We all know that the great commission is the call for the church to go out and to make disciples. This is something that Christ explicitly states, but is this really the Great Commission? What are we missing when we only talk about the call for the church to go out?
We conclude Christ’s sermon on the mount. Christ is laying out an ethic that we are called to follow as a people set apart unto the Lord. Do we just say that these laws are difficult so we can ignore them? Do we more purposefully set out to obey these laws in our strength? What are we to do with this challenging sermon that is set before us?
It is easy for fallen man to be judgmental. If we are honest we would much rather fix someone else’s problem than our own because overall we are doing pretty well right? This is not what Christ says, and Christ speaks in a parabolic way showing the absurdity of such a judgmental spirit. So, what is the problem of being judgmental and what is the solution?
The potential temptation we can have as Christians is to think that this kingdom is only spiritual and that there is nothing physical that our Lord provides. However, Christ makes this strange promise that as we pursue the kingdom of God there is the assurance that the Lord will provide for us. How does this work? Why not worry about the physical things when the the Kingdom is Spiritual?
The Lord has called us to honor Him and to live a life exclusively for our God. Christ makes this life a challenge when Christ is very explicit that the law is something that cuts to the heart rather than just being an outward superficial conforming. It is impossible for us to conform to the Lord from our heart, and so how do we conform to the Lord? How do we come before the Lord in light of such impossible exhortations?
Christ tells us not to take an oath, we are not to get vengeance, and we are called to a radical love. If those things are not hard enough we hear that we are supposed to be perfect as our heavenly father is perfect. How can we measure up to this standard? Do we just ignore these commands because they are impossible? Do we strive to keep them in the hopes that God will still accept us? What do we do with these difficult commands?
Christ goes through the law and lays out the challenge of the seventh commandment. This is another commandment that one might think is rather easy to keep, but is this really such an easy command to keep? Is this one of the least commands or do we make it one of the least commands? What are some of the implications regarding this commandment?
Christ continues to instruct the disciples on the mountain regarding life in this kingdom. His presentation now is that the law of God has more meaning than just a few external commands that are easy to follow. Christ goes through the command to murder which we might think is pretty easy to obey. I mean there are a lot of people who have gone through this life without taking another human life. Our temptation might be to skip over this command and to move onto a commandment that is probably a little more challenging. So, what is the real challenge for us not to murder someone?
Christ stands on the mountain and tells us that in order for us to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven our righteousness has to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the pharisees. That is pretty serious because they really understood the Lord’s Word and seemed to take it seriously. So, how can one enter into the Kingdom of Heaven?
We have seen that Israel had a unique calling in the land of Canaan. They were to subdue the land, and they were to be engaged in holy war for the glory of God. The problem has been Israel remembering this goal and truly waging war against those who tempt them to be distracted from the Lord. We have seen examples where Israel has not conform to the Lord as Israel is called to conform to the Lord as we considered Samson, the levite, and even a little bit of Saul’s life. So, what happens to Israel when Israel looses sight of their goal? They are to go into exile and how are they to live in exile away from the promised land? What could their life away from the promised land teach us in our particular context?