Friday, October 3, 2008

Sermon on the Mount--9, 10 and 11

Here is more Sermon on the Mount from our series on Sunday mornings. As usual, I've included our Pastor's brief summary of each message below the link to the PDF file. This is a tremendous series that I hope you will interact with--at least in your own thoughts, if not on this blog. I also encourage you to begin listening to the sermons from the beginning to get the full force of the Gospel. Thanks and "happy reading" :-)

Part 9: The Beatitudes--Peacemaking

Brief Sermon Overview:

While most Christians (as well as non-Christians) associate the concept of "peace" with the Christian faith, they commonly do so in a manner consistent with all religious thought. Every religious system holds out peace as an ethic to be pursued; even the militarism of Islam serves the cause of "peace" understood as the entire world being unified in subjection to Islam. All religions exalt and strive for peace, but they envision peace in natural, temporal categories. So it is with perhaps the majority of Christians: For multitudes, peace is "peaceability" that works to address human discord and conflict; peace speaks to harmony between human beings, cultures and nations. But if by the term "peacemaker" Jesus meant a conciliator, then those who are so characterized could hardly be called "sons of God," for God is not a conciliator in this sense. Jesus - as both true God and true Man - is the quintessential peacemaker, and yet He provoked strife and contention everywhere He went. More than that, by His coming Jesus had determined to introduce a whole new order of conflict into the world of men (Mat. 10:34-36). The only way to grasp Jesus' meaning in this beatitude is to understand "peace" as it is central to the Old Testament's developing promise and portrait of the kingdom of God. This sermon seeks to do just that and show how the promise of peace has been fulfilled in Christ.

Part 10: The Beatitudes--Persecution

Brief Sermon Overview:

Jesus' final beatitude is unique in that it ascribes blessedness to individuals on the basis of the evil way they are perceived and treated by others. All of its predecessors are concerned only with qualities in the blessed person himself without any direct consideration of those around him. Despite this distinction, this beatitude, too, has its focal point in the inward nature of the sons of the kingdom, for it is precisely who they are that provokes opposition. This becomes clearly evident when the nature and psychology of this persecution are correctly understood. Jesus was speaking of persecution in a very narrow sense; not recognizing this, the tendency among Christians is to regard any and every form and instance of opposition as persecution. The truth is, very little of what believers receive at the hands of others constitutes the persecution Jesus was referring to, and this sermon seeks to show how this is the case, what authentic persecution is, what provokes it and why it is inevitable and unavoidable for the true sons of the kingdom. This, in turn, will reveal why persecution shows Christ's own to be eminently blessed.

Part 11: The Similitudes

Brief Sermon Overview:

Jesus' observations regarding the certainty of persecution may have left His hearers concluding that it's best for the sons of the kingdom to keep a low profile in the world. The fact that the Israelite kingdom had been defined by separation would likely have reinforced this thinking. Christ's kingdom - the kingdom of heaven - is indeed to be marked by separation, but not of the sort expected by the children of Israel. The sons of the kingdom of heaven are to be separated from the world, but, in contrast to the Israelite prototypical kingdom, separation in Christ's fulfilled kingdom is entirely spiritual, having no geographical or cultural component. The point of distinction between the subjects of Jesus' kingdom and the sons of this world is His life and likeness in them, so that their Christ-likeness - not their practice or lifestyle per se - is the issue in their separation. This understanding is foundational to Jesus' instruction regarding salt and light. The symbolism of salt and light highlights "witness" as the central ethic of the kingdom - witness, not to religion, morality, or Christian doctrine as such, but to the reality of the new creation in Christ. Being salt and light means living an authentic life as one who has died and whose life is now hidden with Christ in God. For the Christian, authentic self-witness is witness to Christ (John 15:18-27); being salt and light is nothing more than living day-to-day, moment-by-moment in the life and likeness of Christ.

6 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

The Lennon song 'Give Peace a chance' is mildly entertaining although coming from a misdirected understanding of peace. When I was a little kid in the 1970s my Dad regularly warned me about the greaseballs and hippies.

The leader of our federal NDP party (socialist) acts as if we could just sit around a table there would always be peace with our neighbours in other lands.
If the NDP stay as left as present and ever run Canada federally, we will have even less of a military. I am not against negotiation, but favour a larger Canadian military and more freedom from American foreign policy.

The same leader linked evil and crime with poverty, which is somewhat true. But, even poor children can be brought up with some significant sense of morality if the parents teach, live and instill it. There are many reasons for poverty, I deduce. One reason there is poverty is because some wealthy persons abuse the poor, and also because some persons spend too much money on drugs and alcohol and do not work hard and smart enough. There is also the breakdown of the family unit which leads to poverty. There is also illness.

A corrupt human nature is at the root of evil and crime in our society. Poverty is a result of corruption and not primarily the cause of it.

The corrupt human nature must be dealt with and too many radical liberals would like to accommodate it in too many ways.

The only way to grasp Jesus' meaning in this beatitude is to understand "peace" as it is central to the Old Testament's developing promise and portrait of the kingdom of God. This sermon seeks to do just that and show how the promise of peace has been fulfilled in Christ.

True peace requires the ending of the problem of evil and citizens peacefully in love being ruled by and with God. I do not favour theocracy, but look forward to the Biblical culminated Kingdom.

Thanks, GGM.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

"True peace requires the ending of the problem of evil and citizens peacefully in love being ruled by and with God. I do not favour theocracy, but look forward to the Biblical culminated Kingdom."

Thanks Russ,

Although "peace", Biblically, speakes to the issues of "shalom", defined frequently elsewhere on these pages; the "functional aspect" of peace is never missing from its full understanding. And, of course, this only takes place with the overthrow of "the curse" which has been accomplished in Christ (the ending of "evil" is a work of Christ).

Those who are "in Christ" have THE "peace" of the Bible--though not in its "consummative" sense. At the return of Christ the entire created order will be redeemed and THE PEACE of the Bible will reign over all things for all time--if we can speak of time...umm...at this time :-)

This is why I think "missions" (both at home and abroad) is so important. It's not simply that we want to "obey" the "Great Commission" because Jesus told us to; rather, as Children of God who know and experience this "peace", we want everyone else to know it and experience it too! And in this way, the "problem of evil", though not completely removed until the coming of Christ at the consummation of all things, will have less "practical" implications as more and more people are "transformed" by the Spirit and living out the "peace" that comes in Christ; which is to say, living out the reality of who they are as New Creations in the New Creation that has come in Christ.

Christ is everything! The Gospel is the key to all things!!

Thanks again, Russ

GGM

thekingpin68 said...

Robert A, not Robert E, in my thekingpin68 links has what sounds like a similar job as yours. Perhaps you would relate (link)?

Russ

thekingpin68 said...

I have a fairly new commenter on my thekingpin68 blog who is a brother of a female Facebook friend I have never met.

He is interested in Genesis and eschatology. I have dialogued with him via email.

kingpinned said...

Good comments, and I know this new commenter on my blog likes to argue from personal email experience.

Cheers, Jason.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

"He is interested in Genesis and eschatology"

Cool...from my perspective, that about covers it all! :-)

I look forward to some...interesting? chit-chat.