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This is Living Part 1 - Turn Around

Message Notes 12/05/2024

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From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 4:17

Jesus calls people to turn around because a new way of living has arrived. In what we know as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presents a tangible vision for a new humanity that is completely different from the world system. It's his version of "This is living!".   Some would say it's an impossible standard. Others might skip over and ignore it. Perhaps though, it is an invitation to choose the way of love, as Jesus takes the world to complete renewal  This is living, the Jesus way.

 

 The Sermon on the Mount is what most people would have heard of when it comes to what Jesus taught (Matthew 5 -7 verses) - sayings like "Don't judge, or your will be judged", "Turn the other cheek", "Go the extra mile", "Do not worry", "Salt of the Earth", "Love you enemies" can all be found within these 100 verses.


Gandhi, Martin Luther King Junior, and Corrie Ten Boom were influenced by Jesus' teachings on the power of nonviolence and forgiveness.

 

So, Is it just a powerful philosophical/ethical contribution, or is it something more?

 

Into a Jewish socio-economic context of Roman-occupied territory, oppression, exploitation

tribalism, sickness, poverty, marginalization, and classism, Jesus makes a massive statement: Repent (Hb Teshuva - turn around, Gk Metanoia - change your thinking) for the Kingdom of Heaven is arriving here, now. In other words, change everything!

 

He then demonstrates what this Kingdom is like by healing the sick, welcoming the social outcasts, and setting people free from demonic forces.


Then he begins to teach what it looks like to be part of the Kingdom and concludes with a choice - to either listen and put into practice what he has taught or only to listen. (Matt 7:24 -27)


“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Matthew 5:17

Jesus presents his INTERPRATION of the Torah - Jesus speaks with the authority of God (on a mountain) - as a Rabbi. The Torah (or Law) is the foundational story of a people called to live by the wisdom of God.


Jesus fulfills the EXPECTATION of the Prophets  - Introducing a new way, where God himself brings about transformation. The Prophets looked forward to a future Messiah, and to a day when people would live as God had called them to live.


  • “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people. Jeremiah 31:33

  •  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my law Ezekiel 36:26-27


Jesus is wisdom personified - REVELATION. His story of the two houses mirrors the wisdom literature of Proverbs - how to live well (by Godly wisdom).



In summary, Jesus is presenting his version of what it means to live as God's transformed people, in the Kingdom of heaven. He is saying "This is living"


A TANGIBLE VISION FOR A NEW HUMANITY

Into our world system marked by status, individualism power, achievement, control, ego, money, overwhelm, anxiety, prejudice, and injustice, Jesus presents a new vision marked by justice generosity, humility, kindness, forgiveness, community, vulnerability, and love.

 

Jesus is the answer to the human dilemma. He doesn't just talk about the ideal, but lives it out, and provides the power for his followers to do it too. Jesus comes as the grace of God, inviting and empowering those who follow him to become more and more like him in life and action for the sake of others. The Kingdom has arrived, and continues to expand, bringing restoration, transformation, and healing to all who will step into it as Jesus takes the world toward complete renewal.

Being part of this Kingdom requires repentance (turning around!), trusting in Him, letting go of self-created egos (which are so deeply entrenched), and hearts that pray "Jesus your Kingdom come, and my kingdom go".



“Much of what passes for Christianity today is a negation of the sermon on the Mount…Isn’t it is more important to do what Jesus wants us to do than to call him “Lord, Lord?” ~ Ghandi

 

 

 

 

 





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