“When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him” (Matthew 5:1).
The gospel of the kingdom’s foundational truth (contained in the Sermon on the Mount) has had an impact for two thousand years on all who read and hear it. At least five reasons come to mind as to why Jesus’ greatest of sermons is so important.
First, the Sermon demonstrates the necessity of the new birth. In order for us to recognize our sin, Jesus made a fuller, clearer presentation of the law, followed by His offer of salvation. Jesus’ message here clarifies the reasons for sin’s curse and shows that we have no righteousness of our own to survive God’s scrutiny. Only those who have a new nature through Christ can meet the law’s demands. By no other way but saving faith can we have righteous attitudes as well as actions and be fully right with God.
Second, the Sermon points all listeners to their dependence on Christ’s enabling power to meet God’s standards.
Third, Jesus’ message gives us the Father’s pattern for true happiness and peace (cf. John 14:27; Phil. 4:7). It provides the real pathway to the believer’s sanctification.
Next, the principles in the Sermon on the Mount are some of the greatest scriptural resources for evangelism. If you as a Christian personify these truths, your life will attract others to the Lord.
Last, the life that is obedient to the Sermon’s teachings is the only one that truly pleases God—and that is the highest, noblest objective of the Christian life.
Embarking on a devotional study of something as monumental as the Sermon on the Mount, you’re always sure to discover truths and insights you’ve never noticed before. Which one or two of the five statements above do you think you’re most ready to hear more about?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.