1. Our MISSION (Matthew 5:13-16)
Jesus begins by saying, “You are salt... You are light...” (5:13- 14). He’s describing our relationship with the world. He’s giving us a purpose and mission that’s bigger than ourselves.
In the first century, salt was a preservative. Light was essential. When Jesus called us “salt” and “light,” he was saying, “If you’re going to follow me, when you see deterioration and disintegration… when you see people falling apart… don’t run from it. Run TOWARDS it! Go to it. You are a preservative! Where things have the potential to be really bad, make your presence felt.”
“If you’re going to join my revolution, look for ways to be salt in the most broken places and light in the darkest places. That’s what I put you here for.”
Verse 16 makes it crystal clear how we do that...
...let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Gather in heaven. – Matthew 5:16
2. Our STANDARD and TRUTH source (Matthew 5:17-20; 7:24-28)
In Verses 17-18 Jesus talks about his commitment to the law of God. He makes it plain.
“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until
heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.” —Matt 5:17-18 NLT
Jesus says right up front, “I’m committed to God’s law. I’m committed to the prophets.” What He was not committed to was the distorted teaching of the religious authorities.
Jesus uses this expression, “You have heard that it was said…” at least six times in the Sermon On The Mount. (Matthew 5:21, 27, 31, 33, 38 & 43)
Notice, Jesus didn’t say, “It is written...” Why? Because Jesus honors and even elevates what had been written, but what he challenges are all the little addendums that religion had come up with over the years.
He went past a little religious check list that can be crossed off and He dealt with the MOTIVES and ATTITUDES of our hearts.
3. Our RELATIONSHIPS with PEOPLE (Matthew 5:21-26; 7:1-6, 12)
In verses 21-26, Jesus takes on issues like anger, name-calling, hurling insults and posting memes on your social media feed that strip people of their dignity and honor.
He takes on holding a grudge, harboring resentment, hanging on to unforgiveness and says this stuff matters to God!
Jesus stresses that we should treat EVERY PERSON WE MEET — regardless of race, class, ethnicity, morality, character, personality, political party, temperament, you name it — as an EQUAL and as INFINITELY PRECIOUS!
Jesus even goes on and challenges us: “People are so important that you need to EXTEND FORGIVENESS, pursue RECONCILIATION and work toward RESTORATION in all your RELATIONSHIPS!”
Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. —Matthew 7:1 MSG
Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get. —Matthew 7:12 MSG
4. SEXUAL PURITY and commitment in MARRIAGE (Matthew 5:27-32)
In Matthew 5, Jesus elevates the SEXUAL ETHIC. Yeah, he goes there. He says that sex is about a whole lot more than physical PLEASURE, personal GRATIFICATION and excitement. It’s about and CONNECTION and INTIMACY.
Jesus challenges us, “Don’t give your body to someone, until you’re willing to give your ENTIRE LIFE to them, as well! Sex is so powerful and explosive that it only works within the context of marriage.”
5. INTEGRITY in the words we speak and PROMISES we make (Matthew 5:33-37)
Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one. —Matthew 5:37 NLT
Jesus says, “Every word you say... Every little “Yes!” and every little “No!” should be as absolutely TRUTHFUL as if you had sworn on a stack of Bibles. Your integrity... Your word... Your promises matter!”
6. Our RESPONSE to HOSTILITY, CRUELTY and our ENEMIES (Matthew 5:38-48)
“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the
right cheek, offer the other cheek also.” —Matthew 5:38-39
What’s the CONVENTIONAL WISDOM? “Somebody hurts you – you hurt them back.” Jesus basically said, “I want my followers to die to that natural response, reflex and impulse.” That’s not the LAW OF LOVE.
Don’t misunderstand, this isn’t legalistic formula about how to respond in every situation. Jesus isn’t saying, “Always stay in a situation where people can keep hurting you until they get tired of it, and then go away.”
Jesus says, “Give up the right to get even. The LAW of the KINGDOM is LOVE! If you’re going to follow me you have to give up the right to seek payback.”
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.” —Matthew 5:43-44 MSG
7. The way we CARE for the POOR (Matthew 6:1-4)
Jesus assumes that if you are a disciple you will be deeply involved in ministry and generosity to the POOR. But sometimes, when people give to the poor, they do it in a condescending way. They do it in a way that makes them look and feel superior.
Jesus says, “Not in my kingdom... Look at, treat and respect the poor as your equal... Your attitude is important... Never give to the poor in a condescending, proud, self- congratulatory or patronizing, way... Treat people the way you want to be treated!”
8. Our PRAYER and SPIRITUAL life (Matthew 6:5-18; 7:7-11)
The way Jesus talked about prayer and fasting was absolutely radical in the first century! Religion had turned it into a production. Jesus basically said, “Keep it real and personal!”
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” — Matthew 6:6 MSG
Jesus basically says, “Every relationship requires COMMUNICATION that is authentic, transparent, honest and vulnerable! That’s the way you need to communicate with God. Don’t ROLE-PLAY with God. Be REAL! Be GENUINE! Be VULNERABLE! Be AUTHENTIC!”
9. Our ATTITUDES about MONEY, POSSESSIONS and WORRY (Matthew 6:19-24)
Don’t store up treasures here on earth... —Matthew 6:19 NLT
We all have one or two areas that our money just effortlessly flows towards. That’s your storehouse. It might be your house, your car, entertainment, food, education. Whatever your money effortlessly FLOWS TO is your STOREHOUSE! It’s your “functional savior or god!”
If you find it difficult to give 10%, 15% or 20% of your income to the MISSION OF GOD and to people around you, it’s because your REAL STOREHOUSE is something else besides the KINGDOM OF GOD!
On the other hand, CONSISTENT GENEROSITY is an INDICATION that your HEART is moving towards God! TITHING and GIVING is an indication that your HEART has been CAPTURED BY GOD and that HE HAS BECOME YOUR TREASURE.
Jesus said, “…where your treasure is, there you heart will also be” (6:21)
Jesus even goes so far as to say this orientation to the kingdom will reduce WORRY, fear and stress in your life!
Excessive worry is a warning light that indicates that our love and trust in God has faded, and we’ve allowed some cheap counterfeit to take the place only designed for God! Jesus says, “Love and trust God so much that your love for and trust in God deals a death blow to worry.”
10. Our PRIORITIES (Matthew 6:33; 7:13-28)
Jesus bottom lines the entire message in Matthew 6:33.
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too. —Matthew 6:33 VOICE
A great way to check your priorities on a regular basis is to ask yourself these questions:
Am I living in the kingdom?
Am I living life in the presence of God and under the power, rule and reign of God?
Am I living in the big Kingdom of God or the little kingdom of me?