1 Ki 5-6; Mat 6; Psalm 69
As we have been exploring, there is a brand of what passes for Christianity, that pays little or no heed to the actual words of Jesus. To an extent we are all guilty of this. Certainly it is not too much to say that if the vast majority of Christians strove to be obedient to the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, the church would look somewhat different to how it looks.
Think for example about the exhortations to acts of piety done in private, and then consider the walls of so many churches festooned in plaques celebrating wealthy benefactors. ‘Truly I tell you, they have received their reward” How often do we make so much in public of such acts, showing that as a church we have the same mindset whether as donors or recipients.
And then of course, the command ‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth!’ But do we as Christians disengage from the mania with acquisitiveness with which the world is being slowly destroyed? The accumulation of those things we can see, that tempt the eye and thus reveal the covetousness of our hearts and our lack of desire for God.
Take no thought for what you eat or wear . . . I could go on
So often it seems in the West in particular the Church is up in arms about people’s ‘lifestyles’, ften in regard about which our Lord says nothing – yet when it comes to the plain commands of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (and elsewhere) we merge into the background and become indistinguishable from our surroundings.
As we shall see, the consequences of disobedience are great – but we don’t seem to believe this.