Sermon on the Mount

wow, it’s already Thursday…


and i’m behind on my SOTM posts.  i guess i need to get going.

today we are talking about light!!

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Matthew 5:14-16

14“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

i can’t read this passage of scripture without thinking of the children’s song “This Little Light of Mine”.  as cheesy as that song may sing, it has a direct correlation to this verse.  the line “hide it under a bushel…no! i’m gonna let it shine” shores  up with verse 15.  light has many purposes but it’s main purpose is to dispel darkness.  darkness is the absence of light.

i also think of verse 13 every time that i fly into a major city.  miles and miles of lights that can’t be hidden.  you can’t cover that up.

have you ever been in a very dark room one that your eyes really can’t adjust to the light and then a glimmer or flicker of light comes on?  what do you do?  you move towards it.  Genesis says we are created in the image of God, in other words we are to reflect His Glory.  that’s where we get our light, and if we are light in dark places, people will move towards that glorious light!  not only that He says in verse 16, that they will see our light and praise our Father in heaven.  He gets the glory for us being a reflection.  awesome!!!

one of my favorite songs talks about light.  here you go.

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Continuing with my coverage of the Sermon on the Mount…


our pastor continued the series this week from the sermon on the mount with these verses…

Matthew 5:13-16

13“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

14“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

i want to talk about “salt”

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part of my life was spent in a small town called Grand Saline, TX.  the town gets it’s name from the large Morton Salt Mine that is just outside the city limits.  literally the name means, “Big Salt”.  because of the mine, the town’s culture is built around salt.  there are signs of the Morton Salt Girl all over town, and they have a “Salt Festival” every summer.  There is even a “Salt Palace”, a building built entirely out of salt rock(it has a metal roof over it, or it would melt from the rain)!  needless to say the town is only more famous for Chris Tomlin.

salt permeates the very heart of the town.  it’s built on salt.  it’s very existence depends on the salt.  there is enough salt in the dome to meet the salt needs of the entire world for the next 500 years.  so what does that have to do with the verse about being “Salt”.  our pastor said that “left alone, our world will rot”.  salt was used as a preservative in bible times.  do we permeate and preserve the very hearts of the people that we are around?  do we realize that we have more than enough salt?  as pastor said “Delay the decay!  salt exists for food.  Believers exist for others!”  are you spicy?

well we’re down to the last few in this passage…


it starts to get tougher here.

we’ve progressed now from seeing our spiritual poverty and seeing God change us, to action.

God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.  NLT

alot of translations say “peacemakers”.  i like that the NLT says work for peace.  making things right takes work.  notice it doesn’t talk about “keeping” peace.  people who seek to keep peace are often doormats.  they will do anything to keep the peace, but there is nothing inherent about making peace in that.  there has to be reconciliation for true peace to exist.  God made peace with us and we can choose to make peace with Him-

2 Corinthians 5:14-21 NASB

14For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;

15and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

16Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.

17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,

19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

so it is our “ministry” to be peacemakers.

ok, so this last one is often the hardest one for people to stomach.

God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. NLT

how many of us are “truly” persecuted.  we here in America are blessed.  we don’t see anywhere near the persecution of believers in Asia or Africa, so the question i would pose is this…are we doing right?  have we progressed through the beatitudes where we would see persecution or are we living a content and comfortable life here in our neat little neighborhoods and cities?

Jesus closes this passage off with two verses that give instructions.  so if we have built upon these ideas, this should be our response.

God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.  Be Happy about it!  Be very Glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven.  And remember the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way. NLT

again here we see that this mocking and lying and evil is probably not what most of us experience because we are not facing death and torture like the prophets.  the question is are we willing to experience this?  do we truly want to know the Lord this way?  it’s a question i ask myself when i think about what it be like to lose all my “stuff”!  am i more interested in my stuff or following hard after Jesus?

ok, let’s tackle two more Beatitudes today…


yesterday i mentioned how the Beatitudes in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount seem to build upon one another.  i mean i can’t mourn for my sin and the sin of others when i don’t see my spiritual poverty and need.  so when i see that need and i’m truly mournful for what my sin has done, then the next logical step is to get on my face.

God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. NLT

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i love how the Message continually defines the word “humble” it says that you don’t take yourself too seriously.  to me that’s what true humility is.  when we take ourselves too seriously, it becomes about us.  when it’s about me, then my posture is standing straight up shaking my fist at God, but when it becomes about Him through seeing my need and being sad for my sin, then the only posture i can take is bowing before Him.

so once i’ve seen those things in my life and i’ve humbled myself before God, Jesus then talks about hunger and thirst.

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied NLT

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i love how the NLT puts “justice” instead of the more familiar word “righteousness”.  righteousness is often construed as a personal, internal thing,  whereas justice gives us an idea of what we do for others.  righteousness is not sin management, it’s right living and that starts with loving your neighbor.  do we hunger and thirst for loving the least of these?  is that what drives us in the morning?  if it is, then Jesus says we will be satisfied.  in other words if we turn our attention away from ourselves and toward others, our hearts will be changed in that same inside out fashion.  we will be filled with God’s Holy Spirit and not only will the lives we seek justice for be changed, but we will be changed as well.