Fall Sermon Series: Life In The Kingdom Part III – Kingdom Devotion

This Fall we’ll continue our exploration of the Sermon on the Mount – the foundational bedrock of Jesus’ teaching. We will be picking up in chapter 6, Part 3 of our outline which we’ve called “Kingdom Devotion”.

Jesus shifts gears in this portion of the Sermon. He begins to focus more on application – putting into practice what he’s just taught in previous sections. In this section he covers three key areas in the lives of his followers: giving, prayer and fasting. He expects his followers to be tending to their relationships with others (giving), their relationship with God (prayer), and the state of their inner lives (fasting). Jesus assumes his followers are active in these three areas. He says, “when you give” (6:1), “when you prayer” (6:5) and “when you fast” (6:16). He cautions his followers against publicity and doing these things to be seen. He cautions us to not babble on and on searching for the right prayer formula or combination of words that will produce the desired results. Jesus says to his disciples, “pray like this”, and then proceeds to teach them the prayer that has come be known as “The Lord’s Prayer” or the “Our Father”. As we will see, this is a prayer we must learn to live. It is a prayer that has power to form us.

What if Jesus was Serious?

What would happen

if we actually lived as if Jesus was serious in his famous Sermon on the Mount? How would our lives change if we actually lived out Jesus’ teachings in those three chapters in Matthew? What kind of impact would the church have if we learned to “go the extra mile”, or “turn the other cheek”, or practice “enemy love” (Matt 5:39, 41, 44)?

The English poet G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) famously said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” Many approach the Sermon on the Mount this way.  They understand it to be a list of ideals that that are impossible to attain. They think the incredibly high standards only serve to remind us how much we suck and need help – a way of God rubbing our noses in the fact that we really don’t measure up.

While we do need grace (lots of it these days!), my hunch is that Jesus was actually serious (besides the hyperbole and humour he clearly used) about his teaching. He intended for his followers to actually give it a go. The crowds who had gathered to listen to him seem to agree. Matthew records that they were amazed because Jesus taught with real authority – quite unlike the religious teachers among them (Matt 7:28-29). Jesus was articulating truth about the Kingdom of Heaven and our role in it as we follow and obey him.

So, what would happen if we took Jesus’ teaching seriously? My guess is that we would have remarkably different lives, we would be a remarkably different church, and we would have a remarkable impact on our neighbourhood(s). My suspicion is that this is exactly what our world needs right now – Jesus followers who actually take Jesus at his word.

This is exactly what our world needs right now.

Over the next year we’re going on a deep dive to discover just what life in the Kingdom of God looks like as Jesus laid out in the Sermon on the Mount. We’re going to gather with the crowds to hear Jesus teach. We’re going to pay special attention to the areas the Holy Spirit is nudging us. We’re going to follow Jesus more closely in our life together as we follow the Spirit’s lead. There will be good stories to tell as a result.

Are you ready?!


Getting Ready:

We’ve divided the Sermon on the Mount into four parts (using Charles E Moore’s categories in “Following the Call: Living the Sermon on the Mount Together“):

Part 1 – Kingdom Character. This section is all about the kind of people who are blessed in the Kingdom of God. Known as the Beattitudes, Jesus flips common understandings upside-down.

Part 2 – Kingdom Commands. This section outlines some of Jesus famous re-framing of the law. He attempts here to get to the heart of the matter.

Part 3 – Kingdom Devotion. This section is about three acts of worship: almsgiving, prayer and fasting. It contains the Lord’s Prayer.

Part 4 – Kingdom Priorities. This section is a collection of wisdom and warnings.

1. Read it – a lot.

Matthew chapters 5, 6 & 7. We will be using Matthew as our primary text, but Luke 6 also records what is referred to the “Sermon on the Plain”.

It will be helpful for you to read these passages regularly. Make them part of your regular devotional focus. Meditate on them. Chew them. Marinade. You get the idea.

2. Engage together.

I’d also like to encourage you to engage the scripture together. Whether that is in a weekly House Group, a Triad, or some other setting, this teaching is meant to be corporate. One resource that is particularly helpful and accessible is this book: What if Jesus was Serious?: a visual guide to the teachings of Jesus we love to ignore by Skye Jethani.



If you’re a House Group Leader, contact the office – we have a copy for you!


We begin Feb 2022.

The Beatitudes – Blessed are you Now!

I’m excited to be embarking on a new mini-series this Spring centring on the Beatitudes. God has been impressing the Sermon on the Mount on me for some time now and I’m excited and curious to begin to explore the beginning of this most famous of Jesus’ sermons. Excited because of what God will stir in us – and curious because I can only guess what the Spirit has in store! Why not follow along in your own personal times of reading and prayer as well as in your House Groups. The Beatitudes are found in Matthew 5.

We will look at the context of the Beatitudes – which are sometimes read as prescriptive rather than descriptive. What I mean by this is that often we read them like Jesus is saying “if you are like this, then one day you’ll be happy (or blessed)”. Kind of like a stick and carrot – just stick through this trouble that you’re in and you’ll be happy once you get through it… or worse… God will bless you more because you’ve suffered more. But this isn’t how they’re meant to be read! They are descriptive – meaning that Jesus is saying blessed are you right now if you’re mourning, or poor in spirit, or seeking peace, etc. It is the Kingdom come right now in the midst of these circumstances we find ourselves in. It is the hope of the Gospel – that the Holy Spirit comes in the middle of our muck and brings fresh perspective, healing and courage to help us keep moving forward. This is not a triumphalistic vague promise of a better time to come, nor is it a blind denial of our actual present circumstances. Rather it is a radical call to follow Jesus. It is a call to trust him with our very lives and follow him in the midst of all that this world can throw at us! It is a call to take Jesus seriously in the here and now and to reorient our lives around his upside-down, inside-out invitation as described in the Sermon on the Mount.


Image Credit: “The Sermon on the Mount” by Károly Ferenczy