Advertisers seek diligently for the slogan or jingle that will “buy some real estate in our minds”. They want to motivate us to buy their product by getting in our heads. Jesus wants a true disciple to understand that he bought the real estate of their heart, and wants that reflected in three areas: character, commitments (practices) and choices. For a look at the whole outline study used to teach the passage:
The sermon of Jesus was early in His earth ministry, and had three major parts:
- Character Traits of a True Disciple (5).
- Practices of a True Disciple (6:1-7:12).
- Choices of a True Disciple (7:13-29).
Advertisers seek diligently for the slogan or jingle that will “buy some real estate in our minds”. They want to motivate us to buy their product by getting in our heads. Jesus wants a true disciple to understand that he bought the real estate of their heart, and wants that reflected in three areas: character, commitments (practices) and choices.
Four Character Traits of My Disciples (5):
- You cannot be about YOU and ME (5:1-12) at the same time. I am seeking one who is not self dependent (3), not self secure (4), not self reliant (5), not self satisfied (6), not self focused (7), not divided (8), not agenda’d (9), not self defensive (10), not impatient (11-12). In short “other person centered (as in Phil. 2).
- You cannot be ALONE (5:13). This emphasized the loyalty of the believers together in their “salt”.
- You cannot remain anonymous (5:14-16). You will not be hidden, and you are not called to be hidden!
- You needn’t be unsure about the standards of discipleship (5:17-48). The law as given is my standard (5:17) when understood with my intent (5:18-48).
Eight Commitments (Practices) of My Disciples (6:1-7:12):
- Giving for One (6:1-4), we are to avoid sacrifice for God that is noted among men. There must be no intentional show (6:2), and must even be a concerted attempt to cloak the giving for the “Father’s eyes only” (6:3-4).
- Praying intimately (6:5-15), we are to avoid hypocrisy (5:5) in favor of privacy (5:6). We are to avoid meaningless expressions (6:7) and taking our cues from those who don’t know God (6:8). When we pray we are to acknowledge: the Person of God, the Place of God, the Perfection of God, the Plan and Purposes of God, the Petitions of need, the Pardon from God, the Protection of God, the Power o God and the Praise to God!
- Fasting for One (6:16-18), avoiding outward shows (6:16) and deliberately trying to hide the private work of God in us, that it is not cheapened and we are not tempted to be showy (6:17).
Nicholas Herman worked in the food service industry. He was a short-order cook and bottle-washer. But he became deeply dissatisfied with his life; he worried chronically about himself, even whether or not he was saved. One day Nick was looking at a tree, and the same truth struck him that struck the psalmist so long ago: the secret of the life of a tree is that it remains rooted in something other and deeper than itself. He decided to make his life an experiment in what he called a “habitual, silent, secret conversation of the soul with God.” He is known today by the new name given to him by his friends: Brother Lawrence. He remained obscure throughout his life. He never got voted pope. He never got close to becoming the CEO of his organization. He stayed in the kitchen. But the people around him found that rivers of living water flowed out of him that made them want to know God the way he did. “The good brother found God everywhere,” one of them wrote, “as much while he was repairing shoes as while he was praying with the community.” After Lawrence died, his friends put together a book of his letters and conversations. It is called Practicing the Presence of God and is thought, apart from the Bible, to be the most widely read book of the last four centuries. This monastic short-order cook has probably out-sold novelist John Grisham and Tom Clancey and J.K. Rowling put together. (sermon central illustrations)
- Saving in the Right Place (6:19-24), we are to center our focus of the future on eternal goals, not earthly – to help us keep our hearts on target (6:19-21). We must keep a clear agenda and open heart (6:22-23) determined to serve God above any other agenda or goal (6:24).
- Learning to Place our Trust Appropriately (6:25-34). We must not worry about the ability of God to provide for our basic needs, because God is powerful (6:25-26). We have no power over many things (6:27). God is able to meet our needs in elegant ways beyond our comprehension (6:28-30). Our confidence must be a testimony that marks us as different than the lost (6:31-32). If we focus on following God, He will take care of the rest for us (6:33-34).
Once time filming a movie in the desert and an old Indian walked up and said, “Tomorrow Rain.” The next day it rained. Week later the old Indian walked up again and said “Tomorrow storm.” Three days later walked up and said “Hail storm.” The director was amazed with the Indian, and he told his secretary to hire the Indian so He could predict the weather for the remaining of the shoot. However, after several accurate predictions the old Indian did not show up for 2 weeks. Finally the director sent for him. They found him and told him the director was counting on him for his weather predictions because there was a big shoot coming the next day if the weather permitted it. “What is the weather going to be like?’ The old Indian shrugged his shoulder and said, “Don’t know… radio is broken.” (sermon central illustrations)
- Examining properly our Companions (7:1-5). We are not to judge another with a standard different than we judge ourselves (7:1-2). We must not overlook our issues to spot theirs (7:3-4) but deal with our issues first (7:5).
A Buzzard and a Humming bird fly over the same desert. One is looking for something dead and rotting. The other is looking for pretty, colorful flowers. BOTH find what they’re looking for!
- Guarding Carefully God’s Truths (7:6). We are to understand the value of what God has given us, and be careful not to treat it as common. Guarding includes where and among whom we share God’s truth.
- Seeking Confidently God’s Provision (7:7-12). We are to ask for what we need (7:7-8) and understand that our Father is good, and is FOR us (7:9-12). He is not stingy, nor does He delight in withholding good things!
Four Choices of a True Disciple (7:13-27).
There are four couplets that emphasize the fact that a true follower must come to a place of choices concerning Jesus’ teachings:
- The Two Gates (7:13-14): A true disciple must choose the path less traveled, opting to forego the way “every one else” seems to be going! You have a choice!
- The Two Fruit Trees (7:15-20): A true disciple will be careful to watch the fruit of a teacher before following their message (7:15-17). He will recognize the fruit exposes the type and usefulness of the tree (7:18-20). You must evaluate my teaching as true!
Dr. Haddon Robinson writes: “Some people are attracted to Christianity because they have a leaky faucet that they want God to fix. Perhaps they struggle with a destructive habit and they would like to tap into God’s power to help them break it. Or maybe they have broken relationships that they want God to mend. But they learn from this Sermon on the Mount that God is not a plumber. Leaky faucets are minor league stuff to Him. God wants to tear the plumbing out entirely and deal with the well from which the water flows. He wants to change what comes out of the faucet, not merely stop its leak.” – The Solid Rock Construction Company, pg.122
- The Two Confessions (7:21-23). A true disciple won’t just speak as though they know me, but will live according to My teaching (7:21). Some will even be self-deceived into thinking they experienced My power in places where My presence was not even found (7:22-23). You must submit to obeying My words!
- The Two Foundations (7:24-29). If you hear and then follow My word you are building well (7:24-25). If you hear my teaching but don’t allow it to transform you – you are setting yourself up for a future collapse (7:26-27). My teaching must be transforming you!
The Apostle Paul worked tirelessly for 35-40 years to establish the church of Jesus Christ. He endured storms of rejection, of deprivation, of all kinds of difficulty. In the end, he found himself chained to a wall in a dark dungeon in Rome. Awaiting his death sentence to be carried out, he dictated these words: [2 Tim. 4:18] “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” He had entered the narrow gate and set aside selfish rights. He had built a foundation of trust in God during his day to day obedience to the Lord over the years. (sermon central illustrations).