The Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount

Scripture: Matthew 7:28-29, Romans 7:7, Genesis 15:6
Date: 04/16/2016  Lesson: 3
"How different would your life be, right now, were you to love your enemies?" (Chantal and Gerald Klingbeil)

The Sign of Jonah (PB) by Doug Batchelor

The Sign of Jonah (PB) by Doug Batchelor
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Welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour, coming to you from the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church located in rocklin, California on the west coast of the United States of America. We have an international family that join us every week from across the country and around the world and we are glad that you are tuning in and joining us again like you do every week. And we just want to give you a special warm welcome from Sacramento and let you know, if you're ever in this area, we would love for you to come and join us and worship with us here at the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church. Today Pastor Doug and pastor ross are still in North Carolina doing their special series on the Sabbath and so we're holding down the fort here and we're going to sing your favorite songs like we do every week. And so, the first one - pull out your hymnals and join us - it's a new one so, hopefully, those of you around the world are familiar with this one, because we're learning it here and we love learning new songs.

And I know that many of you do as well - especially the second verse - it's #233 titled Christ, whose glory fills the skies - #233 - "dark and cheerless is the morn unaccompanied by thee, joyless is the day's return till thy mercy's beams I see. Till they inward light impart, cheer my eyes and warm my heart." No words are more true than that. Without the rays of God's love and light shining into us, our lives and our hearts are so dark - dark and cheerless is the morn - and it's not just the morn, it's the entire day - it's your entire life. So I hope that you will pay attention to the words of this lovely song as we sing #233. Join with us.

Christ, whose glory fills the skies, Christ, the true, the only light, sun of righteousness, arise, triumph o'er the shades of night; dayspring from on high, be near; daystar, in my heart appear. Dark and cheerless is the morn unaccompanied by thee; joyless is the day's return till thy mercy's beams I see; till they inward light impart, cheer my eyes and warm my heart. Visit, then, this soul of mine; pierce the gloom of sin and grief; fill me, radiancy divine; scatter all my unbelief; more and more thyself display, shining to the perfect day. Before we have our lesson study, I want to tell you about our special offer for today. Every week we have a special book that we offer you and if you are in North America we encourage you to call us and request offer #715 - -788-3966, which is easy to remember - 866-study-more - and this little book does God's grace blot out the law? Great question and it's a wonderful book filled with information that will answer that question.

It is a question that a lot of Christians - and non-Christians - have. But does God's grace blot out the law? So I encourage you to call in and request that book. And if you are not in North America, don't worry, we haven't forgotten about you. You can go to the Amazing Facts website - amazingfacts.org - and you can download it and read it right there on the Amazing Facts website. Before we have our lesson study, let's bow our heads for prayer.

Father in Heaven, thank you so much for bringing us here together today to open up Your Word - to study together. And I just pray that you will be with each person here and our extended family around the world. There's so many that we know join us every week. We've never met them but, one day, I know that on the sea of glass we will all come together for a big Sabbath school study hour reunion where we can worship together. We can worship you and sing songs of praise to you - and oceans and seas and miles won't separate us from each other and from your love.

Father, we thank you so much for blessing us, for giving us the hope that we have as Christians, that you light up our lives and you change our hearts. And father, if someone who is here or is watching feels like they're in a really dark place right now, I pray that they will remember the words to The Song that we just sang - that you can change everything and you can change the coldest, darkest heart. I thank you for that, in Jesus' Name, amen. We have a special lesson study for you today. It's a little bit different.

We like variety here at Granite Bay and so gerald and chantal klingbaum are presenting our lesson study. Chantal is the sister of our associate pastor, pastor jëan ross, from south africa and gerald and chantal live in Maryland - they're visiting us - and gerald is the associate editor of the adventist review and chantal is the associate director of the white estate. So I met them today and I'm very excited that they're here to present us our lesson study. So at this time we'll invite them forward. It's wonderful to be here.

We began our year on a real mountaintop experience - quite literally. We were in new zealand - south island - and we climbed a mountain - mount fyffe. Now that was a very big deal for me because it's been years and years and years since I've climbed a mountain - and I actually made it to the top. How high was it gerald? Well, it was 5,000 feet. For those who work in meters, where I come from, that's about ,600 meters.

Elevation that we worked - walked - in one day - 8 hours - it took a long time. It was a mountaintop experience and our lesson today is about another mountaintop experience, the sermon on the mount. It begins on a mountain. Why on a mountain, gerald? Well, I don't know if you noticed this. There are some key moments in the history of God's people that seem to begin on a mountain.

Just thought quickly about it and I remembered - do you remember the story of Elijah? Where was that great showdown between the Lord and the prophets of baal? It was on Mount Carmel, right? And it was a moment that was crucially decisive for Israel. They had to make a decision. So mountains can mean we have to make a decision. And there - there's this other mountain. Do you remember the Mount Sinai, when God says to Moses, 'I want you to come up.

' And not just him - he came up with elders. 'And I want you to receive from me what is the blueprint for you, the law.' So mountain experiences are very important. Now this mountaintop experience is really a sermon. It's a fantastic sermon. Our lesson study says it's the most powerful sermon ever preached.

So I thought, perhaps we'll ask you, because you've written a lot of sermons - you've preached a lot of sermons - I do, yes. And you've been involved with students and you've taught them to preach. I've trained pastors for fifteen years. That's right. Okay, what makes this a good sermon.

Well, for me, when I sit and listen to a sermon, it needs to be based on Scripture, obviously. Mm hmm. Based on God's Word. And if you look at the beatitudes and the next chapters in Matthew, they are full of references to the old testament. Next one, that I really think is very important, they need to be easy to remember.

You know, they can't be too difficult. They need to be practical. And if you think about practicality, remember when Jesus speaks about how we should pray, is that practical? That's real hands-on stuff. That's every day stuff, right? Mm hmm. Every minute stuff.

How do we approach God? How do we talk to God as our father? And there's something that I think is very crucial: they should tell a story. We all like a good story. We all like - and Jesus knew that. Jesus was the master storyteller. So there's some short little story snippets also in that sermon on the mount.

And, finally, somehow I feel - I feel especially blessed when I am suddenly surprised with something new from God that he talks into my heart and to my life. Have you felt that way as you listen to a sermon - as you read something in Scripture that suddenly it's as - 'man, I've read this so often and yet, it never clicked.' Can I add two more points? Please, go ahead. You are a good preacher too. What I really, really like about the sermon on the mount, what real, great preaching tip comes out for me is really this fact that we get to know God from a different angle. Perhaps get a little glimpse of God that we've never had before.

As a parent, it just resonates with me, the section where Jesus says, 'if your child asks for bread, are you going to give him' - what? 'A stone? Or a scorpion? Or a serpent?' Never. Never. This God, as our loving father, that comes out is really beautiful. It's true. That is very true.

And you know what else a really good sermon is? And you do it a bit - unfortunately, this is not a talent of mine - but a good sermon should inspire music, don't you think? Can you think of a story or a song that comes from one of the parts of the sermon on the mount? Okay, where's our children? Children here - 'the wise man built his house upon' - the rock. The rock. It inspires good music too. That's true. That you can remember.

That is very true. Well, shall we - shall we right - jump in there? Let's do it. Let's go. If you have your Bibles open, we're going to need them today. And what's so nice, we're going to stick around a fairly short range of texts.

We're going to stick in Matthew chapter 5 and we'll try - we can't do everything - as I look - it's really intense. At the lesson for this week I said, 'wow, there is so much. I can preach a whole week just on the beatitudes or on the Lord's prayer there's so much in there. But we'll try to give you the - you know, the mountaintop view where you can see and get the big picture so that you, when you go home, you can get, also, personal - dig deep into that. So chantal - hmm? Principles and standards - that's an interesting question.

Mm hmm. What's the difference between principles and standards? Okay, we're talking about the sermon on the mount giving principles and standards, perhaps? That's right. Okay. Well, what comes to my mind - perhaps you have a different idea but, you know, they're kind of synonyms? Principles/standards? But if you think a little longer, I'd say that principles can't be measured and standards can. So standards, I guess, I could get out a tape measurer or, at least, observe something and measure it.

But principles, that's - that's a little deeper. What is Jesus really majoring in this sermon? Is he majoring in principles or is he majoring in standards? That's an excEllent question. What do you think? Is he majoring in principles or is he majoring in standards? Well, I hear - I heard some standards. I heard principles. Alright.

'How about both?' Someone says. That's interesting. Okay, that's the diplomatic version. A little bit of both. I'm reminded of a story.

Apparently, there was, at a very nice castle, in the - used to be soviet union, so I guess it's somewhere in that area - a beautiful castle and it's open to tourists and they get to go and have a look around and a group of tourists noticed that in the courtyard there was a nicely dressed soldier in, you know, dress uniform - very impressive to look at - and this soldier would March out into the middle of this grassy courtyard and he would make a square - a small square - Marching it around - and then he would stand. And he would do this for a long time and then another soldier would come out and relieve him and he would March around that little square and then stand on sentry duty. You mean they did that for 24 hours every day? It seemed that there was always someone on duty out there. Wow. So the tourists actually asked, 'what are you doing? Why are you doing this?' And one of the soldiers that had just come off duty, he said, 'you know, I have no idea.

Maybe you should ask the commanding officer.' So they asked the commanding officer and he said, 'well, it's a very old tradition, but I'm not quite sure why. We need to check the archives. They went back, they checked the archives and they discovered that generations ago the queen had planted an imported rose bush and she was scared that the rabbits would get at it. And so, she appointed this sentry to be on duty all the time to guard her rose bush. It had long-since died, but they were still Marching round and round and protecting this patch of grass.

Wow, so they really had forgotten why they were doing what they were doing. Maybe they'd forgotten the principle and still had some or another standard going. Let's just go back - just quickly in history. In the time of the exile - after the time of the exile when Israel came back out of Babylon, they said, 'we need to do it differently because our disregard for God's law brought us to exile.' And so they began to change and they began to build walls around God's law. In other words, they started taking God's law seriously.

They took - they started to take it seriously. Okay. It wasn't always easy. If you read some of the stories in Ezra and Nehemiah following the exile, they struggled - Sabbath, you know, faithfulness, first things first - tithe, and so on. And yet, they were committed to that.

However, year after year it seemed as if they would become like that soldier - Marching around and forgetting why we are Marching around. Standards and principles: the pharisees - in the time of Jesus - the pharisees and scribes seemed to be one of those who were very committed to that. In fact, pharisees have very bad press in the new testament. If you read about the pharisees in the new testament you would say, 'whoa, what kind of people were they?' Yet, when you read about them outside the new testament, they were very committed. They were very sincere.

They were very conservative. Okay, so now we're in the new testament time. Jesus is up on the mountain - similar to Mount Sinai - Jesus is up on this mountain and he's giving this fantastic sermon - the sermon on the mount - and he's laying out his principles for a new kingdom - for this new kingdom. Could we say - could we say that this - this sermon replaces the Ten Commandments? The old testament basis that we were speaking of? Let me read a quote from Ellen white about this. Okay.

I think that would be a good introduction to that. She writes, in the desire of ages page 299, "in the sermon on the mount Jesus sought to undo the work that had been wrought by false education and to give his hearers a right conception of his kingdom and of his own character. The truths he taught are no less important to us than to the multitude that followed him." - And, you know, let me just insert here, pharisees were sitting amongst - and scribes - were sitting amongst this multitude. She continues - "we, no less than they, need to learn the foundation principles of the Kingdom of God." So what we're studying this morning is so foundational - so significant - it determines the construction of the house. We need a good solid foundation.

That's why Jesus begins his ministry - it's right at the beginning of his ministry - he begins it with preaching a sermon that no one can just listen to, because it's a sermon that steps on toes. It's a sermon that provokes. And it's a sermon that connects both testaments. Ah, so I was going to try him on a trick question. It's always good when I've got him here - I can ask a trick question.

I was going to ask you about the Kingdom of grace. Hmm. You know, the old testament being the Kingdom of law and now we're living in the new testament, the Kingdom of grace. Hmm. What would you say? Would you say the sermon on the mount supports this idea? Well, chantal, you speak to the wrong person.

I'm a professor of old testament, so I am in love with the old testament - and so was Jesus, wasn't he? Let's read that. If you have your Bibles, let's go to Matthew chapter 5. Let's read verses 17 to 19 there because I think, when Jesus started speaking, as a speaker - at least he didn't have so many lights that we have this morning - as a speaker you can see in the face of your audience - in the eyes - if they got it or if they didn't get it. Have you ever notice this? Those of you who are teachers, you know that. I remember - you know, in my classrooms - it doesn't matter - graduate or undergraduate level - you can see if a student got it or if he didn't.

So listen to this here, "do not think" - somebody must have thought that because he - he - addresses it directly. Addresses it directly - "do not think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to" - what does it say? - "Fulfill." Now, the Greek word here that is used here means to make it full - to make it really complete - "for assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one title" - "tittle" - sorry - "will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." - Verse 19 - "whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them," - that's the law - "he shall be called great in the Kingdom of heaven." I guess that answers that. There's no replacement here. Jesus comes to fulfill.

Jesus comes to make it real. Jesus comes to fill it out so that we - we can really understand. Absolutely. So we have this wonderful connection between the old and the new. We have, I don't know, we seem to have an amplification, in a certain sense? What does the next verse say - that you were just reading? Well, I left it out on purpose.

You did? I did. Because that verse sets us up right for our next section. Let - that sounds - if you - if we read that - we're going to read that verse right now, but it sounds really wild. And it must have sounded so to the first - to the first hearers, although probably - well, let's read it first. Let's read it.

Jesus begins, "for I say to you," - now, when Jesus says that in the Gospel, it's like an exclamation Mark. It's like a red flag that he waves in front of our noses and says, 'now pay attention. So - "for I say to you, that unless your righteousness excceeds the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of heaven." And I can see in the crowd a hush - wahhh - as they were listening on that mountain. Now I guess we are also going 'wahhh' - but maybe we have a bit of a different reaction because, as gerald said earlier, when we hear scribes and pharisees, we don't get a warm fuzzy feeling, do we? No. Scribes and pharisees, at least in our mind, are the bad guys.

You know, if you want to really say something mean to someone you say, 'oh, you're being a pharisee.' And it's pretty insultive. But it wasn't so to the audience that Jesus was speaking to. And Jesus said, 'your righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and the pharisees.' They went, 'no.' Because what other group of people were as dedicated as they were? I mean, everything about them - when they bathed, how they bathed - they sat in their kitchens counting out and dividing up carefully their herbs to make sure that they have a tenth to give. I mean, that kind of attention to detail in every aspect of their lives - the common people said, 'never, we can't even get to their standard and we've got to get better than them. There's just no way.

' So is Jesus setting them up to be disappointed? Unless your righteousness - my righteousness - surpasses that or exceeds that of the righteousness of the pharisees - now they are the prototype of commandment keeping. You will by no means enter the Kingdom of heaven - what is he doing here? What is he doing here? He sure is setting up - not just for his audience, but for us as well. When we read the ten commandments - when we read 'thou shall not kill' - is that a real tough commandment? Do you think? Do you think often about killing people and it's a real struggle in your mind to say, 'okay, I'm not killing anyone today.' It's not so big a deal. I would get a little worried if someone would stand up and say, 'yes, I do.' It's not such a big deal. And, I guess, for some people back then they thought, 'well, that's an easy command.

You can tick that one off, it's no problem.' But Jesus goes on and he magnifies that command. He says that if you are riding on the beltway - that's in Washington. In Washington - that's the only one I can speak of. I don't know - what's a really busy freeway around here. 80 - I-80.

80? Okay, so if you're riding along that and some crazy driver pulls in front of you and cuts you off and you want to put your hand on the horn and you want to say, 'you stupid idiot!' You would say that, chantal? No, no, never. Oh. I'm so glad. But that sure would be a temptation. That sure would be a temptation.

And Jesus pulls out that command and he says, 'if you think that - if you say that, you are being judged by 'thou shall not kill.' Wow. That sure makes the standard high. That seems to make the standard impossible. Now he talks about adultery - as a man - as a woman - if you look at another woman or man - mm hmm. And you just think, you have committed adultery - according to Jesus - according to what he's teaching on that sermon on the mount.

That is incredibly high. That is incredibly high - and we could go through each one of those Ten Commandments and, with each one, you are going to have to uncheck - where you want to check, we have to think and we have to say, 'no way, I can't check that off.' Chantal, that reminds me - I think I get it. I think Jesus wants to discourage us to make sure that we know where to run to, right? Did you get that? He wants to discourage us. We can't rely on our own commandment keeping. We need to run to him - into his arms - and say, 'Lord, I need your righteousness.

' Do you need the righteousness of Jesus? Or do you feel that you're pretty good. You know, you bring 98% to the table? I don't. I don't. I think - in fact, I bring nothing to the table. Paul - Paul, I think - by the way, anybody remember that Paul was a pharisee? He was really committed to God's law.

He was committed to God's standards. He was very committed to God's people. Before you read that verse, I've just thought - and it ties in so well - Paul was a pharisee. He was totally committed. He was so committed to God - so committed to God's law - that he was doing what? Killing Christians - that he was out there to get Christians.

And you think to yourself, how can you begin with such good intentions and eventually, as Jesus says to Paul, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' How can it happen that we begin trying to keep this law - trying to do what God wants us to do - and end up in exactly the opposite place? And I'm guessing that this is what Jesus is touching on in the sermon on the mount. As you said, he wants to bring us to the place where we realize that we are totally and utterly dependent on him. We're dependent on him. When we try to do it on our own, we not only make a mess of it, but we could end up doing exactly the opposite at the end. Well, let me read that text - mm hmm.

Because Paul, the experienced pharisee, who had seen Jesus on the way to damascus and who had been changed by that encounter, he writes about the role that the law - that, you know, what Jesus is all speaking about - the role of the law that he plays. And in Galatians chapter 3, verse 24 - Galatians chapter 3, verse 24 - we're jumping a little bit out of Matthew this morning, for a moment, but we'll be back - in south africa they say, 'in a jiffy' - very quickly. "Therefore" - Paul writes - "the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Now, he was our tutor - a tutor is a teacher. A tutor is somebody who had a little child and who would spend /7 with that child.

In roman and Greek culture he would train the child. He would teach it. He would make the child memorize, play. But this tutor, the law, brings us into the arms of Jesus. That's very nice imagery.

You have a - speaking of the law as a tutor, you have a very nice other verse, I think - is it Micah that speaks? That's right. That's right. Well, actually, the author, andy nash, of this - of this lesson study, he brought that text into the mix and he says, 'we really need to understand that Jesus is deeply rooted in Scripture.' What he speaks about is based on prior Revelation. Micah 6 - you remember that text - , verses 6 to 8. That's one of my favorites.

I love that - and it's also a song, by the way - so it was a good sermon. It was a good sermon. "With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God?" - Writes the prophet - "shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" - Even child sacrifice - would that be - would that be something that God requires of me? That he needs satisfy him? And then he says - "he has shown you, o man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you" - here comes the summary - three principles - "but to do justly" - what does it say? You know that - "to love mercy," - and the third one? "And to walk humbly with your God?" That's all the elements and we find them much better explained in a more detailed version in the sermon on the mount. These principles in Micah are really reflecting God's character and who God is. God loves mercy and God is just.

And have we ever felt - anyone - as humble as our Savior? Willing to leave heaven for us? Willing to embrace a servant's life? That is humility. That is humility. Gerald, do you want to read for us Matthew chapter 5 - Matthew chapter 5 - this radical teaching of the Kingdom of God really encapsulating these great principles of who God is and what he wants from us. Matthew chapter 5:43. Happy to do that.

"You have heard that it was said, 'you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'" - He's quoting from Scripture - "but I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." - Verse 46 - "for if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?" Those are radical teachings - radical teachings. How many of you find it easy to love your enemies. Okay, forget your enemies. Maybe you don't have any enemies, right? Maybe you're friends with everyone. But is it easy to forgive your spouse? Is it easy to forgive your children? Is it easy to forgive your work colleague? I guess, I think, the sermon on the mount - this particular aspect must be one of the most difficult to grapple with.

And yet, it is very practical because that's what we face day to day. Jesus is not just talking some, you know, theoretical interesting pieces of information - sharing them - he knows where we hurt. He knows where we feel - where we struggle and this is one particular one. How can we - you know how this section ends? I didn't read that last verse either. Are you going to read it for us? Verse 48 - that's a - you know, that's a right - the final conclusion, which, again, blows us out of the water.

We - we just can't understand it. Why is Jesus talking so radical? It says, "therefore" - after you've done this - when you love your enemy - when you forgive your enemies - when you - well, that comes earlier - when you go the second mile. "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect." Now - ah, that's a perfectly tall order. It is. What do you think Jesus means by saying, 'be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect'? We can't even get up to the scribe and pharisees' levels of righteousness.

And Jesus says they weren't perfect at all. They were actually - in fact, they were so perfect that in their holiness they began plotting the death of the Messiah - the death of The Son of God on a Sabbath. And justified it that they were serving God. And justified it that they were serving God. What does it mean when Jesus says, 'you shall be perfect just as your Father in Heaven is perfect'? Now perfect, in the old testament, appears quite often.

Noah is described as a man who was - perfect. Perfect. Job - a man who was perfect. Now we do know some details about Noah that we would say, 'well,' - a little less than perfect, huh? He wouldn't have passed thw drug test. We know some details about job, don't we? The one who walks into God's presence - the audacity - and says, 'but why Lord? Why me?' 'What did I do?' 'I'm innocent.

' What does it mean to be perfect? Israelites had to offer a perfect lamb or animal - it was not always a lamb, it could be a goat as well. It had to be perfect. What does it mean? Were they perfect? I guess, at least in my mind, when I think of the word 'perfect' I think of a static state, somehow. You know, when something's finished and it's complete - maybe a picture - and you've painted it. I don't know, do we have any artists here? No artists - or maybe undercover artists - you wouldn't want to admit in case we ask to see a picture, right? There goes a hand.

Alright, we've got an artist there. You work at something, you work at something until you get to the point where you say, 'that's it. This is just exactly as it should be. This is perfect.' Hmm. And you sign at the bottom.

And then, if anybody more messes on it or does anything to it, it will be messing because this is perfection. So somehow, in my mind, I think of a static state to reach. Do you think this was a Hebrew concept as well? Well, let me tell you. You asked who's an artist. You know, I'm not an artist but I'm a musician and I write music.

I used to record music quite a bit while still growing up in germany. We had a music group and toured and recorded. When I listen to the music now, twenty-five years later - it was perfect then, right? It was perfect then, but it doesn't feel perfect or sound perfect now. Have you ever gone back to something that you thougt, 'this is - this is the best I ever produced.' And you come back a couple years later - ten years later - and you look at it and, you know, I'm very grateful that my children love the music, but I think they just love it because their father sang it. It's - perfection has something to do with - at the right level at the right space at the right time, right now.

It's not an absolute state, it's a relative state. A growth state. A growth state. And, I guess if we're talking about growth, and this is what Jesus is particularly speaking of, and we flip back to our verse in Micah where it's walking humbly. This - this stressing over and over - if you want to be perfect like your Heavenly Father, you're going to have to perfectly 'walk with me.

' In other words, 'you're going to have to stick close to me one hundred percent. It must be the perfect grip. Hang on for everything you're worth.' The perfect connection. That's what we're after, right? Mm hmm. That's what God longs for.

He wants to be so part of my life - of our lives - that we are perfectly connected every moment, every day, all the time. Now is that reality? Do you feel always perfectly connected to your heavenly father? Well, I guess there's also a line where we have to talk about how we feel and what we choose. We're human beings and if we are looking for a certain feeling all the time, there's a lot of things that influence our feelings: how much I slept last night, what I ate last night will influence how I feel this morning - whether I have a stomach ache or not; whether I'm grouchy or not. These will be feelings and some of them I can manipulate and control and that's what we should do, right? We should look for a lifestyle that helps us be as positive - as happy as - yeah - as joyful as we could be. But there are a lot of things that are totally out of our control that influence the way we feel.

And that doesn't mean that because I don't feel close to God right now that I am necessarily far away from him. Well, I think Jesus knew about that. Jesus knew that we don't always feel right. But there's something more than how we feel. There's an objective truth there.

And you said, 'what you want to know is that you can speak to your father at any moment. And that's - this is how you should speak. Yes. I love to read that - that prayer - that modeled prayer that I think is so practical - that's part of that sermon on the mount. Remember, we're still on that mountain.

They're still sitting all around him. He's talking. Most likely, not everybody's able to listen to him at the same time. People pass on what they've heard. 'What did he say?' 'Really, he did say that?' 'I can't believe that.

' 'Wow, that's amazing.' Matthew chapter , verses 5 and forwards - Matthew chapter 6 - "and when you pray," - Jesus says - "you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men." Mm hmm. These were public prayers - "assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your father" - what's the principle behind here? Do we have to - if we can't have a room that we can shut, we can't pray? No, it's the privacy - not making a show of it. This is just between myself and my God.

So it goes on here - "and when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do." You remember the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel? Baal, baal, hear us o baal, baal, baal, hear us o baal, baal, baal, hear us o baal - you know, after awhile it becomes very repetitive. It does something when you repeat like this. Jesus says, 'no, don't do that.' "For they think that they will be heard for their many words." - Verse 8 - "therefore do not be like them for your father knows the things you have need of before you ask him. Hmm. He's The Father.

He knows what I need. He knows what you need. He knows what you need this morning. He knows what your heart is yearning for. "In this manner, therefore, pray: our Father in Heaven," - he's The Father, he's not just 'dear God' - "our father" - and the word that's used here is daddy - our daddy who is in heaven, "hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us" - you know, Lord - "give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

For yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." Jesus goes on. Jesus goes on, "for if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses." Whoa. Whoa.

That's - that's significant. Forgiveness means if I want to accept God's forgiveness in my life, it means that I need to be able to forgive you. You, you've really hurt me. Somebody who really betrayed me - but I need to forgive. It's not easy.

It's not easy. I read of, perhaps, the best illustration. And if I put myself in her shoes, I really don't know how she did it. Corrie ten boom and her sister betsie were sent off to concentration camp - the second world war - they were Christians - devout Christian family - together with their aged father - The Father actually died before they could be - before he could be transferred to the prison camp, but betsie and corrie were transferred there. Their crime? They had been hiding and helping jews and that was their crime.

That is why they were sent to this absolutely horrible place - and it was a terrible place. It began right in the - right as you arrived. You knew you were arriving at a place that you were not supposed to ever leave. The way these ladies were treated, just as they came in, was just so dehumanizing. They made everyone strip completely naked and they had to walk quite a distance to have a medical check - supposedly - before they were issued with some old rags, which would be their prison clothes.

And they had to walk past jeering male guards who would pass comments and - just the absolute shame. And corrie recalled, as she walked behind her sister betsie - betsie had never been well. She was a sickly girl and a sickly woman. And here was her thin, frail sister walking ahead of her and into this terrible concentration camp. In it, they endured hardships.

They watched people die around them like flies and, perhaps more terrible than ever - or than anything else - they saw the brutality of these prison guards. Her sister died in that - ravensbrück. In that camp. She held her sister's hand and watched her sister breathe out her last breath, without even any medical care. It broke her heart.

Miraculously, corrie was released. It was actually a clerical error - her name got onto the wrong list and she was released. After the war she said, 'I'm going to go around and I'm going to preach. And she did. She preached about her experiences.

She preached about God's love, and, in one particular place, she delivered her sermon and afterwards a man walked up to the front. And when she saw this man - he was dressed, you know, in civilian clothes, but when she saw him, she saw him in his uniform. He was one of the guards at this concentration camp and here he was walking towards her. And she'd just been preaching about God's love and about God's forgiveness, but her heart just turned to stone when she saw him come forward. And he came up to her - he, obviously, didn't recognize her - and he said, 'you mentioned the concentration camp I used to be a guard there.

That was before I met Jesus and gave my heart to him. I'm so glad to know that Jesus forgives me for the terrible things I did there, but I would like to hear it from you as well. Do you forgive me?' And corrie said she looked at this man and she said, 'here he is, he just wants me to forgive him, just like that. After he destroyed my sister's life.' And, at that moment, this was an extreme struggle for corrie. Applying Jesus' sermon on the mount, applying these principles - and it came back to her - these verses we've read - 'if I don't forgive, I cannot be forgiven.

I am dependent on God's grace. But how on earth do I extend God's forgiveness to this man that I hate with every fiber of my being?' At that moment corrie latched onto something else that we studied about this morning. She said, 'I can't. I need to ask God.' And so she offered up a silent prayer and she said, 'God, you know, I can't do anything. Please, you supply the rest.

' And she acted on principle. She put out her hand and shook that man's hand. And, at that moment, the grace came and she could forgive him. Well, this - this morning, as we think about the greatest sermon ever preached - on a mountain - to give us the overview of what really counts in our walk and life with Jesus, let's focus on being, not on doing. Let's focus on being, not on doing and, above all, let God restore his image in you.

Let him restore his image in you. I'd like to end with a word of prayer. Heavenly Father, we realize, once again, that we can't understand you. We can't live up to the high expectations that you have for your created beings. And yet, this morning, again, we want to run into your arms.

We want to embrace you. We want to tell you that we love you and that we need your grace. Help us to live in this coming week - as light - as salt - showing your grace to the people around us. In Jesus' Name we pray, amen. Thank you for joining us.

Be sure to tune in next week as well. It's been great being with you. So what is the brightest light in the world? Well, naturally, you'd say the sun, but wee're talking about the brightest man-made light in the world. It's the light that shines out of the roof of that pyramid-shaped hotel in las vegas called the luxor. There, in the cap of that hotel, there's a room that contains 39 washing-machine sized xenon bulbs; and each of those bulbs requires about 7,000 watts.

Altogether, they produce about billion candle power of light. Can you imagine getting that electric bill at the luxor hotel every month? That light is so bright that planes can see it 250 miles away. They're shooting light ten miles up into space, meaning, if you happen to be floating by, you could read a newspaper up there. And, as you might have guessed, that bright light has become the world's best bug attractor, bringing in moths, bats, and owls - creating it's own ecosystem there at night, above the hotel. But the sad thing about the brightest light in the world is especially when the night air is clear - without any particles - the light doesn't hit anything and it's invisible.

It shoots up into empty space. The brightest light in the world illuminates nothing. You know, the Bible tells us that there's another great wasted light, and that's the light of God's Word. It says in psalm 119, verse 105, "thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.' And yet, so many people are walking in darkness. Furthermore, Jesus said, if you do have that light, make sure you don't put it under a bushel, but you let it shine and illuminate the lives of others.

Jesus said, in Matthew chapter 5, 'set your light up on a hll, like a city, so that all might see it.' Light only benefits others when it reflects off of something. God wants our lights to illuminate the lives of others. So, are you glowing for God? Remember, Jesus said, 'let there be light.' In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day.

What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit Sabbathtruth.com. Did you know that Noah was present at the birth of Abraham? Okay, maybe he wasn't in the room, but he was alive and probably telling stories about his floating zoo. From the creation of the world to the last-day events of Revelation, 'Biblehistory.com' is a free resource where you can explore major Bible events and characters. Enhance your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God's word.

Go deeper. Visit the amazing Bible time line at 'Biblehistory.com'. Can't get enough Amazing Facts Bible study? You don't have to wait until next week to enjoy more truth-filled programming, visit the Amazing Facts media library at 'aftv.org'. At 'aftv.org' you can enjoy video and audio presentations as well as printed material all free of charge, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, right from your computer or mobile device. Visit 'aftv.org'.

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