The Sermon on the Mount could just as well be called the Kingdom Sermon.
Here Matthew records for us words of Jesus that begin to express truths and teachings about the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus began his ministry preaching the same message as John the baptist, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:1-2, 4:17.
Matthew 5:3 is the third time the word kingdom is used in Matthew. Here we begin to see what Jesus has to teach us about the kingdom of heaven.
Our focus in this years reading through the Bible is found in this message of Jesus. Literally, Matthew 6:33 says – Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Jesus is specifically telling us to seek his FATHER’s kingdom and his FATHER’s righteousness. Jesus will show us these, but Matthew will reveal a subtle difference between the kingdom Jesus established and the final kingdom of the Father which is to come. When this distinction is lost or confused, we do strange things with the Lord’s prayer.
This week, I want to show that the Lord’s prayer is still to be said by God’s people, AS IS, but with a proper understanding that recognizes that Jesus is referring to the final coming of the kingdom, not the kingdom in it’s present condition. We will go into that more next week. This week let’s survey Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount where the Lord’s Prayer is taught.
This Sermon of Jesus is like the the Magna Carta of the kingdom.
It begins with Kingdom attitudes: from poor in spirit to persecuted for righteousness sake.
Then Jesus speaks of kingdom influence: you are the salt of the earth, the light of the world, so living that when others see us they glorify our Father in heaven. Notice Jesus’s pointing us to the Father over and over in this sermon. (Matthew 5:13-16)
Next is Kingdom righteousness: Jesus tells us his purpose is to fulfill the law (verses 17-20) and who is the least and greatest in the kingdom depends on our obedience. Then Jesus tells us that unless our righteousness does not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees we will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Next are Kingdom rules: (21-47) Six times Jesus says, “You’ve heard it said, but I tell you”
You’ve heard: Don’t kill? I tell you: Don’t be angry, belittle, or curse your brother. Reconciliation is the kingdom way.
You’ve heard: Don’t commit adultery? I tell you: Looking to lust is adultery in the heart.
You’ve heard: Divorce must have papers? I tell you: Divorce causes adultery.
You’ve heard: Keep your oaths? I tell you: Keep your word, period, and don’t swear.
You’ve heard: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth? I tell you: no retaliation
You’ve heard: Love neighbor but hate enemies? I tell you: love enemies
Kingdom goal: Be like your Father in heaven. (48)
Kingdom Acts of Righteousness: (6:1-18) Do your righteous acts not to impress others, but to please your Father who sees in secret and get His reward.
Kingdom Giving: When you give: not like the hypocrites who show others, but secretly where your Father sees you and rewards you.
Kingdom Praying: When you pray: not like the hypocrites who show others, but secretly where your Father sees you and rewards you. Here we have the model prayer that Jesus taught us.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
May your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive or debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and power and the glory forever.
Kingdom Fasting: When you fast: not like the hypocrites to show others, but secretly for your Father’s reward.
Kingdom Treasures, Light, and Master: (6:19-24)
Kingdom concerns and priorities: (6:25-33) Instead of worrying about food, drink and clothes, Jesus tells us that our Father will take care of us if we seek His kingdom and His righteousness first.
Kingdom troubles: (34) don’t worry about tomorrow, each day has enough troubles of it’s own.
Kingdom judgments: (7:1-5) Mind your own business, look in the mirror before looking at your brother’s dirt. Then Jesus seems to speak of dealing with non brothers – Don’t give what’s holy to dogs or cast pearls at pigs. Bringing God’s holy judgments against an unbeliever is like stirring up trouble with a dog or wild pig. Paul told the Corinthians, you judge those inside, God will judge the outsider.
Just pray, pray, pray. Ask, seek, knock.
Kingdom care: (7-11) God gives good gifts to those that ask.
Kingdom relationships: (12) do to others what you would have them do to you.
Closing Kingdom Admonitions: (13-27)
Kingdom way to life – narrow way (your job is not to be like everyone else but to be like God! Not many will do that).
Kingdom charlatans – False teachers/wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Kingdom tests – check the fruits, good or bad?
Kingdom rejects – not all confessors enter the kingdom (we did it in your name!). Those doing the Father’s will do. On THAT day – what day? The final day that the king comes in His glorious kingdom!
Kingdom builders: Those who hear these words and do them. Wise builders! Those who hear these words and do not do them. Foolish builders!
Now, are we supposed to hear Jesus’s words here and do them, or not? What about 6:9-10? Did Jesus give an exception here? Are we wise to pray the Lord’s prayer today or foolish?
Jesus told us that if we break the least of these commandments and teach others to do the same, we will be least in the kingdom. Jesus said, “He who keeps and teaches them will be great in the kingdom of heaven? Should we not keep all of Jesus words here and do them?
The final reason that we ought to be praying the Lord’s prayer today is this:
Go with me to Matthew 28:19-20. Jesus told the apostles to go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…
Then Jesus said these words: Teaching them to OBEY ALL I have commanded you.
Where is the exception for the Lord’s prayer in those words? Let’s trust that if we do what Jesus said, we will be building our faith on solid ground. Let’s pray the Lord’s Prayer together.