Disciplemaking - Lesson 10

Sermon on the Mount and the Kingdom of God

The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew is considered Jesus' core teaching on the Kingdom of God. The reading, consisting of chapters five through seven, provides a clear vision of what the Kingdom of God is like. By focusing on our formation and identity as a disciple of Christ in the Kingdom of God, we are transformed into what God desires for us. Our actions and the results of our lives reveal what is going on inside, and by remaining connected to God like a branch to a vine, we produce good fruit that reflects our connection to God. Personal testimony is an avenue to deepening one's relationship with God as well as engaging in spiritual practices such as Sabbath keeping, retreats, and the prayer of examine. Mary Jo encourages readers to cooperate with God's work in their formation and in the world by getting real, going deep, and living out their love for God and others.
Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
Lesson 10
Watching Now
Sermon on the Mount and the Kingdom of God

I. Relationship between the Sermon on the Mount and the Kingdom of God

A. Importance of Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount

B. The Beatitudes and their relation to the Kingdom of God

C. How the Sermon on the Mount relates to the mission of the church

D. The call to discipleship in the Sermon on the Mount

1. Characteristics of a disciple

2. The cost of discipleship

3. The reward of discipleship

II. Significance of the Sermon on the Mount in the Christian faith

A. The Sermon on the Mount as a central teaching of Jesus

B. The Sermon on the Mount in relation to the New Testament

C. The Sermon on the Mount as a guide for Christian living

D. The Sermon on the Mount as a challenge to cultural norms

E. The enduring relevance of the Sermon on the Mount

  • Mary Jo Wilson and Joe Handley introduce themselves and express their excitement about the upcoming discipleship course, which aims to enhance participants' relationship with God and their work in the world, and encourage them to bring transformative change to their church and ministry.
  • Joe Handley outlines the elements that they will be covered in the Disciplemaking course: what is a disciple, the great commandment, becoming a disciple, being a disciple, fruitfulness, and multiplying disciples.
  • The lesson discusses the approach to discipleship, which is focused on the four gospels and building obedient disciples through the seven obedience; it emphasizes a holistic approach to following Jesus and the informed imagination, and the course will focus on the gospels of John, Matthew, Luke, and Mark.
  • Mary Jo Wilson emphasizes the importance of understanding the role of suffering and persecution in discipleship, as it is a recurring theme in the Gospels and is also a part of the early church experience, and discusses how enduring such hardships can be a formative experience for Christians.
  • The lesson discusses the importance of abiding in Christ as the key to joy in life, bearing fruit in one's life, and becoming a disciple of Jesus through a deep and communal relationship with Him.
  • Discipleship is not a program but a relationship. Abiding in Christ is the key to joy in life and bearing much fruit and is achieved through having a deep communal walk with Jesus and allowing Him to prune us to make us stronger.
  • Mary Jo Wilson discusses the importance of a posture of repentance and dependence on the Holy Spirit in the discipleship process, and highlights the work of the Holy Spirit in convicting of sin, guiding in decision making, and forming believers into Christ.
  • The instructors and students discuss their thoughts and experiences on what it means to be a disciple, including the importance of maintaining a growing relationship with God, the internal aspects of discipleship, abiding in God, the role of inviting God into everyday life, and the significance of pruning.
  • This session discusses the importance of becoming a disciple of Jesus and our identity in Christ, illustrated through the example of churches in Japan becoming centers for relief goods after the 2011 disasters and being seen as representatives of Christ by the community.
  • By taking this lesson, you will gain knowledge and insight into the relationship between the Sermon on the Mount and the Kingdom of God, including the importance of Jesus' teachings in the Sermon on the Mount and how they relate to the mission of the church and the call to discipleship.
  • The lesson discusses the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, where Jesus describes the Kingdom of God and how his followers are to live as salt and light in the world, raising the bar on the interpretation of the Old Testament law and calling for inner righteousness, forgiveness, and love for enemies.
  • This lesson reviews the importance of becoming like Jesus and displaying his characteristics, such as humility and generosity, to become authentic Christ-centered people in our communities, and emphasizes the need for communal support to grow in our faith.
  • In this group discussion about discipleship and the Sermon on the Mount, the students and instructors reflect on the Beatitudes and how they challenge and contrast with the values of the world, and discuss how Jesus lifted up marginalized people and called all his followers to be salt and light in the world.
  • In this lesson Mary Jo Wilson and Joe Handley discuss transitioning from becoming a disciple to being a disciple who makes disciples, with a focus on the overflow of abiding in Christ into the lives of others.
  • Mary Jo Wilson discusses the importance of spiritual conversations and how to approach them in our daily lives through the example of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in John chapter 4.
  • Joe Handley discusses the idea of being a disciple of Jesus and how to share one's story and witness through different tools, including prayer, social media, and engaging with others through layering of interactions.
  • The class discusses the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman, highlighting how Jesus approached the woman with humility and respect, treating her like a real person and engaging in a conversation with her, despite social and cultural barriers. They also discuss how Jesus challenged his disciples to adopt a Kingdom way that breaks down barriers and recognizes the value and dignity of all people.
  • This session focuses on the importance of reproducibility and sustainability in disciple-making, drawing on examples from the book of Acts and personal anecdotes.
  • Joe Handley discusses the importance of a reproducible culture of discipleship in the Kingdom of God, drawing on the idea of the mustard seed and how small actions can have a big impact, and provides examples of how this can be implemented in different contexts such as micro churches.
  • This lesson provides information on small groups in discipleship, including their definition, anatomy, purpose, characteristics, steps for starting one, the role of the leader, the discipleship process in small groups, and their importance in discipleship in general.
  • Instructors Joe Handley and Mary Jo Wilson discuss with students their visions of the Kingdom of God, with one sharing their goal of sharing their story to help others understand the word of God, while another likens the planting of seeds to the growth of faith, stressing the importance of patience and trust in the process of nurturing them.
  • Joe Handley and Mary Jo Wilson discuss the importance of creating a practical plan for discipleship and ministry, encouraging listeners to reflect on what they've learned, and write a strategic personal plan for following through on their learning.
  • This lesson teaches how to pull together the different sections of a discipleship plan using the model of vision, intent and means, and suggests including a vision, introduction, conclusion and rule of life, while encouraging reflection and sharing with others.
  • Joe Handley discusses the importance of creating a "rule of life" as part of a personal discipleship plan, which helps to balance and organize different areas of life, including spiritual, social, intellectual, and physical aspects.
  • Joe Handley and Mary Jo Wilson close their discipleship course by expressing gratitude for the opportunity to learn and grow together, and offer a prayer of blessing for their students to continue on their lifelong journey as faithful followers of Jesus.

In this class, you will explore the foundations, methods, and models of disciplemaking, drawing from biblical principles, historical perspectives, and theological insights. You will examine the disciplemaking approaches of Jesus and Paul, as well as modern examples and strategies. Additionally, you will learn how to develop a personal disciplemaking plan through the assessment of spiritual gifts and identification of ministry opportunities. Finally, you will delve into disciplemaking in the local church and beyond, including church-based strategies, cross-cultural disciplemaking, and equipping and multiplying disciplemakers.

Mary Jo Wilson
Sermon on the Mount and the Kingdom of God
Lesson Transcript

Now we're getting into Jesus teaching on becoming that disciple of Christ, our formation and our identity in the Kingdom of God. We've selected the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew to focus on in this section. And this is Jesus core teaching on the Kingdom of God. So if we want to get that vision of what the Kingdom of God is like, and I'm referring back to our VIM model that we've been using vision, intent and means. And so that vision getting. A crystal clear vision is so important, wanting to get that. Definitely the Sermon on the Mount is a great place to start. We want to listen well to Christ words. In Matthew, chapters five through seven. And I'll say here, of course, we've asked that you do that reading beforehand, you reading it several times, maybe in different versions, and you're reading it in one sitting. And also looked at the book, Michael Card's comments on that section in the Gospel of Matthew. And so if you've not done that yet, please push, pause, take some time to do that, and then come back in here and we'll reflect further on it. But I just want to be sure that you're ab­­le to sit with that first. Just fresh you and God's Word. Before we get into this. And we want to, as you do that, don't forget to invite God's presence and be sensitive to any nudge the Holy Spirit gives you as you're reading.

There are many approaches to spiritual formation and our becoming a disciple. And so they're in our readings. We gave you some examples of that. So you'll be looking at some different conversations on that. I just wanted to, as we get into this section, give you a few key elements that are part of this approach. So no matter what approach you use and there are different ways to go at this. That there are some key elements that I think are really important. So that our experience of formation is really transformational. And is really grooming us, growing us into the kingdom of God.

So let's start in Matthew 17:6, near the end of the Sermon on the Mount. Now, I know you've enjoyed reading that in chapter. Seven, verse 16. Jesus tells us that by their fruit you will recognize them. Referring to the false prophets, that you will recognize false prophets by the fruit they bear and mentions that a good tree bears good fruit. He goes on to say in verse 21, Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my father. And so he's wrapping up the Sermon on the Mount and then making it clear by our fruit we will no recognize the false prophets. So he's telling us that the fruit reveals what's inside. And this ties back to our reading of John 15. We learn about the branch and how it's tied into the vine and how important that is in our relationship with God that we are tied in with remaining. We're abiding that that connection is really tight, and then the fruit will come out of that and it talks about just how much fruit we will that it will multiply our fruit. So Jesus is telling us that that fruit reveals what's inside. And this makes sense that our actions. And the results, the fruits of our lives reveal what's really going on inside. So it's easy to focus on that fruit and think, Oh, if I manage my behavior, if I manage this area, all will go well. But the truth is, that notion alone that I will manage that is false and gets us in the wrong place so that that is not going to move us ahead. It's easy to get in that place, though. So let's go back. John 15, we learned about the vine and the branches and that connection. So we don't have to worry so much about the fruit, but that connection and as we are tied in to the vine as a branch, then that fruit will naturally happen and it will reflect the vine that we are, the vine that we are tied into.

When I came to Christ at 15, it was all about His grace and I honestly, I had no plans of coming to faith. I had no plans of encountering God. When that happened. It was all him and I knew that and I really appreciated the fact that God's grace had saved me and just embraced me and changed my life. Now, over time, then he began to call me into missions. And as I responded initially with a yes, I just bowed my need to his heart. And he was drawing me. He was calling me to missions. I also said yes to that. And it and the truth is I got really busy for God, in a good way and also in another way, I guess it's that youthful exuberance type of personality I was all in and. I think it it somewhere in the in that process it shifted and now it's me working out my faith and trying to impress him with all the things that I was going to accomplish. This is this is a fatal error, I have to say. I did all the Christian things and it was more I would do what was right and pray that God would bless me. And I was reading his word and wanting to do what the word was teaching me, but I was not really honoring that connection. And so during my three years of my first three years in Japan, during that time, this really came to a head. And in His mercy, He let me go to the end of my strength. And I was experienced burnout and physical exhaustion. And that took from that time three years to really recover physically and honestly. It was a really hard time, a dark time, because it had turned upside down this paradigm that I had built. And that was my faith. And my even my self-image was based on this performing and doing for God. All this busyness, all these good works, and to have it just in shambles around me just really threw me. And but by his mercy, he gave me space to really listen to him in that place of exhaustion. Now, it was not easy to hear his voice at first. Honestly, I think the legalism and the guilt that was driving me was choking out his voice and that that connection that I needed. But over time, over time, I was able to sit with him and understand that in that space it was his grace. It was his love that that was unconditional, that accepted me as I was without any performance in my exhaustion. Just his child there. And it was that experience that dramatically changed the trajectory of my spiritual walk. And it allowed me then to really come to on a visceral level, I will say, I mean, just physically understand that I am accepted and I am loved as I am without that performance. That's not to say I got it perfectly from there by any means, but it was a major shift for me. And even though it was really, really hard down the road, I was able to thank him and say, God, I am grateful that you shifted that trajectory early in my ministry, early in my walk with him and so, so grateful. And it came to that at that point. It is really the lesson that I carry. This treasure, this precious Holy Spirit in this body, in this jar of clay. And of course I'm referencing Second Corinthians four and I would love to read that just to remind us of this fact. But we have this treasure. I'm sorry, I'm going to back up. I'm going to start with Second Corinthians chapter four, verse six for. God, who said Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us light of the knowledge of God's Glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God, and not from us. He goes on to explain, Carrying that in an earthen vessel we always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. So this was a really important lesson in my life. And as a follower of Jesus, learning that his it's his grace and it's his it's that connection that brings fruitful and true fruitfulness.

So I'd like to give you three little points. Three things to remember as you're looking at your approach to spiritual formation. The first one is get real, and that means don't. Do not hide from your imperfections. Do not hide from your weaknesses. And this passage is showing second Corinthians four how important that is, because that points the spotlight on God and it says, Hey, it's not me, it's him. And it becomes very clear. We don't just say that, but we really, really believe that. And others, it's clear to others as well. We want to get real with God and in Christian community. It's so important to our growth. So find those safe places with others who are likewise getting real with God and provide that space where you don't have to be perfect. But we are being honest about our condition of our heart and our desire for growth. And when you're in that process where you're getting real, you will discover what I'll call acceptable. Sense. And these are things like maybe out of control, anger or bullying, making jabs at people that are intended to hurt those little things that we can do that, you know, don't get much of a look where God, if we're really being sensitive and being honest, God would reveal that that is not the kingdom of God. That is not Christ's likeness. Things like judging others, neglecting the poor. These are things that will become come to light if we're being real in community. You may also discover habitual sins, the really the messy stuff in life like addictions and things that have a deep root that God is ready to address. When we are ready to look at it full on and begin that process with him following him. And in a community of wounded healers, people who have likewise dealt with this sort of thing and are growing and can be mentors to us and help us on that way. These are these are not things that we want to tackle on our own but still there are things we want to bring and open up to God, because as long as we're covering it in, it's, it's there in the shadows. And honestly, that is where it's in those dark places that Satan can really work anywhere in those hidden places. So I hear getting real with God in the Beatitudes.

So let's look at Matthew five in the Beatitudes, he begins. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure and heart for they will see God. Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. And blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. For theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

And this, as I read this list, the poor and spirit people are mourning, meek, hungry and thirsty for righteousness. These are not perfect people, but they are people who are honest about those conditions and are willing to be even just poor in spirit. Being able to say, I need you God. So this is part of that becoming real. Go be real in God's presence. So we're going to be real. Find a place where you can be real and be real and just a deep desire that in your own spirituality, go deep, go deep with God and go deep in that love. Because that love, that connection is the source. That is the thing that will keep us tied in with him and will keep us bearing good fruit. So let God's love heal those places inside those places that say, I'm not enough, let's say I don't belong. They says I have to work hard. I have to earn my acceptance. It says I have to hide my shame, hide my guilt and control my life. I have to let we have to let God's truth rewrite those lies that we carry. And that's part of being real with him and going deep into his love. Those truths that he'll bring into our lives, that rewrite those lies, that they control us, even though we can read scripture and believe it in our head, there's still there places in our heart sometimes where we believe that we are not acceptable. Even though Christ has said you are fully accepted. I have clenched, clenched you and you are mine but still there are places where we doubt and it's in those spaces then that we need God's truth to rewrite those lies. And real Christian community is part of that as well, because that's where hopefully that is an environment of grace where we are hearing that from other people. Don't beat yourself up about that, that just bring that to God. That's what he wants to hear that and allow us to be as we are and to bring that to God and to hear He accepts you, He hears you, He loves you. You are his child.

Going deep with God means going deep also in his word. And I was thinking about going deep in his word. This is not deep theology necessarily. And sometimes I know when I was a new Christian, I thought, Oh, I have to get into really deep truths and know all these deep things. And I think it was a distraction for me. It's really about the simple truth as a disciple. It's a simple truth. And living those out, of course studying Scripture or getting deeper into theology is not a problem unless it distracts us from the reality of living out, obeying what we what we're hearing and what we're learning. So we want to soak in his word. We want to meditate, we want to memorize Scripture, we want to pray scripture. We want to we want to make it deeply part of our lives and allow it to shape how we see ourselves, how we see God, and how we see the world around us. Second, Timothy 3:16, tells us it's a Paul speaking to his disciple Timothy, and he tells him that all Scripture is God breathed and is useful. One for four things he says, for things. One is for teaching. Secondly, for rebuking. And I noticed in the message, the paraphrase, it says, It exposes our rebellion. And that really is, I mean, rebuking. So is not a word we use a lot when you may not feel rebuke, but our rebellion, as we read the word. Our rebellion can be exposed. We read it in his presence. And then so it's teaching us the way. When we get off, it's exposing that and then it's correcting. It's helping us get back on that path on the right way. And then it's training us and helping us to stay on that path. So God's word is so important that we are just making that part of our daily routine. And I know that if you're a new Christian, that can be hard sometimes you don't know where to start. What? I don't know how to understand it. There will be people, hopefully you've got some friends around you who are able to guide you a bit in that and help you just read this and, you know, focus on that section we've got you in the Gospels. That's a wonderful place to start. But I want to encourage you also to read the whole of Scripture and not land too much on. I have to understand every little thing. Nobody understands every little thing in there. So be taking it in fully, be taking a lot of God's word in and getting that big picture, especially as a young Christian and also those places where God is speaking to us to train us, to correct us and get us back on that road. Spiritual practice are also another way to go deeper with God. And as an example, Sabbath keeping is a way to go more deeply in experiencing His love and the freedom of knowing. I am his child and I'm not. I not in that framework of producing 24 seven, which is where the Israelites were when they left slavery. When he was introducing Sabbath and talking to them and Ten Commandments talking about Sabbath. So it's learning that I am not a machine. I am his child, and that one day helps us to recalibrate and experience his love in a profound way. Also taking retreats and time for reflection, stillness, silence, solitude, those, those core things. And to realize that our busyness, this crazy pace of life, it can choke out that connection and it can keep us from really hearing and being sensitive to God's voice in our day to day. And so there are seasons I know in our lives when this is really hard because just life is so busy and so full. So find a way. Find a way that works for you and just practice it and do that. Make sure that space for reflection, for hearing him and for connecting, recalibrating your heart to his regularly. The prayer of examine is another example of that. And so we have a handout on that, and I'd love to challenge you also to try that. It's a rhythm of reflecting on the day in the evening and to pray in God's presence and to consider how He is speaking to you over that day. And as you continue that regularly, it'll make you even more sensitive to God's Spirit and how He's moving in your life and around you throughout your day as we get real and we go deep in his love.

The Sermon on the Mount makes it clear that God is not just interested in us following on a surface level morality. He points out that our heart it's our heart where we secretly harbor hatred and resentments, glances of desire, and even doubting his ability to provide our basic needs. He sets the bar really high. I think one at exceptional point in the Sermon on the Mount is that loving our enemy. Loving our enemy, which, wow, that's not. And he says it's not something that we naturally do. Loving people that are nice to us is is not so hard, but loving our enemy. This is a supernatural this is a kingdom of God experience. And the truth is that that is how God loved us. We were his enemy originally, and Jesus gave his life for us. So it's tied in to that love relationship with God that allows us then to even love our enemies, and that is the kingdom of God. So over our lifetime, as a follower of Jesus, God will be working on this. And we welcome his presence and we want to cooperate with what he is doing in our formation and also in our world. So get real, go deep, and we're going to live it out and live it. And by living it out, then it is living out that love relationship, living out that core connection and allowing that to flow out into fruitfulness. We want to learn obedience because he said, Teach our man disciple. Teach them to obey everything I've commanded them so that obedience is grounded in. In our surrender to his love. That is where obedience flows through flows. It's not a okay, I've got to pay back. I got to pay back all these things God has done for me by obeying him. It flows from our love relationship with him. If you love me, you'll keep my commands. So this is critical to keep that we're living out that connection. Through our obedience and discovering truly the joy of obedience as his child. Then we naturally reflect the father that we are so devoted to, and we want to live like Jesus had the values and characteristics that Christ showed us, and that His spirit is now growing in our lives. And so living it out, learning obedience in surrender to his love. And even the first step of baptism, baptism is a step of obedience. And that's starting off that journey. Grateful for his salvation and following through in baptism. So think about then we want to live like Jesus and have those values and characteristics that the Spirit is growing in us. Think about some of those characteristics, gentle and lowly, compassionate, able to forgive a servant, willing to suffer for others, to give up everything, to please his father, to die, to self, to carry our cross, to say with Jesus, my bread that is, that which sustains my very life is to do the will of the father. And we delight in that, and we know it gives him glory. And so we're living that out. As Paul was living out this process, he described it as a race. It was a marathon. So it's a long term commitment and it's a long term process that we are involved in this is not an microwaved spirituality. It's an exciting adventure it is hard and it's messy and transformative. I'd like to read then as we think about this, living it out, salt the salt in light. In the Sermon on the Mount, just after the Beatitudes, he talks about salt and light. You are this really is the mission of the church and our lives. You are the salt of the earth but if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It's no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. So get real. Go deep with God and get that saltiness. That's our saltiness that we want to have and then live that out. Right? You are a light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house in the same way. Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds. So they see that fruit, They see what's happening on the outside and they give glory to your father. They're able even to point back and say, Wow, that's not the way she used to be. That's not the way it used to be. Something's going on. And they point back to your father and how that's how he is changing you.

Now we have an assignment, and in our assignment it is to write you, to write out and respond to some of these thoughts and some of these questions. What has been your experience of being formed in Christ as his disciple, and how is your love relationship part of this? Consider how he has used events. I shared a little bit of my story but consider how he has used events circumstances and people in ways that help to align you and your value system and your way of thinking to His that Kingdom of God thinking you might also consider what books of the Bible or passages of Scripture have been especially formative. I shared Second Corinthians four. That’s the huge one for me. And also that his strength is made perfect in weakness. Also important one for me, how has the Sermon on the Mount, as you've been reading that and just soaking that in, how has that challenged you and your values and your worldview? Do you have any areas where God is teaching you or exposing your rebellion, correcting, or ways that He is training you and calling you to that path?

I'd like to, as we close, I'd like to pray for you a prayer out of Colossians Chapter three saying. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly love I pray that you will clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. That you will bear with one another and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity, let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Since as members of one body, you were called to peace and be thankful that the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns. And songs from the Spirit singing to God with gratitude in your hearts and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Amen.