I am studying the Sermon on the Mount this week from Matthew 5-7. This is the most famous sermon ever delivered. The Lord gathered His disciples together, went up a mountain, sat down, and opened His mouth to teach them. Jesus’ healing ministry was important. All of the miracles were definitely significant and validating. However, the Gospels and all of the New Testament letters make clear that the ministry of the word, preaching, is the chief aspect of Gospel ministry. Jesus was never content to only meet physical needs. The Lord spoke to the hearts of the people. He spoke to the spiritual needs of the multitudes. They may have been hungry, or hurting, or poor, but, more than that, they were in danger of the wrath to come without the work of God in their lives. This life does not last forever. It is very brief. We need hope for the future, and we need to know how to pass through the judgment by the grace of God. We also need to know how to live in this life due to our future prospects. We need to know how we can be light to our dark world.
The one theme that stands out from the Sermon and runs throughout comes from the first line that Jesus speaks after He opens His mouth: “Blessed are the poor in spirit. . . .” The first step into the Christian experience . . . the first step toward salvation is a realization and confession of our own spiritual poverty. The kind of person who knows his/her spiritual bankruptcy is the kind of person who is “blessed” of God, that is, satisfied in and approved by God. This is the starting point for the new birth. We have to know God’s holiness and our sinfulness.
Have you come to this realization? Have you confessed this reality? If you have been a Christian for several years, do you still understand this truth? More can certainly be said, but we will leave it here for now.