The Principles of the Kingdom: The Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5 – 7
A helpful outline of the next portion of Matthew’s gospel:
- Matt. 5 – 7 The principles of the Kingdom
- Matt. 8 – 9 The powers of the kingdom
- Matt. 10 the preaching of the kingdom
Chronology. The sermon on the mount did not take place chronologically at the beginning of the Lord’s ministry, nor was it all given at one time. This is clearly seen by the fact that it begins by him speaking to the disciples (Matt. 5:1) and closes with him addressing the multitude (Matt. 7:28-29). Matthew pieces the whole discourse together (compare with Luke, where only bits and pieces are given) and gives it to us as a comprehensive declaration of the principles of the kingdom of heaven. the same method is used in Matt. 8-9. the sermon on the mount is not recorded at all in mark or John. Bits and pieces are given in Luke. In some places of Luke the Spirit of God takes the liberty, according to His sovereign wisdom, of keeping back certain portions, giving it in an order to make certain moral points.
O U T L I N E
The Beatitudes: The Blessedness of the Subjects of the Kingdom
the rightful king unfolds the principles of his kingdom. it is right and proper that after Jesus is proven to be the rightful messiah in Matt. 1-4, that he would go up into the mountian and lay out the principles of his kingdom which was near at hand. it is Christ that defines what a christian is! the queen of Sheba was impressed, not merely with the wealth of Solomon, but with the moral characteristics of his servants; “happy are these thy servants”, etc. is a parallel with the beatitudes; “blessed are the…” This is precisely what the Lord gives in Matt. 5-7, the principles of the Kingdom. What a priviledge to be part of his kingdom!
which aspect of the kingdom is in view? the kingdom is at hand, the postponement not yet official. However, the way the lord speaks in Matt. 5-7 show that he was speaking of a time when there would be “mourning”, and “persecution for righteousness’ sake”… clearly a time when evil would not be put down, and the time of all things being set right was still distant. however, these characteristics belong to subjects of the kingdom at all times.
Kingdom teaching is Christian conduct. In Acts 20 Paul said he preached three things: the gospel of the grace of God (v.24); the kingdom of God (v.25); and all the counsel of God (v.27). the first thing was the gospel, the second was the practical conduct of Christians who are part of the kingdom, and the third was the counsels of God concerning Christ and the church. We need to take heed that we not neglect kingdom teaching. while it is not the highest truth in the word of god, it is very important.
christian conduct but not the substance of Christianity. many believers think that the sermon on the mount is the apex of christian teaching… it is not. we have to turn to the epistles where paul unfolds the truth of the mystery and the nature of the church of God. see how the word “blessed” or “happy” is used over and over in vv.1-16? We are told in Eph. 1:3 that we have been blessed will all spiritual blessings in heavenly places! But these blessings are for happiness on this earth… the rewards are given in the kingdom in manifestation on earth!
christian conduct but not the christian gospel. a big mistake would be to think that these characteristics of the subjects of the kingdom are requirements to be saved. it then becomes a gospel of works… lordship salvation.
- The Setting (vv.1-2)
- The Nine Beatitudes: Seen perfectly in the Life of Christ (vv.3-12)
The Setting (vv.1-2)
¶ But seeing the crowds, he went up into the mountain, and having sat down, his disciples came to him; 2 and, having opened his mouth, he taught them, saying, v.1 the setting. The circumstances at the end of ch.4 are arranged by the Holy Ghost to show that universal attention had been directed to the lord, and to the coming kingdom. kelly said “When all are on tip-toe to hear Him, then the Lord unfolds the character of the kingdom of heaven.” we have the Lord in seven mountains in matthew: matt. 4:8; 5:1; 14:23; 15:29; 17:1; 24:3; 28:16. here this mount is compared to sinai. we have the original Lawgiver, Now come forth in Manhood, gone up another mountain, and now revealing to His disciples his heart and mind. He has every right to enlarge or amend His own law.
The Nine Beatitudes: Seen perfectly in the Life of Christ (vv.3-12)
…there is moral progression in the BEATITUDEs… “BEATITUDE” means “blessedness”
#1: Poor in Spirit (v.3)
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for “theirs” is the kingdom of the heavens. v.3poor in spirit is the thought of a humble attitude (Isa. 57:15; 66:2). it is in contrast to someone who is forward and pushy. When a person is repentent, they become poor in spirit. enjoyment of the kingdom is their reward!
#2: Mourning (v.4)
4 Blessed they that mourn, for “they” shall be comforted. v.4mourning here is not somebody that is very weepy and depressed. Rather, it is a mourning over the condition of things (Ezek. 9:4). they shall be comforted because the kingdom will be brought in & things will be set right.
#3: Meekness (v.5)
5 Blessed the meek, for “they” shall inherit the earth. v.5 meekness is not giving offense; lowliness is not taking offense (Matt. 11:29). those who are “offensive” are willing to hurt others to get what they way. the reward to the meek is to inherit the earth in the millennium.
#4: Hunger and Thirst After Righteousness (v.6)
6 Blessed they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for “they” shall be filled. v.6 hunger and thirst after righteousness is a desire to have things in accordance with the mind of god. this is suffering with christ (Rom. 8:17) where we are grieved by man’s rebellion, and the effects of sin on creation. the reward is to be filled or satisfied with righteousness in the kingdom (Dan. 9:24), when everything is set right (ACTS 3:21). doesn’t say to set things right.
#5: Mercy (v.7)
7 Blessed the merciful, for “they” shall find mercy. v.7 mercy HERE is compassionate treatment of those in distress… uncommon in a world full of cold people. SEE Rom. 12:8; JAM. 2:13; Luke 10:30-34. THE REWARD is governmental mercy from god… not exemption from trials, but enjoyment of the sweetness of god’s mercy through their trials.
#6: Purity (v.8)
8 Blessed the pure in heart, for “they” shall see God. v.8 Purity is the thought of umixed motives, cleanness of thought. appreciating mercy does not make us compromise holiness. “The fuller your hold of grace is, the higher will be your maintenance of holiness” – w. kelly. to “see god” (heb. 12:14) is the result of communion, to actually know god in his characters.
#7: Peacemaking (v.9)
9 Blessed the peace-makers, for “they” shall be called sons of God. v.9peacemaking is not the idea of passively trying to avoid sensitive issues… it is an active seeking to put issues right for the Glory of God and the blessing of our brethren (I sam. 25). “sons of god” in Matthew is not the pauline truth of adoption. they bear the resemblance of god’s nature.
#8: Persecution for Righteousness’ Sake (v.10)
10 Blessed they who are persecuted on account of righteousness, for “theirs” is the kingdom of the heavens. v.10persecution for righteousness’ sake is to suffer for taking a stand on moral issues. a good example is john the baptist Matt. 14:3-4, although John wasn’t in the kingdom of heaven. how can we be “blessed” in such adverse conditions? there is a joy that comes from doing god’s will. the reward is a portion with the Messiah Himself in the kingdom of the heavens.
#9: Persecution for Christ’s Sake (vv.11-12)
11 Blessed are ye when they may reproach and persecute you, and say every wicked thing against you, lying, for my sake. vv.11-12persecution for Christ’s sake goes beyond suffering for righteousness’ sake. compare I Pet. 3:14 and I Pet. 4:12-13. it is to suffer because of our association with Christ, a far greater priviledge than suffering for moral issues. notice this change from “they” to “ye“, which is exceedingly precious. He is getting very personal. slander and false accusation are some of the hardest persecution to take.
12a Rejoice and exult, for your reward is great in the heavens; v.12a “reward in heaven” He identifies these with a higher place altogether than “the kingdom of heaven” which is in the earth. instead, god gives them a portion out of the earthly scene, with Himself above. it takes in the possibility that they might be martyred. “Rejoice” – a special kind, see Acts 5:40-42.
12b for thus have they persecuted the prophets who were before you. v.12b What an honor to join the old testament prophets in earthly rejection and scorn… bringing us into a special communion with God.
the tenth beatitude. Nine are listed here in Matthew 5, but paul gives us another one in Acts 20:35 “…to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
“Earth” or “land”. The expression “the earth,” could be translated “the land,” (v.5 and v.13). The “land” in scripture generally refers to the land of Israel, and often includes the entire possession of land promised to Abraham.