Disciplemaking - Lesson 11

Matthew & the Kingdom of God

The section of the Gospel of Matthew known as the Sermon on the Mount contains some of Jesus' most famous teachings, including the Beatitudes and the Lord's Prayer. This section also includes teachings on the Kingdom of God, being the salt and light of the world, and fulfilling the law and the prophets. Jesus raises the bar on traditional teachings, examining the inner workings of our hearts and challenging us to love our enemies and forgive those who have hurt us. The teachings in the Sermon on the Mount offer a model for spiritual maturity and living a life of compassion, humility, and service to others.
Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
Lesson 11
Watching Now
Matthew & the Kingdom of God

I. Introduction

A. Overview of Matthew

B. Importance of the Kingdom of God

II. The Sermon on the Mount

A. The Beatitudes

B. Salt and Light

1. Importance of maintaining saltiness

2. Identity as light in the world

3. Expressing light through good deeds

III. The World's Reaction

A. The World's Hatred

B. Persecution and Rejoicing

IV. Conclusion

A. Importance of living out the Kingdom of God

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

  • 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
Matthew and the Kingdom of God
Lesson Transcript

So we're diving into becoming a disciple. And in this section we're going to look at the Sermon on the Mount. Now, I hope that you've done the reading already. You know that before we get into it, we want you to go deep dive in the Scripture. We'd like you on your own to be reading it several times. So that's Matthew in the Book of Matthew. So Matthew five through seven. Read that if you haven't already, just push, pause and do that reading. And also you could read John 15:18 verse 18 two 1615 and that's another section. That's right. After what Joe talked on in the last section about a biting and the vine. And this is also a section that brings us a little bit further that in showing how the world will hate you and I'm sure a shocking teaching for the disciples as they're coming along. And Jesus is saying in that last set, The Last Supper, in that discourse where he's saying the world will hate you, and preparing them for that, growing them in both forgiveness and servant to two of those key things that we see Jesus again and again talking with His disciples and modeling for His disciples. So the Kingdom of God that Jesus describes and that we see highlighted, especially here in the Sermon on the Mount, it's hard to comprehend, actually, but I think if you look at the Kingdom of God, he describes, it's something that the world is really hungry for, something that, wow, if only we could be in a place where people treated one another with this kind of respect, with compassion, and we're giving and express this humility and those sorts of things, that it is something that the world is hungry for. And when they see it in us, they're often too drawn to that. So let's take a look at the Sermon on the Mount. We read in the last section, we read the Beatitudes and how dramatic that must have been for them to be hearing those words. Just following the Beatitudes, Jesus says you are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. And this immediately follows those Beatitudes. So he describes this as the Kingdom of God, and he's saying, All right, that living that out is like salt. It's a contrast in this society, and it's possible to lose that We have to be working and maintaining that it's even in the Dead Sea, there was if there was salt in the Dead Sea, if it was contaminated, then it would lose its salt in it. I think Michael Carr brings that out. He would lose its saltiness. And so they knew that was a possibility with salt and in our lives as well in their lives that if we are not consistently keeping track of that saltiness we have, that we can disappear, can be lost, and then we're not being effective. Says you're no good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. I'm sure this got their attention. It should get ours as well. He says that you are light the light of the world. A town built on it, built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on a 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 and give glory to your father in heaven. And so Jesus tying that up there, it is His identity. He's sharing with us as when he says You are the light of the world. That is his light. And we see in Ephesians, I'd like to reference in Ephesians chapter five, verse eight, Paul writes for You were once darkness, not in darkness, you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, live as children of light. For the fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth and find out what pleases the Lord. And so we see that this light that we are to express is part of our identity. It flows from being a child of light. He's not just saying, okay, act like you have light, but we are being light. We are expressing light that is innate to our new character and being in Christ that we are as his children. And so now that we are light in the world, we are shining forth his glory and through our good deeds. And this is what people see, people observe, and they are seeing, as we talked about the Crystal song, the Christ Person, and they know, Wow, that's God, that's an expression of God. So let's look a little bit further then in the Sermon on the Mount at some of the. Say Jesus Rose, the raise the bar and some of the ways he raised the bar. You know what that light looks like and how what that how that saltiness is experienced in the world. And he says he begins to talk about the law and the prophets, that he's here to fulfill the law and the prophets. And then he goes through and he talks about a number of the Old Testament from the Old Testament, the Ten Commandments. He talks about the Six Commandment to do not murder. And he raises that bar saying because there was a point where he talked to the rich young ruler and he said, I have I have fulfilled all of those. I have followed all the commandments and felt pretty good about it. But Jesus is raising the bar. It's about our inner life, our motives. And here he's saying, if you hate somebody, you've broken that commandment. That's the same as murder if you hate somebody. I mean, that's nobody knows if we if we have these feelings, maybe that's expressed, I suppose. But we can hide that sometimes. But Jesus is going right inside and looking at our inner motives and the working inside of our heart. He also talks about adultery, the seventh Commandment. And he says, Well, it's not just if you commit adultery, but if you in the act of adultery. But if you look on someone with lust, you've committed adultery. Wow. That really raises the bar. And I can't imagine what the disciples were thinking, like, wow, Well, I don't know what they were thinking. But it again, it goes deeper into our motives and what is going on inside our heart. And he talks then about divorce oaths and an eye for an eye and this kind of retribution, this kind of getting back at people, carrying grudges, this sort of thing, using oaths, which is used to in a in a society where lies were common. So we're seeing again, he's getting into the nitty gritty of life and our emotional lives as well. And he talks then about an eye, as I said, an eye for an eye and then love for enemies. And you know, it's interesting how he says it's easy to love somebody who's nice to you, Right. But he says, we need to love our enemies. And this is I've heard in some situations that in war, look, when we're looking at spiritual maturity, that if we're able to love our enemies and forgive those who have hurt us, that that is like that, that high threshold to know if we are really formed into the image of Christ, that we're able to live that out, not just acting that way, but really within if we're able to forgive and love our enemies. And that is a standard. And at the end of chapter five, he says, Be perfect. Therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect. And this, I'm sure, was, was just shaking for the disciples as they heard these words, raising the bar again. He goes into some practices that are commonly done giving to the needy. He talks about prayer and he talks about fasting. These are common practices within their fellowship, within that their lives as Jewish believers. And so the prayer in each of these, in giving, in prayer and in fasting, he emphasizes doing it not to show off and not living out their spiritualities in these grand ways that impress people, but that it's done within and it's between us and God. And He even gives in this passage to the Lord's Prayer as a model for prayer. And you'll enjoy this, I know, as you go and are studying the Sermon on the Mount. He talks about now he talks of getting into our finances and talks about treasures in heaven. And he talks about our emotional lives. Do not worry. And about being anxious. And he says in this passage, I love this, that in our sense of anxiety for you will be okay. Will this be provided for me? He says that look at the birds of the air. And he gives a sample. And I'm sure there were birds that they're flying by. He said they do not so or reap or store away in barns. And yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than day? This is really powerful, I think, for us to understand God's care, His tender care for us as his children. And something that that ties in again to that love relationship and the assurance that we have of his love for us and his care for us that allows us to live free of anxiety. And he was really speaking a message in a community and a context right in this setting that was experiencing scarcity. Many of them were subsistence lifestyle. Giles. And so he was speaking abundance and that was Kingdom Abundance. And seeing that as a child of God and experiencing that abundance, He goes on and says, Seek first kind of a conclusion of this section. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Seek first His kingdom. So as we go through this and we look at the Kingdom of God, it's important that we are able to articulate What does that mean? How do I seek his kingdom and what does that mean in my life? And then all these things will be will be given to us as well, and continues in chapter seven, talks about now judging and that we would be judged in the same way we judge. Ask, seek and knock. Again, this is in everything due to others which you would have them do to you for this sums up the law of the prophets and in seek knock. Again, it shows us how our father is listening and available in verse 11. If you then though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him? So in everything due to others, what you would have them do to you for this sums up the law and the prophets. So this is different perspective of doing what we would what we would want done for us. This kind of famous the Golden rule, right? But it also shows us that we have confidence in our father and his care for us and provision that he hears us. It also emphasizes in this portion our action of seeking. And so as we think about this. Portion of being a disciple and how it's shaping us. We want to think as well about our actions in this in this section. And so seeking is one of those things that we need to do, and he responds to that. It's really a process of submission, a process of continuing that posture of submission and seeking him. And then he works his work in our hearts. These are not just tenants, religious tenants that we claim. This is not just a morality that we aspire to, but this is actually our identity borne out of our identity as children of God, that we are grounded in a relationship with him and living that out. This process of of being formed out of our identity and who we are in crisis. Interesting. Jim Wilder. After Dallas Willard passed away, Jim Wilder, who had been working with him, wrote this book renovated, and it's fascinating to see. And he references a great deal of the work of Dallas Willard and a little bit more of how Jim was building on that. And looking at neuroscience, it's fascinating to see that the part of the brain where love attachment happens is also the part of the brain where our character is formed. And so we see that in this formation of process, our identity in him and our love attachment to him. There's the previous section is also the place. And out of that that forms us and shapes our behavior and those values and actions. So as we finish up on the Sermon on the Mount, we see that he says, Everyone who hears these words of mine in verse 724 verse Way for everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on a rock. The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house. Yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock. And that is the rock we claim. When Jesus finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching because he taught as one who had authority and not as their teachers of the law. We see then that in in the Sermon on the Mount, as Jesus raises the bar, as He challenges us to live out our identity in Him, that He it is affecting not only our behavior, but our worldview, our values, the way we are in relationships. And I think that I feel like I have a privilege of seeing the church, the global church, in many different contexts in countries across Asia. And it's a wonderful thing to see how Christians across the world have a similar that if you think of that aroma of Christ, a similar aroma and it's one of compassion, it's one of humility, it's one of generosity and forgiveness. And, you know, it's wonderful when sometimes when we've arrived at conferences and we have people coming from all over and we're meeting together in one place. And I remember one particular time when we had a driver who was shuttling people back and forth from the airport and he was watching us come together and embrace one another. And how are you and the energy and the love and the joy and delight of being together. This man was surprised and was trying to put together cause we were coming from all over the place and looked very different, obviously not of the same language. And he was trying to understand how are you family, how are you connected? And so it's wonderful to say we are Christ followers, we are from churches around the world, and that that light was shining out in that context and showing this aroma of Christ in these values, these kingdom values that are so important. I want to give you one as we get into Praxis, I want to give you one spiritual formation practice that is a part of Ignatian spirituality. And Ignatius said that felt that this was one of the key practices in formation. It's called The Prayer of Examen. And some of you may be familiar with it. If not, it is something that's done often at the end of the day, the close of the day, and it takes us through a process of reflection on the day. And at first, at the beginning, it's stopping to say with gratitude, thank you for your gifts. And this expression of gratitude actually opens us to God and to hearing and responding to him. And then we take a moment to reflect on the day and not just it's not kind of like a journal where you think, okay, first I did this and then I went there and this happened. But we kind of. Play that day in our mind. But we're looking for places where we sensed the Holy Spirit's pleasure or perhaps the Holy Spirit displeasure. We're thinking through the day and we're understanding, oh, that that that was really not necessary. That came out of some selfishness or I should not have expressed that that way. And so we are reviewing our day in God's presence with the Holy Spirit, looking at how through the day he is working and how we're responding to that. And then we take all of that and we bring that to God. And when we need to ask forgiveness, we ask for forgiveness. We ask for healing of relationships. We bring all of that to God. And then we close with a prayer for the next day that God will care for us the next day and be with us. And if you are following this day after day, this process, I have found that it makes us actually speak for myself. It makes me more aware through the day of when I am not as connected to the Spirit's presence in me or to the life that I aspire to, that kingdom of God, life that's coming out of my identity as his child. And so it helps us then more frequently on the spot in the moment to make that adjustment and say, Oh, even to catch it when it's in that feeling place before it's something I act out on. And so that's a prayer of examen, and we'll have that in your materials, and it's something that you could practice. If you'd like to try that as a spiritual practice, something you might try for a period of a month. And but that was just, just one another option to give you. And the praxis, if we look at the praxis, the exercises for you to do the assignment, there are some questions to respond to and that is, what's your experience been of being formed in Christ as a disciple to think about what are the things that have been formative in your life and brought you closer to this vision of the Kingdom of God. As we've been reading about, looking at in the Sermon on the Mount, how is your love relationship with God, part of that part of that formation? Consider how he is used events or circumstances, how he's used people in ways that help to align you into hit the value system of the Kingdom of God. And sometimes failures, sometimes really those hard places are places where we learn, sometimes learn the most, and then what books of the Bible or passages of Scripture have been especially formative. Sometimes we have a particular section or a book of the Bible that just really speaks to us, and it's been part of our we take it in as part of our narrative and it's very powerful in our lives. Just be aware of what those are. And the final one is how is the Sermon on the Mount challenged you? How is it challenged your values or your worldview? And then we have a question on suffering, and that is a question of how suffering has formed you. What have you learned about God and how he has been with you in times of extreme stress, in times of loss, suffering and even persecution? How have you experienced God in those places and how is that been formative in your life? So we are grateful for this section, this time of reflection, and Joe will be taking us further to learn more about that expression, our behavior and living in integrity.