Teacher: Rusty Kennedy
Augustine (354-430) believed that the Sermon was “a perfect pattern (or standard) for the Christian life,” and that its teachings “perfectly guide . . . those who may be willing to live according to them.” This approach is generally in line with what is likely the most popular interpretation of the Sermon by evangelical Christians, wherein the Sermon contains principles for Christian living, guiding regenerate persons in an unregenerate world.
2. COMMANDS FOR ALL CHRISTIANS
Martin Luther held that the commands of the Sermon were binding upon all Christians. He writes, “The injunctions of the Sermon on the Mount . . . are not counsels but precepts. They are not exhortations addressed to those who aspire perfection, but commands binding upon all Christians.”
3. MORAL CODE FOR RELIGIOUS ORDERS
Thomas Aquinas understood the Sermon to be a moral code for a select few. He held that only the religious orders in the monastery and convent were expected to fully comply with the Sermon on the Mount.
4. BLUEPRINT FOR A NEW SOCIETY
Tolstoy, the Russian novelist and social reformer, took an extremely literal and legalistic interpretation of the Sermon. He viewed it as a blueprint for a new society. For Tolstoy Jesus’ command to “swear not” requires an end to oaths in the law courts and the command to “resist not evil” requires the elimination of the police force.
5. IMPOSSIBLE IDEAL
Gerhard Kittel believed that the precepts of the Sermon could not be fulfilled, and that Jesus recognized this fact. Like the law, it was designed “to bring His hearers to the consciousness that they cannot in their own strength fulfill the demands of God.”
6. INTERIM ETHIC
According to Johannes Weiss and Albert Schweitzer, the Sermon presents an ethic valid only for a time of crisis. Jesus’ interim ethic was “an emergency ethic for His disciples’ use during the brief interval between His preaching and the cataclysmic coming of the Kingdom of God.”
7. ETHIC OF INTENTION
According to Johannes Muller, the Sermon gives “direction” rather than “directions.” It is not intended to be interpreted as a new yoke of law. Rather, Jesus was suggesting the attitudes and inward disposition that ought to characterize His followers.
8. ESCHATOLOGICAL ETHIC
Some dispensationalists believe that the Sermon cannot be fulfilled in this present age, but will be possible to live when God concludes history and ushers in His Millennial Kingdom. As such, the Sermon is not applicable to contemporary society.
9. CONDITIONS FOR ENTRANCE INTO THE KINGDOM
Dwight Pentecost argues that the Sermon is connected with the offer of the kingdom. Rather than describing the characteristics of the future Millennial Kingdom, the Sermon sets forth the high requirements which must be met in order to enter that kingdom (see Matt. 5:20; 7:13, 21).
Luke 6:17-20 – Sermon on the Mount (Intro)
17 After coming down with them, He stood on a level place with a large crowd of His disciples and a great number of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They came to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases; and those tormented by unclean spirits were made well. 19 The whole crowd was trying to touch Him, because power was coming out from Him and healing them all.
20 Then looking up at His disciples, He said:
Matthew 5 – Sermon on the Mount (Part 1)
1 When He saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He began to teach them, saying:
- The Sermon on the Mount defines the righteousness required by the Law.
- Not what is required of those who desire to walk with Jesus today.
4 Those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted.
5 The gentle are blessed, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled.
7 The merciful are blessed, for they will be shown mercy.
8 The pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God.
9 The peacemakers are blessed, for they will be called sons of God.
10 Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
11 “You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. 12 Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
17 “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
21 “You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, qand whoever murders will be subject to judgment. 22 But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Fool!’ will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You moron!’ will be subject to hellfire. v23 So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you’re on the way with him, or your adversary will hand you over to the judge, the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 I assure you: You will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny!
27 “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. 28 But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell!
31 “It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife must give her a written notice of divorce. g32 But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to our ancestors, You must not break your oath, but you must keep your oaths to the Lord. l34 But I tell you, don’t take an oath at all: either by heaven, because it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, because it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither should you swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black. 37 But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.
38 “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. q39 But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 As for the one who wants to sue you and take away your shirt, let him have your coat as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor yand hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? fDon’t even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. 
 The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Lk 6:17–20). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Mt 5:1–48). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.