Session one is Scot McKnight on Sermon on the Mount as Gospel.
“The Gospel has been distorted and colonized.”
Distortion: God loves me, God is holy, God made us in his image, but we rebelled against him, and are now destined to hell because we are sinners. God sent his Son to release us from the guilt and shame of sin, and if we trust him, God will forgive us and we can go to heaven.”
This is a compelling rhetorical package of doctrinal points created in revivalism to precipitate decisions.
This has created a “salvation” culture in church not a “gospel” culture.
Colonized: Gospel has been equated with word “justice” — and seen as worked out through political process.
Mainlines in general aligned with Democratic party and progressive politics. Evangelicals with Republican party and conservative politics.
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Where do we go to begin our discussion of the Gospel?
1. 1Cor 15: Israel’s story comes to culmination in the storied life and work of Jesus.
2. Sermons in book of Acts.
3. The Gospels. They are called “Gospel” because they ARE Gospel. It is not merely “genre” but they are, in content, the Gospel. The purpose of these books is to announce that Jesus is the Messiah, that he fulfills the story of Israel, that he saves.
In “soterian” gospel — the story of Israel disappears.
The central question of NT is “Who is Jesus?” not “How can I be saved?” The second follows from the first. Central question of evangelism is “Who do you think Jesus is?” It is getting people to interpret Jesus well, getting to assign to Jesus the right identity and title.
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The Sermon on the Mount as the Gospel
Frequently seen as teaching Christian ETHICS or discipleship. This is a fundamental mistake. It is GOSPEL.
1. To read the Sermon properly, we begin with context (4:23-25-9:35).
Inclusio at 9:35 — This frames this section and tells us what section is about. (Beginning with ch. 10, disciples extend this ministry into world.)
This is what Jesus is about: (1) He teaches, (2) He performs great works. Sermon on Mount is therefore a depiction of who Jesus is as Teacher. It is Jesus’ claim on his followers — Here is what I teach; will you follow?
2. Sermon articulates Jesus’ Kingdom vision.
Summons to listen to Jesus and follow him within Kingdom of God. Future coming to bear on present. Not regulation of life of disciples but signs and examples of what happens when Kingdom of God breaks into this world.
3. Sermon begins with new Christology.
“New Moses” Christology — the Lord who calls people to follow him. It is exposition of his own life as well as what he requires of his followers.
4. Sermon can be reduced to word “more”.
Jesus wants more from his followers — which leads to “Who does Jesus think he is, and how can he expect this of us?” He can expect more because he has brought a new world into existence into which he calls his followers.
5. Sermon ends with an “invitation”.
Serious call — you have heard me, will you follow? If you think I’m Lord, will you merely say it or will you do what I’ve said?
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT HAS A STRANGE WAY OF MAKING US BETTER PEOPLE OR BETTER LIARS.