at those petitions in the Lord’s Prayer that have to do with the things of God: “May your name be made holy. May your kingdom come. May your will be done.” The Lord’s Prayer now attends to personal matters. Continue reading

Your Kingdom Come (Matthew 6:10), Sermon on the Mount Series, Part 6

Click here to read Matthew 6:10.

In a first-world culture, such as ours, it may be difficult to produce the type of longing that “Thy kingdom come” elicits. We live in relative comfort and know little of the type of suffering experienced in third-world cultures. Yet, even Continue reading

Hallowed (Matthew 6:9), Sermon on the Mount Series, Part 5

Click here to read Matthew 6:9

“The Lord’s Prayer” or “Our Father” is one of the best known and most often recited portions of Scripture (Matthew 6:9-13). The words of this prayer have united Christians throughout history and across denominational lines. Over the next several weeks this devotional blog will reflect on the significance of these words. Continue reading

What Do You See in the Face of Your Enemy (Matthew 5:43-48), Sermon on the Mount Series, Part 4

Click here to read Matthew 5:43-38

What do you see in the face of your enemy? An object of revenge or justified wrath? Or, an object of love and altruistic prayer?

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Why Truth Matters (Matthew 5:33-37) – Sermon on the Mount Series, Part 3

Click here to read Matthew 5:33-37

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day developed a complex system of oath making and keeping. Oaths were categorized. Whether a spoken oath was binding or not, or whether a broken oath was punishable or not, all depended upon the type of oath made. Continue reading

The Blessed Life is Not the Easy Life (Matt. 5:1-12) – Sermon on the Mount Series, Part 1

Click here to read Matthew 5:1-12

The heroes of our time rarely accomplished the great things they are known for easily. Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa; these were people who faced abounding adversity, yet remained resolute. Those who confess Christ and seek to demonstrate to the world the life he calls us to will not find convenience and coziness in this world.

Continue reading