Sermon: The Greatest Sermon
Scripture: Matthew 5-7
In this week’s lessons we introduce our new series on the Sermon on the Mount, and see its significance for our Christian lives.
Theme: Why Study the Sermon on the Mount?
The third—and in some ways the most significant—objection to this error of some forms of dispensationalism is the interesting fact that even the dispensationalists could not be entirely consistent in this interpretation of the gospel. It is a great tribute to their own walk with the Lord that in many instances their spiritual sensitivity to what the Sermon on the Mount has to say actually won out over their doctrinal theory. Thus, the great expositor, Dr. Arno C. Gaebelein, wrote in his commentary on Matthew that while the Sermon on the Mount should be assigned to the messianic age, this fact “never excludes application to us who are His heavenly people, members of His body, who will share the heavenly throne in the heavenly Jerusalem with Him.”1 And I am pleased to see that the New Scofield Bible, while keeping the general scheme of dispensationalism in its valuable notes, nevertheless omits the previous statement about the Sermon’s being “neither the privilege nor the duty of the Church” and says instead,
Although the law, as expressed in the Sermon on the Mount, cannot save sinners (Rom. 3:20), and the redeemed of the present age are not under law (Rom. 6:14), nevertheless both the Mosaic law and the Sermon on the Mount are a part of Holy Scripture which is inspired by God and therefore “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16) for the redeemed of all ages.
Perhaps the case against all of the various objections to the Sermon on the Mount may rest with that one statement from Scripture.
Now I believe that you will have entirely missed the point of what I have been saying here if you have not realized that all of my arguments against the misunderstandings and misinterpretations of these three chapters in Matthew have also been designed to answer the question, “Why should we study it?” For, of course, that is what we are concerned with in this first introductory study. Why should we study the Sermon on the Mount? There are at least four reasons.
First, the Sermon on the Mount shows us the absolute necessity of the new birth. Show me a man who claims that he is living up to the standards of the Sermon on the Mount, and I will show you a man who either has never read it, does not understand what it is teaching, or is lying. The Sermon on the Mount does not encourage righteousness in man apart from Christ; it condemns him for falling short of God’s righteousness, and it drives him in desperation to the cross. Paul says that the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Gal. 3:24). If that was true of the Old Testament law, which was largely external, then how much more is it true of this Sermon? The Sermon on the Mount calls for a pure righteousness that flows from a regenerated heart.
What is the third objection to some forms of dispensationalism?
What is the first reason given for why we should study the Sermon on the Mount?
Application: What things do you need to work on in your Christian life? How does the Sermon on the Mount address those items?
Key Point: The Sermon on the Mount does not encourage righteousness in man apart from Christ; it condemns him for falling short of God’s righteousness, and it drives him in desperation to the cross.
1Arno C. Gaebelein, The Gospel of Matthew (New York: Loizeaux Brothers, 1961), 110.