Yesterday we wrapped up our series “The Me I Want to Be.” I want to encourage you to take the time and listen to the sermon podcast if you missed any of the sermons in this February series that I got to preach over the last couple weeks. They definitely build on each other and I think we’d all benefit to even go back and just listen to them in sequence, maybe by downloading them and listening to them on your way to work, or while running on the treadmill, or while you’re folding laundry in the living room. Remember that you can do this a couple different ways—either by going to our website www.victoryofthelamb.com or by searching for our podcast on iTunes.
In the book of James, he says that we should be “doers of the Word” and not just “hearers of the Word.” Sometimes I think it takes a second time through the content to really get it and then start to apply it. Otherwise James says that we’ll become like a person “who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, immediately forgets what he looks like” (James 1:24).
I think it’s always easy to hear a sermon and think, “Amen! Right on brother!” but then you only think about other people who you think need to hear it and what those other people should start doing after they hear it. But kind of the whole point of Jesus’ sermon on the mount is that he’s talking to you and me as individuals and how we can become the people God wants us to be. Not them. Me. Starting from the inside out.
I know I was personally challenged by Jesus’ words in Matthew 5 and I’m sure you were too. I think this is one of those sermon series that in preparing for it, praying about it, struggling through it at times, God was shaping me to be that “Me I Want to Be.” I can attest that they were some of the hardest sermons I ever had to write just because Jesus’ words are so penetrating and his critique of “religion” so devastating.
Incidentally one of the things that also struck me just in planning the worship services for this series is how few contemporary songs there are that even come close to teaching any of the topics Jesus deals with in Matthew 5. That’s why in order to teach all of God’s words without compromise it’s important not just to sing what is popular or makes me feel good, but what is important and true—even when that truth is tough for me to swallow sometimes. Truly that’s also part of becoming “The Me I Want to Be” too. I was reminded of that in reading one of today’s Bible lessons in the passage that said: “Whatever is true...think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).