Around the world the Spirit of God is preparing the Bride of Jesus for His return. One of the chief ways that we can give ourselves to this preparation is to sit under the tutaledge of the Holy Spirit and let Him teach us the ways of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. Here are several insights into the nature and the power of the Sermon on the Mount itself.
The Sermon on the Mount is the constitution of Jesus’ government on the earth.
Through this collection of directives from the Lord, we see Jesus’ view of what His Kingdom is to be in this age, and (perhaps clearer than anywhere else in the Bible) we also see visions of what His Kingdom will be like in the next.
The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ call for humanity to live in righteousness. Righteousness is actually a governmental term which literally means “the right order and way of the King”. Righteousness is the government of heaven. It is the way the Trinity relates to each other – so there’s a ton of room for us to grow in the ways of righteousness. It’s also the way we will relate to God and others when Jesus’ Kingdom is fully established in His millenial reign.
The Sermon on the Mount is the new authority structure Jesus is manifesting on the earth, through His body.
The greek word for authority is ἐξουσία (ex-ou-si-a) meaning power and/or authorization. The exousia that Jesus asserts and gives His disciples in (Matthew 28:18-19) is the same exousia that astounds the crowds in the Sermon on the Mount: “the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having AUTHORITY (exousia)” (Matthew 7:28-29)
Every bit of exousia that Jesus entrusts to us is meant to draw humanity into the liberty of living under His Lordship. To say that we want the power to cast out demons, bring down strongholds, heal the sick, evangelize the lost, and release revival in our world, but not live under the authority of His Sermon on the Mount is an insubstantial vision of His Kingdom’s power. If we want to wield the authority that Jesus is extending in Matthew 28:18-19, we must yield to the authority that He’s exhibiting in Matthew 5, 6 and 7. Jesus is looking to establish a Kingdom family, not merely “wow the crowds”.
Revival is about manifesting the order of Jesus’ authority in real human hearts, in our real world. There is no hope for the increase of His government (Isaiah 9:7) that makes the Sermon on the Mount optional. It’s a road that doesn’t exist. If we want the authentic power and presence of God in our lives and communities, we must become people who cultivate Sermon on the Mount lifestyles.
Mike Bickle writes: ”After Jesus’ physical return the whole earth will be filled with the glory of God as people in every nation live out the Sermon on the Mount; love God and walk in love, righteousness and truth! This is what Jesus promises to establish on the earth.”
Our hearts thrill to envision such an atmosphere of glad-hearted, mutual encouragement. “Jesus is Lord” is more than an invitation. (And it is a glorious one…) It’s ultimately good news to a self-destructive, curse-riddled world that needs good leadership.
However, availing ourselves of His perfect leadership, will require we give up the tyranny of our self-imposed, deficient leadership. This will require that we humble ourselves, turn away from the natural way of running our own lives, so that we can appropriate His sufficient way to run our lives. The Bible calls this dynamic, repentance. And it marks the beginning of all movements of godliness throughout human history. Repentance takes this one truth seriously: in order for His glorious government to reign in our lives, our deficient self-government must cede its authority.
One of the most thorough ways we can give ourselves to this transition of government is by dialoguing with the Holy Spirit over the soul-illuminating words of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. As we let the Holy Spirit speak phrase by phrase and word by word into our hearts, our self-ways are brought down, and His perfect ways are empowered and enthroned. This is called “pray-reading” the Word of God. This is how the “washing of water by the word” that “sanctifies and cleanses” us actively takes place in our lives. This is how we are refined to become “His glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle… holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:26,27)
A WORD OF CAUTION
To live by Jesus’ Words in the Sermon on the Mount is to live righteously and build one’s life on the rock of the Lawgiver Himself. Conversely, to dismiss Jesus’ injunctions is to build one’s life on the shifting sands of lawlessness (that naturally exist in all of our hearts) The tragic end for these will be a destroyed life and eternal separation from Jesus’ life-giving leadership.
“Everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:26-27)
“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:22-23)
For this reason, the Lord calls us to be vigilant; to “watch and pray” that we not be deceived, and led astray into lawless thinking and living in ways that minimize the value of the Sermon on the Mount.
“Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard that you do not get led astray by the error of these lawless men and fall from your firm grasp on the truth.” (2 Peter 3:17)
PRAY/READING THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
Because our God is a Word-speaking God, He loves to engage us in dialogue. Dialogue with the Holy Spirit is the vital power-source of discipleship, and all human transformation into Christ-likeness. All by ourselves, we have no power to be conformed to the ways and image of Jesus. We need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to achieve this miraculous, transformational work.
How does dialoguing with the Holy Spirit accomplish this?
Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit , the One Jesus called “the Helper” (John 15:26), would take the things of Jesus and actually declare them (John 16:13-15) into us.
When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and DECLARE it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and DECLARE it to you. (John 16:13-15)
For instance, the Holy Spirit takes the quality of Jesus’ “humility” and He literally speaks this quality into our being. From our human perspective, we understand we are receiving revelation about Jesus, or learning something new about Jesus. But the full truth of the matter is, it is the Holy Spirit Who is shining the light of Jesus in our hearts and illuminating the truth about His qualities and His ways.
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Now when God speaks He speaks with perfect power. When He spoke light into nothing, suddenly, just because He spoke a Word, the whole universe came into existence. This is also the way He speaks the qualities of Jesus into the void of our lives when we ask. This is what it means to take up the Word of God and let the Word of God take shape in our lives. Our hearts and our minds come into agreement with what the Holy Spirit is saying, but it is the power of the Holy Spirit’s Word that is forming the Person of Christ within us (Galatians 4:19).
In order for this process to take place in our lives, we must give ourselves to engaging three dynamics: the Word of God, the speaking Word of the Holy Spirit, and the revelation of the Living Word Himself, Jesus Christ. That’s what this simple journal is all about. It’s a tool to focus our attention on the Words of the Sermon on the Mount, through which we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, Who is actively revealing the beauty of Jesus and His ways to our open hearts.
The Sermon on the Mount is actually a string of 55 specific topical injunctions. One helpful way to engage the Holy Spirit in dialogue is to ask questions about each of these dictums, one verse or one thought at a time. By asking the Holy Spirit questions about the written Word of God we are giving our heart and mind to the Holy Spirit’s real, teaching presence, and anticipating that He will do exactly what Jesus promises He will do.
These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things. (John 14:25-26)
Below are 8 QUESTIONS you can use to stimulate your DIALOGUE with the HOLY SPIRIT as you PRAY/READ through the Sermon on the Mount:
5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
8 DIALOGUE QUESTIONS
1. Holy Spirit, TEACH me about POVERTY OF SPIRIT. What does it mean to be POOR IN SPIRIT ?
Just as the disciples came to Jesus and sat at His feet, waiting for the Words that
came from His mouth (Matthew 5:1-2) we sit at the feet of the Holy Spirit and consciously ask for His instruction and illumination. Thank You, for patiently instructing me, Holy Spirit!
2. Where do I feel HUNGRY for the quality of being POOR IN SPIRIT?
It’s the Lord’s joy to stimulate our hearts with a hunger and thirst for His righteous ways.
(Matthew 5:6) As we engage the Holy Spirit in dialogue we may discover that we already have a longing or zeal for the qualities that He is wanting to instruct us in. This is His work. Our hunger is the Holy Spirit preparing our heart – His classroom, for the impartation of Christ in our lives.
3. What did POVERTY OF SPIRIT look like in JESUS?
Because the goal of pray/reading through the Sermon on the Mount is to manifest
increased Christlikeness, we need to know what these qualities looked like in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit loves to give us insights and revelations of the Person of Jesus.
4. Where in MY LIFE do I need to be POOR IN SPIRIT ? Where do I lack this quality? Where have I grown lax in pursuing the vibrant depth of this quality?
This is the question that makes the objective information personal in our life. It also
postures our hearts in humility where we can more easily receive the grace of increased
Christlikeness. It’s vital that we let the One Who loves us, and sees perfectly circumspectly illumnate our heart, “to see if there be any wicked way in us”(Psalm 139:24)
5. What in me needs to DIE so I can be POOR IN SPIRIT ?
This is the question that helps us apply the cross to our lives, killing our old, natural ways, so the character and ways of the Jesus Christ are formed through His resurrection power at work within us. The Holy Spirit is keen to ignite vibrant Christilikeness in our lives and deal the death blow to the hidden ways of unrighteousness.
6. Where have I sinned and TRANSGRESSED the way of the King and not given myself to this Kingdom dynamic: being POOR IN SPIRIT?
As you feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit, be sure to confess them as sin against the good and loving ways of the King. Listen for His voice of truth. Confess what He shows you about where your heart is caught in unrighteousness. Turn yourself and your ways away from these attitudes. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you vigilant in your pursuit.
“For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and unrighteousness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.” (Romans 6:19)
7. What are Your Words of FORGIVENESS to me?
Listen for the voice of the King as you express your desire to live under His righteous reign. The enemy loves to keep us in condemnation. This is not for you! If you’ve written down your sin – by all means, also write down the words of forgiveness that the Lord gives to you! This is His pardon to you for your rebellion. Realize that these words of clemency have come at the cost of His own life, and are written in His own blood! The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7) The transference of your loyalty is that serious to Him!
“Then He says, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.” (Hebrews 10:17)
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.” (Romans 4:7)
8. Receive the Holy Spirit’s WORD of EMPOWERMENT to walk in POVERTY OF SPIRIT
As we mentioned above, in (John 16:13-15) Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will take the very qualities of Jesus and declare them into our lives.Because He is a personal, Word- speaking God, it is enjoyably fruitful to invite the Holy Spirit to speak the various dynamics and righteous qualities from the Sermon on the Mount into our being: (humility, hunger, peace, righteousness, forgiveness, contentment etc.) And, because He is also personal, He speaks these Words in uniquely individual ways, without ever compromising truth. What great strength there is in hearing His voice speaking His Word of Christ- empowerment. He is so committed to teaching and equpping us into righteousness by the supernatural power of His Word!
“He gave Himself for us to set us free from every kind of unrighteousness and to purify for Himself a people who are truly His, who are eager to do good.” (Titus 2:14)
“For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)
Be intentional to listen for His specific voice of empowerment. Be sure to write these words down in your journal.
Make a diligent and intentional, protected space to pursue the Lord and hear His voice from the Sermon on the Mount. Set aside focused time each day, each week to pray, inquire, receive, journal and consider these Words for your life.
If you’ve agreed to share your responses with friends, establish a set time; make it holy to the Lord – and each other. Pray for each other to hear and engage the life-giving voice of the Lord.
God bless your dialogue, beloved!
Holy Spirit, take us on the journey of illuminating our heart with the Words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Give to us a spirit of humility and repentance from our self-ways of unrighteousness that so easily cling to our hearts. Give us a spirit of zeal and hunger to receive the King’s ways of righteousness, that we may be “conformed to His image” (Romans 8:29), and “fully pleasing” (Philippians 4:18) to Him.
Download the full PDF copy of Sermon on the Mount Prayer Journal with Workspace Questions