Is the Sermon on the Mount Relevant to us today? Or, was it intended only for his inner circle, the first disciples?
From my perspective, there is a disturbing trend among many believers in regards to the application of Scripture to our lives today. We read, we study, but we often fail to make the connection between a passage and how it should impact our living. It’s almost as if we are reading Bible School stories and not learning the lessons contained within.
There are “reasons” we fail to make the connection.
- We view them as historical narrations.
- We think we live in a different world and the lessons are no longer relevant.
- We think the lessons do not apply directly to us.
With that in mind, I want to try to put those reasons aside and answer the question, “Is the Sermon on the Mount relevant to us today?” And if so, how so?
The Intended Audience | Is the Sermon on the Mount Relevant to us Today
As shared in a previous post, the intended audience of the Sermon was the inner circle of Jesus’ followers. These were the men he was training to minister alongside him and continue his work after him.
But, Jesus was not unaware of the crowds that had gathered around to hear his teaching. He knew his “indirect” audience was and is anyone who would listen to his instruction and choose to obey the wisdom of it.
We are not Jesus’ first disciples, but if we have received salvation through faith and this not of ourselves but by the grace of God lest any of us boast, then we are Christ-followers — We are disciples.
We are the intended audience.
Times and Situations Have Changed | Is the Sermon on the Mount Relevant to us Today?
It’s true, the world of today bears little resemblance to the world at the time of Jesus’ ministry. Or is it?
There have been many changes. Technology has changed how we interact, how we work, and even how we worship. Culture has changed. The World while seemingly having gotten bigger also has in many ways grown smaller.
All that said, there are two things unchanged, and which answer the question, “Is the Sermon on the Mount relevant to us today,” in the affirmative:
- The Lost – the individuals who have not come to know God’s saving grace
- The Redeemed – the saved disciples of Christ.
The Sermon is for the Redeemed, and it instructs us how to live in such a way to be an impactful witness of the Gospel.
The Relevant Message | Is the Sermon on the Mount Relevant to us today?
There are several sections to the Sermon on the Mount. Each one has import for our lives as believers. Borrowing from the writings of John Stott, we can describe them as follows:
The crowds were astonished by the authority with which Jesus taught (28, 29). It is an authority to which the followers of Jesus in every generation must submit. The issue of the lordship of Christ is as relevant today, both in principle and in detailed application, as when he originally preached his Sermon on the Mount.
Stott, John R. W., and John R. W. Stott. The Message of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7): Christian Counter-Culture. Leicester; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985. Print. The Bible Speaks Today.
The message of the Sermon on the Mount provides the guidance we need to be and live as Jesus wills. Adherence to these teachings are not what saves us, but it is because of our salvation that we choose to apply their lessons to our lives.
The question: Is the Sermon on the Mount relevant to us today?
The answer: Only if through faith we are saved by His grace and desire to please Him.