Sermon on the Mount: The Jesus Manifesto (Matthew 5 - 7)

Tissot, Jesus Preaches the Sermon on the Mount
James J. Tissot, "Jesus Preaches the Sermon on the Mount" (1886-1896), watercolor. Larger image.

Manifesto: "a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer."

A manifesto is where you put it all out there for people to grasp, ponder, and ultimately understand. In all the New Testament, the Sermon on the Mount as found in Matthew 5-7 is probably the most concise, definitive statement of Jesus' teachings, clearly contrasting his declaration of the Kingdom of God and how it differed radically from what passed for religion in his day -- and ours! Be prepared to be shocked and challenged by this study -- and ultimately grow as a committed follower, a disciple of this Jesus.

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I. Kingdom Citizens (5:1-16)

  1. Paradoxical People: the Beatitudes (5:1-13). The inner spirit of Kingdom citizens is contrasted with the world's values.
  2. Witnessing People: Living as Salt and Light in the World (5:13-16). Kingdom citizens carry on Israel's role of being a "light to the nations" (Isaiah 42:6).

II. The Kingdom and the Spirit of the Law (5:17-48)

  1. The Spirit of the Law and Reconciliation  (5:17-26). Does Jesus abolish the Law or fulfill it? He defines true righteousness.
  2. Murder can be prohibited by law, but its spirit is reconciliation, which requires a changed heart.
  3. Adultery, Lust, and the Spirit of Marriage (5:27-30). How adultery of the heart lies at the root of adultery, pornography, and sexual lust.
  4. Divorce and the Spirit of Marriage (5:27-32 with 19:1-12). We seek to understand marriage and divorce in the First Century, Jesus' teaching on the heart and spirit of marriage, and its implications for Christians today.
  5. The Spirit of Truthfulness and Love (5:33-48). The Pharisees had developed an elaborate system of oath-taking. Jesus calls his disciples to the true spirit of oath-taking, that is, truth-telling.

III. Piety in the Kingdom (6:1-18).

  1. Giving, Prayer, and Fasting (6:1-8, 16-18). How to give in a way that pleases the Father. The Pharisees' practice of prayer and fasting had lost the spirit of worship. Jesus brings a corrective.
  2. The Lord's Prayer (6:9-15). Jesus teaches a new way of praying in the "Lord's Prayer."
Sermon on the Mount: The Jesus Manifesto, by Ralph F. Wilson
Sermon on the Mount: The Jesus Manifesto
is available in paperback and ebook formats

IV. Materialism and the Kingdom (6:19-34)

  1. Temptation to Idolatry (6:19-24). It is possible to be possessed by getting ahead -- or greed. Americans, especially, are blind to this bondage. What would Jesus have us do?
  2. Temptation to Worry (6:25-34). If we aren't hoarding wealth, we can still be controlled by our worry about lack of possessions. Jesus' prescription for the poor.

V. Discernment in the Kingdom (7:1-29)

  1. Judging Self and Others (7:1-6). "Judge not" is one of the most abused texts in the Bible. What did Jesus really mean?
  2. Asking in Faith (7:7-12). Important lessons on praying with faith. Jesus' instruction for powerful disciples.
  3. Discerning the True Way (7:13-29). All roads do not lead to heaven -- most lead to destruction. The Sermon concludes with warnings about obedient living and adequate life foundations.
Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
This is our 27th online Bible study since 1996. If you've participated in one before, you know how God can use them in your life. If not, then you have a treat in store for you. I am an ordained American Baptist pastor, currently ministering in a Covenant congregation. I'm here to serve you as your guide to the Sermon on the Mount. --. Dr. Ralph F. Wilson. About the leader.

I invite you to journey with me and thousands of brothers and sisters world-wide through a study of Jesus' remarkable Sermon on the Mount. Here's how we'll study together.

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