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sermon on the mount

 

My family enjoys laughing and having fun, and they often email me funny pictures and hilarious YouTube clips. I open the emails in excitement and anticipation, ready to see something that will either send me into a fit of laughter or kindle the competitive reaction, “I have an even better clip to show you!” I click on the link and hold my breath, and then it pops up on the screen…

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I wait for a few seconds…

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…a few more…

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Five minutes later…

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Seriously? How long does it take to load a thirty-second YouTube clip?

As it pertains to believers in Christ, the idea of “loading” is a familiar concept. I’m sure you’ve read a scripture or listened to a sermon and then thought….hmm. I like what is being said, but I need some time to think about it so that I can better understand it. Similarly, the reason it usually takes so long for a clip or image to load is because the file is large and takes time to process.

Sometimes a clip takes forever to load because our internet connection isn’t strong enough.

God has given us His written Word so that we can learn about Him and achieve a more intimate relationship with Him. Have you ever noticed, though, that when you try to read the Bible without the help of the Holy Spirit, it’s difficult to focus and understand the words you’re reading? Often, because of our sin, our connection with the Holy Spirit is not as strong as it should be.

When Jesus ministered His first message in chapters 5, 6, and 7 of Matthew, everyone was astonished at how He delivered the message with such authority (Matthew 7:28-29). I can imagine that, as people left after the sermon, most of them were trying to wrap their minds around the message, which begins with the Beatitudes and goes on to correct the teaching of the religious leaders regarding heavy topics as adultery, divorce, and revenge. Such a message would certainly require time and meditation to “load.”

The Sermon on the Mount can seem complex but in reality it was the most practical way to live the value system of heaven. Jesus goes into detail about how we ought to live as Christians, with our hearts alive and sensitive to the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, my experience has been that most believers are living in boredom. They feel distant from God, Prayer and Bible reading seem dull, the power of the Holy Spirit is relegated to “feeling good” during worship service, and Jesus is just “a good guy who did good things.” No wonder so many believers have such a poor connection with the Holy Spirit!

 

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes a powerful statement:

Matthew 7:7-8

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Ask, seek, and knock. Why? I believe that Jesus was imparting to us the value system of the kingdom.  When we hear the Sermon on the Mount in the right context, we as humans must “load” the information. We need to ask God to open our hearts and prepare our minds to receive His Word, seek the Holy Spirit for the revelation of that Word, and knock diligently on the door of God’s heart to achieve transformation of our minds and hearts, based on the understanding of the Word.

Matthew 11:25 (AMP)

25 At that time Jesus began to say, I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth [and I acknowledge openly and joyfully to Your honor], that You have hidden these things from the wise and clever and learned, and revealed them to babies [to the childish, untaught, and unskilled].

Jesus rejoices in the fact that His Word takes time for us understand. When it comes to allowing God to transform us through His Word, it’s often the “loading” that causes us to become impatient and give up. However, if we remain patient through the loading process – asking, seeking, and knocking, as He instructed – our lives will begin to mold into His likeness. It’s during the loading that we are led to repent, change our way of thinking, and understand the true meaning of scripture.

When Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, He was inviting us to seek out the true meaning of the Kingdom. We are no different from the people who were gathered that day, listening as Jesus delivered the message for the first time. As we read God’s Word, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to awaken these truths inside of us. We must ask, seek, and knock, not just to comprehend the words – but to experience powerful, life-changing revelation.

God will also give us the gift of understanding the mysteries of heaven:

Colossians 1:26  

The mystery of which was hidden for ages and generations [from angels and men], but is now revealed to His holy people (the saints)…

God loves when we seek out His truths. When I study the Sermon on the Mount, I think of how few believers actually comprehend the truths Jesus laid out in this message. Being sensitive to the Holy Spirit and embracing God’s grace is vital to understanding the Sermon on the Mount. Why? Because within ourselves we will always fall short of accomplishing the “complete obedience” Jesus asks of us. If we fail to accept God’s grace and forgiveness, we will feel shame for our sinful nature, and this shame will cloud our understanding of His Word. However, once we understand that God has freely given us grace and forgiveness, shame has no power over us, and therefore cannot blur our connection with the Holy Spirit as we seek understanding.

Salvation is also a free gift given to us by God. Now that we are believers in Christ, saved by God, it is our responsibility to “walk out” our salvation daily:

Ephesians 2:8 (AMP)

8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God…

Now as sons and daughters of God, it is our responsibility to actively and constantly work out the priceless gift of our salvation. The Sermon on the Mount is a great start for any believer truly desiring to understand what is on God’s heart. This sermon also explains that we are to demonstrate to others our joy at being children of God:

Matthew 5:16 (AMP)

16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.

As you meditate on the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, allow the Holy Spirit to take you through the loading process. You will find that as you ask, seek, and knock, God will begin to reveal Himself to you much more deeply and intimately. In this way, your connection with the Holy Spirit will grow stronger and stronger, and you will enjoy an exciting relationship with Jesus Christ that will overflow into your daily life and interactions with others.