The Sermon on the Mount is really Jesus’ cheat sheet, for his followers preparing for judgement. In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus talks about two builders. The first builder is wise so he builds a house with a foundation on the rock. The second, because he is a fool, builds his house on sand. The storm will test the quality of each builder’s work. In the same way, one day God will test each of us. He will reward us for wise living or hold us accountable for taking shortcuts. Living according to Jesus’ teaching is the standard God will use in his judgement.
Jesus wants his followers to understand that he expects them to live out the stuff he’s been teaching. This isn’t entertainment, its marching orders for his followers. He’s telling them that one day God’s judgement will come. It’s a sure thing. Preparing for judgement by being careful to follow his teaching, is of utmost importance.
The Sermon on the Mount isn’t a description of Jesus’ expectations for Christians in the life to come. It’s a description of how he expects his people to live now. It’s an impossibly high standard, but that’s meant to drive us into Jesus’ arms. As Jesus’ words expose our unfaithfulness, that we come to Him for forgiveness and the grace to change. Over time, he empowers us to grow in Godliness. And when we do, the world sees that he’s a God who heals and saves.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- Do I work more diligently when I know that my work will be examined?
- Which of Jesus’ commands do I feel are easy to keep? Which are harder?
- Is this an impossible standard? What do you think Jesus wants us to do with it?
- What kind of God does the world see in the life of his church in Kirkland Lake?