The Sermon on the Heart

A few years ago I had an opportunity to preach at one of our local jails. I shared a synopsis of the Sermon on the Mount (from chapters 5, 6 & 7 of Matthew's gospel) and it's relationship to the heart / innermost being. Here are a few of the highlights:

Matthew 5:3-16: The Virtues of the Heart

Jesus starts His message with the beatitudes - what a life lived from the heart looks like. In this section he talks about heart issues like mourning, mercy, gentleness, passion, justice, purity and peace (to name a few). He also talks about persecution - something that often results when we live an integrated heart life. He ends this section using the metaphors of salt and life. I believe that this is Jesus charge to live from our heart and not be afraid to let people know who we really are.
Matthew 5:17-48: The Heart of the Law
Jesus states that He is the fulfillment of the Law. This is another way of saying that He is the giver of the new heart. This new heart enables us to live the law from our hearts and not our heads. He goes on to address the inner issues of the law. He says that the external is motivated by the internal – murder, adultery, revenge, and enemies are all manifestations of inner heart issues.
Matthew 6:1-7:6: Invisible Heart Living
Moving from the negative aspects of transgression Jesus now addresses our heart motives with respect to giving, fasting and praying. Here he hits religious people where they live. He instructs us to lead invisible lives. He indicates that disciplines are truly spiritual when they are done in secret. He tells us to seek the invisible and God will take care of the visible. Lastly He blasts those who judge others - only God knows the heart.
Matthew 7:7-28: The Heart of Faith
Jesus talks about praying persistently and not giving up when we pray. He talks about people who seem to be spiritual on the outside but are not spiritual at a heart level. He ends his discourse reminding us that heart faith obeys - standing on the scripture not hiding behind it.
Here is the reaction from the crowd when He is finished:
When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes. (Matthew 7:28-29)
I echo this sentiment. I am in awe of Jesus - I understand the crowd's amazement when I read "you have heard" ... "but I say to you". Jesus' heart message is an encouragement to all people wanting to be inwardly spiritual but not outwardly religious.


  1. In some of the rare glimpses when I TRULY let Him take over my heart...all the stuff of the world falls away for a brief time, just doesn't matter; I understand His love, and love for others and it blows me away. Wish I could get there all the time.

  2. Great blog! I'm so glad Barb has hosted the name game....great opportunity for blog-browsing. Did I miss your name-game post?



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