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A Fruitful Tree and a Strong House (5 of 5)
Series: The Sermon on the Mount
If you want to know what Jesus taught about life, you should read the four Gospels-Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But if you want to get a really boiled-down, concentrated version of what Jesus taught about life, you should read the Sermon on the Mount. It's found in Matthew chapters five through seven. And it's the first official sermon that Jesus gave.
And I'm going to be very blunt: Jesus ends this sermon in a very disturbing way. It's very jolting. At least it is to me. And every time I read this it's a reminder that Jesus wasn't trying to please the crowds. You know-if you've been watching any of the Republican debates lately-all the candidates are lined up and there's a crowd listening. And certain things they say elicit cheers from the crowd. ''We want to do away with the tax code!'' Yeah-we love it! We love it-down with the IRS! And hopefully, those cheers will translate into getting the nomination. And those cheers will translate into winning the election in November 2012.
And that's politics, right? It's almost impossible not to play to the crowds. After all, they need our votes!
Jesus doesn't need our votes!
We need him.
So when Jesus spoke, he didn't play to the crowds. He didn't care whether people were cheering or not. He just spoke the truth straight up. Do you like that? Do you appreciate that about Jesus? I like that! But I have to say: it's also disturbing. Because if you really listen to what he says, this challenges us. And I don't mean it challenges us to be slightly better people! I mean it challenges whether we truly are Christians or not. It challenges us to ask ourselves as a church: Are we playing a social game here, or are we actually following the Jesus of the Bible? I mean, if you really listen to what Jesus is saying, he challenges the most basic things about our faith.
And that's why ...
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