The Apostles’ Manual # 30

The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus delivered verbally in person to his disciples, whom He appointed as Apostles to spread the “Good News of the Kingdom of God.” According to John Mark, Jesus went up into the hills to pray, where He called his disciples to be with Him, and then He appointed them as his Apostles. According to Matthew, it was on a mountain where Jesus showed his Apostles what they had to do to become a blessing to themselves and to their fellowmen. Ten men were Galeleans, one was a Canaanite, and only one was a Jew and a traitor. 

And Jesus went up into the hills, and called to him those whom he desired; and they came to him. And he appointed the twelve to be apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons: Simon whom he surnamed Peter; James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, whom he surnamed Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus (Mark 3:13-19).

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:1-12).

What was Jesus doing for the disciples?  

Jesus was preparing the disciples to be the future leaders of His Kingdom on earth. Jesus, Himself, was sent to do His Father’s Will (John 4:34). And these twelve men would emulate Jesus (John 8:31), and so would all the future leaders of God’s Kingdom and The Church of Jesus Christ (John 14:23-24). Jesus, in person and human form, was the Way, the Truth, and the Life back to God (John 14:6-7). When Jesus returned to be with His Father, He sent the Holy Spirit to inhabit the disciples (John 14:26; Acts 1:8), and they became the Way, the Truth, and the Life back to God. The same Holy Spirit moved through every generation, including ours, and made the leaders into the Way, the Truth, and the Life back to God (John 17:13-26). Those leaders, who do make disciples, the Spirit of God the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit are with them while they serve here on earth (Matthew 28:16-20).

“Jesus, the author and finisher of man’s faith” (Hebrew 12:2), as He promised (John 14:25-26), gave the disciples verbal instruction for the Holy Spirit to verify, what they had to become to be the bearers of the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:26). The Sermon on the Mount has all the ingredients the Church leaders need to lead their people into the Kingdom and into Heaven. The Holy Spirit keeps transferring “the grace and truth,” that the Son of God brought down to earth (John 1:17), into leaders who faithfully live out and pass on the content of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:20). There is no doubt who the recipients and the executors of the Sermon on the Mount were. Jesus looked straight at the twelve and delivered the instructions to them. The Holy Spirit guided Jesus’ witnesses to write the instructions down. These instructions have become an international and universal guide for the benefit for all men/women. As I stated in the previous chapters, I lived in countries where we practiced these instructions of Jesus unconsciously, just to survive. I fear that we are headed that way in this part of the world. The Sermon on the Mount is one of the “Armors of God” that has helped us to cope with the hostiles of our Lord the Christ. 

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has lost its taste, how can its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven.

Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least  of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:13-20). 

The Ten Commandments are not dead

The statement of Paul in Romans 10:4: “For Christ is the end of the law,” is consistent with Paul’s belief in Romans 7:12: “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.” And it must have alarmed the Jewish Christian editors of the Gospel of Matthew to use Jesus’ authority to priority the Law. In my own mind this was another human attempt to lessen the value of the Law and give more credence to faith, that can save a person without works. The Greek word “telos” means to reach a goal, a high point, and did not fizzle out as a failed project. The idea that faith replaced the law did not fly with Jesus. Hence, Romans 10:4 should read: “Christ is the fulfillment of the Law.” Now, instead of lessening or softening the demands of the Law, Jesus increased the demands of the Law and showed how the Law could serve his disciples and apostles. And that is and was what the Law did for me for my ninety years. The Sermon on the Mount is the best guide man can have in this life. Jesus laid out some helpful examples for his successors.

“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable for judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny. 

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body so into hell.

It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce. But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old, “You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is in his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes” or ‘No’; anything more than this come from evil.

You have heard that it was said, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.

You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is 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. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:21-48).

Leaders must leave a favorable impression

Act and behave in such a manner, that we the disciples of Christ, do not embarrass ourselves, and shame our Lord Jesus Christ. Being in the flesh, I am subject to the Law that helps me live in “grace.” Grace does not act outside the Law. It is up to you and to me to live in grace and keep sinning under control (Romans 6:12-19). In Matthew Chapter Six, Jesus gave his disciples a taste what it means to live in grace and stay out of trouble. The Holy Spirit endorses these things through man’s conscience. At least that is how I feel I am being led to do what Jesus commanded and taught. 

“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”

“Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. Bur when you pray go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us his day our daily bread;  And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors;

And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

“And when you fast, do not look dismal like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness, how great is the darkness!

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be deviated to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:1-24).

When Jesus had washed his disciple’s feet, and taken off his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:12-17).