Following God Schedule by Living in His Image 2of2

Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount provides guiding principles (The Beatitudes) and explains the essence of Living in the Image of God. The first three Beatitudes describe commitment to following God’s direction through humility and repentance in order to perform the responsibilities of representing him in human interactions. The third through eighth describe the value of humility, care and sensitivity to the needs of others, motivation for being good, and individual responsibilities in the pursuit of peace and righteousness. Further, Christ explains in the second part of the sermon that God creates every person with an intrinsic capability to be good to others and motivate and preserve their goodness. Similar to the intrinsic quality of salt to enhance and preserve the goodness of food. He expects every person to radiate positive impact in human interactions, similar to a light source radiating light, so that people may benefit and glorify God for each other.

Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount wikipedia.org

The Sermon on the Mount [Matthew 5–7] was Christ’s formal teaching to explain God’s purpose for human interactions. He declared the guiding principles in The Beatitudes; described the essence of God’s purpose for human interactions using the Salt of the Earth imagery; and discussed several examples to explain God’s expectations in interactions among people.

Boy offers fish and bread
Boy offers fish and bread
LumoProject.com FreeBibleImages.org

As we discuss previously in Part 1 of this study (Following God Schedule by Living in His Image 1of2), God creates every person to represent him in interactions with others: to convey his presence and impact as if he was there physically in human form. Through formal teaching in the Sermon on the Mount and parables, physical examples, and interactions with his disciples and others during his human ministry, Christ provides guiding principles and describes the essence of Living in the Image of God—to fulfill God’s purpose for every person to be his representative (aka ambassador) in interactions with others. Those that live according to the principles will follow God’s Schedule and receive fulfillment of his promise. In contrast, those that depart from the principles will depart from the schedule.

We discuss the Sermon on the Mount to understand Living in the Image of God based on Christ teaching of the guiding principles in The Beatitudes and the essence in the Salt of the Earth teaching.

The Beatitudes—
Principles of Living in the Image of God

In the first part of the Sermon on the Mount [Matthew 5:3–10], Christ declares guiding principles for living to fulfill God’s purpose that every person be his representative among others. The principles (or Beatitudes) consist of two parts.  The first three Beatitudes describe human relationship with God; whereas the third through eighth describe human interactions; with an overlap in the third beatitude, which describes the value of humility in relationships with God and in human interactions.

Human Relationship with God in the Beatitudes

Blessed are the poor in spirit
Blessed are the poor in spirit
© Olga355 | Dreamstime.com

The first, second, and third Beatitudes provide the message that human effort alone is inadequate to accomplish God’s purpose. Sin separates us from God and limits or totally destroys our capability to function as he intends. In order to perform the responsibilities of representing God in human interactions, a person needs to commit to seeking and following his direction [Blessed are the poor in spirit] through repentance [Blessed are those who mourn] and humility [Blessed are the meek]. Apostle Paul described the same principle as follows [Romans 3:22–24]: “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Positive Human Interactions in the Beatitudes

The third through eighth Beatitudes provide the following guiding principles of positive human interaction.

  • Humility [Blessed are the meek].
  • Care, i.e., desire to be good to others [Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness].
  • Sensitivity to the needs of others [Blessed are the merciful].
  • Motivation for righteousness [Blessed are the pure in heart].
  • Individual responsibility for peace with others [Blessed are the peacemakers].
  • Individual responsibility for righteousness [Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness].
Humility of Jesus
Humility of Jesus
LumoProject.com FreeBibleImages.org

HUMILITY: As we discuss under Value of Humility—Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, humility conveys a message that a person is available and willing to provide or accept assistance as needed. It establishes an environment for fulfilling God’s purpose of mutual provider-receiver relationships among people, whereby every person is potentially a provider of service for others and a receiver of services provided by others. Humility conveys a person as predisposed to appreciate other people as potential providers of human service and willing to perform services to benefit others. Therefore, a person’s humility conveys Godliness to others and motivates them to do the same. God creates every person to be humble, expects and rewards humility, but punishes haughtiness.

God's provider assistants for a paralyzed
God’s provider assistants for a paralyzed
LumoProject.com FreeBibleImages.org

CARE AND SENSITIVITY IN COMPASSION: The two principles of care (i.e., desire to be good to others) and sensitivity to the needs of others are important in receiving and responding to a call to compassion. As we discuss under Compassion—Sensitivity to Needs, God uses call to compassion to direct a person to blessing he has ordained. He calls the person regarding a need and expects them to recognize the need, care about the needy, commit to providing, and persevere in seeking to alleviate the need. A call to compassion is an opportunity for a person to perform their responsibilities as God’s provider assistant—as a participant in his provider-receiver network. A call to compassion offers opportunity for a person to be sensitive to a need placed on their path [Blessed are the merciful] and care about the needy [Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness].

MOTIVATION: The principle of motivation for righteousness [Blessed are the pure in heart] directs that individual behavior be motivated by an understanding of God’s purpose in a given situation and desire to fulfill the purpose. As we discuss in a previous study under Motivation for Righteousness—A Christ Teaching on Hypocrisy, an act of worship or righteousness pleases God if it is motivated by a desire to worship him or serve people to fulfill his purpose. In contrast, an act of worship or righteousness does not please God if it is motivated by self-promotion, seeking human recognition, or any purpose other than serving God.

INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY: The last two Beatitudes describe individual responsibilities in accomplishing goals under God’s purpose. Every person is individually responsibility for peace with others [Blessed are the peacemakers] or righteousness in interactions with others [Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness]. As we discuss in a previous study under Individual Responsibility in Human Relationship—No Tit-for-Tat, every person is accountable for his/her responsibility in any relationship, independent of the other party’s behavior. Paul described the principle as follows: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” [Romans 12:18]. The phrase “if it is possible” means explore all possibilities and you are likely to find a way that makes it possible. Also, the phrase “as far as it depends on you” means focus on the aspects that depend on you—the things you control, and leave the other party to handle the things they control. Therefore, both principles direct every person to perform their individual responsibility in any relationship irrespective of the other party performing or failing to perform theirs.

Salt of The Earth
The Essence of Living in the Image of God

In the Salt of the Earth teaching [Matthew 5:13–16], Christ explains that God creates people for a purpose and endows each person with an intrinsic capability to perform the purpose. The intrinsic capability of a person to represent God in human interactions defines the person’s Godliness. God expects each person to actively deploy the capability in every situation. As we discuss in a previous study under The Essence of Living in the Image of God, he used an analogy of the saltiness of salt to describe God’s expectations regarding interactions among people.

SALTINESS AND GODLINESS: Just as salt is known by and valued because of its saltiness, a person is to be known by and valued because of his/her Godliness. Also, just as the saltiness of salt is felt through what it does, the Godliness of a person is to be felt through his/her interactions with others. Also, just as saltiness is intrinsic to salt, Godliness is intrinsic to a person—not something a person makes up to show, but something that shows up as the person lives. As salt enhances and preserves the goodness of food because of its saltiness, a person is to motivate and preserve the goodness of people because of his/her Godliness.

Cape Meares Lighthouse
Cape Meares Lighthouse
wikipedia.org

POSITIVE IMPACT AND LIGHT: Christ uses the imagery of light to explain God’s expectation of positive impact from every person. Light radiates from a source as positive impact is to radiate from a person’s Godliness. Just as people light a lamp and place it on an elevated stand so “it gives light to everyone in the house,” let your Godliness radiate impact to others that “they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” [Matthew 5:15–16]. Through this teaching, Christ calls on every person to interact with others and let your Godliness radiate through the interactions. God assigns every person a role in every situation and expects the person to find and work to fulfill his/her role. Perform your role so that others may be impacted by your Godliness, similar to the lighthouse lamp throwing its light for everyone.

LOSS OF SALTINESS: It is unthinkable that salt may lose its saltiness. But if it does, then the salt no longer has any value. Similarly, a person that has lost his/her Godliness no longer has any value. Godliness is effectively lost from any that fails to interact in ways that promote its radiation. Therefore, in every situation, find and serve the purpose for which God placed you there. Make a positive impact to motivate and preserve human goodness, so that people will glorify God because of your Godliness.

Summary of What We Learned

The Sermon on the Mount provides guiding principles (The Beatitudes) and explains the essence of Living in the Image of God. The first three Beatitudes describe commitment to following God’s direction through humility and repentance in order to perform the responsibilities of representing him in human interactions. The third through eighth describe the value of humility, care and sensitivity to the needs of others, motivation for being good, and individual responsibilities in the pursuit of peace and righteousness.

Further, Christ explains in the second part of the sermon that God creates every person with an intrinsic capability to be good to others and motivate and preserve their goodness. Similar to the intrinsic quality of salt to enhance and preserve the goodness of food. He expects every person to radiate positive impact in human interactions, similar to a light source radiating light, so that people may benefit and glorify God for each other.

More Information

You can download a PDF copy of the PowerPoint presentation of this bible study from PDF_LINK.

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