Tag Archive: sermon on the mount

Boko Haram…

Charlie Hebdo…

Pupils in a Gauteng school re-enacting dog-fights…

Sometimes, far too regularly, it seems like the world has gone mad. What are we to do?

i was encouraged by this excerpt from a Dutch friend of mine who sent this as part of his end of year newsletter:

One thing has become clearer to me than ever before: Jesus Christ is the only hope for man and mankind. Especially studying the chapters 5-7 of Mathew’s gospel where we find the so called Sermon on the Mount, convinced me afresh of the incomparable life, mission and words of Jesus. Too easily the spiritual life is seen and interpreted as disconnected and separated from the world. Jesus however teaches how to live our lives well in a hostile world: there truly is hope! His mission was to restore the link between God and man, and between humans. It all starts with the restora-tion of the relationship between God and the individual. That restoration delivers man from his insatiable hunger for entitlement, power, money, and to be right. Being set free from all of these self-destructive attitudes and behaviors man is able to give himself to the other, no matter how strange, or impossible the other seems to be. [Jan Den Ouden]

This inspired me to spend some time reading Matthew 5-7. As in the whole thing. For the next couple of days. Too often we read through a passage and think some things and then move quickly on to the next one. i have learnt that it can be super helpful and enlightening to take a passage [or a book like i did with Philippians reading the whole thing every day for a month a few years ago] and immerse yourself in it. Once you get past the normal things you have taken from it before, you often have your eyes opened to other things God might be saying in there.

Too many people who call themselves ‘christian’ in the world seem to think the whole thing is about what they believe. Whereas with Jesus it was always about how you live. Life now, not a focus on heaven one day. How do you ‘Love God and Love people’ [including your neighbour and your enemy] in practical ways that improve the state of their lives and make the world a better place, right here and right now. How do you look beyond yourself to the needs of those around you.



We continue the Aslan Jesus series with a post from my friend KleinFrans [he’s not!]:

aslan“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”

“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.

“Are – are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.

“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

This weekend, my lovely wife Michelle and I enjoyed an amazing weekend out at the Knysna Oyster Festival on the east coast of South Africa. On Saturday morning we ran the half marathon along with 6000 other forest enthusiasts (the whole race is run through the Knysna forest).

What really struck me this time was how much the running clothes, gear, strapping and shoes have changed over the last 5 years or so. Not just the colours but the technology that goes into this gear; the shoes are lighter, made for more impact absorption but also more bounce (?!), more aerodynamic running shorts/pants/shirts, lightweight earphones to keep the loud breathing from reaching your ears and 16G of music to last you at least 5 times as long as the battery will last.

I am a back of the pack runner. I will never win a race and neither did 5999 other runners. In fact, only 4633 crossed the finish line while only approximately 1076 runners broke 120 minutes. Looking at these stats, evidence is starting to stack up against all this technology “helping people run faster.” The simple fact is we don’t. We run the same. Yet, we still look for obtaining the best shoes, lightest clothes and more streamline gizmos. Every day, we spend our time looking for a lot of unnecessary things that helps little (if at all) in streamlining your life apart from making you feel better about yourself.

I look at my everyday life and wonder at the end of the day, what did I spend my time on today? More importantly, what did I spend my time on today looking for and advancing the Kingdom of God (Matt 6:33). Did I actively spend my time today getting to know Jesus? 

In the Sermon on the Mount, (Matt 5-7), Jesus is basically setting the standard for the divine kingdom of God and in Matt 7 he brings the sermon to a conclusion. But look here at Matt 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Note who the people are on whom the eternal door is closing (and there are “many”):

First of all, they say “Lord, Lord.” Kurios is the word translated in the Septuagint of the Old Testament for the name of Jehovah. These people are saying that they accept He is God and all that his deity involves. They say “Lord, lord” indicating their passion and commitment to Kurios.

Secondly they say three times, “in thy name, in thy name, in thy name.” We have been doing it for you Lord. It is respectful, it is zealous. They’re zealous in their public ministry of word and work. It sounds so good.

But the “safe Jesus” isn’t around when Jesus quotes from Psalm 6:8 and says in verse 23: ” And I will declare (confess, homologeo); I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness (iniquity).”

What a shock! Many did signs and wonders in Jesus’ name ! Depart from me !!! 

But look closely at the word “knew” (or know). The word “know” is used in the Bible of an intimate relationship. And Jesus says, “I never had any intimate relationship with you. Yes, you were around and I saw you doing things and running around in the church/community but I never had that intimacy with you.”

“Depart from me!!” Instead of living by these righteous principles that Jesus preached at the Sermon on the Mount, you always continue to do lawlessness. And instead of doing God’s will, His righteous standard (Matt 5 to 7), you always work lawlessness. Look at the Pharisees and the scribes; they were the MOST religious and professors of religion of their day! They had “churchianity” down to a science.

James (1:22-25) basically spells out the formula: faith minus works equals zero. Professing Christ means absolutely nothing if your life does not back it up. 

So what are you spending your time on? Running around doing things that matters little to the kingdom of God or are you “knowing” Christ actively?

“Depart from me” or “Enter into the joy of your master (Matt 25:21)”

“…that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

[For the next part on Jesus kicking some Pharasaical butt, click here]

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