Jesus’ teachings at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount are a call to introspection. We must be willing to take an honest look at ourselves, and then to respond appropriately to what we see.
1. Poor in Spirit - Recognizing my own spiritual poverty, I choose to not think too highly of myself.
2. Mourn - Recognizing its effects on myself and others, I mourn my sinfulness.
3. Meek - Recognizing that God’s strength is shown in my weakness, I choose to keep my own strength under control.
4. Hunger and Thirst - Recognizing my own emptiness, I choose to fill myself with God’s provision
1. Mercy - Recognizing that I have received mercy, I freely give mercy (Matthew 18:21-35)
2. Pure in Heart - Recognizing that God sees the heart, I choose to act from pure motivations such as love and generosity rather than selfish motivations
3. Peacemakers - Recognizing that relational dysfunction only destroys God’s creation, I choose to escalate peace rather than conflict
4. Persecution - Recognizing that many people are opposed to God, I choose to rejoice in persecution and to pray for my persecutors (John 15:18)
1. To preserve
2. To bring flavor
3. To wake up (smelling salts)
4. To make thirsty
1. Be active in your community as a means of preserving God’s creation and God’s image
2. Be generous with God’s gifts so that you can make others’ lives betters (more flavorful)
3. Be gracious in the way you speak the truth, but speak the truth so others may wake up to God’s grace and mercy
4. Live in such a way that others will crave (be thirsty for) what you have
1. The command - Thou shalt not kill
2. The illumination - Don’t be angry or insulting to your brother
1. (Anger is not always wrong. Righteous indignation is sometimes appropriate, but one must never be ruled by anger)
2. In your anger do not sin.
3. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath.
3. The principle - All people are made in the image of God and are therefore loved by God. To take a life or diminish a life is to insult God’s creation.
1. The command - Thou shalt not commit adultery
2. The illumination - Don’t look (or think) lustfully at others
3. The principle - Marriage is a covenant in which God’s unity is represented by a man and woman. To violate that covenant in any way (including an “emotional affair”) is to violate our connection with God.
1. The command - Thou shalt not bear false witness
2. The illumination - Don’t even take oaths
3. The principle - God is truth. God’s children should be so full of truth that everyone knows they are telling the truth no matter what they say. You should never have to say, “I promise” or “I swear”, because people should simply know you are a truthful person.