Upside Down Kingdom: Sermon on the Mount | Matthew 5:13-20 | Curtis Hall
June 12, 2022 Speaker: Curtis Hall Series: Upside Down Kingdom: Sermon on the Mount
Topic: Gospel Passage: Matthew 5:13–20
Matt 5:13-20 1
INTRO: Good morning, Mercy Fellowship. Hope you are all doing well this morning. If you don’t know me, my name is Curtis, I serve as an elder in training and am honored to be preaching this morning. Pastor Matt a few weeks ago started us off on our series that we are doing over the Summer called ‘Upside Down Kingdom,’ looking at the Sermon On The Mount.
Upside Down Kingdom: And the idea behind this Upside Down Kingdom, is that the values of the kingdom are different than the values of the world. The economy of the kingdom of heaven is different than the economy of this world. How so? Jesus highlights and venerates what the world
despises. Because Jesus will say, “If you want to be great, you have to become the least of these and serve.” “If you want to live, you must first die to yourself.” In fact, Paul picks of on this with saying “God had chosen the foolish to shame the wise, and the weak to shame the strong.” So the economy of the Kingdom of God is different than the kingdom of this world, and because of this, there is 2 things to consider about the SOTM.
2 Things to know about the SOTM:
1) Maybe we don’t know Jesus as well as we think. Whether you are here and don’t know Jesus or you have been following Jesus all of your life, the Apostle Paul would remind us that in Jesus, there are unsearchable riches. Meaning, that there is no end to knowing and learning and savoring who Jesus is. Perhaps, you and I know the tip of the ice berg of who Jesus is, but there is so much to still uncover.
2) This is Jesus’ most famous sermon on the Christian Life. This is Jesus, the creator of the church, telling the church how she ought to live. He is preaching to His disciples, (those who trust Jesus) about what it means to be a follower of His and be a citizen of His kingdom. And Matt a couple weeks ago covered the beatitudes, a list of what Jesus calls blessed in His Kingdom, which is much of what is antithetical to the kingdoms of this world. And after Jesus calls blessed a wide range of sufferers and marginalized people, the question can be asked “How are we suppose to live?” Which is a great question to ask. Be reminded, clarity is kindness and a clear understanding of how our God wants us to live and how He has designed us to live as the church is given here in these verses.
SALT & LIGHT OF THE WORLD: 13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Matt 5:13-20 2
YOU ARE SALT & LIGHT: We can miss this, if we chop of this sermon but its amazing that sudden change Jesus has in His tone. He goes from speaking generically about who God deems is blessed to all of the sudden, pointing at His disciples and being direct with them saying, “YOU are the salt of the earth. YOU are the light of the world.”
I love this transition from Jesus! He is inviting all the unwanted people of the world, all the outcasts, the weak, the poor, the marginalized and letting them know that although the world has rejected you, there’s a place for you in the kingdom! Man may reject you, but God welcomes you. God welcomes in all these unwanted people and saves them; heals them; restores them. And then calls them on mission to go back into the world that rejected them to be salt and light. God is calling them to go back into the world to play a part in the work of redemption in this world.
If you’re a Christian this morning, this is your story as well. Somehow, someway you got to the place in your life where you said “I need Jesus.” And He invited you in to His life. He saved you from Satan, Sin & Death. He has healed and is still healing wounds that you’ve received in this life. And as He is doing the work of restoring you into the image and likeness of Him, He calls you & I to go back out into the world to act as salt and light.
What’s Jesus talking about? What does He mean?
Salt: When Jesus talks about salt, He is talking about preserving that which is good. Obviously they didn’t have refrigeration in that time, so how they would preserve things like meat would be through salting them, which would draw the water out of it and preserve it. You don’t waste salt on a moldy, rotting piece of meat, seeking to preserve that. No, you preserve that which is good.
Light: What about light? I think the analogy of light is fascinating. Light reveals and exposes that which is in the dark. Not only that though, light also brings life. We’ve been without sun for what feels like a decade, and one thing that is obvious is that the sun is life-giving in a very literal sense. And the apostle John picks up on this in his gospel, when he opens up about who Jesus is and says “In Him was life and this life was the Light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”
So Jesus uses these analogies of Salt and light calling you and I to play our part in the work of redemption, healing and transformation in this world, which means we need to be involved in our communities. But how should we be involved in this world? Jesus has called us to be in this world but not of it, so what should our involvement look like?
Reject: Strip Clubs, pornography Receive: Some things in sociology, psychology, things that are made obvious in general revelation. Not only God’s creation, but God’s common grace in society that bring human flourishing about. Redeem: Social media, Lecrae
Reject, receive & redeem are ways in which we can help diagnose how we get involved in culture, because historically, the error that Christians make is either retracting from culture or being absorbed by culture.
Matt 5:13-20 3
Retract: Holy Huddle, Table, kosher, Himalayan Pink salt all in mason jars not being used. (Fundamentalism)
Absorbed: Conversion takes place but in reverse. (Liberal/progressivism)
The fear I have for us and is to be useless in our day to where we don’t even attempt to be salt and light. Jesus gives us this warning, saying If you’re not acting as salt, you should be thrown out. Some of the other gospels go further and say the salt is not even worthy to be thrown on manure. He gives a humorous image with the light with saying ‘no one lights a lamp and then covers it up right away.’
We have been created by God, In Christ, for the purpose of being salt and light in this world. Of being an instrument of human flourishing in this world. And I tell you what, I’ve seen this. Some of you have seen this as well. *Guatemala, Locally. Matthew Parris
Matthew Parris- The Times - December 2008: Travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, I had: one I've been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I've been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.
Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGO’s, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa, Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.
Whenever we entered a territory worked by missionaries, we had to acknowledge that something changed in the faces of the people we passed and spoke to: something in their eyes, the way they approached you direct, man-to-man, without looking down or away.
Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a maligned fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete.
You get rid of the Church, hell breaks loose, but if the church acts as the church, we give this world a taste of heaven.
This morning, If you are in Christ, YOU have been called to be Salt and Light in this world. YOU are part of God’s plan for redemption in this world.
A task I want all of us to consider this morning. Pray to God and ask for fresh ways of how we can be salt and light in our community and for the flourishing of our communities.
Matt 5:13-20 4
The Hope Of Change: Because here is the result. Jesus says if we act as salt and light the result is ‘people may see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven.’ There is hope that this world can actually change.
It’s so easy to get bogged down and feel hopeless about how this world is going. Just in the last few weeks there was a shooting at an elementary school. Children are going to drag shows with their parents and putting dollar bills in their underwear while they dance in front of children. The war in Ukraine is still going on as well. And we can look at all this and feel a sense of hopelessness that things wont’t and can’t change. But the hope that Jesus gives us in these verses is that change is possible and that as a church goes, so goes a society. That if the church is active and life giving, their will certainly be positive impacts in the society at large. We may have too shallow a view of Jesus if we think that He can’t do anything about the current events in the world.
This morning, If you are in Christ, YOU have been called to be Salt and Light in this world. YOU are part of God’s plan for redemption in this world, by the good works and character we display in the world. But our character & good works need to be defined for us. They must be shaped by God & His Word and not TikTok or some other social media influencer.
JESUS FULFILLS THE LAW:
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
JESUS FULFILLS THE LAW:
The Law (instruction) & the Prophets are code for all of the OT. The Law was the first 5 books in the OT (The Torah) and the Prophets were the remainder of the OT writings. And Jesus is making an astonishing claim that He alone is the fulfillment of all it speaks about. What does that mean? It means it’s all pointing to and looking towards Him. The Law looks forward to one who will obey it perfectly and have perfect communion with the Father. Jesus does that. The prophets prophecy of a Messiah who will come and redeem this world. Jesus does that.
This is so important that we get this. Because if we read the OT void of Jesus, it simply becomes a list for us of what to do and not do and the result of that is that we either become the our own savior from doing enough good things or we fall into unbelief saying that it is impossible to follow all of these laws so it must be false; of which it is impossible to follow all of them perfectly.
Relax or Obey: So what is our relationship with the law? Jesus obviously wants us to teach it and hold onto it. You’ll read some crazy things in the OT and think “Am I suppose to obey this?”
Matt 5:13-20 5
Historically, the Church has broken down the OT law into 3 categories. The ceremonial law, the judicial law, the moral law.
Ceremonial law: Priestly & sacrificial laws. Judicial law: Being a distinct people. Cicumcision, not getting tattooed, not eating shellfish or wearing the wrong material. Moral Law: 10 commandments, all of which are reiterated in the NT in some varying degree.
THE HEART OF THE LAW:
So here’s the trajectory of the Christian life. You’re an outcast in the world, having been beating up and hurt by the world, and Jesus invites you into His kingdom to be adopted into His family. He saves you, heals you and restores you so that you go back into the world as salt and light, but He doesn’t leave you by yourself! He send the Holy Spirit to empower us and give us the ability to obey the law and produce good works.
THE HOLY SPIRITS WORK:
And we must have the Holy Spirit and the presence of God with us; that is a non negotiable. The reason is we need to have desires to obey if we are going to be faithful to the end. And Jesus says “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The Pharisee’s and scribes were the standard of righteousness in their society. If anyone was close to perfect, surely it was these people. The thought of trying to surpass these people who follow upwards of 240 laws and have memorized them was unfathomable. So what is Jesus saying? It is not that we beat them in how many laws we follow but it is rather how deep the law gets into our hearts. How much do we truly have a desire to follow and obey Jesus? Which is another way of saying ‘How much do we love Him?’ Because Jesus will say “People honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
The apostle John will write: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. - 1 John 2:1-6
Jesus wants your good works and He wants you to be a blessing in society, yes! But more importantly than all of that, Jesus wants your heart, because it is from there that the rivers of life come from. And how we find ourselves wanting and desiring to follow Jesus and obey His commands can only come from the power of the Holy Spirit. We need Him!
Matt 5:13-20 6
Conclusion: If you are here this morning and find that you lack the desire to follow Jesus and be obedient to Him, pray that He would give you this desire. Our desires are the the waves of the sea, the come and go, sometimes red hot and other times freezing cold, and what we need when our desires fail is a reminder of who Jesus is and what He has done for us to help kickstart the engine again.
If you grew up in church at the end of services they would do alter calls and ask questions like “Will you surrender your life to Jesus?” “Will you give your heart to Jesus.” And although those are helpful questions, we ask a fundamentally different question. Because you are not the hero for your own story, Jesus is. So we ask instead “Has Jesus surrendered His life for yours?” “Has Jesus fully given His heart to you?” The overwhelming answer to these is yes! Reach out to Him. Jesus is far more willing to forgive, to love, to help, to sustain, to give us what we need than we can fathom.
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
More in Upside Down Kingdom: Sermon on the Mount
August 28, 2022Upside Down Kingdom: Final Warnings | Curtis Hall
August 14, 2022Upside Down Kingdom: Love Is The Rule | Matt Nickel
July 17, 2022Upside Down Kingdom: Upside-down Spirituality | Matt Nickel