Category Archives: Sermon on the Mount Series

The Mission of God’s People (2008)

The church’s mission picks up where Jesus left off: “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion” (Isaiah 61:2-3a). How we can proclaim the fear of God in such a way that causes people to break down and get right with God, if we haven’t gone through it ourselves?

Jesus’ warning, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” addresses the fatal self-righteousness that will block us from seeking the kingdom of God, his righteousness, and the mission to which we are called. Instead of selling out to Jesus,  most of us, without even realizing it, approach church as if we’re sampling desserts at the grocery store. Are you crushed by how you’ve treated God?

The Road to Life (2008)

The writing on the wall at Belshazzar’s banquet teaches us what it means to deny ourselves and enter the narrow gate. The first word, mene, signifies the sinner’s condition: though he thought he could dethrone God and be in charge of his own life, God will finally put an end to this stolen sovereignty. Tekel signifies the reckoning at the final judgment of the areas of our life that we shaved off and gave to the enemy, darkness, or casualness. Parsin represents hell.

Because we’ve all shaved off and stolen from God, the only way to not be found wanting at the judgment is to buy gold tried in the fire. Outward obedience and trying hard will never get us there–that is a system of works. Instead, to pass through the narrow gate is to deny our own sense of ability and any personal agenda, fully give ourselves to Jesus, and receive his righteousness. This act of faith causes a great groaning in our souls as our inner rebellion and wickedness cry out against crucifixion. Will you, like Nebuchadnezzar, humble your heart before the mighty God of heaven? Or, like Belshazzar, will you spend your last day on earth partying with the holy things of God?

(Notes available!)

Hindrances to the Narrow Path (2008)

After Jesus lays out the moral requirements of the new covenant, he concludes the sermon on the mount with a warning. What will hinder someone from finding the narrow gate, entering the narrow path, and staying on it? Namely, false prophets, hypocrisy, intellectualism, a defensive spirit, and a performance mindset will. Have you been ensnared by any of these?

(PDF Notes are available for this sermon!)

Venturing Out on the Promises of God (2008)

Unlike contracts, covenants are confirmed with blood. The old covenant, with blood between God and Israel, required legal obedience under punishment of death. While the law says, “You have to stop what you’re doing wrong and try harder to do what’s right,” the new covenant contained in the blood of Jesus says, “Lay down distractions, busy-ness, and all other loves. Turn to the face of Jesus and ask to be his bride.Practically, this means seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and trusting Jesus to give you exactly what he wants you to have. Have you left the abuse of the devil and entered this blessed rest of Jesus?

Two Paths Clearly Marked (2008)

Unlike forest trails, which are quickly overgrown, the path of light and the path of darkness have many clear markings. The first is identified by an active faith, bold confession, and absolute, sold-out dependence on Jesus; the second, by a divided heart, hiding one’s sin, and self-reliance. In spite of these clear markings, we may trick ourselves about which path we’re walking. Just because the path of light leads through a dark area doesn’t mean we’ve sinned. Likewise, temporal ease doesn’t mean that we’re not under a sentence of death. Where are you today?

(Note: Sermon notes available here!)

Nourishing Our Inner Life (2008)

In this meaty sermon, Pastor Ray digs deep into the three secret acts of righteousness for which God will openly reward us: giving alms, secret prayer, and fasting. These practices nourish our inner soul life and make us spiritually rich and fat, regardless of our physical circumstances. Selflessness and entire consecration to Jesus must underlay these three acts. This sermon is a must-listen for those seeking stability in their Christian experience, true Christian community, real answers to their prayers, the glory of God’s name, and the coming of his kingdom!

(Note: An outline of this sermon is available here!)

Precious Treasures of the Heart

Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” This touching sermon from the Sermon on the Mount series shows that this passage isn’t just about money. We collect many things in our hearts, such as memories, hardness, a double mind, fasting, prayer, giving alms, and sacrifice for Jesus. But our hearts were intended not to store these, but to be filled with the love and power of Jesus. Are you keeping up with your deposits with Jesus? That which is unclean will be washed; and that which is righteous will be kept for eternity!

Resetting Our Moral Compass (Encore)

In this first message in the Sermon on the Mount series, Pastor Ray lays out the design of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount to straighten out the bitterness of the human heart and put us on the road to righteousness. Because the Beatitudes are sequential, we won’t make spiritual progress if we avoid mourning over the ugliness of our sinful condition. But if we’re willing to mourn, we can move into the meekness described in verses 21 to 48. Will you let the Holy Spirit expose all the sin of your heart? Will you let him take you low enough so that you will be compassionate to all people, and find great happiness in loving those who despise you?