I believe the Sermon on the Mount is the foundational work of the Bible and thus the entire Christian faith. Many individuals have stated this truth, such as Luke Timothy Johnson who wrote correctly:
“In the history of Christian thought—indeed in the history of those observing Christianity – the Sermon on the Mount has been considered an epitome of the teaching of Jesus and therefore, for many, the essence of Christianity.”
Those words of Christ penetrate the very marrow of the human being, and no one can respond with indifference who seriously reads Matthew 5-7. Christians and non-Christians have pondered and sought to understand the meaning of these words that have given life.
A.M. Hunter wrote aptly:
“After nineteen hundred years the Sermon the Mount still haunts men. They may praise it, as Mahatma Gandhi did; or like Nietzsche, they may curse it. They cannot ignore it. Its words are winged words, quick and powerful to rebuke, to challenge, to inspire. And though some turn from it in despair, it continues, like some mighty magnetic mountain, to attract to itself the greatest spirits of our races (many not Christians), so that if some world-wide vote were taken, there is little doubt that men would account it ‘the most searching and powerful utterance we possess on what concerns the moral life.’
We cannot ignore it, for Christ comes to meet with us in the inner sanctuary of our souls. We behold him in his holiness as we read these words only to find that we are not like him. He is without blemish, for he commands us to be perfect (Matt 5:48). However, we are confronted with the depth of our sin. No words can describe the fear that these words bring to the mind, yet one also finds eternal hope knowing that some have entered into the kingdom of God.”
Our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 7:
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."
This text has infused life into my journey with Christ as I understand what Jesus taught about eternal life. Jesus is speaking to his confessed followers and gives them a serious warning. Chuck Quarles writes, “enter stresses both the huge importance and great urgency of entering the kingdom.” Jesus is speaking of the need to repent and believe (the gate) and the narrow way (one’s lifestyle of holiness).
This text is the greatest in all the Bible, so we are taking time to study it carefully on April 15-18 at Riverside Baptist Church. I am encouraging everyone that I know to attend this study and examine their life, for we are commanded by Scripture to examine our life. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” We all need to make certain that we have entered through the narrow gate, and we are on the narrow path.
Ed Lacy will by the teacher of the Word of God for this time of worship. Brother Ed is no stranger to our congregation, and he is a faithful preacher of the Word of God. Please come! Please bring family and friends! We will meet at 10:15 AM and 6:00 PM on April 15 then at 7:00 PM on April 16-18. We must be faithful to invite everyone to come and hear the Word of God.
Above all else, we must pray fervently. Let us be like Samuel, “And Samuel was distressed and cried out to the Lord all night.” Let us be like the church in the book of Acts, “And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken”. Please pray that God would be merciful to work in our lives and the lives of those that we care about to resurrect the spiritually dead and wash the church with the Word of God.
Larry A. Hubbard