Tonight I will begin teaching my English class once again (a class that I started at the end of last year and taught through the end of winter). We will continue our study on the “Sermon on the Mount” which was preached by Jesus Christ almost 2,000 years ago and is still extremely relevant even for our modern society.
Our study is on the book “Lord, only You can change me” written by Kay Arthur. It is a study of character. I want to write some articles based on the truths that we have been and will continue to learn throughout this wonderful study.
The study of character and character building is extremely important. I really like the root of the word “character” because it helps one understand what character is and why it is important. Character is not something that we are born with, it is something that we must be taught. The English word “character” comes to us originally from the Greek via Latin and French. The Greek work is “kharakter” and it literally means “to engrave” or “to imprint upon”. Character is something that is imprinted or engraved upon us. The “Sermon on the Mount” teaches what good character is and how we can have it engraved or engrained in us.
The “Sermon on the Mount” preached by Jesus Christ, is found in the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5-7. The “Sermon on the Mount” is all about the righteousness of God, or in other words, the character of God. The theme of the “Sermon on the Mount” is found in chapter 5 verse 20.
The scribes and the Pharisees had their own form of righteousness and they were not interested in God’s righteousness. If fact, they knew that they could not keep God’s righteousness as revealed in His Word so they made up their own rules. That is so typical of mankind. We are no different today. If we want to enter heaven then we must enter through God’s doorway embracing His character/righteousness. If not, then we can calm our conscious here on this earth by making up our own form of righteousness (righteousness means being correct) yet we will not enter into the kingdom of God. We may put on a good mask for others and fool them yet God is not impressed. He sees through the mask. If you want to know what kind of character/righteousness God demands then you have to study the “Sermon on the Mount” because Jesus explains step by step what God is looking for.
The general outline is as follows:
- The character of the righteousness of God (chapter 5)
- The conduct which this character produces (chapter 6)
- The consequences of the righteousness of God (chapter 7)
The order here is very important. The entire process begins with the character. As stated earlier, we are not born with character, it is something that must be imprinted upon us. Jesus wants to teach us what the right kind of character is so that we will realize that we need it and come to Him for help. Once we receive His character, then this will be manifested in our actions (as well as our motives). When we implement correct actions then we will have beneficial results. That is the way God is, He allows us to choose and act on our own free will yet He has already established the consequences.
An more detailed outline is as follows:
- Matthew 5:1-2 – Prologue
- Matthew 5:3-9 – Character
- Matthew 5:10-12 – Conflict
- Matthew 5:13-7:27 – Conduct
- Matthew 7:28-29 – Epilogue
What about you my dear friend, do you trust in your own righteousness or are you placing your faith and future in God’s righteousness? If you are not sure what God’s righteousness is then I want to invite you to read the rest of the articles on the “Sermon on the Mount” so that you can evaluate yourself and learn how to live out God’s righteousness on a daily basis. May God bless you.