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“Living for Jesus”

(Matthew 5.1-12)

A message preached on Sunday 25th June at our evening service by Rev. Andrew Leach

Living for Jesus is not easy.
It never has been. Today, we are in a battle. How can we survive – how can we prosper?

My text is five words at the outset of our reading which are vitally important in this matter:

“His disciples came to him…” (verse 1b)
He had called them – and they responded – committing themselves to be where he was – doing things his way.
 

  1. “His disciples came to him…”

From the crowd – They were DISTINCT
 

  1. They came up the mountainside

 

There was another mountainside he ascended – a mountain where he dealt with our sins and opened the gates of heaven for us.

To follow Jesus, we must take up our cross – dying to self – to enter His kingdom.

They came to Jesus. The only way we can come to Jesus is through the cross on Calvary’s mountain.

 

  1. They came where he sat

 

“After he provided purification for sins he sat down at the right hand of the majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 1.3b)

 

He sat as a Rabbi – a teacher.

He now sits enthroned as a King.

We come to Jesus to hear his instructions – not debate them – but hear and heed them.

 

The AV says, “He set himself…”

Some would like to re-set what He has said but “His truth unchanging ever stood…”

“The Word of the Lord stands forever…” (1 Peter 1.25)

 

Distinct…

 

  1. “His disciples came to him…”

For His insight – His words were DIFFERENT

 

He spoke with authority – like no-on else

This Sermon on the Mount takes what they had heard previously externally and applies it internally.

 

What they thought they had “in order” was shown not to be so – for Jesus words exposed their hearts.

His words were different – they were full of life – “sharper than a double-edged sword” judging the “thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4.12)

 

In these words, we discover:

 

  1. The Charter of Christ

 

We call them The Beatitudes

Distinguishing features of a Christian – a follower of Christ.

 

But please don’t make the mistake of thinking these are 8 things to add to your to-do list.

 

“I must be poor in spirit…”

You are – you just need to realise it!

 

Running through the list

Verse 3 – I am, Verse 4 I do, Verse 5 I am, Verse 6 I do

Verses 7-10 I am, through Jesus –

The persecution is “because of me” but isn’t the mercy / purity of heart and peace?

 

By grace – “His disciples come to Him” – not by works

 

We also discover, along with the charter:

 

  1. The Certainty of Christ

 

Note the words:

“Blessed are…” “theirs is…” “they will

There are no “maybe’s” or possibly so’s”

Why is that? How can this be so? How is Jesus so sure – so confident?

 

He is giving himself to them.

“Blessed” means total fulfilment

(More than “happy”)

Fulfilment characterised by the quality of God

Jesus is the source of this fulfilment

 

The poor in spirit – are helpless – they need a helper

They are beggars with no resources – lit. “unable to breathe” – crushed (needing being lifted up)

Jesus is our helper!

The mournful over sin need a comforter

Jesus is that comforter!

And so on…

 

They came – showing themselves distinct – because his words were different…

 

  1. “His disciples came to him…”

For they needed Him – They were DEPENDENT

 

Called to follow Jesus – leaving the fishing business behind they were thrust into public ministry!

Crowds from the whole region gathered (4.25)

 

Ever before they could minister to others they needed Jesus to minister to them.

 

These words were not so much what Jesus expects as what Jesus offers. Living for Jesus is living with Jesus!

 

  1. Their need of Jesus personally

 

In their poverty, He was their treasure

In their persecution, He was their reward

(The first step and the highest step – mean the blessing of the kingdom of heaven)

From first to last step – Jesus is there for his followers.

 

  1. Their need of Jesus practically

 

How could they fulfil their calling as “fishers of men”?

His disciples came to him – to go into the world

They were dependent upon Jesus – for ministry to the crowds.

 

Application

 

Bruce Larson tells how he helped people struggling to surrender their lives to Christ:  “For many years I worked in New York City and counselled at my office any number of people who were wrestling with this yes-or-no decision. Often, I would suggest they walk with me from my office down to the RCA Building on Fifth Avenue. In the entrance of that building is a gigantic statue of Atlas, a beautifully proportioned man who, with all his muscles straining, is holding the world upon his shoulders. There he is, the most powerfully built man in the world, and he can barely stand up under this burden. ‘Now that’s one way to live,’ I would point out to my companion, ‘trying to carry the world on your shoulders. But now come across the street with me.’  “On the other side of Fifth Avenue is Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and there behind the high altar is a little shrine of the boy Jesus, perhaps eight or nine years old, and with no effort he is holding the world in one hand. My point was illustrated graphically.  “We have a choice. We can carry the world on our shoulders, or we can say, ‘I give up, Lord; here’s my life. I give you my world.'”

 

You need Jesus.

You need him to start and continue the Christian life.

It is a personal walk with him.

 

“Come to him…”

–         Be distinct

Come away from the views (and noise) of the crowds – and tune into his ways.

 

Jesus way is an “alternative” way not the mainstream way in today’s society.

Beware of trying to mix and match your faith!

 

–         He is different

He is light in the darkness

We are to be light in the darkness

 

–         You need to be dependent

How can we ever shine – without him?

 

If you would like to hear more about what Jesus has done for you and the difference following Him today can make, you would be welcome to join with us at our Sunday Services at 11am and 6.30pm – or listen to this and other messages like it on our Sermons page.

 

 

 

Canewdon Congregational Church, High Street

1st & 3rd Sunday of each month @ 9am

Paglesham Congregational Church, East End

3pm (2nd and 4th Sundays)

 

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