As disciples of the Christ, what we want to know — what we need to know — is not what this or that man wants us to do or what this or that church wants us to do. What we want and need to know is what Jesus wants of us. When we assemble as followers of Jesus and listen to a sermon, we want to hear the Word of Christ; his Word, not man’s.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in the introduction to his The Cost of Discipleship:
“The real trouble is that the pure Word of Jesus has been overlaid with so much human ballast — burdensome rules and regulations, false hopes and consolations — that it has become extremely difficult to make a genuine decision for Christ. Of course it is our aim to preach Christ and Christ alone, but when all is said and done, it is not the fault of our critics that they find our preaching so hard to understand, so overburdened with ideas and expressions which are hopelessly out of touch.”
I’m teaching a Wednesday night class, beginning this evening, on the Sermon on the Mount as recorded by Matthew in Matthew 5-7. It’s so rich and it’s so deep. It’s so broad and huge and meaningful and life-changing. And it’s so simple. And it’s so demanding. And it’s straight from the mouth of our Lord and Savior.
And it’s not some list of unattainable high ideals that are neat to talk about and hope for but ultimately impossible to achieve while we live in this world. The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ call to discipleship to him. The Sermon on the Mount, when internalized and taken for what it is, the teachings of our King, transforms us into his image.
Again from Bonhoeffer:
“When the Bible speaks of following Jesus, it is proclaiming a discipleship which will liberate mankind from all man-made dogmas, from every burden and oppression, from every anxiety and torture which afflicts the conscience. If they follow Jesus, men escape from the hard yoke of their own laws, and submit to the kindly yoke of Jesus Christ. But does this mean that we ignore the seriousness of his commands? Far from it. We can only achieve perfect liberty and enjoy fellowship with Jesus when his command, his call to absolute discipleship, is appreciated in its entirety.
The command of Jesus is hard — unutterably hard — for those who try to resist it. But for those who willingly submit, the yoke is easy and the burden is light.”
***Legacy Construction Update***
Sparks are flying! Here are some pictures of all the welders and welding today at the Youth and Benevolence Center here at Legacy.
At 12:30 today our oldest daughter, Whitney, will see a neuro-opthamologist in Dallas regarding her swollen optic nerves. They’ve promised three or four hours of tests. And then, who knows what?
I know Lance and Keith and Tonia and the entire Legacy Junior High Youth Group lifted her up in prayer at last night’s Bible study. Our brothers and sisters here at Legacy are also praying. I know so many of our dear friends in Marble Falls are lifting her up to our Father. And all of our family and friends from Austin to Fresno and everywhere in between are doing the same. Thank you. Thank you for all the prayers and cards and kind thoughts. It means a lot to Whitney and it means the world to us.
Cynthia, thank you for the comment you left this morning. And for the passage of Scripture that speaks so perfectly to us today. “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” Psalm 68:19.