Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 7

Here is the final “targum” on the Sermon on the Mount.  I am offering my expanded paraphrase only this time.  The Bible text is Matthew 7.1-29.  The purpose of paraphrasing is to make the words of Jesus our own, to understand what He was saying, and to contemplate how I can better incorporate these truths into my personal life.  The words of Jesus bless me to the extent that I live them out day by day. The Master’s words will do that for anyone.

I have divided the text into sections and omitted the verse numbers.  Here is my paraphrase.

– Instead of always being ready to condemn someone else, look at your own behavior first.  If you are always finding fault with others, they will tend to find fault with you.  People have a tendency to point out some minor bad behavior in someone else’s life, when there is major bad behavior in their own life.  This is an attempt to shift the attention from themselves to another person.  You don’t be like that.  Let it be obvious to all that your own life is one of constant humility and repentance, and that you are seriously trying every day to improve your Christian life.  You will then be in a better position to help others improve their Christian lives.  As an individual disciple, you will want to help everyone, but simply won’t have time to personally minister to every person you see.  Some that you will try to help don’t want to be helped and won’t let you help them.  You would have to fight them to help them.  Don’t fight them, just move on to someone else, who wants to be helped, and minister to them.

– I want to bless you so bad.  If you will ask Me, I will give.  If you will try hard, you will be rewarded.  If you will keep at it, your life will be a blessing.  I have the ability to bless you without limit.  If you will live as I teach you to live, this is the best way for you to live, I will overwhelm you with blessings.  If your own children ask you for something they need, you don’t fuss at them for asking, you give them what they need.  You are imperfect, yet you do these good things.  How much more will your Father in heaven, who is infinite in His perfection, give you the good things that you need.  Make your life a life of prayer.

– The way “Love your neighbor as yourself” looks in practice is this:  you treat others the way you would want them to treat you if your situations were reversed.

– There are two highways.  One is a narrow gravel road.  The other is a broad interstate.  Most people are flying through life along with everyone else on the interstate.  But, the bridge over the river on the interstate is out ahead.  They have been warned repeatedly, but have chosen to ignore the warnings and race ahead.  The narrow, winding gravel road isn’t fancy and most people miss it, but it leads to a peaceful farm in the valley where sits a white house with a big front porch and supper cooking in the oven – and no bridge is out.

– Not everyone will teach the truth.  Watch out for people like that.  They will present themselves as completely innocent, but they are very dangerous.  You can judge them by their lives, carefully examining what they say, and by the results of their teaching.  You would not expect to gather grapes or figs from a briar bush.  A good fruit tree will give you good fruit, but you won’t get any from a bad tree.  It just doesn’t work that way.  The bad trees are eventually cut down, piled up, and burned.  You will know a teacher by the results of his teaching.  Not everyone who says they are a Christian, really is one.  A real Christian is one who obeys the will of God.

– Let me tell you what the person is like who lives like I am teaching.  He is like one who builds a house on a carefully prepared foundation.  The winds and floods rage against it, but it remains standing, because of that solid foundation.  The one who ignores My teaching is like someone who builds his house without a proper foundation, he just builds on the ground.  When that house faces the winds and floods, it will fall, quickly and violently.

– This is the end of Jesus’ sayings on this particular occasion.  The people were amazed because Jesus, unlike the rabbis they were used too, knew what He was talking about.

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