Intro: ‘It ain’t those parts of the Bible I don’t understand that bother me, it’s the parts I do understand.’ (Mark Twain)
Ch. 5 – v4, 11, 20, 22, 28, 29, 32, 48. ‘You cannot be serious!’
1. Two Gates, vv13f
V13 – “Enter through the narrow gate.”
(a) Wide vs narrow – easy vs confined. Self-denial, Mt 16:24-26. Acts 14:22, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God”.
(b) ‘Many’ vs ‘few’ – not about statistics, popular, going with the flow.
(c) Gate & road – a beginning, and a continuation.
(d) Destruction vs life – The reward (‘life’) far outweighs the cost.
No third way, no neutrality.
2. Two Trees, vv15-23
V15 – “Watch out for false prophets”
(a) Deceptive appearance. ‘Wolves in sheep’s clothing’, v15.
(b) Impressive powers, v22. ‘Did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons and perform many miracles?’
(c) Be a fruit inspector! V20 “By their fruit you will recognise them.” We are not to be censorious, but discerning.
1 Tim 4:16 ‘Watch your life and doctrine closely.’
3. Two Houses, vv24-27
(a) Both looked sound!
(b) Both tested in the same way.
(c) Firm foundation. V24 ‘Everyone who hears these words of mind and puts them into practice is like a wise person who built their house on the rock.’
Transformation of character, influence, behaviour, devotional life, ambitions, relationships, priorities.
Conclusion: mission possible?
V29 – Jesus authority: he accepts the address, “Lord, Lord”, v21; he calls God “My Father,” v21; he claims the right to announce each person’s final destiny, v23; he appeals to no other authority than, “these words of mine”, v24.
New Moses. 5:1 – ‘Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down.’
Covenant renewal: reading of the law, confession of unfaithfulness, announcement of forgiveness, remembrance of God’s deliverance, sharing a meal, going out in peace (Lord’s Supper!).
Mt 26:26f ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’
The Sermon on the Mount sends us to the gospel, to God’s grace in Jesus Christ: ‘ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven’.
The gospel sends us back to the Sermon on the Mount to teach us how to respond with God-honouring, Christ-shaped, Spirit-empowered gratitude.