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The Sermon on the Mount The Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount


In January, Open Doors presented its 2018 World Watch List of which countries have the worst persecution of Christians. The organization reports that 215 million followers of Christ—about 1 in 12—live where their faith is “illegal, forbidden, or punished.” Top on the list is North Korea, which has filled that spot for sixteen years. Next are Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, and Pakistan.

Jesus taught that in God’s kingdom being persecuted earns a special reward (vv. 10–12). This was the last “Beatitude” in His famous Sermon on the Mount. The location is not specified in Scripture, but according to tradition this sermon was delivered near Capernaum, on a mountainside at the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee. It has been called an inaugural address for the kingdom of God and compared to the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. Many of its sections begin with a reference to the Law, “You have heard that it was said,” before Jesus explained the kingdom standards. In our own strength, we’re incapable of meeting these standards, especially since the summary statement is “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (v. 48).

The Beatitudes describe how godly qualities entail various blessings. The “poor in spirit” depend entirely on the Lord and enjoy a relationship with Him. “Those who mourn” will have enduring comfort. The “meek” forego their own agenda and will in turn receive a godly inheritance, while those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness” have a deep desire for justice that will be filled.

The “merciful” extend and receive compassion and forgiveness, the “pure in heart” demonstrate a holiness that reveals how deeply they know God, and “peacemakers” pursue reconciliation among people that points to God’s own desire for reconciliation.

Pray with Us

Please mention in your prayers vice president and general counsel at Moody, Janet Stiven, and her team in the Legal department. They have the experience and the knowledge to serve MBI and our friends across the country, for God’s glory.

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Bradley Baurain is Associate Professor and Program Head of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at Moody Bible Institute. Bradley has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has just published his first book, On Waiting Well. Bradley taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Bradley and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Northwest Indiana.

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