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Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount is a book by the 4th–5th-century saint Augustine of Hippo. Augustine undertook this work before working on the Pauline.
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Share Flipboard Email. Updated August 24, Jesus' words are practical and concise; He was truly a master orator. You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its 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 glorify your Father in heaven You have heard that it was said, "Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.

If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.


But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Jesus teaches us to learn to become dependent upon our Father, and to bring to him our daily needs -- though we disciples are to put our own needs after the Father's holiness and kingdom and will. It's strange, but we long to break free from the necessity of praying this prayer. We would like to store up enough money so that we don't have to worry -- or pray -- about where our next meal will come from.

We would like to be "comfortably" well off, if not rich. We don't want to have to pray for our next meal. I don't think that Jesus wants us poverty-stricken though that may happen to us and in that he will be fully able to meet our needs. But he does want us to get in the habit of relying upon the Father -- for everything. Should we thank God for our food if we have earned the money for it by our own labor?

Of course!

Understanding the Sermon on the Mount

Since it is God who gives us the ability to earn a living, then in a real sense, it is he who "gives" us our daily bread. He strengthens us and provides through us. So often, when we have our health, we take this ability for granted. Jesus is teaching us to look to the Father for every provision. Sometimes you hear the teaching that we should pray for others' needs, but never for our own, that God will provide without us even asking.

Though that teaching sounds pious and faith-filled, it goes directly counter to Jesus' own teaching. We are to ask God for our daily needs.

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He is interested in our jobs. He cares about your school. He is concerned about the health of your business. He cares about your marriage, and children, and relationships. Your church matters to him. Jesus teaches us, "Give us today our daily bread. Petition 5: Forgiveness , The fifth petition is for forgiveness.

But like the daily-ness of the fourth petition, the fifth petition, too, has a twist. The prayer is:. Christians from different traditions use different words as they recite the Lord's Prayer. The action itself as well as its result, every departure from the way of righteousness But this prayer, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors," is a sort of trick prayer.

Matthew NIV - Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount - Bible Gateway

It is a prayer Jesus uses to teach his disciples the elements of praying aright. In other words, if we forgive others only a little and hold grudges, we are asking God to forgive us only a little and bear a grudge against us. How many people pray the Lord's Prayer thoughtlessly, and each time they pray, they pray a curse of unforgiveness down upon themselves! Jesus is making a point in this prayer, a point which he explains in more detail just after the prayer:.

But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Notes to Chapter 17

How could it be plainer? Jesus had just told his disciples not to seek retribution. Now he makes it clear that we must forgive, if we are to be considered sons of the Father. Otherwise he will not forgive us. Perhaps the most powerful example is that of Jesus himself.

His miracles and bread attracted the crowds, but when he had to say some hard things, they would leave as quickly as they had come John A number of times, when he said something they didn't consider Kosher, they tried to kill him, but he slipped away from their grasp Luke ; John ; But the time finally came that God had planned Galatians 4: Jesus knew it was coming, and though it filled him with pain to think of it, he faced it openly.

This time when his enemies sought to arrest him, he stood forth, said "I am the man," and allowed them to take him. He allowed a mock trial filled with patently false and unsupported charges. He could have called legions of angels to deliver him -- the armies of heaven were at his beck and call -- but he did not. Soldiers spit in his face and mocked him with a cruel crown of thorns and a purple robe they said made him look like a king.

They scourged him nearly to death.

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Pilate washed his hands and ordered his crucifixion. And as they crucified him, he said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" Luke If we are to know and understand God, we must love. We must know and understand forgiveness. If we reject this part of God, we reject the kernel of who he is 1 John So when Jesus puts it so bluntly in our passage -- you must forgive to be forgiven -- we dare not reject this truth.

Isn't this a sort of "works righteousness"? If you are required to do something before you can be forgiven, then isn't this righteousness by works? There's an old story of how to catch a monkey. You chain a cage to a post, and put an orange in the cage. Then when the monkey tries to grasp the orange, and can't pull it through the bars he is trapped.

Can't he just release the orange and escape? Yes, but monkeys don't let go of the things that enslave them. They hold on tightly -- just like people. And so he is captured, just as surely as if he were in the cage itself. To be free you must let go of unforgiveness. Is that meritorious so as to earn heaven? No, not any more than repentance from sin is meritorious.

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We don't earn heaven by repentance or by forgiving. But we must let go of our bondage to sin and hate if we want to receive something better.

Forgiveness is sometimes terribly difficult. It's usually not so hard to forgive people we don't know. The people with whom we have a relationship of trust who turn on us, who betray our trust -- those people are the hardest to forgive. Husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children, and boyfriends and girlfriends and our best friends.

They can turn on us and wound us deeply. Sometimes we even doubt that "It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. Sometimes we resist forgiveness because we mistake it for substitutes. In my article "Don't Pay the Price of Counterfeit Forgiveness," 10 I try to distinguish true forgiveness from its chameleons.

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True forgiveness does not minimize the sin or the hurt, nor excuse the sinner. True forgiveness chooses not to hold the sin against the sinner any longer. True forgiveness is pardon. You may be freshly wounded and find your anger too massive to forgive. The injustice may be ongoing, the outrage constant.