Daily email Number 348 – from the Vicar

I promised on Monday something different in the daily email as I continue to mix up our content and look at different parts of the Bible together.  And the Sermon on the Mount came unexpectedly into my mind, so that is where we will be for the next week or so.
So let us read Matthew Chapter 5 verses 1 to 12, what is known as the Beatitudes, because that is from the Latin word for ‘blessed’ which each verse begins with. Now each of these statements is pretty deep, and I have heard whole sermons in the past on just 1 or 2 of these.  So read these verses a few times, and chew them over, and I’ll come back to them again tomorrow.
But for now just a few introductory comments about the whole Sermon on the Mount, which contains some of the most well-known of all the Lord Jesus’ teaching. Do note that this is Jesus teaching His disciples (v.1), rather than the whole crowd, though there may well have been some outsiders looking in, as it were.
I think this is important because it gives us a framework that this is teaching for the believer, and not for the unbeliever.  I say this, because I have sometimes heard it said that the Sermon on the Mount is a pattern of living for anybody and everybody, perhaps because it contains the so-called “golden rule”, ‘do to others what you would have them do to you’ (Ch.7 v.12).Now of course there is much of what Jesus teaches here that can be helpful to anybody, He is the master teacher; however, there is also much here that would be completely irrelevant to the unbeliever, for example v.11 in today’s passage, ‘Blessed are you when people insult you … because of me’.  No unbeliever will be insulted or persecuted because of Jesus!!
And actually this way of moral and ethical life made clear by this teaching, and the mindset behind it, is impossible to keep, humanly speaking, so why have it as a pattern at all?  The standards are just too high. It is obviously deeply challenging for Christians as well, but it is only with God’s help, as we commit ourselves to him in faith and trust, with the help of the Holy Spirit changing us from the inside, giving us a fresh understanding of life and people from God’s point of view, that we can even begin putting this into practice.
More on this opening section tomorrow.

From our church address list, let us pray today for- Terry & Dawn- Mary, Sharon’s mum

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