[From Albuquerque, New Mexico]
One of the greatest errors in reading the Sermon on the Mount is to make its primary application on the Church. Jesus is offering the Kingdom to the nation of Israel. While the Christian may receive moral applications from the beatitudes, the audience is the nation of Israel, not the Church.
Jesus has announced the kingdom of heaven is at hand and now He delcares the principles of the kingdom. Notice how Jesus describes the kingdom as future (Matthew 5:19; 20; 6:10, 33).
What about the Lord’s Prayer (or better, the Disciple’s prayer) in Matthew 6:9-13? It is often misunderstood in modern evangelicalism.
“Many seek to organize it according to the pneumonic device “A-C-T-S”. “A” stands for “adoration” as in adoration of God. “C” stands for “confession” as in personal confession of sins. “T” stands for “thanksgiving” as in thanking God for His work and provision in our lives. “S” stands for “supplication” as in asking God to supply our needs…in actuality, this prayer is about the kingdom.
Matthew 6:9-10 can best be understood as three requests that petition the Father to bring to earth the long-awated kingdom…requests for the yet future kingdom.”1
The kingdom of God is a literal kingdom and a future kingdom.
The kingdom will come at the end of the seven-year tribulation when Jesus Christ returns as King of kings and Lord of lords.
How then are Christians to read the Sermon on the Mount?
“There is beautiful moral application to the Christian. It always remains true that the poor in spirit, rather than the proud, are blessed, and those who mourn because of their sins, and who are meek in the consciousness of them, will hunger and thirst after righteousness, and hungering will be filled. The merciful are “blessed,” the pure in heart do “see God.” These principles fundamentally reeappear in the teaching of the Epistles.”2
1 Woods, Dr. Andy. The Coming Kingdom. Duluth, MN. Grace Gospel Press. 2016.
2 Scofield, C.I.. The Scofield Study Bible. New York. Oxford University Press. 1917.