I have been reading Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I am just a little ways into the book, and, so far, it is very good, well worth reading; so good that I have decided to do some blogging on it as I go.
We will start, in this first blog post, with an introduction—to the entire sermon and to the beatitudes. Here are five points from Lloyd-Jones’ book well worth mentioning.
- The sermon presents a perfect picture of how every Christian was meant to live—or a picture of the kingdom of God. Therefore, all Christians should regard the sermon as a guide to follow, but more than that, as a way of life that God expects us to follow.
- The sermon is meant for us now, not in the future. Ultra-dispensationalists would insist that this sermon (and the gospels) was not really meant for us now, but for the millennial kingdom. I suppose they would say that it is just impossible to measure up to all the sermon’s teachings, that Jesus would never expect us to follow such high standards—not until He comes to rule over the world. But we are meant to be a very different people, and with Christ in our heart we can be different.
- All of the sermon’s teachings are achievable by the Holy Spirit, but none can be achieved naturally, by some natural gift. Therefore, the sermon is meant only for Christians who are filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
- The sermon, if followed, will make us more like Jesus and is a direct road to spiritual blessing.
- As for the Beatitudes, they are not to be separated, but we must take them as a complete whole. Says Lloyd-Jones,
Each one of necessity implies the other. For instance, you cannot be ‘poor in spirit’ without ‘mourning’ in this sense; and you cannot mourn without ‘hungering and thirsting after righteousness’; and you cannot do that without being one who is ‘meek’ and a ‘peacemaker’. Each one of these in a sense demands the others.
Next post: Bless Are the Poor in Spirit.