Q: Who was the audience of the Sermon?
A: Everyone. It explains Jesus’ view of life. He is explaining it to his disciples and to the crowds who have come to him because of his abilities to help them with their physical, relational and spiritual problems.
Q: Who is the Sermon for today?
A: Everyone. The idea is that no matter how we are living, even if we are the poor, mourning, meek and starving, there could be a blessed life for us. In fact, God is directly addressing the kind of human problems that make us that way. He wants us to live the blessed life we were intended to live, and that is one of righteousness, peace, purity and mercy. Jesus tells us how life in him works.
Q: So is the Sermon the way to go to heaven when we die?
A: No. The Sermon is how to live out the way of heaven now as the children of God. It is the vision and instruction of how life should work.
Q: So what does the Sermon say about being “saved”?
A: It says we can be saved from a meaningless life by living a righteous life. It also says that a righteous life is not about trying to do religious stuff to look good. A righteous life starts with the root and leads to the fruit. It is about being a new creation (lamb not wolf). It is a warning that just because you can claim to be ‘righteous’ does not mean that you are. He warns very strongly at the end of the Sermon that people will be shocked that their idea of ‘righteous’ was not good enough. Why? He says what matters first of all, at a foundational level, is that he knows you. If you do not have the foundation of a relationship with Jesus you will not survive the future.
Q: So why do we have to follow this? If we are saved by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then why should we care about the Sermon? Maybe it’s just something to help us see we can never be good enough so we will just pray to accept him.
A: The reason to follow the Sermon is to live the blessed life under God’s heavenly rule. It is how life was meant to be lived. Why do we “accept Jesus as Lord and Savior”? Because he is Lord and we need to be saved. Saved from what? First we are saved from God. In Romans 5 it says we are his enemies because of our sin. Jesus exchanged his righteousness for our unrighteousness. What happens is that God’s grace, received via our faith, saves us. But why? God adopts us, his former enemies, as his dear children. He intends for us to live life abundantly. That is what Jesus is offering. The how to live a blessed life.
Notice that we are saved by Jesus being are substitution so that we can live like Jesus lived:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:1-6)
How did Jesus walk? The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus explaining to everyone how life is supposed to be lived. The Sermon is Jesus command on how to live out the way of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus knows what he is talking about. Who else should we listen to about living a blessed life?