By LOU TISCIONE
Matthew chapters 5-7 record the greatest sermon ever preached. Most are familiar with the beginning verses which contain the “Beatitudes.” There have been several views suggested for Jesus’ sermon. In his commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, Dr. James Montgomery Boice described past understandings of Jesus’ purpose in this sermon.
For example, the social gospel movement used the sermon as the basis to focus the church on social justice. The leaders of the movement saw the sermon as the impetus to bring an end to oppression and injustice in the culture. Over the years, politicians have adopted this view in promoting their agendas by appealing to Jesus’ words of the Sermon on the Mount.
In addition to the social gospel view there are three other misunderstandings of Jesus’ purpose in delivering the Sermon on the Mount. First, the sermon is seen as another delivery of commands from on high. As Moses received the 10 Commandments, so Jesus gave an expanded version of the commands of God.
Second, the Sermon on the Mount is seen as impossible commands. Since Jesus’ commands are impossible to keep, this view understood Jesus’ teaching in the sermon to be not applicable to Christians.
Third, early Dispensationalism understood the sermon to be the foundation upon which the Messianic Kingdom would be established. They suggest that the teachings of Jesus given in the Sermon are for a future age.
In contrast to the views above, I believe that there are four direct applications for the church. First, the Sermon on the Mount reveals the absolute necessity of the “new birth,” otherwise known as being born again, or more accurately regeneration. Second, as is the case for all Scripture, the Sermon on the Mount points us to Jesus.
Third, the sermon reveals the way of blessing. Fourth and finally, the teachings given by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount tell Christians how they might please the Father.