Wisdom of History

Building Houses on Rock: Mission Impossible?

Putting the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount into practice may look like a Mission Impossible.  But fear not. This is a Mission Impossible that you should choose to accept.

Each “Mission Impossible” spy thriller begins with a super secret message to the leader of the Impossible Mission Force. The leader is told the immense importance of the proposed mission and then is told, “Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to do such-and-such impossible thing.”

Does the Sermon on the Mount describe a Mission Impossible?

I’ve listened to many believers, teachers and preachers who think so.

They use the sheer audacity of the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount to try and convince me that Jesus didn’t REALLY expect me to put his teachings into practice.

One excuse for inaction is their assertion that Jesus was trying to convince us that it is impossible to put into practice the good deeds described in his Sermon on the Mount. Why? So that we’d realize that only faith in Jesus can save us.

But Jesus said no such thing in his Sermon on the Mount.

And anyway, the only kind of faith in Jesus that counts is the kind of faith that expresses itself through love (Galatians 5:6), compelling us to put into practice the good deeds described in the Sermon on the Mount. (James 2:14-26; Romans 6:1-2,11-13; 7:6; 12:1-2,6-21; 13:8-10).

Another excuse for inaction is their assertion that the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount do not apply until some future time.

The timing of these speculations varies.

Jesus himself told us to avoid such speculations about times and dates. (Acts 1:6-8; Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32).

Such speculations are bad when (as here) a motive for the speculations is to give people an excuse not to put the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount into practice.

Such speculations are even worse when they are motivated by the love of money (for example, by selling books and podcasts).

Some such speculations delay the implementation of the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount until after Jesus has returned a second time and already destroyed all evil.

This excuse is illogical.  After Jesus established a perfect civilization, there would no longer be any such things as murder, adultery, or enemies. Nor would there be anything to worry about.

Some such speculations delay the implementation of the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount until after the Rapture when the Church is already safe in heaven and when those who are left behind on Earth are suffering the Great Tribulation.

Once again, speculation is piled upon speculation. Is there even such a thing as the Rapture? Does Jesus return before, during, or after the Great Tribulation?

Excuses! Excuses!

Delays! Delays!

No wonder that Jesus himself told us not to speculate about times and dates! (Acts 1:6-8; Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32).

I’m sure you’ve heard other excuses for not putting the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount into practice in our lives and in our civilization.

Whenever you are tempted by one of these excuses for not putting these teachings of Jesus into practice, remember that Jesus rejected all of these excuses at the end of his Sermon on the Mount. Jesus warned:

“[E]veryone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:26-27).

These words of Jesus at the end of his Sermon on the Mount prove that we (and our civilization) need to put his teachings into practice in our day-to-day lives immediately, starting as soon as we hear his words.

No more excuses!

No more delays!

Putting the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount into practice may look like a Mission Impossible.  But fear not. This is a Mission Impossible that we and our civilization should choose to accept.

With God, all things are possible! (Matthew 19:25-26; Mark 10:26-27).

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For more of my thoughts about the importance of putting the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount into practice, please read my blog “Building Houses on Sand: Specks and Planks”.

For more of my thoughts based on the Sermon on the Mount, please read my book Hoping in the LORD, at pages 119-122.