Today I wrap up the talk on the Sermon on the Mount. Last week I was at MRC in Gettysburg and TJ spoke in Dillsburg. One of my favorite parts of what TJ said was the question he asked. He asked, ‘What stops you from believing in God?’ His follow up question to that was, ‘If you believe in God, do you put Jesus’ words into action or do you pick and choose?’ He was leading up to the point that how you answer those questions tells you a lot about the true condition of your heart. TJ did a great job last week.

Today, I close this series and to do that, I want to read sections from Matthew 8. I want you to notice what happened immediately after the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 8

Vs 1-2 Jesus came down the mountain with the cheers of the crowd still ringing in his ears. Then a leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus, praying, “Master, if you want to, you can heal my body.”

Vs 5-6 As Jesus entered the village of Capernaum, a Roman captain came up in a panic and said, “Master, my servant is sick. He can’t walk. He’s in terrible pain.”

Vs 14 By this time they were in front of Peter’s house. On entering, Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law sick in bed, burning up with fever.

Vs 16 That evening a lot of demon-afflicted people were brought to him. He relieved the inwardly tormented.

Vs 19 As they left, a religion scholar asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said. 20 Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.”

What do we see? Jesus and His disciples leave the mountain top experience and they enter into the craziness of life. Crowds of people around them cheering Jesus. He is healing people. People are pulling Him in every direction and the disciples are seeing all of this. Even when He wants to relax, Peter’s mother-in-law needs Him. People are coming up to Jesus wanting to follow Him. It’s full on crazy busy.

Tell me, isn’t this like our real life? We can have a greatest moment in church, in the worship set, maybe a scripture just empowered you. What happens? You leave the parking lot and you get slammed with texts, emails, afternoon activities, immediately back into the craziness of life.

Let’s keep reading.

Vs 23-27 Then he got in the boat, his disciples with him. The next thing they knew, they were in a severe storm. Waves were crashing into the boat – and he was sound asleep! They roused him, pleading, “Master, save us! We’re going down!”

Jesus reprimanded them. “Why are you such cowards, such faint-hearts?” Then he stood up and told the wind to be silent, the sea to quiet down: “Silence!” The sea became smooth as glass. The men rubbed their eyes, astonished. “What’s going on here? Wind and sea come to heel at his command!”

After the greatest sermon ever taught, Jesus and the disciples entered into a crazy busy life. They were pulled and pushed into what people needed from Jesus. Later that same day after their mountain top experience, the disciples were in the middle of a storm. They were tired, overwhelmed with the storm and concluded they were going to drown.

Think about that for a second. Hours after Jesus gives the greatest sermon ever taught, it was like they forgot everything Jesus said. What is interesting to me, Jesus actually reprimands them for their lack of faith. It’s like Jesus expected them to know better. He just taught about faith hours earlier and He expected them to live it out.

After this summer of walking through the Sermon on the Mount, you will walk back into the craziness of life. Everyone pulling you in different directions. A ton of commitments and appointments and to-do lists. Storms are going to pop up.   Unexpected problems are coming. It will feel so overwhelming, you might forget everything Jesus taught and have that sense that you are failing or losing.

The Sermon on the Mount is about how we live in real life. It’s not a religious event or about gaining more knowledge that we may or may not forget about later. It’s foundational to how we attack every day. It’s supposed to transform the way we live. That’s why Jesus said,

These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life. MSG Matthew 7:24

I want to talk about how we take the Sermon on the Mount and make it real for today. It supposed to be transformational. I think it would be a tragedy to spend the summer in the greatest sermon in history, then hours later be so distracted that we forget everything Jesus taught and feel defeated.

So how do we reach back and grab what Jesus said and make it a part of our lives?

First: Make the decision; I’m going all in. That means I want to totally and completely give my life to Christ. I will no longer fight God, I surrender. I want God’s kingdom to transform my life.

When you hear that, does that scare you? Here is why you are scared; you want control and you know that giving your live to Christ means you lose control. Your scared because you still think your way of doing life is better than God’s way of doing life. Isn’t that the conflict?

God tells us,

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” NLT Isaiah 55:8-9

You are scared, you want control because you don’t believe that God will care for you. You think that it would be better that God told you everything. It’s like you want God to give you a map of your life that explains every future detail. Every step and every reason for each step. And, God must prove to us that He will make us safe, successful and happy. That’s nothing more than you and I saying, “I demand control, I’m going to do life my way.” You must know, at that moment, you stopped following Christ.

I can prove to you that every place God is leading you is for your benefit. Look back over your life. At each challenge you faced, are you better for it? Most people report, the greatest challenges in my life made me better; I can see how God protected me and used it for good. In the middle of every storm we face, we can’t see that. It’s too messy. But after the storm, we see with more clarity.

If you continue to be scared and try to stay in control, chances are, you will continue to walk through life as a Christian but you will feel powerless, angry and anxious. You will go to church and do religious activity, but Christianity will be a struggle for you. You might think but not be able to say, “This Christian thing isn’t working for me.”

If you are scared, chances are, you haven’t experienced God’s love for you.

All through the years of raising my girls, when they would have melt-downs, I would just hold them. They would cry and cry and I would just hold them. Their breathing would be really fast, and I would just hold them. Their hearts would be beating, and I would just hold them. Over time, they would begin to slow down, breathe easy and relax. Why? They experienced love. With that love came the courage to take on life again. When you experience God’s love, you will relax and you will have courage to take on life.

If you are scared, here’s what Jesus told us to do. It’s called worship and it changes everything.

Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. MSG Matthew 6:6

If you worship God every day, maybe 10 or 15 minutes to start, it would radically transform you and how you walk into the day. Literally listen to worship music for 15 minutes and focus on God. Why? Because when you make that shift from focusing on you to focusing on God, that is when you experience His love. And when you experience His love, you won’t be scared to go all in. It’s like your dad is holding you, waiting for you to calm down and relax.

The reason we struggle with control, being selfish, being prideful is because we aren’t worshiping. Because we aren’t worshipping, we aren’t sensing His love. If we can’t make that shift, we will be freaked out and will never give control over to God. If we can’t make that shift, we won’t be able to be anything else but selfish. If we can’t make that shift, our pride will always say, “I don’t have time to be with God today, I will attack life on my own strength.” Bottom line: Christianity won’t work.

Let’s recap. How do we reach back and grab what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount and never forget it? Give your life to Christ. Complete surrender. If that scares you, get with God to experience His love.

Third, continue to read the Sermon on the Mount in different translations. Jesus said,

These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life. MSG Matthew 7:24

If these words are foundational, we should read them. And read them. And read them. We should look at what Jesus said and put our life next to His words and examine what we must change. If we don’t, well, this is what Jesus said,

“But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” MSG Matthew 7:26-27

It’s like the disciples who just hours earlier, heard the greatest sermon giving in history, they found themselves in a storm and then wanted to give up.

Last thing. Everyday ask yourself, “If God is with me, why would I ever allow fear or anxiety to rule over me?”

Jesus taught us,

So don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing. Why be like the heathen? For they take pride in all these things and are deeply concerned about them. But your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and he will give them to you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to. So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time. TLB Matthew 6:31-34

You must attack everyday with courage. As Jesus asked His disciples, “Why are you such cowards?” Remember, the Sermon on the Mount was about Jesus coming and transforming our hearts to take on life. It’s about God in us.

Everyday, ask: “If God is with me, why would I ever allow fear or anxiety to rule over me?”

As I close today, I want to give you time to just be with God.