Nov 14- Sermon on the Mount

One of the more important questions we can help our kids answer is this one: What does a follower of Jesus—one of His disciples—look like? This question should naturally flow from our sharing of the gospel. We start with who God is and what He has done for us in Christ, but we cannot stop there. We need to get to the preceding question. We have to help kids know what practical differences Jesus should make in our lives.

Thankfully, we don’t need to construct the identity of a believer—we have been given it in many places throughout Scripture, most notably, perhaps, by Jesus Himself in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5:1–7:29). In this sermon, it is as if Jesus anticipated our question and said, “Here. Let me answer that for you.” While there are many ways to outline this sermon, here is what I consider a pretty simple, basic overview approach to help us see the broad strokes of this important, beautiful, and powerful message.

New Character (5:1-12)

The sermon begins in a familiar way, doesn’t it? With Jesus going up a mountain to deliver a teaching that begins with a series of short, punchy instructions. Remember that Matthew wrote his Gospel with a Jewish audience in mind, one that would have been quite familiar with Moses—another prophet who went up a mountain to deliver a message that began with a series of short, punchy instructions. The point? Jesus is the greater Moses.

But as we begin to consider the content of what was shared by Moses and Jesus, we see important differences begin to emerge. In the Ten Commandments, Moses passed along rules of obedience to God’s people. That made sense because the Old Covenant was based on obedience. Moses, therefore, is sharing how that can happen (although it didn’t; the people disobeyed). But here we see a list of character traits of people God blesses. It’s not about what we do, but what God has done in us. And God’s work brings blessing in our lives.

This is at the core of the gospel—it is not about what we might do, but what God has done. We cannot obey enough to be accepted by God. Rather we are accepted by God based on Christ’s obedience and we are instantly changed as a result.

This is where we begin to form an understanding of what a disciple looks like. A disciple is a person who has been declared forgiven and righteous by God and given a new identity—new character—based on God’s grace.

Intentional Engagement (5:13-20)

The gospel divides people into two camps: lost and saved. It’s as simple as that. But God’s intention is not for His people to live in isolation from the world. Yes, disciples are to be holy—to be set apart—in practice but not in geography. Instead, we are to live in close proximity to others so that we can be used by God to influence them toward trusting in Jesus too.

We are to be salt—infusing our culture with flavor and to preserve it—and light—penetrating the darkness to reveal Christ.

That means that we are to engage our culture with intentionality—as we seek ways to reveal Christ, share the gospel, and demonstrate the difference Christ has made, and continues to make, in our lives.

Internal Transformation (5:21-48)

But how do we get the power—the ability—to live in such a way? How can we live as salt and as light when we live so close to people who want to distract us from the gospel and the things of the world pull us away from Christ? Once again, the answer is not what we can do, but what God continues to do in us. It’s a matter of continued heart transformation.

The heart drives what we do. If we focus on what we do, we might be able to make it work for a while, but not for long. We can only white knuckle it for hours—perhaps days, at best. But, if we yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts—to change us from within—we will see our conduct change exponentially beyond what we can do.

The antidote for murder is a heart of love. The antidote for adultery is a heart of contentment and purity. It’s all a matter of our love and value of God and others—a love in the heart born out of gospel change.

Humble Conduct (6:1-18)

It should not be surprising, then, that humility is another hallmark of a disciple. The more we understand that we are who we are because of God’s grace, mercy, love, and power, the less inclined we will be to focus on us, but Him. We will not want to draw attention to ourselves, but rather to our God.

This is why our conduct should be one that is saturated with humility. We don’t give to be noticed. We don’t pray to be noticed. We don’t fast to be noticed. A heart changed by the gospel finds that unconscionable. Repulsive even. A disciple craves glory—but not for himself or herself, but rather for Christ, his or her greatest treasure and greatest love.

New Mindset (6:19–7:12)

But changed behavior and affections are not the only fruit of the gospel in a disciple’s life—a changed mindset is as well. Disciples are to think differently—to see the world around them differently. Believers see money and possessions as not ends to themselves, but means to an end—the greater end of glorifying God. They see needs differently—as opportunities for God to provide. They see the wrong of others differently—not as cause to look down upon them, but to lift them up through the power of the gospel.

So what does a disciple look like? A disciple is someone who has been changed by the power of the gospel—head, heart, and hands—to live as the fragrance of Christ in a world filled with the stench of sin’s decay.

*Devo from Pastor Brian, from The Gospel Project.

#JesusJams for today!

---> And here's this week's story!!

Christ Connection: Jesus taught people what it means to follow Him. He taught how people should live, how they should treat one another, and how to love God. People who trust in Jesus live to honor God and show what His kingdom is like.
If you have a bible at your house, you'll be turning to Matthew 5-7:29 to read with your family this week! If you don't have one, that's okay! CLICK HERE.

OPTION 1: Night watch Dim the lights in the room. Select a kid to be It and provide her with a flashlight. She will stand at one end of the room, facing away from the other kids. While her back is turned, the other kids may sneak forward to reach her. If she turns on her flashlight and points it at the kids, they must freeze in place like statues. If a kid moves while the flashlight is shining, he must return to the start. The first kid to reach It wins and takes her place. Play as time allows. SAY •That was a fun game. Today we will hear about a time Jesus spoke about light. He said that people who follow Him are the light of the world. What do you think that means? We’ll find out soon!

OPTION 2: Salt dough Use the following recipe to make salt dough. Portion the dough out to all the kids and allow them some time to play with their dough. You may choose to invite the kids to taste their dough without eating it.

  1. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.

  2. Add the water and mix thoroughly until combined. You may need to add a little more water if the dough isn’t coming together. If you wish to add food color, do so now.

  3. Knead the dough until it becomes supple and smooth.

SAY •That dough has way too much salt to eat! Jesus taught that those who follow Him are like salt. In the same sermon, He also compared believers to light.

OPTION 2: The wide and narrow goals Use traffic cones to make two goals: one very wide, the other very narrow. Provide a foam ball and instruct the kids to take turns kicking the ball toward one of the goals. Award 1,000 points to any kid who kicks the ball through the narrow goal. Award half a point for each kick that rolls through the wide goal. After a few minutes, announce that now kicking it through the wide goal will result in a loss of points. SAY What did Jesus teach when He was on earth? Jesus taught about God and His kingdom. He taught that all Scripture is about Him. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about two gates, one wide and one narrow. Jesus said the wide gate leads to destruction, and the narrow gate to life. [See Matt. 7:13-14.] Jesus was talking about two ways to live. It is easy to live for yourself and to only do the things you think you should do, but that way of living does not honor God. It is much harder to live for God’s glory and to put Him first, but that is the way to experience God’s best for us. When we have faith in Jesus, God forgives our sins and gives us new hearts that love Him. The Holy Spirit comes to help us remember Jesus’ words and obey Him.