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Is the Sermon on the Mount a Guide for How to Live Life?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Steven Yeadon, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. Steven Yeadon

    Steven Yeadon Well-Known Member
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    Is the Sermon on the Mount supposed to be taken as literal rules for life? If not, why not?

    I lean heavily in the direction that these are everyday rules for living, given the parable of the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7:24-27. Jesus seems to make it obvious that these are rules to live by in everyday life. However, I have heard there are arguments against this.
     
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  2. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    There are as many books on the Sermon on the Mount as there are most other books on the bible.

    Everybody's entitled to their opinion - but when it comes to the 'Sermon' I find that many expositors have many opinions.

    I look at the Gospel of Matthew from a 'already/not yet' kingdom perspective.

    Here's a page from my notes:


    COMMON INTERPRETIVE APPROACHES
    Eight major schools of thought that have dominated the history of Christian exegesis of the sermon

    1. Traditional Catholic. Medieval Catholicism solved the problem of the difficulty of Jesus’ teachings by postulating two tiers of Christians. They argued that these more strenuous commands for righteousness need be implemented literally only by those in certain clerical or monastic orders.

    2. Lutheran. Martin Luther read the Sermon much like he understood Paul’s view of the Law. The Sermon was Law, not Gospel; it was meant to drive us to our knees in repentance for our inability to keep God’s moral standards. By pointing out our need of grace and a Savior, it brings us back to Christ in contrition.

    3. Existentialist. Particularly through the writings of Rudolf Bultmann, a major twentieth-century movement reinterpreted Jesus’ kingdom ethics in terms of personal transformation that occurs when one embraces “authentic existence.” This approach usually rejects finding any absolute ethics in the Sermon, but views them instead as a profound challenge to personal decision making in light of the consciousness of human finitude and divine encounter.

    4. Classic Dispensationalist. The classic dispensationalist view often taught that the Sermon was part of Jesus’ kingdom offer to the Jews. Had they accepted it, people would have lived by the ethics Jesus taught. But because they rejected it, the kingdom has been entirely postponed until the millennium, at which point the seemingly impossible ideals of the Sermon will be realized.

    The Early Classical Dispensational View
    · Jesus offered the Davidic Kingdom to Israel at his first coming
    · Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount during the time of this offer, it applied only to the Jews
    · Israel rejected the kingdom offer by rejecting the Messiah
    · The Sermon concerns a future tribulation time or millennial Kingdom
    · The Sermon on the Mount has no immediate relevance and no application for Christian’s today

    Early Classical Dispensational theologians say that up to Matthew 12, Jesus offers the millennial kingdom (=the kingdom of heaven) to the Jews.

    5. Kingdom Theology. The kingdom has been inaugurated (partially present now but only fully to be realized after Christ’s return), then the Sermon is meant for believers now. We must admit that they are only partially realizable in the present age, even though they remain the ideal for which we all should strive, as we yield ourselves to the Spirit. This is not a “works-righteousness” by which we become Christ’s disciples, but a “fruit befitting repentance” whereby we demonstrate our continuing allegiance to him.[1]

    [1] Adapted from Craig L. Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey, 2nd Edition. (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2009), 285–287.


    Rob
     
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  3. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    The Sermon is the summary of the Old and New Testaments and how they are applied to every day life.

    All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye also even unto them.

    When does this commandment take effect?
     
  4. Steven Yeadon

    Steven Yeadon Well-Known Member
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    The Old Testament teaches it, I guess you could argue as far back as Cain and Abel.
     
  5. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    What are the brethren's thoughts on the closing verse of the Sermon on the Mount?... Brother Glen:)

    Matthew 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
     
  6. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    More notes:

    The Structure of Matthew: Matthew’s Gospel was written with five major teaching blocks or modules. Each unit alternates between narrative and discourse. It appears that Matthew uses the narrative sections of his Gospel as an introduction for the discourses of Jesus. Each section contains a collection of material gathered and crafted together into a thematic unit.

    The discourse sections each end with the phrase, “When Jesus had finishing…”

    When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,” (Matthew 7:28)

    When Jesus had finished giving instructions to his twelve disciples, he moved on from there to teach and preach in their towns.” (Matthew 11:1)

    When Jesus had finished these parables, he left there.” (Matthew 13:53)

    When Jesus had finished saying these things, he departed from Galilee and went to the region of Judea across the Jordan.” (Matthew 19:1)

    When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he told his disciples,” (Matthew 26:1)

    Another structure divides the gospel into three sections noting the repetition of the phrase, “From then on Jesus began…”. The three divisions deal with: (1) the person of Jesus Messiah (1:1-4:16); (2) the proclamation of Jesus Messiah (4:17-16:20); (3) the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Messiah (16:21-28:20). The three divisions may also be characterized as the Presentation of Jesus to the people, a period of Consideration and the Rejection of Jesus by the people.


    From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near.”” (Matthew 4:17)

    From then on Jesus began to point out to his disciples that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.” (Matthew 16:21)​

    According to some Matthew followed a geographical outline. Matthew 4.12-18:35 deals with Jesus' public ministry in Galilee; Matthew 19:1-20:34 deals with Jesus ministry from Galilee to Jerusalem; Matthew 21:1-27:66 concerns his last week in and around Jerusalem; Matthew 28:1-20 concludes with the resurrection and the appearances of our Lord.

    Rob
     
  7. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    The end of the narrative section prior to the Sermon on the Mount foretells this response.

    Matthew 5:1-2 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the mountain; and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
    He opened his mouth and began to teach them saying, ...​

    Rob
     
  8. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    Oops!... Missed that one... Thanks Rob ... Brother Glen:)
     
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  9. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    I think that Jesus outlined to us are we will be living when His kingdom comes in full at His second coming, and also showed to us just what it really means to apply the Law of God, not as the pharisees did it!
     
  10. Steven Yeadon

    Steven Yeadon Well-Known Member
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    But what of Matthew 7:24-27 at the end of the preaching?

    24 “Therefore acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

    Also, what of Matthew 5:17-20 at the start of the preaching?

    17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 18 For truly I say to you, the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    It would appear that we are forcefully told that these are commands to keep. I just don't understand why we should not live the sermon on the mount in light of the rest of the bible. I know that is an important thing to do in my life. In addition, most of the moral commands are given again in the epistles throughout the New Testament.
     
  11. JohnDeereFan

    JohnDeereFan Well-Known Member
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    No, The Sermon on the Mount isn't a nice moral lesson or rules for life. Now, that having been said, following those things might have positive benefits, but that isn't their intended use.

    What the Sermon on the Mount really is, is a summation of the Law and an explanation, as Paul did, of where we fall short.
     
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  12. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    If the Golden Rule is in effect, then the whole Sermon is in effect, and one is expected to be obedient.
     
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  13. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    How did the scribes teach? They would quote a rabbi of old who had said, "Thou shalt not kill," and then teach the rabbi's commentary on the law. A scribe would not juxtapose his opinions with the traditions of the elders. He felt it his duty to preserve the tradition while offering a new insight.

    Eleazar ben Hananiah ben Hezekiah ben Garon says, "'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.'

    "You should remember it from Sunday, so that if something nice comes to hand, you should set it aside for the sake of the Sabbath."

    Rabbi Isaac says, "You should not count the days of the week the way others do, but rather, you should count for the sake of the Sabbath [the first day, the second day, upward to the seventh which is the Sabbath]." (Mekhilta Attributed to Rabbi Ishmael LIII:II.7)

    (Quoted in A Rabbi Talks with Jesus. Jacob Neusner.)​

    So when Christ said, Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, but I say unto you, it would be astonishing to those whose only experience with the law was through the traditions of the elders, which actually shut out the light of God's laws, making them of none effect.

    Christ was not juxtaposing Himself with Moses, He was juxtaposing Himself with the elders and their traditions. (No where in the law will you find it written Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy [5:43].)

    "So," the master says, "is this what the sage, Jesus had to say?"
    I: "Not exactly, but close."
    He: "What did he leave out?"
    I: "Nothing."
    He: "Then what did he add?"
    I: "Himself." (Neusner)​
     
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