The most famous sermon in history is Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount.” Matthew writes the most compelling ideas and proverb-like sayings of any of Jesus’ messages.
We see the Kingdom’s attitude toward circumstances, our personal value, religious attitudes, broken reputation, insufficient possessions, relationships and our total trust in the unseen Kingdom.
With so many memorable verses, Matthew’s crescendo is the “golden rule,” which tells us to “Treat others the way we want to be treated.” Jesus says success in this life hinges on our trust in God and our love for one another.
Luke describes the same sermon, yet briefly and more focused on living in view of the Kingdom to come. Luke desires that we recognize that Jesus was bringing a new perspective to how to live and that those who receive godly perspective gain great power.
Luke’s lesser-known “Sermon on the Plain” can be broken into four major sections and outlines our attitudes about circumstances, others, ourselves and God.
Blessed are the poor, hungry, sad and persecuted. Jesus tells us that because of His Kingdom, you can be happy and fulfilled no matter where you find yourself.
Peace is offered to all people despite our understanding or circumstance. We are blessed when we recognize the lordship of Jesus as a larger reality than the moments of pain. Through pain, we mature, develop, and wake up to God’s perspective. It’s the rich, healthy, happy and unharmed that need a shock.
This kind of living leads to numbness and is not focused on the Kingdom to come. Beware if you are distracted by the comforts of this life, for there is a greater Kingdom coming, and you can behold it now.
Luke discusses how we should treat other people. We must recognize the immense value that humans have. God made us to imagine Him. He sent Jesus to die for us so we could have a relationship with Him again. He is in love with you!
So, no matter how badly people treat you, consider how God sees you. Love and give the way Jesus models for us. No room exists for prejudice, contempt or condemnation when you recognize every soul’s value and redemptive potential. Love as Jesus loves.
When it comes to proper perspective about yourself, be honest. The Scripture is full of verses where God hates unbalanced scales. Remove all pride that significantly distorts your outlook.
When we don’t see clearly, our judgment becomes faulty, and we may become harsh or even lead others into trouble due to our lack of seeing clearly. We should always check the fruit if we are unsure about a clear view. Fruit, unlike our eyes, won’t lie.
Lastly, how should we relate to God? Jesus tells us that if we call Him Lord, we should do what He said. That is clear!
If He is my King, I should obey every command. If I want real joy and peace, I should align my life with my King’s expectations and direction. I want to rely on my eyes and understanding too much. Everything I think I know will one day disintegrate, but Jesus’ Kingdom is forever, and it’s here now.
Jesus came to make all things new. How, then, shall we live? In every circumstance, I respond with trust in God’s Kingdom. With every person, I choose love, because I am blessed enough to be generous. When looking at myself, I choose to be honest that I fall short and need God’s view of everything. And concerning God, I place my life in His hands. He is the only firm foundation. Everything else is sinking sand.
Emanuel Webb Hoggard is Pastor at Askewville Assembly of God and a resident of Edenton. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.