It is not at all original with me, but someone once remarked that the Sermon on the Mount is an unparalleled portrait of a saint. Jesus' message is not creedal, but practical; that is, it is not a sermon on what we should believe, but a discourse on how we are to live. As Matthew Henry aptly described it, Jesus' purpose "is not to fill our heads with notions, but to guide and regulate our practice." It is the measure for what it means for us to follow Jesus. Augustine called it "the perfect standard of the Christian life." While wonderfully practical and filled with memorable images, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is at times thorny and always a challenge to apply.
Over the next several months we will give our attention to this most familiar and popular message of Jesus and ask Him to help us set our eyes upon Him, who He calls us to be and what He calls us to do. He is our very good and glorious King and our hearts' desire is to know and honor Him in all that we are and do.
This week your assignment is simple. Read Matthew 5-7, outline its major divisions and write out a one or two sentence summary of the message of the Sermon on the Mount.
Hope to see you on Sunday, and remember to prepare for the sacrament of Communion!
God be with you,