The Sermon on the Mount: Christ’s Pattern for Christian Living

As one reads through the book, he cannot but agree that while it is true that our Christianity as an individual is personal and between us and God, it is equally true that our relationship with God can only be meaningful and fruitful when we have a good relationship with people around us.

Most Christians are familiar with the Sermon on the Mount by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The author of this book made the ‘sermon‘ simpler to understand. It is highly an expository analysis of what we have in St. Matthew’s Gospel, chapters 5-7.
Title: The Sermon on the Mount: Christ’s Pattern for Christian Living
Author: Bankole, Olufemi E.
ISBN 10: 9782008982 / ISBN 13: 9789782008985
Forward by: by Rev. Dr. Peter A. Adebiyi, Lord Bishop, Diocese of Lagos West
Publisher: The Way of Peace Publications, St. Paul, MN
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Soft Cover
Book Condition: Fair
Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket

The sermon touches on every aspect of life – our relationship with God as well as with people; our attitude and treasure; marriage, divorce and adultery etc.

The book, as a result of the style of its writing speaks directly to the reader. It is indeed a ‘sermon‘. As one reads through the book, he cannot but agree that while it is true that our Christianity as an individual is personal and between us and God, it is equally true that our relationship with God can only be meaningful and fruitful when we have a good relationship with people around us.

We are no doubt exposed to some ‘little‘ things that matter in our dealing with God and man which hitherto we have not been taking cognizance of. We are challenged in some many ways and if we will be true enough to ourselves and rise boldly to the challenges, our Christian lives will be made better.

Indeed, we have too many preachers as well as readers; but too few doers. We are blessed only when we put into practice what we read from the word of God. It is my belief that the writing of this book has been divinely guided for the good of every reader. Read, mark, meditate and pray about every issue raised and God will surely bless you.

When God called out the nation of Israel as a people unto Himself, He was dealing with a nation fresh from slavery who knew nothing about Him – not even His Name. He needed to teach them a lot of things if they were to know Him and if His relationship with them will be as He wished, and if they were going to be benefited by it. So, He chose Moses as the leader of this house and through him taught them the laws that would govern their relationship with Him and with one another.

The Sermon on the Mount: Christ's Pattern for Christian Living

The Sermon on the Mount: Christ’s Pattern for Christian Living

He made it clear many times – especially towards the end of the lives of Moses and Joshua – that they would be blessed only to the extent to which they kept those laws, rules and regulations. The Israelites in the wilderness received those laws on behalf of the coming generations.When God decided to raise another ‘nation’ to Himself through Jesus Christ, there came again the need to help this new nation of ‘called-out ones‘ – the church- to know Him and learn the rules of proper relationship with Him and with one another. Jesus Christ – the Builder and Head of this new house, set time aside and passed down these comprehensive rules and regulations through the Apostles – for themselves and for coming generations of Christians in what has come to be called “The Sermon on the Mount.” And just as Mosaic laws were to the Jewish nation, they are detailed and final for every Christian.

They are of a higher standard because “unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mat. 5:20). And like Mosaic Laws, He conditions blessings upon the keeping of these new, better, and more spiritual laws of God.
And that is why I consider this comprehensive set of rules THE PATTERN FOR CHRISTIAN LIVING as set forth by the Builder of the Church – our Head, even Jesus Christ. This meditation was not intended to be a theological treatise.

I did not even set out to write a book;

this piece transformed to its present form, from my meditations on this special portion of Scriptures as I shared them on my Gospel Radio broadcasts over the years. Until I finished committing this to writing, I never came across any writing on the Sermon on the Mount, nor did I consult any commentary. It is just my way of studying the Scriptures at the Lord’s feet. It makes me original and responsible for any errors of conclusions as per the views of theologians. But if by any chance this helps anyone – as I hope and pray it does – all the credit goes to Him whose Spirit gave the inspiration; my Lord and Love, Jesus Christ.

The author is highly commended, and the book recommended for all Christians.



3 Ways to Set a Positive Intention for the Holiday Season

by Holly Lebowitz Rossi | December 1st can feel like the calm before the holiday stress storm—or it can be a chance to set the tone for a warm, love-filled holiday season.

When I feel the pressure of the busy holiday season building, I think about the power of setting a positive intention. After all, even though December is generally regarded as a season of celebration, a quick Google around the idea of “holiday stress” will tell you all you need to know about the emotional, physical and financial toll all that celebrating can take.

The Roman statesman Lucius Annaeus Seneca put the idea of intention in holiday-helpful focus when he said, “A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.”

I doubt the ancient Romans were juggling holiday parties, shopping lists and hosting duties. But the impulse to do something kind for another is as old as human civilization—and the pressure that comes with that territory is just as universal.

Here are three ways to get your holiday season off to a positive start, setting an intention that will guide you through the month with peace and joy.

1.  Set Your Intention Out Loud
Take a few minutes to think about the overarching intention you want to set this holiday season. Maybe it’s “Go with the flow.” Or, “Be positive.” Or, “Kindness first.” When you’ve chosen your intention, say it out loud to see how it feels. Then say it out loud again. Say it out loud a lot, like first thing in the morning, while you’re waiting in line at the mall and just before you lie down for sleep. Saying it out loud helps you stay focused on your positive approach, even when minor irritations and distractions pop up.

2.  Look for Intention Allies
Whether your intention is to be calm in the midst of stress, to be generous with your time and money or simply to up your cookie-baking game, look around you. Chances are, there are people in your life who are modeling the values you are striving toward. Tell them about your intention and ask if you can consider them positive partners this holiday season.

3.  Beware Intention Sabotage
Some people, places and activities are just not going to jive with your intention this December. Make a list of things you think you should minimize contact with, to maximize the number of hours you spend in alignment with your intention. For example, if shopping in crowded stores leaves you feeling depleted and stressed, you might choose to do most of your holiday shopping online this year.

How do you set—and follow—positive intention in your life?

 



Christian Living: Living the Way Jesus Wants

by Mike Bennett | Jesus came to give His followers an abundant life—full of purpose, potential and joy. But Christian living has challenges. How do we live the life Jesus wants (LifeHopeandTruth.com)?

The Christian way of life is the best way of life possible! Jesus said He came so His followers “may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 ). God’s way of living has great benefits for this life and offers “pleasures forevermore” in the next (1 Timothy 4:8 ; Psalm 16:11 ).

That doesn’t mean that Christian living is easy. The challenges and difficulties of this way of life are designed to help us grow to have Jesus Christ’s mind and the character of God. We are to learn to think and act like God because He wants us to be His children forever!

Christian living principles

God gave us the Bible to teach us the best way to live and to give us examples of others to learn from. The good and bad examples in the Bible can make what may seem to be abstract principles come to life.

The articles in this “Christian Living” section will help you find and understand the biblical principles for dealing with the challenges of life. They will help you build strong, supportive, loving relationships. They will help you grow in knowledge of God’s way and in acting on that knowledge.

God’s way is the way of love. It’s the way of peace. Biblical principles will help us at home, at school, on the job, in our time management and decision making, in controlling our emotions and in growing in spiritual maturity. By practicing Christian living, we will demonstrate the values that Christ has and the love He shows.

Start now

This section is a work in progress, so we encourage you to come back often as we add new articles about Christian living. Please let us know if you have suggestions for future articles, and let us know any questions you would like answered.

As a start, we encourage you to read “The Way of Peace” now. It’s a way that this world hasn’t known (Romans 3:17 Romans 3:17), but that God reveals throughout the Bible. It’s the way our loving God wants—and commands—us to live. The benefits are priceless.

 



Consider Your Ways in the New Year

by Don Whitney | Prayerfully ask yourself these 31 questions.

Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. "Consider your ways!" (Haggai 1:5) he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them.

Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It's so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we're going and where we should be going.

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up and get our bearings. For starters, here are 31 questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God as you "Consider your ways." Think on the entire list at one sitting, or answer one question each day for a month.

  1. What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
  2. What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
  3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
  4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
  5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
  6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
  7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
  8. What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year?
  9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
  10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in 10 years? In eternity?
  11. What's the most important decision you need to make this year?
  12. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what's one way you could simplify in that area?
  13. What's the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year?
  14. What habit would you most like to establish this year?
  15. Who do you most want to encourage this year?
  16. What is your most important financial goal this year, and what is the most important step you can take toward achieving it?
  17. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life this year?
  18. What's one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another who ministers to you) this year?
  19. What's one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?
  20. What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?
  21. What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do about it this year?
  22. What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this year?
  23. In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?
  24. What's the most important trip you want to take this year?
  25. What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?
  26. To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount this year?
  27. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your commute this year?
  28. What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this year, and what will you do about it?
  29. If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?
  30. What's the most important new item you want to buy this year?
  31. In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this year?

The value of many of these questions is not in their profundity, but in the simple fact that they bring an issue or commitment into focus. For example, just by articulating which person you most want to encourage this year, you will be more likely to remember to encourage that person than if you hadn't considered the question.

If you've found these questions helpful, you might want to put them someplace – in a day planner, PDA, calendar, bulletin board, etc. – where you can review them more frequently than once a year.

So let's evaluate our lives, make plans and goals, and live this new year with biblical diligence, remembering that, "The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage" (Proverbs 21:5). But in all things let's also remember our dependence on our King who said, "Apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

Donald S. Whitney is associate professor of biblical spirituality and senior associate dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

 



Who Wouldn’t Want to Live Here?

Wouldn't you want to live there (Paradise Road – edequity.org)

Peace: a wonderful place to live, isn't it?

The gift of peace, and the choice to remain in that place of peace, provides comfort and valuable resources almost too precious to express.

Who wouldn't want to live in a place of peace? It's almost like saying, "Who wouldn't want to visit Hawaii?"

When the cares and concerns of life loom menacingly on the dark horizon like a growing and fierce storm, peace is heaven's gift to a troubled and fretful soul.

God gently offers, in that moment of unsettled emotions and of fearful anxiety, "Wouldn't you like to go to a place of peace with Me?"

I realized recently, while I was traveling and observing the expressions of various and rushing travelers that not many people choose to live in a place of peace. Most people frantically react to life and then traverse from the Land of Frustration to the Isle of Impatience with a quick side trip to Angry Mount and back again.

Who wants to live in a place of volcanic upheaval and uncontrollable tempest? Peace sounds like a much more … well … "peaceful" destination to me!

So … if peace is uncommonly valuable and even utterly desirable, then why is peace so elusive and difficult to capture? Why does peace seem to flit in and out of our lives with not much actuality and very little tenacity?

I have come to believe that peace, although not tangible, is certainly substantial; and that true peace, although invisible, is a strong determinant in reaching one's destination.

"You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." (Isaiah 26:3).

Peace is a result of trusting a loving Father who knows best and who loves the most. Peace comes rushing in when a believer decides to believe.

Peace is delivered in that infamous, "Aha!" moment of life. When you finally realize that you serve a God who is an expert at working all things together for good and that you are the beneficiary of His incredible competence.

Peace! There it is!! I see it now!

Peace is a gift that is bestowed upon those who know of no other way to live than to take up permanent residence in His joyful and comforting presence.

It is humanly impossible to stir up peace … to beg for peace … to buy peace … or to mimic peace. 

Peace is found along the road marked "Trust" and you will find that it is a sure and delightful destination.

No matter what you are going through today … be certain of this … peace is just one trusting choice away.

Take your eyes off your circumstances … remove your heart from boiling emotions … and begin to sing a melody of the resilient soul,

"Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!

How I've proved Him o'er and o'er.

Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! 

Oh for grace to trust Him more!"

Now sing it again. And again.

Sing it while the storm is raging and when the wind is roaring.

Sing it internally when voices are yelling and anger is unleashed around you.

Are you there yet? Have you reached the place of peace?

"You are my hiding place; You will preserve me from trouble; You will surround me with shouts  of deliverance!" (Psalm 32:7).

Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical, biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books: No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released on Aug. 1. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming.