Sermon on the Mount

How do we live in this world as followers of Jesus? We know that we’re called to be different, but what does that look like? As we seek to love Edinburgh, be family and follow Jesus together we need to look to the words of Jesus as our baseline for life in the Kingdom of God. The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ manifesto to his followers for a whole new way to be human in the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God. It is a proclamation, an announcement of what life and community should look like and it is deeply challenging and deeply counter-cultural.

1. The Blessed Life

 Matthew 5:1-10

Andy Harding - 18 Aug 2019

Introduction to the series. Jesus is laying out a whole new Kingdom, a whole new rule. In the Kingdom of God, all those who would’ve been counted out are counted in (the poor, the sad, the powerless etc) and as we follow Jesus we are called to live radically different lives (mercifully, in purity, as peacemakers etc). The Beatitudes are subversive and revolutionary as much today as they were then. God is doing a number on our character, this opener from Jesus should excite and motivate us as much as it challenges and provokes.

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2. The Influential Life

 Matthew 5:13-16

Thomas Dean - 25 Aug 2019

We are called to live as people of influence in the world, by nature of our relationship with Jesus we are salt and we are light but we must live as so. As we love Edinburgh, how can we be people who live out of the influence that Jesus speaks of here?

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3. The Kingdom Life

 Matthew 5:17-20

Andy Harding - 1 Sep 2019

Jesus brings fulfilment to all that we read in Scripture, he is its culmination, he is its accomplishment. Life in the Kingdom of God is one where we both live out (practice)and pass on (teach)the things of God. Jesus is speaking here to who he is, not just a revolutionary leader, not just a man of subversive and attractive views but one who is the complete fulfilment of all we have heard, Jesus in both his words and his ways can trusted, then and now.

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4. The Righteous Life

 Matthew 5:21-37

Eddie Backler - 8 Sep 2019

As followers of Jesus we are called to live lives of truth and integrity. Anger is an issue in our culture, lust is an issue in our culture, fidelity and honesty are not modelled for us – we are called to be people who live differently. Jesus reveals in us the vicious cycles we get caught in but more importantly he shows us how to break the cycle and gives us a vision for life in his Kingdom.

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5. The Generous Life

 Matthew 5:38-42

Naomi Black - 15 Sep 2019

A generous life fuelled by the words of Jesus is one of radical, active love. Being family together as followers of Jesus means that we should seek to possess a generosity of spirit that gives and gives just as God has given to us. It means we are to live lives of love – not limited love, but unlimited love, love to the just and the unjust, love as we have been loved. Generosity starts in our hearts. We will never know what to do with our stuff (money, possessions, time) if we don’t know our ‘why’ and the ‘why’ of a generous life is love.

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6. The Generous Life - Part 2

 Matthew 6:1-4

Andy Harding - 22 Sep 2019

A generous life fuelled by the words of Jesus is one that does not live for the approval of others. Jesus confronts head-on our attempts to ‘look’ good rather than ‘be’ good. As those who seek to love Edinburgh and beyond we are called to live lives of self-forgetful service of the needy, living for the reward of the Father’s pleasure.

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7. The Devoted Life

 Matthew 6:5-18

James Cant - 29 Sep 2019

Jesus leads us in the way of devotion to God through the practices of prayer and fasting. Basically, he tells us how to pray and how not to pray, how to fast and how not to fast. He undermines all the ‘religiousness’ that existed in his culture around prayer and fasting and that often exists in our own. Devotion to God is not back-bending to rules and regulations, nor is it putting on a front of piety. Devotion to God starts and ends with knowing God as Father.

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8. The Generous Life - Part 3

 Matthew 6:19-24

Naomi Black - 13 Oct 2019

Our society and culture glorifies possessions and money and a lot of us have a lot of it. Even if you don’t, the claim that treasure and money has over us is huge. Jesus does not forbid us having stuff and having money, but he is concerned with how we use it and how we view it. As we live a life of generosity, how does Jesus’ call to us here redirect our focus towards our stuff? How do we as followers of Jesus in Edinburgh live differently with our possessions and our money?

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9. The Worry-free Life

 Matthew 6:25-34

Zak Robb - 20 Oct 2019

Our confidence is found in God’s character and Jesus gives us an incredible picture here of what our Heavenly Father is like. He is our provider completely, he has an intimate knowledge of our needs. Jesus tells us again and again here ‘do not worry’, which in an anxiety-ridden society can seem like the best and worst thing to hear. How can we live by these words of Jesus not to worry today – it starts not with our circumstances which may induce worry but with our relationship with God and our knowledge and assurance of who he is.

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10. The Relational Life

 Matthew 7:1-5

Andy Harding - 27 Oct 2019

Jesus cares about our relationships with each other. The life of a follower of Jesus is a life free of judgement. As we learn to be family together we need to follow this example given to us by Jesus to look to our own lives first before judging those around us. This doesn’t mean that we only mind our own business and never speak with correction into the lives of others but rather that Jesus calls us to attend to our own ‘stuff’ first. What are the most prevalent ‘planks’ in our church family? How does Jesus call us to live in relationship with each other, what does it mean for us to be true and truthful with each other.

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11. The Expectant Life

 Matthew 7:7-11

Karl Martin - 10 Nov 2019

Do we believe that God is good and will actually respond to our requests? Jesus seems to want to turn our narrow view of who God is and how he deals with us on its head. God’s love for us is real and it is active, our attitude to God is transformed when we remember that God is ‘Father’ and that he is infinitely good and unfailingly kind. How can we, as followers of Jesus, live expectantly in God’s goodness and his kindness?

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12. The Steady Life

 Matthew 7:13-29

Zak Robb - 17 Nov 2019

Throughout this whole section of Scripture we are given options and alternatives again and again. Jesus finishes this manifesto in the same manner – two ways, two teachers, two pleas and two foundations. As we follow Jesus, as family together and with a deep love of this city, how do we live steady and wise lives, what are the choices before us, how do we make the right ones? We live in an information age where we assimilate a lot of info and rarely do anything with it, this is not what Jesus has called us to. He has called us to be practitioners of his teaching.

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