You’ve probably heard someone say, “If you’re looking for the perfect church, don’t join or you’ll ruin it!” That’s both funny and true. There is no such thing as the perfect church, at least not this side of glory. Yet Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, is encouraging those in the kingdom of heaven (His disciples) to strive for perfect obedience. He exhorts them, “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” That’s easy for Jesus to say, because He is perfect and without sin. But you and I are not.
Don’t let that discourage you. Because of their identity in Christ, His disciples are advancing in perfection in the kingdom of heaven. They are advancing in faithulness and advancing in their faith in Jesus. So, altough this week’s passage might discourage you, because of past or current sins or because of past or current hurts, please come and find hope in Jesus. Don’t move backward but move forward with hope and healing. God is greater than whatever you face.
So, what’s on your mind? What’s going on in there? Do you have an active imagination? Jesus wants to talk to you about all that on Sunday, as we continue to travel through His Sermon on the Mount.
Last week we learned that your words are an indicator of your spiritual condition. But this week, Jesus teaches that even your thought life is an indication of your spriritual condition. It’s more than a little scary to know that God holds you accountable for your thought life and your imagination. But there’s hope in Jesus Himself. He can deliever you and fill your thoughts with a love that exceeds whatever else you are lusting for. The whole Sermon on the Mount points you back to Him.
Jesus told us, last week, that our righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees if we’re to enter the kingdom of heaven. What Jesus is referring to is not a super-righteousness of our own, but a heart-born, Spirit empowered righteousness that grows in us once we’re united with Him by faith.
This week, Jesus beings to show us, very practically, what that righteousness looks like with six interpretations of Old Testament commandments. Jesus is not changing the commandments, merely demonstrating their intent. He begins with the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder,” and explains that murder is far more comprehensive than physically killing another. The words you use can kill with great precision. In fact, your words are an indicator of your spiritual condition, which is one of the points Jesus is making this week. He illustrates that with the sin of anger. Oh yes, anger is a sin. And Jesus reveals the character of your anger and your words gone amok and then proposes a cure and hope for progress.
Is Christianity a “religion?” How would you answer? I think most American Christians would say it is not. A popular YouTube video, with over 30 million views, is titled, “Why I hate religion but love Jesus.” That certainly fits the sentiment of most believers. As good as it may sound, is that true? Can you hate religion and still love Jesus? It seems that’s not an option, according to Jesus’ own words, as we’ll see this week in our continuing journey through His Sermon on the Mount. Christianity is an inside-out religion, founded by Jesus and followed by His disciples. Christianity is about more than religion, but certainly not less.
So join us this Sunday at 10:30 AM, as we journey through the The Sermon on the Mount and worship our Lord together in the body of Christ.