Theme Of Matthew's Sermon On The Mount

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Not all threats to the Church are as obvious and direct as those aimed at the creeds. Some assaults even appear benign, borrowing their roots from Christian tradition. One of those comes in the form of the Church’s social justice movement. Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote, “There are certain phrases which only serve as an excuse for not thinking.” A few years back, as I was listening to a sermon, the Supreme Court Justice’s words came back to me. The minister was telling the congregation how it should feel about a host of social issues from open immigration to universal health care. It was worth hearing, especially for an upper middle class audience, but in closing he told us why we should get on board with his programs, “Because God is…show more content…
One of the central themes in his Gospel is the kingdom of God. John the Baptist’s first words are “Repent for the kingdom of God is near,” and later when Jesus begins his public ministry, he utters the same words, “Repent for the kingdom of God is near.” Matthew knows his readers have some questions. What does this kingdom look like? How do I become a part of it? Much of the Sermon on the Mount is an exposition of these questions, as Jesus presents an upside down kingdom counterintuitive to the world’s ways. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom. The meek shall inherit the earth. If a solider impresses you into service for one mile, you go two.” He says we should “not resist and evildoer.” Here we notice something about the kingdom and about following Christ. No one here is crying out for their rights. No one slapped in the face asks for recourse. No one, whose shirt is taken, cries out for reparations. It tells us that something far greater than our notions of social justice is at work in this…show more content…
Can Christianity claim that its efforts for justice are any different than those of any other relief agency? Christians should support other charitable works undertaken by the world. The Bible is filled with examples of God using unbelievers to carry out his purposes. But if we cannot lay claim to a difference, we have to ask whether there any justification for the Church. What is this difference? For one it is the promise of empowerment. In Jesus’ farewell discourse to his disciples in the closing chapters of the Gospel of John, he tells them he will return in the form of the Holy Spirit, using the imagery of a vine and branches, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” Showing them other side of the coin he says, “With me you can do anything.” Given this promise, why would Christians not so dedicate all their

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