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The Sermon on the Mount

From my daily Bible reading:

IF“Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching,  for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.” —  Matthew 7:28-29 NRSV.

“Wesley preached extensively on the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5–7), calling the teaching of Jesus found within it “the sum of all true religion” (Sermon 21: “Upon Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount,” §I.1). The church’s history of applying the sermon to the Christian life has fallen between two positions: first, as an ethic for the kingdom of God to be fulfilled in the future heaven; and second, as a description for the way things should be now in the present church age. This dual distinction has also led some to identify with Matthew’s more spiritualized teaching of the sermon (“happy are people who are hopeless,” 5:3) and others with Luke’s more sociopolitical expression (“Happy are you who are poor,” 6:20). For John Wesley, the Sermon on the Mount was to be a backdrop for the social ethic of the New Creation, and he used it to support the Christian’s involvement in building the Kingdom of God on earth as well as in heaven.”

— Comments from The Wesley Study Bible.

“…observe, how our Lord teaches here. And surely, as at all times, so particularly at this, he speaks “as never man spake.” Not as the holy men of old; although they also spoke “as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Not as Peter, or James, or John, or Paul: They were indeed wise master-builders in his Church; but still in this, in the degrees of heavenly wisdom, the servant is not as his Lord. No, nor even as himself at any other time, or on any other occasion. It does not appear, that it was ever his design, at any other time or place, to lay down at once the whole plan of his religion; to give us a full prospect of Christianity; to describe at large the nature of that holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Particular branches of this he has indeed described, on a thousand different occasions; but never, besides here, did he give, of set purpose, a general view of the whole. Nay, we have nothing else of this kind in all the Bible; unless one should except that short sketch of holiness delivered by God in those Ten Words or Commandments to Moses, on mount Sinai. But even here how wide a difference is there between one and the other! “Even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.” (2 Cor. 3:10).”

— Comments by John Wesley in Sermon 21: “Upon Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount.”

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4 Responses to “The Sermon on the Mount”

  1. Darla says:

    I knew that Wesley “preached extensively” on the Sermon on the Mount. My sanctification experience followed a personal study of the Sermon on the Mount, years ago, when I was 23. About two decades later when I read Chapter 10, “The Sermon on the Mount” of William Greathouse’s “Wholeness in Christ: Toward a Biblical Theology of Holiness” I understood the great significance of the teaching to Holiness and Perfection.

    • In 2013 I preached a series of camp-meeting-style sermons based on the Sermon on the Mount — just to see how well that worked. I used Wesley’s sermons as inspiration, though I did not follow them closely. I think it went very well. I think the Sermon on the Mount is holiness preaching.

  2. James Lung says:

    Agree. The end, result, objective of living in poverty, mourning, etc is “blessedness.” It recently occurred to me that the blessedness Christ promises is the shalom our Jewish brothers speak about. The peace of God, the incredible well-being that flows from union with God in Christ.

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