Waynedale United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

March 8, 2015 Sermon

“Proclaiming the Kingdom”
Matthew 5:1, 2, 7:24 – 29

Ted Jansen  March 8, 2015  Waynedale UMC

 

1.)        When you hear the term “mountain top” what do you think about?  Often when Jesus walked on this earth he would head to the mountains.   In the Holy Land the mountains are different heights in different parts of the country.  The mountains in the wilderness are bigger than the mountains of the Galilee area.   I would call the mountain on the north end of the Sea of Galilee more of a steep hill. 

            Jesus shared a sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, in an area near this picture in Galilee.  (Picture of hillside in Galilee)  As you imagine Jesus with the people on this hillside hear these words from scripture.  “Now when he saw the crowd, he went up on a mountainside and sat down.  His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them…”  (Matthew 5:1, 2)

           

2.)        When you go to the mountains, or high places, one thing is that you get away from your normal life and routine.   Another is that you can see a lot when you are on top of the mountain.  The views are great.   You gain a different perspective in life when you are on a mountain.    

            When you get away from your routine, get a different look at life and gain perspective I believe you are more open to God’s truth.      

            When Jesus walked up the mountain he was inviting the people to consider the Kingdom of God.  I invite you to come to the mountain with Jesus.        

 

3.)        Hear Jesus’ sermon from Matthew 5 - 7.  He begins with Kingdom truth on how we can be blessed, an expansion of how the law of God worked in the past and Jesus’ application, and then teaching on a variety of topics that were a part of people’s lives. 

            Jesus’ teaching was proclaimed in a variety of ways.  He told stories, he would offer object lessons, he would ask questions and he would bring God’s perspective to life.         

 

4.)        One of the things Jesus was doing when He taught was building bridges to the people from God.   (Picture of Bridge)  Here is a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Have you been on this?

            A bridge connects two land masses.  The purpose of a bridge is to bring people from one part of the land over the water to the other part of the land.  When you are on the bridge you are not a part of either land mass.  You can see where you came from and where you are going when you are on the bridge. 

            I want to make a bridge this morning.  I will take these two chairs and put this board across them.  The board represents the bridge, which connects the chairs, like two land masses. 

            The two land masses (chairs) that I want to symbolize are the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Self.  The board, as the bridge, connects God and the self.  When you are on the bridge you can see where you came from and where you are going.       

 

5.)        Jesus’ teaching in the sermon on the mountainside is like putting people on a bridge, connecting them to the Kingdom of God as they consider the Kingdom of self.  

The Kingdom of self are the thoughts, successes, failures, strengths, family, health, finances, joys, and concerns that we have.   The Kingdom of God are God’s thoughts, perspectives and how God desires the world and our lives to work.     

            Jesus wanted the people and us to stand on the bridge and consider the truth of God.   

6.)        Jesus, in his sermon, was speaking to people who were living in the context of a Roman authority, around 30AD.  Do the words that Jesus spoke long ago have any relevance to our lives in 2015?  Are they old truths that do not apply anymore?  Are there other sources that have the best insights and truth for us today?             

I searched on the internet for the most popular web sites/blogs for information.   According to ebizmba.com the Huffington Post, was the most visited blog for news.  It was estimated that 110 million people go to this blog each month.  The next two sites are TMZ and Business Insider.

These are sources of information that people go to.  I wonder what kind of perspective they get?  Do these sites teach about the Kingdom of God?  Where do we go to get God’s perspective?             

           

7.)        God’s perspective comes from the scripture.  One of Jesus’ words that I gained perspective on has been Matthew 6:33.  It says, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”   (Picture of field)

            Jesus was there in the outdoors and used images of birds, lilies, flowers, Solomon and grass in His teaching about the importance of God’s love and our priorities.  People knew and could see the fields all around them.  As you imagine the people seeing the flowers you can think about how God cares for the flowers and how God cares much more for people.         

            I learned the lesson of seeking God first, not on camping trip, but when I had messed up in life and became too selfish.   Let me tell you my story.    

 

8.)        When I was 17, and a new Christian I had an informal painting business.  One of the jobs was painting the parsonage for the new pastor while the current pastor was living there.  I admit that I got focused on the money I would be making and the stereo that I would buy.  I ended up doing a lousy paint job and got paint on the furniture.  One day I had a friend come over and we even had paint fights in the parsonage.  The painting had to be done over again and I had to have a Trustee supervise me.   It did not make the amount of money I had planned on.  It was humbling and embarrassing.  

            It was during and after that time that I read the scripture from Matthew about Seeking God first and His kingdom.  I realized that I was seeking my own kingdom.  I was selfish, focusing on my self needs, and did not care about God.  I wanted a stereo and lost my focus on painting.     

            I was on the bridge and I could see the scripture and where I had come from and realized afterwards which direction I needed to head go.   

            I realized that if I keep following my selfish desires I will mess up.  If I seek God I will learn to be content and God will provide.  

           

9.)        We all notice scripture at different times based on what is happening in your home, your job, your family, etc.  I want to speak some selected words of Jesus from His sermon in Matthew.  These are from “The Message” translation.  (Picture of Galilee from Mt Beatitudes)   

            I want you to sit on the hillside listening to Jesus along with all the other people. 

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you.  Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” (5:4)

 

            “You’re blessed when you care.   At the moment of being care-full, you find yourselves cared for.”  (5:7)

 

             “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.

                 “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. (5:21 – 24)

 

                You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed.  Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.  (5:27, 28)

 

                 “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.  (6:24)

 

 “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.” (7:15 – 20)

                 

10.)      Jesus ended His sermon with a parable about a man building a house.  You will be wise when you build your house on a rock foundation.  It is just like being wise by putting the words of Jesus into practice.  If you don’t build on the rock and choose to build on the sand when the storms come your house on the sand will all come down like a great crash.  You are foolish if you hear the words of God and don’t put them into practice Jesus was saying. 

      

11.)      How did the people respond after Jesus’ message?  Matthew 7:28 – 29 says, “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority and not as their teachers of the law.”  

            Jesus is bringing God’s thinking, God’s perspective, God’s truth and the people experienced this. 

The word authority that is used in verse 29 has a sense of meaning that what Jesus is doing in His sermon has divine approval.  Authority can also mean a sense of jurisdiction.  Jesus, in His speaking, has jurisdiction over the lives of people.  The people gave Him their respect, their time, their mind as He spoke.   He was different than the teachers of the law.    

             

12.)      Jesus went to the top of the mountain so that people could get away from their routine, could see more and could get perspective.  

            Do you need to get away from your routine, your life and find a mountain?  Do you need to see that there is more in your life that what is right in front of you?  Do you need to get perspective of how your life and God needs to work?    

            My invitation is to read Mathew 5 – 7 this week in a place that can symbolize a mountain.  Read this sermon several times without a sense of urgency.  Read it with a leisurely spirit seeking to find one thing you need to do. 

 Read it with the commitment that when you God speaks to you about your life you will seek to put the words into practice.  Build your spiritual home on the rock, storms are coming.