The way we deal with worry is to invest our heart in God’s kingdom. When our “treasures” are in heaven – we begin to trust God’s plan and provision for our lives in deep ways.
Whatever we fill our hearts and minds with is what will bear fruit. Darkness vs. light, desire for money vs God, worry vs trust.
Jesus teaches his disciples to pray in direct and simple ways – just asking for what we need. In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus teaches us to start with the knowledge of who God is – and just as a good father would not deny his son bread if he asked for it, God will be faithful to give.
Prayer has everything to do with the posture of our heart. “Do to others what you would have them to do you” (7:12) is a frame for how we pray. Being caught up in how our prayers sound or look can hurt our prayers (6:5-7) or having unforgiveness in our hearts can hurt our prayers (6:14-15).
Jesus is assuming we are serving, but when we serve, the posture of our heart matters. Instead of us changing our city, we want our city to change us. Doing the deeper work of caring is not about how we change others; it is about how we are being changed when we give or fast or serve.
Why is retributive justice not the way of the kingdom? Jesus embraces restorative justice as a pathway for the kingdom. Jesus loved all of us who were once enemies. Jesus resisted AND he did not resist. We need to discern which position we take and feel this challenge to love others who we do not want to love while still setting appropriate boundaries in abusive relationships.
How to give and keep your word? Jesus’ kingdom was upside down. Where there was more general acceptance of divorce in the surrounding culture, Jesus challenges his disciples to this impossible ideal of keeping your word – even if it causes you pain.
Covenant can be destroyed however, and in those situations, we do believe there is room for divorce in discernment with Christian community, counselors, and pastors.
How does reconciliation happen? How do you repair a relationship that is damaged? First, we need to deal with our own hearts that are judgmental, angry, offended, self-righteous and look down on others. We need to first deal with our pride that makes us think it’s the other person’s fault (take the plank out of our own eye) and then go to others. It usually is a two-way street, but what Jesus is saying is that we must give more priority to dealing with our own sin and our own part in a conflict before we confront someone else.
These aren’t just wisdom teachings, but prophetic teachings. This is a more radical upside-down kingdom – compare these to American virtues/values (mourning, meekness, seeking righteousness, being pure etc)
You will be rejected, hated etc. when you do the things that Jesus did, in the manner in which he did them. We should actually be surprised when we aren’t hated etc.
How do we understand the Sermon on the mount related to the OT law and how do we live now, it is a way to live out the vision that Jesus had – for the church to be salt and light – how do we do that? It’s not being a nice person, or a better evangelist, it’s actually doing the things that Jesus is doing and telling us to do.
These are prophetic signs of the kingdom, pointing to the kingdom coming – everyone is surprised at his teaching because he is saying that they can live into this!