Matthew’s Mountains --Part 2

Matthew’s Mountains
Part 2

George Sharp

If the mountain of chapter 4 is described as an exceeding high mountain, what shall we say of the mountains of chapters 5, 6, and 7? In chapter 4 we are confronted with the kingdoms of this world, but in these three chapters we are brought face to face with a loftier theme for we are introduced to the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, so high is this mountain that too many of us suffer from the altitude and quickly descend to relegate the teachings of the mountain to a vague and indefinite time area and indistinct people by saying that this is “Kingdom teaching” and therefore not for us. We cannot, however, escape the fact that we are in His Kingdom, having been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. The fabric of our Christian character therefore must be interwoven with the moral characteristics of the Kingdom of God.

Let us consider just a few of these characteristics as outlined for us in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Blessed are the meek,” says the One who displayed this principle in infinite perfection as a human being. Our response, if not in word certainly in attitude, is simply that the theory is too idealistic to work in the world in which we live. How shall the believer be meek in this competitive age that is grasping and pushing for the better things of life such as better homes, better jobs, greater comforts and conveniences or whatever else is available? Unless we approach the accumulation of these things in the same spirit as the world, it will pass us by and we will miss these things that loom so large in our thinking. How little we discern the mind of God and how little we know of the Word of God, for it will not be long ere this world in the truest sense of the word will belong completely to Christ, and we shall inherit all of it not just parts of it. We shall inherit all that He possesses and we are assured of this by the Word of God for did not our Lord Jesus die in order to make these truths available to us. Heirs of salvation we are and joint heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed are the meek definitely applies to us and we are reminded of it in the Epistles as indeed meekness is included in the fruit of the spirit as outlined to us in Galatians, chapter five.

“Blessed are the pure in heart.” What an opportunity is afforded each believer to display this phase of moral beauty in a world filled with and blasted by impurity, immorality, evil and corruption on every hand! In high places and low places, among the rich and among the poor, in the business world, the social world, and all other branches of society, declension is obvious. This truth also is not confined to Matthew’s Gospel, but is iterated and reiterated throughout the New Testament. “Whatsoever things are pure,… think on these things” (Phil. 4:8). “Unto the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:15). And “every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).

“Love thine enemies.” This imperative embraces a line of things which we pass over in a hurry. Perhaps we do not feel too uncomfortable if we consider our enemies as those who live thousands of miles from us, but it is quite another thing if the enemy is an obnoxious neighbour, or a difficult fellow-worker in the office or factory, or some other extremely difficult association. Under such conditions our impulse is not to love such, but rather to “tell them off” and let them know in no uncertain terms that there is no love lost between us and themselves. How unlike our Blessed Saviour we are for He suffered the contradiction of sinners! He loved us not when we were on our best behaviour but when we were yet sinners He died for us. Yes, the examples of the peerless One are high and holy, and yet this same blessed One has given us the power and grace to follow in His footsteps.

These chapters are pregnant with the very highest teaching, dealing with such things as praying in secret, giving unobtrusively, fasting effectively, laying up treasures in Heaven, carefree dependence upon God and so many other things which we do well to dwell upon to learn something of the character of the Kingdom into which we have been brought. Let us search them out and then let them search us out so that there will be produced in us some reflection of the moral characteristics of the Kingdom of God. Mountain scenes in Scripture speak of power, authority and glory. In chapter four we saw something of the glory of the Son of Man as He used the authority of the Word of God as His power in gaining victory over Satan. In these three chapters 5,6, and 7, we have the glorious opportunity of bowing to the authority of the words of our Lord Jesus and having the power of His words mould our lives to His own praise and glory.