“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:12 (NIV)
Today, we bring you part six of our article on “The Gold From Two Mountains” culled from chapter nine of “The Transformed Mind – Changing the World by Being Changed” authored by Dr. Samuel Koranteng-Pipim and Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee. Last week we ended on the note that after Moses climbed the first mountain to receive the Ten Commandments, Christ climbed another mountain to explain the meaning of the Ten Codes, called the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew Gospel chapters 5, 6 and 7.
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GOLD FROM THE SECOND MOUNTAIN
“Just as the focus of this book is revealed in the title The Transformed Mind, the content of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount deals with how believers are to think and act. It reveals what Christ expects from His disciples in their attitudes, behavior, and service to God. It challenges believers to be different. Jesus said, “Do not be like them” – Matthew 6:8, for Christians are to be salt and light in the world – Matthew 5:13-16.
The sermon offers a contrast between true and false ethics – 5:17-48, true and false piety – 6:1-18, the necessity of entering by the narrow gate – 7:13, and the deadly dangers of false teachers – 7:15ff.
Because of space limitations, we can only give a brief overview. The sermon may be organized into three main sections. The first section – 5:1 to 5:16 discusses the identity of the citizens of the Kingdom (God’s true people): their character, blessedness, relationship to the word and the influence they are to have over society and culture. It is here that we find the Beatitudes and the teaching on salt and light.
The second section – 5:17-7:12 deals with the relationship of Jesus’ disciples with the Moral Law. Here our Lord contrasts His view of the Moral Law with that of the Scribes and Pharisees. He also deals with personal piety by contrasting outward verses with inward or genuine righteousness – 6:1-18.
In the third section of the Sermon on the Mount, the Saviour focuses on the necessity of choosing and following the correct way – 7:13-27. He discusses the two ways facing all men – 7:13, 14, true and false teachers – 7:15-23, and good and bad foundations – 7:24-27. This section is Christ’s appeal to His audience to choose the right path by paying heed to His words, for He is the authoritative expositor – 7:28, 29.
EXAMINATION OF THE GOLD FROM THE
The Sermon on the Mount covers different topics. Through each of them, He teaches how a Christian should live a life that is dedicated to and pleasing to God, how to relate compassionately with other human beings, how to have spiritual discernment. Here are some highlights of Christ’s teachings:
The Beatitudes 5:1-2. Here is set forth the character of God’s true people.
“And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them saying:
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in Heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Believers Are Salt and Light – 5:13-16. It discusses our responsibility to the world.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.”
Christ Fulfills the Law – 5:17-20. He shows that the Law cannot be abrogated.
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till Heaven and Earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Christ Magnifies the Law – 5:21-48. He explains the full import of some of the Ten Commandments:
MURDER BEGINS IN THE HEART – 5:21-26
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the Judgment. And whoever says to his brother, “Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, “You fool!’ shall be in danger of Hellfire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will be no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.”
ADULTERY STARTS IN THE HEART
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast if from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Hell.”
MARRIAGE IS SACRED AND BINDING
– 5:31, 32
“Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.”
The African problem is not a problem of gold (which we have in abundance), but of the Golden Rule that should regulate our conduct and attitudes. If we’re to benefit from our gold, we need to embrace the Golden Rule.
To be continued! Stay Blessed!
All Scriptures unless otherwise stated are from the New King James Version (NKJV)
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