Saturday, February 22, 2020


Sermon Summary (2/09/20) “Exceeding the Righteousness of the Pharisees”  (Matthew 5:13-20; 7:21,24)

For the past two weeks or so, we’ve said that everyone has a god, whether God Almighty or a small g god.  Whatever is primary in our lives, whatever drives our behavior is our god.  Here’s another shocker.  Everyone is someone’s disciple.  We all mimic someone.  We pattern our lives after someone.  We adopt their values.  And it starts young.  How is it that we can make our children think, “When I grow up, I want to be like Jesus.”  How?  I’d suggest you search youtube for Patrick Mahomes and faith.  Good start.

But who do you want to be like when you grow up?  Whose disciple do you want to be?  Or, who wants you as a role model?  What do others see in you?  Do they see you “let your light so shine” that they want to give glory to God?  To do so Jesus challenges to have a righteousness that exceeds the scribes and the Pharisees.  He then tells how he is going to help us do that.

Here’s the answer.  It is all about changing our hearts, taking on the heart of Jesus, changing from the inside out.  Later, Jesus challenges Pharisees to “clean the inside of the cup so that the outside will be clean as well.” (Mt 23:25-26) 

The target of the Sermon on the Mount is to create in us a new heart such that we will “enter by the narrow gate.”  That we will “bear good fruit.”  Think about it.  You will never get apples from a tree unless it has apple sap flowing through its veins.  The motivation of the whole Sermon on the Mount is to change who we are from the inside out. 

Let me be clear.  We are not doing this to save ourselves.  Only grace can do that.  In fact, we cannot change ourselves from the inside out.  Again, only grace can do that.  When we place ourselves in the hands of grace, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, will change who we are.  When we want to be his disciple, when he becomes our role model, when we follow him, we will be changed from the inside out.  Remember, he is with us always, even to the end of the age. (Mt 28:20)

Jesus has another plan.  He intends for us to be light and salt in a world of darkness and a world without zest.  He intends for the changed us to transform the world.  His intention is for us to have “Sparkle” when we enter a room.  That’s what the Holy Spirit wants to do in you.

Remember the gift of the Spirit? (Gal 5:22-23) “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.”

I love that last line.  There can never be too much love or too much kindness or how would you like a world filled with self-control?  You see what sparkle is?  How? We place ourselves in grace; we drink in the words and life of Jesus, we “ingest it, inscribe it on our hearts and minds, we fuse it to the very depths of our being.” (Karen Armstrong, Recovering the Sacred Text.)  We clean the inside of the cup.  We follow Jesus.  Amen.

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