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The Greatest Sermon

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
April 11, 2021 8:00 am

The Greatest Sermon

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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April 11, 2021 8:00 am

Has Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount ever puzzled you? Have you wondered its purpose? Was it a set of standards impossible to live up to and a throwback to the Old Testament? Was it a set of ethics for the world to live by, or a standard for legalism in the church? Join Dr. James Boice on The Bible Study Hour as he begins a new series exploring Jesus’ greatest sermon and its meaning for the believer.

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The sermon on the Mount by Jesus Christ contains many principles about how to live. You know if these principles apply to you, to keep them even if you wanted to. Jesus sermon on the mount has been misinterpreted and misunderstood by every generation it seems to hang somewhere between Old Testament teaching and New Testament grace. This famous discourse has been interpreted as a mere set of ethics as a basis for legalism within the church, yet it's neither of those things to the Bible study on the radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically Jesus purpose in preaching. His greatest sermon was not to bind believers to a set of legalistic rules, but to present principles to live by.

For those who have experienced a life transformed by Christ joined Dr. Boyce as he presents an overview of Christ sermon and reveals the fallacies and truths about the greatest message ever preached today. I should like to begin a study of the sermon on the mount which is found in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of Matthew's gospel.

I want to talk about why we should study it before we begin. However, I think we need to recognize that in dealing with the sermon on the mount were dealing with the need for a new life, a new birth, rather than with legalistic system of morality. This is true not only of the sermon on the mount, but of the New Testament generally you know the difference between a new life in the law, I'm sure. And you also can understand why the first is far more important. For instance the strong sense of law and the brotherhood among the members of the Mafia. There is even a tendency to work within the letter of the laws of a country where possible in some respects, member of the Mafia is probably more conscious of the law than the average citizen yet no one who is not a criminal would endorse the Mafia because of its sense of law or even as is sometimes the case, because the members of the Mafia are able to practice crime within the letter of the country's laws.

The life of the criminal is wrong what is needed is a new way of life. Life in which the individual member is lifted out of the context of crime entirely and is given new loyalties and new motivations for his conduct. Right conduct arises from a right heart.

This means that proper Christian conduct can only follow from a life that is been transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ. This truth is basic to all of Christ's teachings. It's been a failure to see this truth that has led to nearly all of the great misunderstandings of the sermon on the Mount was true of the way the sermon on the mount was handled by the leaders of the social gospel movement, which flourished at the beginning of the century, under the leadership of such men as Washington Gladden Walter Russian Bush the social gospel movement focused the church's attention upon the corporate aspects of 20th-century life and upon the need for achieving social justice. This crusade, the sermon on the Mount was regarded as something like the battle plan of the churches in the phrase the kingdom of God was erected as a banner.

All was needed for the realization of Christ's kingdom. They argued, was a widespread understanding of the sermon on the Mount and its vigorous application to our culture out must be said in all favor of the leaders of this movement that they were aware of the crying social needs of our society at the time when the defense of the working man or the poor man was not popular there efforts of certainly borne fruit in the gradually awakening social conscience of the Christian churches today.

For all their virtues, social gospel movement, which they gave birth had one great and ultimately fatal defect was aware of Christ's ethic tried to preach the ethic to those who were not possessed of Christ's life.

Consequently, the attempt to actualize Christ's standard of human conduct universally was doomed to disheartening failure shaken by the hard reality of two world wars. This form of social gospel movement quickly became outmoded. The church is now turned to wealth mass movements and politics to affect by force, but they cannot affect by merely moralistic preaching. The other extreme, from the social gospel's approach to the sermon on the mount or three attempts to reject it entirely and to concentrate on the so-called the legitimate aspects of the church's proclamation the first of these attempts has been found in a type of preaching that has identified an interest in the sermon on the mount with legalism. This way of thinking sermon on the Mount is essentially carryover from the law of the Old Testament. Although a better interpretation of it and is opposed as such to the gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ and to his atoning work on Calvary. According to this view, Christ appears in Matthew five through seven solely and exclusively as a lawgiver like Moses and his laws of the laws of his kingdom all the misunderstandings of the sermon on the mount that I've encountered.

I believe that we should have least sympathy with this one. Britt betrays I believe the most insensitive misunderstanding of Christ's teachings true that in Matthew's Gospel Jesus Christ is pictured as a second Moses, the point of the comparison lies mostly in the area of contrast six times in chapter 5, Jesus is quoted as saying he have heard that it hath been said, then follow something but I say unto you, this implies his greater and independent authority. The chapter itself closes with utmost on Mosaic statement devastating to all attempts to exalt human righteousness as a means of salvation.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect. This is not legalism's not the Old Testament law or restated. It's a condemnation of all attempts to please God by legalism in order that the way might be cleared for a man to come to God by faith in Jesus Christ and receive a new life capable of that which he requires to identify the sermon on the mount with legalism is to miss the entire flavor of what the Lord is saying for Christ ethics go beyond the law of Moses, in order that we might be brought to the feet of the gospel is also an objection to the sermon on the mount that arises from the feeling that the standard set down her impossible and are therefore not to be taken seriously by Christians. One of my friends once explained her objection to the sermon on the mount like this. She said the sermon on the mount teaches that if someone hits you on one cheek cure to turn the other. If you do that though hit you and that you also and you end up by getting a beating. It says that if a man sues you for your coat, your to let him have your cloak also you do that you'll end up with nothing sermon on the Mount is impossible to practice in the world such as ours is not to be taken seriously. Well I must admit that the objection of my friend has some persuasive logic to it because we do live in a world that often makes the ethic of Christ seem to be impossible.

As a practical matter, I'm glad to note that this line of argument, at least recognizes the terribly but wonderful high standards that are found there is a true Christians are called precisely to impossible standard of conduct and isn't it true that the Holy Spirit is given to them precisely for this purpose.

Moreover, to reject the sermon on the Mount, as this involves is also taken unjustifiably high-handed approach to the Bible the error of my friend and I must say you also the error of many Christians who hold this and similar views. Sexually, the error of liberalism which feels at liberty to accept one part of Scripture while it rejects another, neither entirely subject themselves to the Bible. The only difference is that liberalism holds to the ethic are part of it while rejecting the gospel, where is this type of conservativism holds to the gospel while rejecting the ethic the Bible says that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine and reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. This means the sermon on the Mount to Jesus, must of had it in mind when he told his disciples go ye therefore, and teach all nations, teaching them to do all things whatsoever I have commanded you.

Other also several other reasons why it's impossible to reject the sermon on the mount of the grounds of its being impossible, but these objections also applied to 1/4 misunderstanding of the sermon that I want to consider just now.

I will hold up on them until we are talking about. It also. The fourth misunderstanding of the sermon on the Mount is the view of some forms of early dispensationalism movement of scriptural interpretation that had a tremendous influence in the first part of this century and is left in the writing influence upon many conservatives through the justified success of the popular Scofield Bible. According to this system of Bible interpretation, the sermon on the Mount was an official proclamation by Jesus of the ethical principles on which is messianic kingdom would be found in this kingdom was identified with the years following Christ's second coming. These three chapters, the Lord Jesus Christ speaks as Israel's king. Hence, the ethics of the sermon are to be applied not to our age, the age of the church, but to the future age of Christ's earthly rule. One of the early leaders of dispensationalism wrote sermon on the mount must be taken in its wholeness and in its literalness.

The sermon cannot be taken in its plain import and applied to Christians universally is been tried in spots, but it is always been like planting a beautiful flower and stony ground, or in a dry and withering atmosphere the same way the old Scofield Bible says. For these reasons, the sermon on the Mount and its primary application gives neither the privilege nor the duty of the church, let me make one thing clear. I have no quarrel with some types of dispensationalism. If you find it helpful in your own study of the Bible to divide biblical history and the periods in which God seems to of been particularly interested in demonstrating certain truths such as the inability of man to govern himself by conscience a human government law or anything else, then go ahead.

I am for any system that actually helps you to read and to assimilate the Bible. I'm delighted to say that the Scofield Bible was the greatest influence upon my own early study of the Scriptures. Moreover, I want to stress that I have the deepest respect for these gifted teachers, they were deeply spiritual man. They were steeped in the Bible for more. For instance, the most Bible teachers today, myself included, all this is true yet I'm convinced that in its approach to the sermon on the Mount, the leaders of dispensationalism were just wrong and it's no discredit to them to say it never has been a system of Bible interpretation. It's been right in every point. The early leaders of dispensationalism would've been the first to admit their own fallibility. Now why was this view wrong. I believe we must acknowledge that this view of the sermon on the Mount was wrong for at least three reasons. First, it is entirely without proof from the Scriptures, dispensationalism said that the ethics of these chapters are reserved exclusively for Christ coming messianic kingdom. Truly this is nowhere to be found in Christ's teaching. In fact, the reverse is true.

Rather than indicating that the present import of his words might be postponed. Christ actually emphasized their lasting validity sermon is filled with present imperatives rejoice swear not go give take heed. Jesus said, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled, our Lord. Nowhere indicated that his words were to be disregarded. Second, it's apparent from any careful study of the sermon on the Mount that it's precisely a world such as ours, the Christ had in view when he spoke the words of the sermon according to the dispensational is the words should be applied to an age in which the Lord's earthly rule is established in which justice is enforced in righteousness is required. If this is so, what could be the possible meaning of a verse, such as Matthew 544 but I send you love your enemies less than the course you do good to them that hate you and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you, the kingdom age one will have liberty to practice these things persecute others to use them despitefully statement like this would be meaningless know the world of the sermon on the Mount is a regal and sinful world world of tax collectors, unjust officials, hypocrites, thieves, the week the poor and false prophets that the statement of how those who were to be born again by faith in Christ to live in spite of the third and in some ways the most significant objection to this error of some forms of dispensationalism is the interesting fact that even the dispensational us could not be entirely consistent in this interpretation of the gospel is a great tribute to their own walk with the Lord that in many instances, there spiritual sensitivity to what the sermon on the Mount has to say.

Actually one out over their doctrinal theory plus the great expositor Dr. Arnold C.

Gable line wrote in his commentary on Matthew.

While the sermon on the Mount should be assigned to the messianic age. This fact never excludes application to us who are his heavenly people.

Members of his body who will share the heavenly throne in the heavenly Jerusalem with him. I'm pleased to see that the new Scofield Bible while keeping the general scheme of dispensationalism and its valuable notes. Nevertheless omits the previous statement about the sermons being either the privilege of the duty of the church and says instead. Although the law as expressed in the sermon on the Mount cannot save sinners, and the redeemed of the present age are not under law. Nevertheless, both the Mosaic law and the sermon on the mount are a part of holy Scripture which is inspired by God and therefore profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness for the redeemed of all ages. I believe that you will of entirely missed the point of what I've been saying here if you've not realized that all of my arguments against the misunderstandings and misinterpretations of these three chapters in Matthew of also been designed to answer the question why should we study it for course that is what were concerned with in this first introductory study, why should we study the sermon on the Mount, or at least for reasons. First, the sermon on the mount shows us the absolute necessity of the new birth. Show me a man who claims that he is living up to the standards of the sermon on the Mount and I will show you a man who either has never read it does not understand what it is teaching is lying sermon on the mount does not encourage righteousness in man apart from Christ.

It condemns them for falling short of God's righteousness that drives him in desperation to the cross also says the law was our schoolmaster to bring us under Christ, we might be justified by faith. That's true. The Old Testament law, which was largely external then how much more is it true of the sermon sermon on the mount calls for a pure righteousness that flows from a regenerated heart second sermon on the Mount should be studied because like all Scripture points us to the Lord Jesus Christ should happen even in a literary or historical study, it's impossible to study any document. Well, without giving attention to its author, even more important, however, the fact that it is also true spiritually as we shall see in future studies is impossible to enter into the deepest understanding of these chapters, without realizing that in the very large measure, they bring us into the deepest possible contact with the person and nature of our Lord. The preacher of the sermon on the Mount is the sermon on the Mount and we are constantly brought into the most intimate contact with him. Third, we should study the sermon on the mount because it indicates way to blessing for Christians not in accordance with the world standards, but in accordance with these principles does the Christian find happiness for us to pour out the haughty, the meat not the proudly merciful not to cool the peacemakers, not the agitators were called blessed by God.

Finally, we study the sermon on the mount as Christians because it shows us the way.

Please our heavenly father and me ask you this question. Have you ever tried to please him by anticipating his will. All I don't mean if you ever come across something in the word of God that applies to you and said with a long face. Well I guess I'll have to do it, done it for that reason times that's necessary, but I don't mean that. I mean have you ever tried to anticipate God's will simply in order to please them.

We do that for one another at Christmas time. You know how it is. In the weeks preceding Christmas. Everyone is thinking about buying gifts and there's a period of quiet sensitivity around the house when each member of the family listens to catch a clue about something. Another member of the family would like. Then they rush out to buy it, just so they might have the joy of hearing the other member of the family say on Christmas morning light. This is a beautiful present. How did you know to get it. It's exactly what I wanted.

Well you see the connection.

It is our great privilege to do that with Jesus.

It's true that we can't please him and we first become a member of his family that comes only through the new birth. Once we are in his family. Then it's a delightful privilege to please them were able to search the Scriptures constantly to anticipate his will for our lives as we enter into these studies.

Let us pray each of us that God will work to accomplish each of these important purposes in our lives that through it. He will be glorified and it is thus that we pray our heavenly father as we begin this new series, we ask you to use these studies to draw many to faith in Christ to strengthen the communion of many believers with him and to bring great blessing and countless thousands of lives were we pray in Jesus name, amen. Listening to the Bible study hours featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce's series on the sermon on the Mount that hasn't been heard in 50 years. Part of the great sermon is the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are well known, but often misunderstood what was Christ's purpose and giving them and how are they to be interpreted. Find out in our free CD offer entitled the Beatitudes. It's also by Dr. Boyce. This free CD offers our way of saying thanks for listening. Give us a call at 1-800-488-1888 will be happy to send you a copy of the Beatitudes that number again is 1-800-488-1888 as we begin this series on the sermon on the Mount, may we ask you to become a part of this ministry by becoming a supporter of the Bible study our you can make a monthly pledge or a one time donation by calling us directly at 1-800-488-1888 or visiting us our mailing address is 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601.

Thank you. Your support for this ministry is urgently needed. We are indeed grateful that you listen to the Bible study our as you reach out to us. Be sure to mention the call letters or dial position of the radio station your hearing or if you listen online. Take note of the website address. Knowing how you connect with the Bible study our will help us serve you better by Mark Daniels. As we continue our study of the best-known sermon in history. Jesus points as to the nature of the kingdom of heaven.

What are the terms set forth in the sermon relevant to today and if so standard set too high for mortal man joined Dr. James Boyce.

Next time, Bible study, our as he continues working through the true meaning and ramifications of Christ's sermon on the Mount.

That's next time on Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically

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