In the history of the world, there has never been a teacher quite like Jesus. Even though He wasn’t handsome or charismatic, He spoke “as one having authority,” and His authority was supported by miracles and even the voice of God the Father.
People throughout the centuries have attempted to deny His existence only to be crushed under mountains of evidence. Others try to say He was “just a good teacher, but not the Son of God,” which is ironic because if He wasn’t actually the Son of God then most of His teachings would be lies, totally undermining His status as a “good teacher.” Far too many people like to pick and choose which teachings to obey while ignoring then inconvenient or unpopular ones. Jesus was so much more than just a teacher of truth, He is the living Son of God, the source of life, and the reason for our joy! He not only spoke about love, He demonstrated amazing love.
According to the apostle John, we do not have all the words Jesus spoke nor all the miracles He performed, but we have enough to believe and have life in Him (John 20.30-31).
For the month of March, we will be writing out excerpts from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. I could have included the entire sermon in one month, but I really wanted to allow each of us time to meditate on specific portions and consider how to more effectively serve the Lord. The Beatitudes, for example, are broken into one verse per day. After you copy out that line, take a couple minutes to find related verses. Ask yourself: “Am I living this characteristic? What can I do to be the peacemaker, the poor in spirit, etc.”
Since I have not included the full text in the plan, I recommend adding the Sermon on the Mount into your daily bible time for this month. If you are able, listen to or read all three chapters on the first day, taking special note of Matthew 7.24-25. I highly recommend listening to and/or reading chapter five for days 2-15, then doing the same for chapter 6 on days 15-26, and do likewise with chapter 7 for the remaining days.
Reading (or listening to) the full chapters will also allow you to ponder the portions I haven’t included in the plan. It might also be beneficial to read other versions if you read it multiple times. If you are usually reading from the ESV, try the NASB, the NKJV or the KJV. If you’re looking for a free audio bible, check out the YouVersion app. I usually use their ESV audio bible.
What it Means to “Listen” to Jesus
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Matthew 7.24-27, ESV (emphasis mine)
I chose to begin this plan with the end of Jesus’ Sermon because we progress through each portion of the sermon, I’d like us to have these words on our heart. Listening to Jesus is not only hearing but applying. Post these four verses on your bathroom or dresser mirror as a reminder to hear His words and do them!
Jesus uses a vivid illustration of a wise and foolish man. The wise man builds his house on a firm foundation. It’s solid. It’s unshakeable. It’s lasting. Standing strong in the face of wind, rain, and even flood, the house never falls. If we listen to the words of Jesus and DO them, our faith will be like that house. Nothing on earth will knock it down!
By contrast, the foolish man constructs his house on sand. Growing up near the Pacific Ocean, I spent a fair amount of time with beach sand. I built castles that disappeared in less than 24 hours, went on walks and runs down the harder sand near the water, and ate plenty of sandy chips and sandy hot dogs. The sand closest to the shore may seem hard, but it is frequently shifting with the waves. Stand in it long enough and you’ll see the sand eroding near the edges of your feet. The soft sand further out from shore is so fine that it moves under even the softest wind. A house built on sand will easily collapse, either through erosion or a severe storm. If we hear Jesus’ words and fail to apply them, our life and our faith will erode with time or be smashed to pieces by the inevitable storms of life.
To listen to Jesus is to hear his words and intentionally obey them. We can’t obey Jesus if we don’t know what He taught and we aren’t really loving Him if we don’t act on His teaching.
Listen to Him!
The Heart of Jesus’ teaching
In this Sermon, Jesus emphatically challenges the listener to examine the heart. It isn’t enough to check the box; we must go beyond the box. The Pharisees were expert box-checkers. They even made extra boxes just so they could look extra check-mazing. Jesus frequently chided them for their hypocrisy (Matthew 23) and for creating additional check boxes that often ended up violating God’s commands (Mark 7.1-13)
Jesus teaches the necessity of checking the heart, not just the box. If we do not eradicate resentment, lust, anger, selfishness, greed, etcetera, all the check boxes in the world will not matter to Him on judgment day. God wants us to be transformed by the renewal of our mind, and that transformation only comes through following Jesus.
Just because we regularly warm a pew on Sunday morning, doesn’t necessarily mean we are living a godly life. We might not commit the act of murder, but our hearts may overflow with murderous hatred. Even though we don’t commit the physical act of adultery, we might be consumed with lust. We might not bow to a physical statue, but our heart might worship our stuff or even our self. It is impossible to hide our sins from God.
When you recognize sin within yourself, repent. Ask for God’s help to forgive that impossible hurt. Plead with Him to teach you how to remain calm instead of blowing up with anger. God will help you transform!
Jesus’ words bring life. Listen to Him!
If you have any questions about the plan, comment below, shoot me a private message through my Facebook page, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To download a printable version of the plan, click the links below. I have included a full-sheet printable and a half-sheet printable (one to keep and one to share!). You are also welcome to save the image in this post to your phone! Feel free to share with as many people as you’d like!
If you aren’t sure what scripture writing is, or would like tips to get started, read this post: How to Use Scripture Writing Plans.