Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. That is God’s promise to His children in Psalm 37:4. The Hebrew behind “delight” literally means “to be soft”. Therefore, striving to be God’s pen (and nothing else), I often find myself writing from a desire or burden He has stirred in my heart.

That desire – the desire He has placed in my heart for this series of articles – is to participate with Him in raising up and fortifying houses that will stand in the storms of life; those houses being Christian people, families, and fellowships. Storms have always been indiscriminate; both good and evil people experience them more often than we would prefer. Storms can be devastating… and they can be opportunities.

Several significant storms are brewing over America and the world. They will likely continue into the rest of this decade. Many houses will fall under their pressure, including those of our sisters and brothers in Christ. These individuals, families, and fellowships will be looking around for a safe harbor. Jesus has promised that those who hear and do His sayings in the Sermon on the Mount will have well-founded and strong houses (i.e., places of refuge). From there, the wise builders will be positioned and purposed as God’s ministering agents.

Therefore, the purpose of this study is to both learn Jesus’ sayings and to discover how to “do them”.

A Brief Word About Doing

As we will learn throughout the Sermon on the Mount, “doing these saying of Mine” is impossible for even the most passionate and self-disciplined mortal. The word of God is simply beyond our capabilities… and that’s a good thing. There are several examples of this in the Bible. My favorite is the feeding of the five-thousand where, through belief and obedience, the disciples were blessed to participate in one of Jesus’ greatest miracles. Can you imagine their astonishment at the supply of fish and bread their baskets contained?

The conquest of the Promised Land makes this point more dramatically. At the end of the story, Joshua conveys, to the leaders of the armies of Israel, God’s assertion that it was not their bows and spears that drove out the nations, but Him and His heavenly host. This is worth serious consideration: God did so much more than the Israelites – who fought earthly foes almost every day – that He could claim to have done the work! Truly, the Israelites and the disciples were simply walking in the good work God had prepared for them – good work for His glory.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Good work is God’s work. As Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God (v. 3:5).” God is working in us to will and to do to His good pleasure, and He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 3:20). This is the hope we have for houses that will stand in the storms.

What is the Sermon on the Mount?

Many authors, speakers, teachers, and preachers have invoked the phrase “Manifesto of the Kingdom” to describe the Sermon on the Mount. That seems like a good place to start. Merriam-Webster (2020) defines manifesto as, “a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer”. The Sermon on the Mount communicates the kingdom intentions and motives of Jesus Christ, on behalf of His Father in heaven (John 14:24).

Others have offered additionally enlightening definitions and descriptions:

The Sermon on the Mount is a description of character and not a code of ethics or of morals. It is a perfect picture of the life of the kingdom of God. (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 1971)

The Sermon on the Mount is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His way with us. (Oswald Chambers, 1995)

… the Sermon on the Mount is, in the main, Jesus’ doctrine of the Holy Spirit. (R. T. Kendall, 2011)

The Sermon on the Mount describes life in the kingdom of God – the impossible life required of each one who would enter into God’s kingdom. Consequently, the Sermon serves as a mirror and a hope for those who would consider its meaning and mystery. What we can be is what we should be.

However, the Sermon on the Mount has been nothing more than a collection of admirable and unattainable aspirations to those who refuse to believe and obey Jesus’ sayings. Conversely, those who desire to become strong houses have embraced the Holy Spirit’s convictions and humbly submitted to His transformative work. Those wise and courageous enough to follow will find the Sermon on the Mount to be their guide and encouragement into the normal Christian life.

What is Its Purpose?

The purpose of the Sermon on the Mount is to produce men, women, and children who are obedient to God. It really is that simple. The kingdom of God is God’s reign over the hearts of His people. Jesus came to preach the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23; Mark 1:14-15), to establish the kingdom in the earth (Matthew 24:14), and to bring all things under His reign (1Corinthians 15:25).

R. T. Kendall (2011) puts it this way, “The purpose of the Sermon on the Mount is to demonstrate the kind of teaching – and the kind of living with regard to character and conduct – that should govern the people of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Kendall’s renowned mentor, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1971) asserts that “the great purpose of this Sermon is to give an exposition of the kingdom as something which is essentially spiritual… that which governs and controls the heart and mind and outlook.” Lloyd-Jones goes on to explain that living as the Sermon on the Mount prescribes will not make someone a Christian, for someone cannot live it – or even understand it – unless they are one already.

In other words, the purpose of the Sermon on the Mount is to describe how Christians are meant and empowered to live. Jesus shared the Sermon to give kingdom vision to His disciples. It is no small matter that His message and vision culminate with the wise man whose house stands strong in the raging storm.

Why Should We Try to Live It?

The Sermon on the Mount is the best-known part of the teaching of Jesus but, arguably, the least understood – and, certainly, the least obeyed. John Stott (from Kendall)

Nothing we have written to this point is meant to suggest that living out the Sermon on the Mount is easy. While the good work is God’s work, we still face the difficult proposition of understanding, believing, and obeying what Jesus is saying to us here. There are certainly easier “gospels” being offered for our allegiance. For many, sayings like “turn the other cheek” and “do not worry about tomorrow” become rock-solid excuses to look somewhere else.

So, let’s take a look at the reasons we should try to live as the Sermon on the Mount describes. Lloyd-Jones (1971) provides four encouraging considerations:

  1. Jesus Christ died to make it possible for us to live this way.
  2. Nothing leads a person to utter dependence on the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit like the Sermon on the Mount.
  3. The more we pursue and practice the Sermon’s instruction, the more blessings we will enjoy.
  4. The best means for evangelism is for Christians to live the normal Christian life.

These are reason enough to try and live the Sermon life; but there is more. Being a sermon, we can look to the conclusion of the Sermon for Jesus’ reasons to pursue the life He offers. From Matthew 7:

  1. It is a way of seeking and finding God’s reward (v. 7). It is the glory of God to hide a matter, and the glory of kings to search them out (Proverbs 25:2).
  2. The gate is narrow (v. 14). Few will find it and many of those will not be able to enter (Luke 13:24). We must prepare ourselves to help as many of them as we can.
  3. There is great danger for the one who will not pursue the will of the Father found in the Sermon on the Mount (v. 21). Whoever does the will of the Father becomes Jesus’ brother, and sister, and mother (Matthew 12:50).
  4. Lastly, there is the matter of our houses: will they stand or not (vv. 24-27)? Storms come in many ways to both individuals and groups – even whole societies.

Building a strong or weak house begins with the man or woman who hears these sayings. We can encourage and edify one another, but the responsibility of choosing to do them lies with the individual.

In closing, let me offer this final encouragement from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1971).

“If you read the history of the Church you will find it has always been when men and women have taken this Sermon seriously and faced themselves in the light of it, that true revival has come. And when the world sees the truly Christian man, it not only feels condemned, it is drawn, it is attracted. Then let us carefully study this Sermon that claims to show what we ought to be. Let us consider it that we may see what we can be. For it not only states the demands; it points to the supply, to the source of power. God give us grace to face the Sermon on the Mount seriously and honestly and prayerfully until we become living examples of it, and exemplifiers of its glorious teaching.”

God bless you with grace and courage for the good work He has created for you to walk in – even the construction of refuge and healing ministry.

Humbly yours and forever His,


Chambers, O., (1995), Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers.

Kendall, R. T. (2011), The Sermon on the Mount, Bloomington, MN: Chosen Books.

Lloyd-Jones, D. M. (1971), Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Merriam-Webster (2020),