(76) Sermon On The Mount: Introduction

We begin a new series on Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount. This passage has been transformative in the lives of many, and is both unique and challenging. In this episode I explore my own experience with this passage and why I think it's so important to study. **A wonderful resource and a classic you must read in regard to the SOTM is Dallas Willard's "The Divine Conspiracy." Willard excoriates modern Christianity and our easy believism and refusal to emphasize works, but he also does a great job doing what I failed to do in my consequentialism series until the Bonhoeffer episodes, which is to make clear that following Jesus leads us to right actions, it is not right actions of themselves which we are seeking. I would take exception with Willard on two parts, however. The first is that Willard seems to view some of the SOTM (especially the beatitudes) with a more eschatological lens. While he definitely emphasizes that the Kingdom is now, there are moments where I feel like he overspiritualizes it into two distinct kingdoms (the spiritual and the human/physical) rather than integrating the two kingdoms, though he certainly does this much less than most other Evangelicals. The second area I'd push back on is Willard's dismissal of the Beatitudes as prescriptive. While I do agree with him that at least some are not prescriptive in the sense that we should go out and seek them (e.g. seeking persecution and trying to get killed for your faith is not good), I think they are semi-prescriptive in an indicative sense. What I mean by that is I don't think we seek persecution, but I think that when we truly seek and follow Jesus, our lives are the type which will almost certainly bring some level of persecution. Most, if not all of the other beatitudes fall in that same vein. If we are humble we will likely be meek and poor in spirit. If we hold our resources with an open hand because we recognize they are God's and don't worry about tomorrow, we'll likely have a difficult life. And Jesus told us that the gospel will bring division in families. So we will be a people who have much opportunity to mourn. In that sense, I think the life which is prescriptive, if followed, tends to lead towards the Beatitudes, while some of those things are not meant to be sought in and of themselves. https://www.amazon.com/Divine-Conspiracy-first-Text-Only/dp/B004TJWC7M/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2TKRZIONHZRVE&dchild=1&keywords=the+divine+conspiracy+by+dallas+willard&qid=1587258908&s=audible&sprefix=the+divine+conspiracy%2Caudible%2C178&sr=1-2-catcorr

A wonderful resource and a classic you must read in regard to the SOTM is Dallas Willard's "The Divine Conspiracy." Willard excoriates modern Christianity and our easy believism and refusal to emphasize works, but he also does a great job doing what I failed to do in my consequentialism series until the Bonhoeffer episodes, which is to make clear that following Jesus leads us to right actions, it is not right actions of themselves which we are seeking.

I would take exception with Willard on two parts, however. The first is that Willard seems to view some of the SOTM (especially the beatitudes) with a more eschatological lens. While he definitely emphasizes that the Kingdom is now, there are moments where I feel like he overspiritualizes it into two distinct kingdoms (the spiritual and the human/physical) rather than integrating the two kingdoms, though he certainly does this much less than most other Evangelicals.

The second area I'd push back on is Willard's dismissal of the Beatitudes as prescriptive. While I do agree with him that at least some are not prescriptive in the sense that we should go out and seek them (e.g. seeking persecution and trying to get killed for your faith is not good), I think they are semi-prescriptive in an indicative sense. What I mean by that is I don't think we seek persecution, but I think that when we truly seek and follow Jesus, our lives are the type which will almost certainly bring some level of persecution. Most, if not all of the other beatitudes fall in that same vein. If we are humble we will likely be meek and poor in spirit. If we hold our resources with an open hand because we recognize they are God's and don't worry about tomorrow, we'll likely have a difficult life. And Jesus told us that the gospel will bring division in families. So we will be a people who have much opportunity to mourn. In that sense, I think the life which is prescriptive, if followed, tends to lead towards the Beatitudes, while some of those things are not meant to be sought in and of themselves.

https://www.amazon.com/Divine-Conspiracy-first-Text-Only/dp/B004TJWC7M/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2TKRZIONHZRVE&dchild=1&keywords=the+divine+conspiracy+by+dallas+willard&qid=1587258908&s=audible&sprefix=the+divine+conspiracy%2Caudible%2C178&sr=1-2-catcorr


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