Intro to Service
For The Cause is a song written and produced by Keith & Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend. The song was dedicated by the authors to SEBTS and adopted as the school’s official hymn. The emphasis of the authors is that worship music and songs shape not only our thoughts but our actions. Therefore, the aim of our music is not only to connect the head and heart, but also our hands. Our hope is for our worship gatherings to result in Great Commission going. Join us in standing and singing in worship to Jesus today.
PLAY AUDIO (note: audio starts after 27 seconds):
– I’ve been waiting for a sermon to incorporate a light-saber. While we will not be displaying, or discussing the Star Wars movies, we are starting the series “Rogue Living” and today’s introductory message on “Rogue Jesus”.
– Rogue = one who is rebellious and uncontrollable; having maverick-like behavior and bucking the status quo; someone who displays an inordinate independence and isn’t following a predictable script.
– Jesus was rogue because He was not submissive to the religious elites or government expectations of the day. He contrasted the views and values of popular thought.
Today we introduce “Rogue Living” series with “Rogue Jesus” from Matthew 5:1-12.
◊ Please p/u note & study guides.
Christianity engages the crowds (Matthew 5:1)
The Beatitudes take place chronologically in the middle of Jesus’ ministry. Here in Matthew it appears early to establish the aim for discipleship with Jesus.
An introduction to Jesus’s ministry and the Beatitudes is that Jesus has compassion for the crowds. He lives and ministers among the people. And likewise, large crowds from sizeable areas are drawn to Jesus as they surround Him to listen to His teaching (Matthew 4:25). And that’s saying something for a man who was born in a rural, field shack; who was the first child to a teenage girl and a young father who had ordinary but aspiring goals in the carpentry business; who never traveled more than a few hundred miles from his home; who never achieved academic degrees; never held political office or military service; never wrote a book or lived in a big metropolis; never was married or had children; never even won a World Series or SuperBowl… In fact, Jesus’s professional resume was quite simplistic and almost irrelevant, yet He has collected the attention and allegiance of millions of people; more than any one person in human history.
What attracts people to their views of Jesus is not just His unique birth or death, but His message and ministry. Jesus’s teachings have stood the test of time that people may not believe His identity, but they want to believe His intended message. MLKJr said, “Jesus Christ was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness.” Deep down, most people yearn for love, truth, and goodness but they don’t know where or how to pursue it.
◊ The SOM is Rogue Living. Jesus’s teachings enraged the political & religious Right as much as the Left. Jesus was a Prophet-Preacher of kingdom righteousness. His journey among us was for the mission of carrying a cross, not to carry the cheers of religious pawns or the comforts of Caesar. Jesus’s kingdom would may not be what people always wanted, but more what they needed.
◊ The Beatitudes reflect how life is supposed to be lived. Christians have various thoughts on the SOM, with some theologians counting as many as thirty-six differing views, or at least eight broad perspectives. Perhaps 4 would suffice: Ethic Purpose but removes Christ, End Purpose but removes present relevance, Law Purpose to reveal sin but neglects empowering grace, Kingdom Purpose that includes Law-Gospel-Spirit. Essentially, the SOM & Beatitudes are countercultural.
– Imagine having a few moments to counsel POTUS using the framework of the Beatitudes:
Hello Mr. President, thank you for your time today. First, I would like to advise you to stop worrying much about the economy and jobs. A lower Gross National Product is actually good for the country. Don’t you understand that the poor are the fortunate ones? The more poor we have in the U.S., the more blessed we are. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
And don’t devote so much time to health care. You see, Mr. President, those who mourn are blessed too, for they’ll be comforted.
I know you’ve heard from the Religious Right about the increasing secularization of our country. Prayer is no longer allowed in schools, and protesters against abortion are subject to arrest. Relax, sir. Government oppression gives Christians an opportunity to be persecuted, and therefore blessed. Thank you for the expanded opportunities.
◊ The Beatitudes are blessings to people. They describe the lifestyle under the king as citizens of God’s kingdom. The benefits and blessings are incalculable.
◊ The Kingdom is both present and future. Jesus preaches the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mat 4:17). The opening and closing beatitude are present tense blessings – “theirs IS the kingdom of heaven,” while the others are future oriented with their manifestation in the age to come – “theirs shall be…”
ü “If we don’t see how the ‘kingdom come’ informs this life now, we become frantic about the things of this life, wanting to make them ultimate… The goal of history is not, after all, escape to heaven, but the merger of heaven and earth” (Onward, 52, 61)
è Read & reflect this summer on Matthew 5. Utilize study & devotional guide for personal/group discussion. Not intended to create a canon within a canon of Scripture, but some passages are worth greater reflection (top 10):
- In my view, Genesis is most important book of Bible referencing every major doctrine, even salvation by grace through faith.
- Psalms 1, 23, 51, 78, 119
- Proverbs 31 Woman
- Isaiah 53 Prophetic Salvation Through Lord’s Servant
- Matthew 5-7 SOM
- John 14-17 Olivet Discourse
- Acts 1-2 Commission & Church Covenant
- Romans 5-8 Law-Grace-Spirit
- 1Corinthians 12 Church & Spiritual Gifts
- Revelation 21:1-4 New Heaven & New Earth
Christianity must not exclude Jesus Christ.
It may be obvious but not overstated that Jesus is central to the SOM/Beatitudes. The emphasis is on the person and authority of Jesus.
◊ Jesus went up on the mountain. Being on the mountain often has momentous spiritual significance.
– Abraham & Isaac went up on mount Moriah (Genesis 22:1-2). Jesus goes up the mountain to assure of God’s promise to provide salvation.
– Moses went up on the mount Sinai with (Exodus 19:20). Jesus preaches on a mount to expound and fulfill God’s Law as it was given.
– David conquered Goliath in the valley between mountains (1Samuel 17:3). Jesus conquers the curse of sin, satan, and death on mount Calvary.
– Jesus frequents the mountains to meet with the Heavenly Father and train the disciples (Matthew 5:1; 14:23; 17:1; 28:16; Mark 3:13; 6:46; John 4:20; 6:3; 6:15; Rev 21:10).
– Ultimately, Jesus left the mountain of heaven to incarnate God so we can be reconciled to God through His substitutionary life, death, and resurrection.
◊ Jesus sits while teaching, showing his authority as a teacher to expound on Scripture. Jewish teachers would stand when reading Scripture publicly, but often sit to expound it. Jesus takes this position regularly: 13:1-2, 15:29, 24:3-4, and 26:55.
o Even today professors hold a ‘chair’ title to signify the honored position from which they teach.
◊ Jesus called disciples to him to teach. In the SOM, the person is primary to the teaching content. Jesus is the Beatitude and the Blesser (Matthew 5:3-12). Disciples are blessed when they are persecuted on account of following Jesus (Matthew 5:11-12). Jesus is the fulfiller of all the Law (Matthew 5:17). Matthew lists at least thirteen times Jesus uses the phrase “I say to you…” (5:18, 20, 22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 43; 6:2, 5, 16, 25, 29). Jesus is the judge and His words are foundational to life (Matthew 7:2, 21-21).
o One may evaluate other’s speeches and writings w/o having to take into account who the author is. However, with the SOM, Jesus’ proclaimed authority demands one to recognize Him as God who gives us a standard by which to live- Himself- which no one can live up to- “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (5:48).
o Jesus “opened his mouth and taught them” (Matt 5:2). Jesus is the Creator God who speaks words and creates the world (Col 1:16-17; Heb 11:3) and has the words of life (Heb 1:2; Jn.6:68).
People like Christianity without Jesus Christ. As long as faith only means grace without genuine gratitude that results in character growth then multitudes claim faith. Many like the idea of being forgiven for sin with a sense of general thankfulness. However, superficial thankfulness doesn’t result into life transformation. One who is genuinely grateful to God for the gospel has an awareness of how desperate they are apart from God’s intervention through the righteousness of Jesus with His substitutionary death. By grace through faith, a person is saved and filled with the Spirit of God to live a holy life. Yet, that is not what American Christianity is largely about.
“Jesus’s ethical teachings in this sermon are not the essence of Christianity, but they are essentially connected with it. The essence is Christ, Christ-for-us, our New Birth in Christ. But new birth is followed by new life, and this sermon describes that new life.”
Christians used the word “blessed” or “blessing” frequently. Most of the time it is used sincerely and positively, but there are other times the word can be hijacked in with a negative connotation. A southern sarcasm saying of, “bless your heart” is like a backslap or an intent for the other person to be disregarded. As Christians, we must reflect the true nature of being blessed, and that blessings come from God. We cannot have blessings apart from the Blesser.
è Trusting in Jesus is personal but is also public in that you link to His life through His Word and the witness of His church.
Christianity cannot be earned but only embraced.
The Beatitudes contain no imperatives (commands), but are flooded with indicative statements of reality concerning citizens in God’s kingdom. It is interesting that cultural Christianity speaks frequently about listing the Ten Commandments in public settings, yet little mention about how the Beatitudes reflect our beliefs and behaviors. People are wired for performance, with an insatiable desire to change Christianity into task lists and a system of do’s and don’ts to earn a spot at the table of grace. While we may be tempted to turn the Beatitudes into instructions, we must remember they are more about identity of those who are already following Jesus. The Beatitudes are not directions as much as they are descriptions. They expose how much/little our faith is in the gospel; they are not creating faith but revealing it.
Therefore, we are not to seek the list of Beatitudes as we are seek Jesus. If we seek Jesus, then we will understand our bankruptcy apart from Christ; we will experience the peace and comfort from our mourning’s in this world; we will exhibit humility and meekness, and fill our hearts hunger and thirst for Christ’s righteousness; we will have awareness of the great mercy we have received from God and extend mercy generously to others; we will be honest, transparent, and vulnerable with purity of heart in our relationships; and not just advocates of peace but people of reconciliation personally and publicly with relations of age, gender, race, beliefs, etc.
Blessability comes through brokenness – life Coram Deo, before the face of God.
 Craig Blomberg, Jesus And The Gospels, 2nd ed., chapter 13, SOM 8 Views: Catholic, Lutheran, Anabaptist, Postmillenial, Interim Ethic, Existentialist, Classic Dispensationalist, Kingdom Theology.
 Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew (1995), p.108.
 Peter Kreeft, Back To Virtue: Traditional Moral Wisdom For Modern Moral Confusion