We have been invited into the Kingdom of God and an experiential knowledge of how the Holy Spirit changes our lives. The way of life that we are being invited into is a beautiful way of living, but it requires us to confront our own brokenness. We are confronted with the reality in Matthew 5:17-20 that reminds us that if we, “break one of the least of the commandments” of the law, that we are guilty of all of it. Jesus states that “Unless our righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, we will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
This weighty reality is in light of the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 in which the Holy Spirit through Paul reminds us that Jesus, “who knew no sin” became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him! This incredible scandal of grace is echoed as we dive into Matthew 7:13-14 and see that the way of the Kingdom is a narrow path and there are few who find it while at the same time recognizing that as we enter into the Humility of Christ, we are given the keys to this Kingdom! (Matt. 5:3)
Join us this fall as we ask God to help us to understand the depths of truth that He has extended in Matthew 5-7 (the “Sermon on the Mount”). We will be diving into these passages as a large family and in small groups, seeking God’s heart. We desire to hear God say to us what He says in Isaiah 66:1-2, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist’ says the Lord. But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.”
Father, let us come before you with a poor and contrite spirit, to hear from you this fall. Help us to experience Your Kingdom’s way of life in all of its fullness as Christ’s death makes it abundantly available to us. This beautiful life that is described in Matthew 5-7 requires Your perfection. Help us to submit ourselves to Your process and, as we do, help us to see You molding our lives to Your perfect will.
As we are invited into the Kingdom, we receive tremendous grace to walk in the freedom of His will. And as we experience this freedom, we begin to see our lives looking more and more like Christ’s perfect plan.
6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.