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Rev Frank Hart is Pastor of NewChurch in Katy, Texas.

Rev Frank Hart is Pastor of NewChurch in Katy, Texas.

What is the teaching of Jesus all about?

In this series, Pastor Frank Hart digs deep into the revolutionary teaching of Jesus Christ by explaining the passage known as “The Sermon on the Mount.” Matthew 5-7.

In the first four chapters of Matthew, Jesus is miraculously born, shown to be the Messiah, the Son of God, the Promised One who brings the reign of heaven. It’s all shocking and strange—not what anyone was expecting. His ways are not our ways.

So now Jesus is gonna get down to it, the rabbi will start teaching. Jesus has made it clear that He’s come to bring God’s salvation to God’s people. Now He will answer everyone’s burning questions: Who’s going to be saved? Who is part of the kingdom of heaven? What does it look like to follow Jesus?

Watch these videos and find out what is so special about the teaching of Jesus.


Teaching 1: The Beatitudes. The gateway to the teaching of Jesus.

 The Beatitudes are the doorway to understanding Jesus’ teaching.

If we get them wrong, we get everything wrong. It’s a question of how we see the world: Are we trying to do something so God will bless us? Or are we responding to God’s blessing in how we live our lives?

Matthew 5:1-12

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

OUTLINE

  • What does “blessed” mean?

  • The doorway to understanding all of Jesus’ teaching is the Beatitudes.

  • An explanation of the first eight Beatitudes.

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Teaching 2: The 9th Beatitude

This is who you are now—this is who you’re gonna be.

Jesus takes an interesting turn on the last Beatitude—in the previous eight blessings He said “Blessed are the poor, the meek, the pure in heart—for THEY shall see God, THEY shall be called the sons of God, for THEIRS is the kingdom of heaven. They. Theirs. The ninth Beatitude is different—This just got personal.

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12

OUTLINE

  • God’s justice

  • Saved by grace through faith—this is who you are now.

  • The 9th Beatitude—you not they.

  • We hear the words of Christ and it changes us.

 

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Teaching 3: Salt and Light

You are the difference you want to see in the world.

We all want to change the world but we don’t want to change. Jesus says you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. You know all those things you think are wrong with the world? Draw a circle around your feet and start making those changes inside the circle. Let your good works shine to lead people through the darkness—so that they will praise your heavenly Father. To salt the earth—live the extraordinary lives of normal people, uncorrupted by all the impurities of the world. You've got to be the difference you want to see in the world.

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:13–16

 

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Teaching 4: Jesus and the Old Testament

God didn’t send Jesus into the world so we wouldn’t do what He wants.

So how does Jesus relate to the Old Testament? And what about us? Now that we have the New Testament, what are we supposed to think about it? God didn’t send Jesus into the world so we wouldn’t do what He wants. He sent Jesus into the world so it would be possible for us to do the right things for the right reasons. God still wants us to live good lives, do good things, live holy lives.

Matthew chapter 5, 17-20 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
“But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!”

 

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Teaching 5: Anger and Murder

We have to be Slow to speak. Quick to listen. Slow to anger. The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Anger’s a really important emotion. We’re not supposed to ignore it, but we’re also not supposed to let it control us. We're to be Slow to speak. Quick to listen. Slow to anger. The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Anger needs to point us in the direction of resolving conflict, not escalating it, not ignoring it. Jesus says trying to harm people with words is as bad as murder.

Matthew 5:21-26 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

“When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.”

 

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Teaching 6: Adultery and Lust

God doesn’t tell us what to do and what not to do to make us miserable—He’s protecting us from ourselves.

America’s favorite pastime—it’s not baseball, or football, or Nascar. It’s not movies or TV or music. It seems to be porn. Jesus says if you look at a person with lust then you have already committed adultery in your heart. The 6th Commandment. God doesn’t tell us what to do and what not to do to make us miserable—He’s protecting us from ourselves.

Matthew 5:27–30 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

 

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Teaching 7: Divorce and Gender

If you’re looking at God’s commands and you think they’re too hard, too impossible, too high a standard, you’ll never be able to do it—you’re right. And you’re doing it wrong.

Jesus takes an interesting turn on the last Beatitude—in the previous eight blessings He said “Blessed are the poor, the meek, the pure in heart—for THEY shall see God, THEY shall be called the sons of God, for THEIRS is the kingdom of heaven. They. Theirs. The ninth Beatitude is different—This just got personal.

Matthew Chapter 5:31-32 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

 

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Teaching 8: Vows

Live in the truth. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Say what you mean, mean what you say.

Jesus wants us to be people who keep the vows we make. To live in the truth and let our yes be yes and our no be no. If we, the people of God, can’t show each other that we mean what we say, then when we proclaim His promises—they’re gonna sound pretty hollow. We need to show this world, all the people who need hope, that God’s promises are true. That’s why it’s so important for us to follow through on the things we say—because it’s a testimony to the promises that God has given to us.

Matthew 5:33-37: “You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the LORD.’ But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.”

 

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Teaching 9: Revenge

Jesus is calling you to be prepared to let people take advantage of you.

You want to follow Jesus? Okay, Jesus calls His disciples to reckless generosity and an almost naive selflessness—to be prepared to let people take advantage of you. It’s impossible to live life unless this is your standard. It’s the only way life works.

Matthew 5:38–42 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.“

 

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Teaching 10: Enemies

We’re not supposed to just do what comes natural—we’re supposed to be supernatural. We’re supposed to love our enemies.

Jesus wants us to be a new kind of humanity—bringers of light and hope by loving people that we would naturally not love. To be supernatural. To be perfect. It’s kinda the whole point of everything.

“You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:43–48

 

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Teaching 11: Prayer and Religious Showoffs

Don’t make prayer weird.

Don’t do things hoping that people will notice how awesome you are. Jesus wants to protect us from the soul-rotting cancer of making a prideful show of how spiritual we are.

Matthew 6:1–13 “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Pray like this:

   Our Father in heaven,
     may your name be kept holy.
  May your Kingdom come soon.
   May your will be done on earth,
     as it is in heaven.
   Give us today the food we need,
   and forgive us our sins,
     as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
   And don’t let us yield to temptation,
     but rescue us from the evil one.”

 

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In Response to Jesus’ teachings — How can I be saved?

First, you have to understand that God wants to save you. It’s His idea. That’s why He sent Jesus into the world in the first place. You are reading this because God loves you and wants to save you through Jesus.

What does it mean to be saved? Saved from what? Good question.

There is a separation between you and God—between everyone who was ever born and the God who created the universe. This separation was caused by sin. All people are born under the curse of sin, and all people spend their entire lives making it worse by sinning. We hurt people, we mess up our lives, and we live as though there is not a God. We act like we are God. This is the problem that we all face. Left to ourselves we would die and remain separate from God—to be separate from God is to be in the outer darkness, a miserable place of our own making.

But God doesn’t want you to be separated from Him, He doesn’t want you to have a miserable life outside His blessing, He doesn’t want you to die under the weight of your sin and failure. He wants you to know joy. He wants you to experience peace—to realize His great love for you. He wants to show you kindness and mercy, for you have have a meaningful life that’s full of hope. Hope for today and hope for eternity.

So that’s why God sent Jesus into the world—because He loves you. Jesus is the Son of God, He has been with God from the beginning, He was with God and He was God. He is God. This is a great mystery but somehow God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are all One God. One God, three Persons.

Because all people had sinned and fallen short, because we all were separated from God—He became one of us so that He could save us. God the Son became a human baby, grew to be a man, taught us what it means to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as our self.

He also died for us and raised from the dead so that we can be saved—so we can be forgiven, and so we can also have the hope of raising from the dead and living forever. His kingdom of hope has already begun for all of us who believe in Jesus.

So how can we be saved? By believing in the One God sent to save us. Believe on the name of Jesus and you will be saved. Your sins will be forgiven. You will be connected to God. You will inherit eternal life—and your life will be full of meaning and hope and purpose.

Pray this: Father in heaven, I confess that I need You. I have sinned against You by my thoughts, my words and the things I have done. I have not loved You. I have not loved others. For all these things I am deeply sorry. Forgive me for all these things. Forgive me because of the promises offered in Jesus Christ. I believe His life, death, and resurrection are true—and that they are for me. I renounce the world, my old life, and all false gods. I pledge myself to Jesus Christ who lives and reigns now and forever. AMEN.

As the Scriptures say,

“No one is righteous—
    not even one.
No one is truly wise;
    no one is seeking God.
All have turned away;
    all have become useless.
No one does good,
    not a single one.” (Romans 3:10-12)

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. (Romans 3:23-25)

The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

God showed us His great love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

IF you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13)

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” (John 3:16-21) 

It’s very important that all followers of Jesus are part of a local church. To follow Jesus is to be a disciple—one who is learning from Jesus. Hearing God’s promises and believing them is only the beginning. You don’t have to do this alone. Find a local church, ask about baptism, start each week with worship, study and meditate on the Word of God (the Bible), pray throughout the day.

If you are near Katy, Texas—we would love for you to join us at NewChurch. If you are anywhere else in the world, maybe this local church locator website can help. Here is a link to the Gospel of Mark, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Pastor Frank. May the Lord bless and keep you.

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