Thursday, February 14, 2008

It’s All The Sermon of the Mount

A verb is a word that denotes action or state of being. Verbs are modified by tense which denote time: Whether it is present, past, or future. Within those categories there are subcategories. For example, in the present: whether it is happening now and no more or it is continually happening.

The past tense has different aspects, also. For example, whether it happened once and no more – preterite (I went), whether it happened continually as in a habit or costume – imperfect (I used to go). (For interest of space, I am omitting two more aspects.) The imperfect tense does not indicate whether the actions ever stopped. Let us say for example somebody who drives their car to work says to you, “I use to drive my car to work.” Although it would be understood that the person spoke about their driving habits in the past, it does not mean the person ever stopped driving.

This imperfect tense also exists in the Greek language. This is the case of the verb taught in Matthew 5:2, “And He opened his mouth, and taught them, saying.” In our lesson William Barkley explains about the use of the verb taught in this verse. Let us read the quote,

“…Now the point is that in the Greek of this sentence, which we are studying, the verb taught is not an aorist [tense], but an imperfect and therefore it describes repeated and habitual action, and the translation should be: ‘This is what he used to teach them.’ Matthew has said as plainly as Greek will say it that the Sermon on the Mount is not one sermon of Jesus, given at one particular time and on one particular occasion; it is the essence of all that Jesus continuously and habitually taught his disciples.”

In other words everything Jesus taught was in essence the Sermon of the Mount. It was reworded according to the occasion and circumstance. In fact, one could argue that the whole Bible is the Sermon of the Mount, reworded. The Sermon of the Mount describes what agape looks like when we embrace it. The Sermon of the Mount shows us, what and how a human being behaves when (s)he allows the Holy Spirit to dwell in him/her permanently, allowing Him to renew his/her heart and mind. The Sermon of the Mount paints a picture of how a human being looks like when (s)he yields their will to God.

This is the point God is trying to bring across on the Old Testament. Thrice God speaks through Ezekiel pleading Israel to turn to Him so God can give them a new heart (Ezekiel 11:9; 18:31; 36:26.) It is the main point of Isaiah 58: 4-7,

Isaiah 58: 4Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
Isaiah 58: 5Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
Isaiah 58: 6Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
Isaiah 58: 7Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

This passage is in essence the Sermon of the Mount reworded. Such is the case of Paul epistle to the Ephesians. In Chapters 1 through 3 he expounds on the glorious riches we have in Christ. So Paul prays to the Father, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:16 - 19). So Paul continues in Ephesians 4: 1 – 3:

Ephesians 4: 1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
Ephesians 4: 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Ephesians 4: 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

If God dwells in you this is how you would walk. If God dwells in you, chapters 4 through 6 of Ephesians will be a reality. It is in essence the Sermon of the Mount reworded. It is the essence of John’s epistles, God is love and those who let God dwell in them will love God and others. It is how the un-fallen world lives. It is how those who are resurrected and translated will live eternally. It is a gift to you and your choice to receive it.