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44. The Sermon on the Mount

I. Introduction

Our lesson in this From Creation to the Cross series is Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.354 We will be looking primarily at Matthew’s account of this discourse as given in chapters 5 through 7 of his Gospel. Now I’m sure you are all at least somewhat familiar with the Sermon on the Mount. This is probably the best known part of Jesus’ teaching, not only among Christians but among people in general. Sayings from the Sermon on the Mount have become part of our everyday language; sayings such as “do unto others” … “judge not,” “turn the other cheek,” and so on. But I would suggest it is also one of the least understood parts of our Lord’s teaching, and certainly the least obeyed. In this day and age, when we in the church seem to be looking more and more like the society around us, there may be no better medicine than the Sermon on the Mount. It describes what human life and human community look like when they come under the gracious rule of God.355 And in a word, what do they look like? Different … not the same.

It is of course impossible to address the details of the Sermon on the Mount in this one lesson. It is ambitious enough to attempt an overview. But as I thought about it, there is good reason to step back and consider the Sermon on the Mount as a whole. I do of course recommend detailed study, but if we jump into the details before we look at the whole, we are in constant danger of missing the forest for the trees. We all have a tendency to pick on certain particular statements and to concentrate on them at the expense of others. We must realize that “no part of the Sermon can be truly understood except in light of the whole.”356

The Literary Style of the SermonBefore we proceed, I think it is worth noting the literary style of this sermon. The Sermon on the Mount has been rightly categorized as wisdom literature – in fact, it is wisdom literature in the best tradition of the Old Testament.357 It reads very much like what we might find in various places in the Book of Proverbs. This is important because, like Old Testament wisdom literature and the books of the Prophets, this passage is poetic in nature.

The Sermon on the Mount is full of the parallelism typical of Hebrew poetry. It is clearly evident in the Beatitudes as well as other places. 358 Poetic parallelism is seen virtually throughout the sermon as Jesus uses parallel thoughts to provide vivid contrasts as He teaches. We must also remember that the language of poetry is imagery.359 Poetry is designed to stir the emotions and create vivid mental pictures, not feed the intellect.

My point is this – poetic passages must be understood as poetic in nature, and we must not try to interpret them with the same inflexible literalism we might employ with prose. As one scholar has noted, “Proverbs are principles stated in extremes.”360 How tragic that someone would actually “pluck out his eye” or “cut off his hand” (5:29-30) in an attempt to control his lust, which, incidentally, has reportedly happened. So, let’s just remember that in the Sermon on the Mount we see Jesus speaking in the Old Testament wisdom form and poetic style.

II. Context and Theme

Now let’s look at the context of our passage. The events leading up to the sermon are described by Matthew in chapter 4. We will look briefly at verses 12, 17, and 23. Beginning in verse 12, we read:

“Now when He heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; 13 and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.”

Dropping down to 4:17, we read, “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”

There are two things to notice here: First, the phrase “From that time” refers to the arrest of John the Baptist. This is apparently the event Jesus chose to launch His public ministry. Secondly, Matthew wants us to see that Jesus’ message is linked directly to John’s message (3:1-2). There is a continuity made explicit by Jesus’ use of the same phrase John had used, and we are right to see Jesus as essentially picking up where John left off.

Then in 4:23 we read,

“And Jesus was going about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.”

Matthew is introducing a theme which will wind its way through the rest of his gospel. That theme is the kingdom of heaven. As you read through Matthew’s Gospel, you will see that the Sermon on the Mount is the first of five great discourses. As a way of identification, each one of these discourses is marked at its conclusion with essentially the same phrase, namely, “when Jesus had finished these words.” It occurs here at the end of the Sermon on the Mount in 7:28. You will find it again in Matthew 11:1, 13:53, 19:1, and 26:1, each time at the end of an extended discourse by Jesus to His disciples. What you should note is that in one way or another, these five discourses all deal with the same theme: the Kingdom of heaven. This was the great burden of Jesus teaching – and we see it particularly evident here in the Sermon on the Mount.

Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” If we view this proclamation as not only Matthew’s introduction to what follows but also a summary of it, then in a word, the message of the Sermon on the Mount is, “What it means to repent and belong to the kingdom of heaven.”

III. The Kingdom of God

But let’s talk for a moment about this kingdom which Matthew has introduced to us here in his gospel. As an aside, I will mention that while Matthew primarily uses the term “kingdom of heaven” and other gospel writers (notably Luke) prefer the term “kingdom of God,” it is clear that these two expressions mean exactly the same thing (e.g., compare Matthew 5:3 with Luke 6:20). In the past some have tried to maintain a distinction between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God;361 however, the vast majority of theologians today recognize the terms as synonymous,362 and I therefore use the terms interchangeably.

The word translated kingdom has two elements. It refers first to the king’s reign and rule, and secondly to the king’s realm.363 The Kingdom of God, then, is primarily the reign and rule of God, the expression of His gracious sovereign will. In an ultimate sense, God sovereignly rules over all things, and His realm is therefore all creation. But that is not the kingdom in focus here. Here we are talking about the kingdom of God among men, that kingdom anticipated by the Old Testament prophets, that kingdom to be mediated through the coming Messiah. You will note that Matthew has spent the first four chapters of his gospel confirming to us that this Jesus is the Messiah, the one with the right to the throne, the coming King. As one commentator put it, with the coming of Jesus Christ “the new age had dawned, and the rule of God had broken into history.”364

This is precisely why Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom of heaven is at hand – because Jesus Himself is the King in God’s Kingdom, and where He reigns, there the Kingdom of God is already present. To those who first heard Jesus, this was a staggering message because they understood (at least in part) what He was saying. He was preaching that the long-hoped-for day, the day of the reign of God, was no longer confined to the future – it was now. That explained the urgency of His call to repent. In light of the presence of the King Himself, repentance, and for that matter a new life altogether, was called for.

Jesus proclaimed the same Kingdom as John the Baptist (and the Old Testament prophets); however, He did in the course of progressive biblical revelation explain it more fully. He also broke it out into its temporal components, and emphasized each element separately. For example: At times, Jesus spoke of the kingdom as being present in the person of the king. This aspect was more than “at hand;” it had already arrived. We read in Matthew. 12:28, “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” This is Phase I. The kingdom was inaugurated by and manifested in Jesus Christ at His first coming.

At other times, Jesus spoke of the kingdom as being present in a sense broader than His own person. For example, the parables of the kingdom in Matthew 13 show us the kingdom in its “mystery” phase. The mystery is the coming of the kingdom into history in advance of its consummation.365 This is Phase II. Christ now reigns in the hearts of His people, and His rule is played out through the work of kingdom citizens during this present age. The Sermon on the Mount and other principles of kingdom living articulated by Jesus apply directly to kingdom citizens in this period between His first and second coming.

However, Jesus never ignored the final consummation of the kingdom or even the uniquely Jewish flavor of the millennial reign (see Matthew 24-25). At the Last Supper, Jesus spoke of the future consummation of the Kingdom which will be manifested at His second coming. In Matthew 26:29, we read, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” This then is Phase III, which in turn ushers in the final eternal state.366

Therefore, recognizing that the kingdom of God was inaugurated by Christ at His first coming and that it continues today in a spiritual sense in those who are believers, let’s turn now to the Sermon itself.

IV. Overview

The Setting – We are primarily looking at Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount, but we should note the parallel account in Luke 6. We don’t have time here to harmonize the accounts. Let me simply suggest that there is strong internal evidence that the two accounts are describing the same event in spite of the differences one may note.367 That is at least my assumption. We just don’t have time to get into the details.

I mention this because I want us to pause just long enough to get clear on who the audience is for Jesus’ sermon. In Matthew 5:1, we are told that He sat down and His disciples came to Him. We must not think this is referring only to the twelve – for we see in Luke 6:13 that early that morning He called His disciples to Himself and chose the twelve from among them. So there were other disciples – apparently a large number of them according to Luke 6:17. Therefore, we must understand that it was the twelve along with many other disciples who came to sit around Him.

We also see, not only from Luke’s account (6:18) but from the end of Matthew’s account (7:28), that a multitude was also there, gathered at least within hearing distance. So, to whom was Jesus speaking? You could look at it as a three-tiered audience – the twelve as His newly-appointed inner circle, the other disciples, and then, perhaps at a distance, the multitude. Even though His words were directed to His disciples (5:2) – which is indeed significant – I would suggest that He also spoke for the benefit of all.

Looking at the sermon itself, we can see four main sections: the first (5:3-16) describes the subjects of the kingdom, the second (5:17–5:48) deals with the precepts of the kingdom, the third (6:1-7:12) the righteousness of the kingdom, and the fourth (7:13-27) the tests of the kingdom.

First Section - Picture of Kingdom Citizens (5:3-16) – Every kingdom eventually has subjects, and Jesus begins His sermon by painting a picture of the kind of people who would populate His kingdom (5:3-16). Before He lists any responsibilities for them, He first wants His audience to see the character traits of kingdom citizens. He does this in what we commonly refer to as the beatitudes. We should note that the beatitudes do not refer to different groups of people as if some are merciful, others are peacemakers, and still others are called upon to endure persecution. Rather, this is a beautifully poetic way of describing the qualities of a kingdom citizen. All these qualities are to characterize each of His people.

Jesus also wants His audience to see that these qualities come with great blessing – which stands in stark contrast to that which this world can offer. What is this blessedness? The second half of each beatitude explains it. Taken together, we see that these kingdom citizens possess the kingdom of heaven, they inherit the earth, they are comforted and satisfied. They receive mercy, they see God, and they are called sons of God. All these blessings belong together. Just as the eight beatitudes describe the qualities of every citizen of the kingdom (at least in the ideal), so the eight blessings belong to each of them.

Some have taken the beatitudes (and in fact the whole sermon) as a description of what one must do in order to enter the kingdom of God. They see the beatitudes as a list of things you must do in order to receive the blessings mentioned. This cannot be further from the truth. It is clear from the text that Jesus is describing the qualities and duties of those already in the kingdom. The Sermon on the Mount is not a presentation of the gospel telling one how to get saved. As Dr. S. Lewis Johnson has humorously pointed out, when the Philippian jailer asked the apostle Paul, “what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30), Paul did not reply with, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”368 The Sermon on the Mount is not how to get into the kingdom, but how you are to be because you are in the kingdom.

So let’s be clear right here at the beginning. Jesus told Nicodemus “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3). Citizens of this kingdom are those who are born again believers. Jesus Himself makes it clear that to enter this kingdom is in fact to enter salvation and eternal life.369

This section ends showing the role of the kingdom citizens in an unbelieving world. Jesus says you, as kingdom citizens, are to be “salt” and “light” (5:13-16) in such a way as to bring glory to your Father in heaven. When He says “your Father,” He is saying something that can only be true of believers, not people in general. Although in this sermon Jesus was addressing a mixed audience (believers and unbelievers), He was speaking specifically to His disciples (Matthew 5:2), and He was addressing them as true disciples, i.e., true believers.

Second Section - Precepts of the Kingdom (5:17–5:48) – After the brief exposition about the members of the kingdom, the Lord now gives truths about the nature of the kingdom itself (5:17–48). This section is characterized by the repeated phrase, “you have heard it said, … but I say.” Jesus is going to do some interpretation of the Old Testament Law for His listeners, and He prefaces this by first stating He came not to abolish, but to fulfill the Law. Then He emphasizes the fact that “not one jot or tittle of the law will pass away until all is fulfilled.” Now, He makes this clear at the outset because He knows that what He is about to say is going to shock His listeners. He wants them to listen carefully and not take what He is about to say as negating the Law in any sense.

Some have said that Jesus here contrasts the letter of the Law with the spirit of the Law. But I don’t think that’s the case. The key, I believe is the phrase you have heard it said.” In virtually every other place where Jesus refers to the Law (or Old Testament), He uses the phrase, “It is written” (e.g., Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; 21:13, 26:31). Here He uses the phrase “You have heard.” I would suggest that this is not a contrast between the letter of the law and the spirit of the Law. This is a contrast between a perversion of the letter of the law – the oral tradition perpetuated by the scribes and Pharisees – and the true letter and true spirit of the Law. So here, in six masterful strokes, Jesus says, “you have heard it said, … but I say,” thereby rejecting the scribal interpretations of the Law.

Although Jesus essentially quotes the Old Testament in some instances, it is clear from His arguments that He is dealing with abuses of the Law encouraged by the Pharisaic tradition.

Take for example Matthew 5:38: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’” This is indeed a quote from the Law; it is stated in Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:19-20, and Deuteronomy 19:18-21. But two things must be noticed from the context in the Old Testament: (1) The passage in Deuteronomy makes it clear that this was a law for the civil courts; it was instruction for the Judges in Israel; it was to define appropriate justice. (2) Although the law defined justice, it also restricted retribution and prevented personal revenge. It is not unreasonable to say its primary purpose was to restrain. But the scribes and Pharisees had extended this principle from the law courts (where it belongs) to the realm of personal relationships (where it does not belong). This is not how you treat your neighbor, but that’s exactly how the Pharisees used it and abused it. It was being used as an excuse for the very thing it was meant to abolish, namely, personal revenge.

The Old Testament repeatedly forbids personal vengeance. Leviticus. 19:18: “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.” Proverbs 20:22: “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil;’ Wait for the Lord, and He will save you.” Proverbs 24:29: “Do not say, ‘Thus I shall do to him as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work.’” – All of which Jesus beautifully expressed by saying, “turn the other cheek.” The concept of “turning the other cheek” is not limited to the New Testament; it was there in the Old Testament.

With a little digging, I think you’ll find this to be the case with Jesus’ other examples – He was correcting perversions of the Law perpetrated by the religious teaching of His day – all of which, incidentally, point to an issue of the heart.

Third Section - Righteousness of the Kingdom (6:1-7:12) - The first half of chapter 6 deals with kingdom righteousness regarding, basically, our worship of God. Jesus deals with giving, praying, and fasting – although these are particular areas of Pharisaic abuse, there are plenty of applications for the church today. The principle is given at the outset in verse 1, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”

The second half of chapter 6 deals with righteousness regarding the intentions and ambitions of our heart. Basically, the emphasis is on our focus in life and how we expend or invest our energies. The principle here is given in verses 19-20, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, … But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”

In verses 1-12 of chapter 7, Jesus deals with righteousness in relation to how we treat others. We are not to be judgmental especially with regard to fellow believers, yet we are to exercise discernment concerning unbelievers. Jesus is not simply saying, “do not judge.” His point is that we are to judge wisely, just as the earlier principle is to invest wisely. Where does one find such wisdom? He must turn to his heavenly Father … and ask (7:7-11).

Finally, in verse 12, the intent of the Old Testament law is summarized in the golden rule: “Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Jesus began His teaching on kingdom righteousness in 5:17 with, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets;” and now concludes it by saying, “this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Fourth Section - Tests of the Kingdom (7:13-27) - Christ outlines three tests which will prove our righteousness is truly from God. These tests are presented as the two ways, two trees, and two builders. False Christianity will fail these tests.

First, true citizens of the kingdom of God go by the narrow way (7:13-14), which I believe speaks to the fact that Christianity is basically counter-cultural. By that I mean the society around us is going one way, the broad way, while we are to be going the narrow way, the way of Christ, e.g., by turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, putting our personal rights aside for the sake of another.

Secondly, true citizens of the kingdom are like the tree that bears good fruit (7:15-23), which refers not only to the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23): joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, but to holy living (Romans 6:22) and good works (Ephesians 2:10).

And thirdly, true citizens of the kingdom build their house on the rock (7:24-27), which is Jesus Christ. Righteousness is not based on a church, a creed, or a good life, but on Jesus Christ who died for the believer.370 And here the point is that a true believer is a doer of the word and not a hearer only (James 1:22). The imagery of this section all points in one direction: the kingdom will be populated by those who live for an audience of One, namely, Jesus Christ the King.

The Sermon Concluded (7:28-29) - The sermon then concludes with a note about the crowds responding to Jesus in a way which they never did to the scribes. The crowd was “astonished at His teaching, for He taught as one having authority” (7:28-29). They were apparently more impressed with His authority than with the content of the Sermon itself. As one commentator put it, “The main question the Sermon forces upon the crowd is not so much ‘What do you make of this teaching?’ as ‘Who on earth is this teacher?’”371 – a question which the Gospel of Matthew clearly answers.

V. Concluding Remarks

Not a code of ethics - It is extremely important to remember that the Sermon on the Mount is a description of character and not a code of ethics or morals. It is not to be regarded as a law – a kind of new “Ten Commandments” or a set of rules and regulations which are to be carried out by us – but rather a description of what we as Christians are meant to be, illustrated in certain particular respects.372 Jesus is not laying down a new code of legal regulations but communicating great ethical principles and how they affect the lives of those within the kingdom. “It would be a great point gained if people would only consider that it was a Sermon, and was preached, not an act which was passed.”373

All kinds of approaches to this sermon can be found in the church. Some have seen it as a message calculated to produce the greatest possible guilt in the fewest possible chapters! It has often been presented that way: “Here is the standard. Look how miserably you have failed. Pull yourself together and do better.”

This approach ignores what we have already seen is central to the sermon’s message, namely our relationship to Jesus Christ. We cannot avoid some degree of guilt as we read Jesus’ words. Undoubtedly, as He describes the lifestyle that is appropriate to citizenship in His kingdom, we sense how far short of its glory we fall. But the sermon is not aiming to produce a sense of hopelessness and despair in us; rather, it is intended to set before us a glorious vision of what the Lord means for our lives to become. As Bob Deffinbaugh once said, “It challenges us to live an excitingly distinctive life, adding savor to our society,”374 and bringing glory to God. The sermon is Jesus’ manifesto. It describes a regal lifestyle, the new behavior pattern for the new kingdom we have entered.

A new birth is essential - The righteousness Jesus described in the Sermon is an inner righteousness. Although it manifests itself outwardly and visibly in words, deeds and relationships, yet it remains essentially a righteousness of the heart. It is what a man thinks in his heart and where he fixes his heart which really matter. It is here too that the problem lies. For men are in their nature “evil.” As we are told in Jeremiah 17:9, “the heart of man is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick.” And it is out of the heart that evil things come. Just as it is the tree itself which determines its fruit, so it is with man. There is but one solution – make the tree good, and its fruit good. A new birth is essential.

Only a belief in the necessity and the reality of a new birth can keep us from reading the Sermon on the Mount with either foolish optimism or hopeless despair. The high standards he set are appropriate only to believers.

We could never earn citizenship in His kingdom by accomplishing Christ’s standards. Rather by living out His standards, or at least approximating them, we give evidence of what – by God’s free grace – we already are. 375

Negative tests to apply - Martyn Lloyd-Jones recommended some principles which should govern our interpretation of this Sermon, suggesting that we might apply these “negative” tests as we study it: 376

(1) If you find yourself arguing with the Sermon on the Mount at any particular point, it means either that there is something wrong with you or your interpretation of the Sermon is wrong. In his own words, he said he found that test “very valuable.”

(2) If our interpretation makes any injunction appear to be ridiculous then we can be certain our interpretation is wrong. For example, in 5:40, Jesus says if you are sued for your shirt, give your coat too. This command has often been made to sound ridiculous. However, it is not to be taken as a mechanical rule. He’s not teaching how to behave if you are sued. He’s teaching a principle – I am to be of such a mind and such a spirit that under certain circumstances and conditions I must do just that – throw in the coat also, or go the extra mile. I am to be such a person that if it is God’s will and for His glory, I would readily do so. That is the issue, and it is very practical – nothing our Lord ever taught can be ridiculous.

(3) Finally, if you regard any particular injunction in this Sermon as impossible, once more your interpretation and understanding of it must be wrong. Jesus died and gave us the Holy Spirit that we might be able to live the Sermon on the Mount. We may not live it perfectly, but in the power of His Spirit we must work at living it. In 7:24, He says, “everyone who hears these words of mine and acts upon them” is wise. When giving the Great Commission, Jesus says, “make disciples, … teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20); and that certainly includes the Sermon on the Mount.

Be very careful as you read the Sermon on the Mount and especially when you talk about it. If you criticize it at any point, you are really saying a great deal about yourself.

Making Jesus Lord - Living the Sermon on the Mount means, fundamentally, submitting to the authority of Jesus. It means coming to Him, taking His yoke, and learning from Him (Matthew 11:28-30). This means that we might want to dispense with the myth that we can have Christ as Savior to begin the Christian life, and then at some later stage, submit to Him as Lord or make Him Lord in our lives.

That kind of thinking reveals a profound confusion about what the New Testament teaches. For one thing, we do not “make” Jesus Savior or Lord. And further, if having Christ as our Savior means belonging to the Kingdom of God (and it certainly does), we cannot possibly live in His Kingdom without His being King and Lord.

But submitting to the authority of Jesus can be described more explicitly. He expresses His authority through His Word, the Bible.

As John Calvin put it, the Bible is the scepter by which King Jesus rules His people.377 It is in Scripture that Jesus continues to give His teaching. When we read it, study it, and seek to obey it, we hear His voice and recognize His authority (see John 10:3-5). That is why one mark of the Christian ought to be loving study of Scripture and a growing obedience to everything Christ teaches us through Scripture.

As you turn to the Sermon on the Mount, you ought to ask yourself if you have settled these issues in your own life. And you ought to pray that through hearing Christ’s voice in this sermon, you will grow in settled obedience to whatever He says to you.

353 This is the edited manuscript of a message delivered by Jim Ellis at Community Bible Chapel on February 17, 2002. Jim is a member of Community Bible Chapel and can be reached by email.

354 The title, Sermon on the Mount, is not found in the text. It is likely that the first one to call it such was Augustine, who wrote a treatise on this passage ca. 395 A.D. while still Bishop of Hippo. See Robert Guelich, The Sermon on the Mount, (Word Publishing, 1982), p. 15.

355 John R. W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount (Inter-Varsity Press, 1978), p. 18.

356 Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount (Eerdmans, Reprinted 1991), p. 22.

357 Gary A. Tuttle, The Sermon On The Mount: Its Wisdom Affinities And Their Relation To Its Structure, JETS 20/3 (September 1977).

358 See for example Matthew 5:19; 6:14-15; and 7:6.

359 Leland Ryken, How to Read the Bible as Literature (Zondervan Academie Books, 1984), p. 888.

360 A. M. Hunter, Design for Life, 1953, as quoted in The New Bible Dictionary, s.v. Sermon on the Mount.

361 Cf. John F. Walvoord, Matthew - Thy Kingdom Come, (Moody Press, 1974) p. 30.

362 Cf. Ed Glasscock, Matthew, Moody Gospel Commentary (Moody Press, 1997), p. 70; D. A. Carson, Matthew, Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 1 (Zondervan, 1995), p. 100; Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume, ed. Geoffry Bromiley (Eerdmans 1985, reprinted 1992), s.v. basileia.

363 Bauer, Gingrich and Danker call the kingdom [1] “kingship, royal power, royal rule” and [2] “the territory ruled over by a king.” See Bauer, Walter, Gingrich, F. Wilbur, and Danker, Frederick W., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (University of Chicago Press, 1979), s.v. basileia.

364 Stott, p. 18.

365 George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Eerdmans, Revised Edition, 1993), p. 91.

366 This three-phase view of the kingdom is discussed in D. Matthew Allen, The Kingdom of God in Matthew . For more on the kingdom of God, Ladd, pp. 54-117.

367 William Hendriksen, The Gospel of Matthew (Baker Book House, 1973), p. 260.

368 S. Lewis Johnson, The Beatitudes (1): From Poverty to Royalty, Believer’s Bible Bulletin, n.d. Lesson 9, p. 2.

369 E.g., Jesus equates entering the kingdom with entering life in Mark 9:45-47.

370 Warren Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament (Victor Books, 1992), p. 36.

371 Stott, p. 213.

372 Lloyd-Jones, p. 28.

373 J. Denny as quoted in The New Bible Dictionary, s.v. Sermon on the Mount.

374 Bob Deffinbaugh, Highlights in the Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ, Lesson 20, Biblical Studies Foundation,

375 Stott, p. 29.

376 Lloyd-Jones, p. 29.

377 As quoted by Sinclair B. Ferguson, Kingdom Life in a Fallen World (NavPress, 1986), p. 21.

Related Topics: Bibliology (The Written Word)

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