Keeping The Sermon On The Mount? :: By Grant Phillips

Is it possible today to live by the Sermon on the Mount? Many folks seem to think so. Even the world today pushes its liberal agenda, thinking its anti-God programs fulfill the message Jesus gave in Matthew 5-7.

The Sermon on the Mount is also provided in the other three Gospels, but not as completely as in Matthew. One Bible teacher stated years ago that he believes Jesus pointed out all ten of the commandments and not just the two that are shown in the Scripture. This makes sense because the apostle John says:

“And there are also many other things Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen” (John 21:25).

For example, it is obvious that He healed many, many more people than are listed in Scripture, definitely thousands. With a casual reading, it is evident that all who came to Him, and there were thousands, He healed them all.

That being the case, it is obvious to me that the entirety of the Sermon on the Mount is not provided for the reason the apostle John stated in John 21:25 above, but the largest section of it is provided in Matthew 5-7.

After carefully reading Matthew 5-7, how can anyone possibly think they live by that Sermon? Beats me … but they sure do.

Folks, living by the Law of Moses is hard enough (in other words, we can’t). The Sermon on the Mount takes the Law to the nth degree. Living by the Law would be like trying to carry a car on your back for a twenty-mile run. Living by the Sermon on the Mount would be like trying to carry Earth on your back. It ain’t gonna happen, at least not now. I’ll return to this thought later.

In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus says, “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”

Even in our society, anyone who commits murder will be dealt with by our governmental justice system. Yes, I realize that isn’t always so, but that is the way it is supposed to work. In other words, one who commits murder should be put to death, even though this is rarely the case in our society. However, God says:

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6).

“He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 21:12).

“If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 24:17).

“If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death at the evidence of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness. ‘Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death” (Numbers 35:30-31).

“Cursed is he who strikes his neighbor in secret.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen'” (Deuteronomy 27:24).

Now back to the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:21-22 (shown above). The Sermon on the Mount is so much more stringent than the Law; we are found guilty if we have one wrong THOUGHT toward another person.

So, can any of us truthfully say we have never murdered someone? Hopefully, we have never done so by a physical action, but what about our thoughts? Where do we stand when it comes to what we think? How many times have we been guilty of murder by the Sermon on the Mount definition? Maybe we kept the Law in that regard, but have we kept the Sermon on the Mount in that regard?

Now let’s see what Jesus says about His second example from the Ten Commandments … adultery.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’;

but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).

Now obviously, this applies to both sexes, male and female. Maybe we all can puff our chest out and brag that we have never committed adultery, but again, what about those thoughts that crossed our mind?

Can any of us, if we’re honest, truthfully say that we have never, not even once, had the wrong thought toward someone of the opposite sex? (I’m not even going to address the homosexual situation. I’ve done so before, and it is clearly and without argument a vile sin against God.)

With all the garbage that comes over the television, theaters, magazines, Internet, etc., it is very difficult for a decent person to avoid what is shoved in our face. Even aside from that, can we truthfully say we have never once had that unclean thought? Again, the answer is obvious, whether we’re talking about murder (above) or adultery in this passage.

Especially the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were very proud of their supposed ability to keep the Law, but Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, tells them about a higher Law, a Law that will be observed at a later time. The Sermon on the Mount is all about the Kingdom age (the Millennium or 1,000-year reign of Christ).

If we fail in one point of the Law, we are guilty (Romans 3:9-20, 23; James 2:10). If we even THINK the wrong thought toward another person, we are guilty. In other words, we break the Law of Moses by our ACTIONS, and we break God’s higher Law by our mere THOUGHTS.

At this time, we break both laws. We may keep some or most of the Law of Moses in the here and now, but it is impossible for anyone to keep any of the Law of the Kingdom age that Jesus is revealing. Anyone who makes such a brash statement that they keep the Sermon on the Mount is, I kindly say, a fool. Does that mean we might as well ignore the Sermon on the Mount for daily living? Of course not, no more so than we should ignore the Law of Moses, even though we are no longer under the Law, but under Grace.

No one but Jesus has ever kept the Law of Moses and the Sermon on the Mount, but here is the good news. All who belong to Jesus in the Kingdom age will keep the Sermon on the Mount. I believe that those who are born on the earth during the Millennium will also be able to thru Jesus, if they are saved during that time. All who are born on the earth during the Millennium who do not come to Jesus to be saved will be judged by the Law of the Sermon on the Mount.

Remember that Jesus said when referring to that time:

“AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father” (Revelation 2:27).

“And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne” (Revelation 12:5).

“From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty” (Revelation 19:15).

The Millennial Kingdom is a wonderful time to anticipate, for those who belong to God. Just think, IF the Rapture occurred today, the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ could be only a mere seven years or so away.

Then it will be a time when the world will be properly governed by Jesus Himself. FINALLY, it will be run, not by politicians and despots, but by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Then, we can truthfully say (those who belong to Jesus) that not even a sinful THOUGHT is ours. That old sin nature that now haunts us will no longer be around.

Grant Phillips


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