How can we possibly obey the commands in the Sermon on the Mount?
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
In what has been called the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, Jesus
paints a picture of what it looks like to live in the Kingdom of God. While He never uses the term “Kingdom of Man” (or “Kingdom of Earth),” He is implying that this is the alternative to the Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of Heaven). In fact, the Kingdom of Man is where we live most of our lives-here on earth, living according to its rules and values. In this great sermon, our Lord is showing us what life looks like when we are living out His principles in His power. It’s not some lofty pie in the sky concept that we can only read about. This is what He expects from us.
We have found oh so many excuses for not following these difficult precepts. We rationalize that surely He doesn’t expect us to follow these “rules” to the letter. Love our enemies? Do good to those who are constantly giving us such a rough time? You’ve got to be kidding. Deep down we know He’s not kidding, but it’s sooo hard. No, it’s downright impossible.
AS I SEE IT
Once we realize that the standards Christ set for us are not negotiable, and we know from painful experience just how impossible it is to live out the “Kingdom of Heaven” version of the Christian life (which is the only version there is), then we’re ready for the good news. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that He came to fulfill (more accurately, fill full) the Law. He would meet its requirements…at the heart level. He showed that the real problem was the condition of our hearts, not the things we do. He would fulfill the Law by giving us a new heart!
That, however, is only the first step. We must “work out” what Christ has “worked in.” We must take it to the next level-where we live. We must learn to walk (live our lives) according to our new heart. This is the issue Paul grappled with in Romans 7. He knew the right thing to do, but he didn’t do it. Eventually, his struggle gave way to the joy of Chapter 8. Look at what he says in verse 4:
…in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
How do we allow the fulfillment of the entirety of the Law to be lived out in our lives? How do we walk in the Kingdom of God? By walking in the Spirit! It’s that simple! What joy! What a relief! We can’t do it but Christ can. If we let Him live out His life in us by denying the desires and cravings of the flesh, we can allow the Spirit to lead us to victory. O, how often we need to be reminded of this. As it was with Paul, it’s a daily battle, but a battle that can be won.
In addition to the obvious reasons for walking in the Spirit and living in the Kingdom of God, there’s another one that’s worthy of our consideration. One day, in the Millennial Kingdom, believers in Jesus Christ will rule and reign with Him. We must be equipped for the task. In that day, we will be living in the Kingdom of God. Today, it’s a work in progress. Jesus wants the transition to be easy. We learn here on earth so we can effectively fulfill our roles then. If we never learn “kingdom living” here on earth, how can we live it out then? It would be like expecting someone with absolutely no experience in running a business to be an effective president of the company (or of the nation). It’s not going to end well. Granted, things will be different in the coming Millennial Kingdom, but the main thing that is supposed to be different is us!
Our Lord never asks us to do something without giving is everything we need to accomplish it. He has given us a new heart and His Spirit We can do this. We must do this!
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
A bicycle can’t stand alone; it is two tired.