Study 4 Objective: What did Jesus our Lord have to say and how does that affect us?
In Matthew 6 our Lord, who “shapes the form, the content and ultimately the goal of our faith” (Jinkins 2001:98), goes on to
differentiate Christianity from religiosity.
Real charity does not parade its good deeds in order to get praise but serves selflessly (Matthew 6:1-4). Prayer and fasting are not modelled on public displays of piety, but on a humble and godly approach (6:5-18).
What we desire and acquire is neither the point nor the concern of the righteous life. The point is to seek the righteousness which
Christ began to describe in the previous chapter (6:19-34).
The sermon ends forcefully in Matthew 7. Christians should not condemn others by judging them because we too are sinners (7:1-6). God our Father wants to bless us with good gifts, and the intent behind what was said to those of old in the Law and the Prophets is that we should treat others as we would like to be treated (7:7-12).
The life of the Kingdom of God is doing the will of the Father (Matthew 7:13-23), which is hearing and doing the sayings of Christ (7:24; 17:5).
To build one’s faith on anything other than His sayings is like building a house on sand, which will fall when storms come. Faith built on the sayings of Christ, however, is like a house built on a rock, a solid
foundation that withstands the tests of time (Matthew 7:24-27).
To the hearers this teaching was shocking (Matthew 7:29) because the Old Testament law was regarded as the foundational rock on which the scribes and the Pharisees had built their righteousness. Christ is saying
that His followers should go beyond that and build their faith on Him alone (5:20). Christ, not the Law, is the Rock about which Moses sang (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 18:2; 1 Corinthians 10:4). “The law was given
through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
Does the Sermon on the Mount explain who or what should be the focus of the believer’s faith and obedience?
Which aspect of the Sermon on the Mount means the most to you personally?
You must be born again
Instead of magnifying the Law of Moses, which was expected of Rabbis (Jewish religious teachers), Jesus taught as the Son of God, challenging the imaginations of the audience and the authority of their teachers.
He went as far as to proclaim: “You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me.
But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John
5:39-40). Right interpretation both of Old and New Testament Scriptures, inspired though they are for understanding salvation and for the expression of faith (as discussed in Study 1), does not bring eternal life. We must come to Jesus to receive eternal life.
There is no other source of salvation. Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). There is no route to the Father except through the Son. Salvation is about coming to the man known as Jesus Christ.
How do we come to Jesus? In John 3 Nicodemus came to Jesus by night to find out more about what He taught. Nicodemus was startled when Jesus said to him “You must be born again” (3:7). “How is that
possible”, queried Nicodemus, “can our mother give birth to us again?”
Jesus was talking about a spiritual transformation, a rebirth of supernatural proportions, being born “from above”, which is a complementary translation of the Greek word “again” in this passage.