Last night I substituted as teacher for the small gathering that comes on Sunday evening. I was told that I could do whatever; that there wasn’t any particular topic that needed to be covered. As I thought last week about what I might do, I received a copy of a book by Randy Harris, professor at Abilene Christian University, called “Living Jesus”. The book and accompanying DVD speak of the Sermon on the Mount with the idea of actually doing what Jesus says to do in those three chapters as recorded by Matthew.
I just presented the first of Randy’s lessons (there are six lessons in all). That lesson jumped to the very end of the sermon to the story of the wise man and the foolish man. Harris says that how we acknowledge the teaching of that illustration colors how we see the Sermon on the Mount.
Some believe the teachings of Jesus are so lofty that no one possibly can live the way he says in the sermon. Others believe that Jesus taught those things for a reason and expects his followers to live those teachings. Harris agrees (and so do I) with the latter, and says that the teachings of the sermon aren’t to be studied…they are to be lived. And that Jesus expects no less of us.
He then goes to the story of the wise man and foolish man. Jesus opens this story with these words, “He who hears these words of mine, and puts them into practice, is like the wise man…” Jesus says we are wise if we live these words. He says we are foolish if we hear (and study) the words and NOT put them into practice. Jesus expects us to live these things.
Take just a few moments to read the sermon in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7. Read the words slowly enough that you don’t skip ahead in your reading because the words are familiar to you. Absorb the teaching. Understand the message.
Then decide if you will live those words. Jesus says you CAN live them. The question is, “Will you?”