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Sermon On The Mount

by G. D. Knepper

By Brother George.D. Knepper

June 17, 1958

Preached at Big Creek Church of Christ in Louisiana

(This is the first in a series of articles by Bro. Knepper from the Sermon on the Mount)

 

You folks have a tremendous responsibility.  I may say to you that God is going to hold you responsible.  You are not your own, you are bought with a price. Therefore, you are to glorify God and Christ in your lives and to live before these children the kind of life so that if they walk in your footsteps they will be following in the footsteps of the master man.  It is a tremendous thing for a man to (stand) before the world saying, “I am a Christian.”  Not a church member.  I am a Christian.  And it carries with it tremendous responsibility.

Now we are going on one of the greatest adventures that you will ever go upon.  I am convinced in my own mind that the devil has kept us away from the Sermon On the Mount with a deliberate purpose.  The Sermon on the Mount is the very center of God’s message to mankind.  And the astounding, the amazing thing, is how lightly a great many people dismiss the Sermon on the Mount, and we have a school of thought that says it doesn’t apply to us because it was spoken before the resurrection Christ.  The Devil wants you to believe that. The Sermon on the Mount stands in the relationship to all the rest of God’s revelation, the same relationship that the constitution of the United States or the constitution or your state bears to the laws that are passed.   But those laws must all be in consonance, that is they must agree with, and simply give explanation to the constitution. And no other part of God’s word,  and no interpretation of God’s word – any part of it—dare conflict with what is taught in the Sermon on the Mount.  It is the ‘constitution’ and from that radiates all other teaching of God’s word. And the devil has caused us to stay away from it.  He wants you to, or he wants you to do like a great many people do:

“blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see

God blessed are the meek….”

NO! don’t ever do that with God’s word!  In those words are the most profound principles, the most profound thinking, the most profound message in God’s holy word couched in language so simple. Don’t you ever let anyone look down on you or make you feel inferior because you don’t happen to have a high school diploma or college diploma, or something like that.  Don’t ever let anybody make you feel inferior. Of the twelve men that Jesus chose not more than one or two of them had what we call an education today.  But God through, Christ, was able to give them the message that he wants you to have tonight.  You are embarking on the greatest adventure in the Word of God.  And I hope to interest you sufficiently so that you will go on.  What you put into this is what you can hope to get out of it, and if you don’t put much into it, don’t expect to get much out of it.  If you are cultivating a field of corn, or some other crop you have seen the kind of farmer that didn’t look any about the seed that they planted, they didn’t get the ground ready, they didn’t cultivate after the planted it, and all that.  They shouldn’t expect a crop.  But the real farmer looks after the seed.  He gets the best see, the best soil ready in the best way he can in which to plant the seed, and he watches it, he cares for it. And he gets a crop.  Folks, that is what you will have to expect to do if you get the  utmost out of God’s word.

 

I am only teaching.  All learning, as far as you are concerned, must come from within you.

 

Now, if you are going to build a small house, what would be the first thing you have to build!  A foundation!  Sure, that is the first thing you build to put up a house.  Now it is just a little house.  What about the foundation?  Do you go very deep? Do you go to much trouble? No, you wouldn’t need to would you?  But if you are building a fifty story building in our city, what kind of a foundation would you put?  You would go down, down, down. They tell me that in those great skyscrapers they go down as far as the go up.  Folks don’t get excited if we don’t go very fast in this Sermon on the Mount.  We are dealing with the profound mind of the eternal God. And we are dealing with God’s word where he is seeking to get across to me a great message, and he can’t do it until I get a foundation under it. What is the use of building a super-structure if you don’t have a foundation under it?  They tell me that down in New Orleans some of their buildings are now leaning over, becoming like the tower of Pisa.  If you want to get a great building, you put a foundation under it.  And I would like tonight to get a foundation on which we can build something that is worthwhile.  Now, look out, I’ll startle you.

Too many people are going to church getting what the call Christianity. Too many people are obsessed with the idea that Christ simply came to save them.  Sure he came to save you.  Sure, he died that you might have life, and have it abundantly.  But there is something more to it, folks that you and I have to recognize.  And that is this! That Jesus not only came to save you for all eternity, but he came to enable you to get a foundation of character, personality, your soul,  your spirit – call it what you want to. (Some people have called me a modernist for saying this, but you don’t know any better than I do what to call it).  But it is YOU!  He is seeking to get you to build your life something that can go on and on functioning in eternity.  And you don’t know what God is preparing for you for he says, “It has not entered the mind of man the things God is preparing for us.” And you don’t know what work (and I mean work) God has for you.  “His servants shall serve him.”  I don’t know who in the world promoted the idea that when we get to heaven we are going to sit on a cloud strumming a harp.  Of the ungodly, devilish stuff that was forced on anybody, that is the most devilish.  God has always existed.  He has had a universe always, and it is going to go on for eternity, and you don’t have to know what God has for you to do.  But you do know, or should know, that what you are doing here and now, and what you do in the 30, 40, 60 years that God gives you here on earth he is preparing you.  Just as brother John here is attending the university over in Baton Rouge for a few years, getting ready for a larger, broader, a more complete, a more comprehensive life.  And so the years that you are living here – and I don’t care how poor you are in this world’s goods, I don’t care how little of what they call education.  God may be preparing you for a tremendous work over there.  And that is what Jesus is teaching in his  Sermon on the Mount.  He is teaching you and me how to live here and now so that we will function in his kingdom hereafter.

Now I read to you last night from I Corinthians 3:12 about people what are building now gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, and the last three of those are going to see all tat they have done burned up, but they will just squeeze through into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Are they going to be entrusted by God with great things—Oh, no, no!  I don’t know what God is going to do with those people, but I know they will not be the people that God will send out on the great works that he has for them to do. Oh folks, your time is tremendously valuable to you.  Your opportunity to know God, to know what God wants you to do is of tremendous value to you.  And it matters not how poor you are in this world’s goods, how much lacking you have in education so-called, you still can function in such a way that you will be prepared; and when God meets you face to face over there  — don’t you look forward to it?  Don’t you look forward to the time when you are going to met God face to face?  Oh, I want to see him.  I want to see the Christ.  I want to see him face to face and say, “Thank you, Lord, for what you did for me.  I thank you Lord, that you gave me the opportunity and told me how to live life down here so that I wouldn’t be ashamed when I meet your father over there.”  Your time is tremendous value to you. Tremendous value.

Now you are living in a time when we have lost God. A time when we have turned our backs on Him, when we are trying through avenues of education. (Now don’t think I don’t believe in education.  I believe in real education –“educio,” to draw out –education that draws out the best, the utmost, the highest in me,  that is education).  But they are not trying to do that. They are trying to get away from doing just what Jesus told us to do in the Sermon on the Mount.

Now I want to read to you from a man who at the age of 33 was one of the most brilliant men that ever lived.  He had a brilliant mind.  But this man at age 33 had burned out life. Life no  more had any meaning at all, and he put into a short poem how it feels, what it means.  This is written by Lord Byron

‘There is not a joy the world can give like that it takes away

When the glow of early thought declines in feelings dull decay.’

–When your feelings decay.  Your feelings.  Just in a few minutes I want to show you what is back of all this, back of what Jesus is teaching here is feeling, how I feel toward things.  It is how I feel towards persons that is significant and absolutely essential in my claim to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. But I want to go on with this poem.

‘Tis not on youth’s smooth cheek the blush alone fades so fast

But the tender bloom of heart is gone ere youth itself is past.’

Do you get the significance of that?  In living a life of shame, in living a worldly life, you not only lose the blush of beauty, the thing that makes you girls so beautiful, so marvelous, the blush of beauty.  You not only lose that, but you lose the tender bloom of heart, and out of the heart are the issues of life.  You cease to feel from the heart.

‘Then the few whose spirits float above the wreck of happiness..

They are still gripping something of happiness.’

‘Are driven o’er the shores of guilt or ocean of success’

The magnet…

What did Jesus say? “I, If I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me..”

Now that’s the magnet of your life.  Oh never, never let yourself reach a place where Christ doesn’t pull you.  It’s possible.  You can toss a magnet over some debris and it will pick up a great load of metal, but here is a piece of metal that (it) doesn’t touch at all. Now the same power is exerted over the metal that it picks up. What is the matter?  The trouble is the thing itself.  Oh folks, pray to God from the depths of your soul that there will never come a time when you don’t feel a tremendous draw of that mighty magnet. “And I, if I be lifted up will draw all men.. He draws.  But I can insulate myself, I can become such a thing in myself so indifferent to God and his claims on my life, that a mighty magnet can pass over me, and still with all its drawing power it still doesn’t pull me.

‘The magnet of the course is gone or only points in vain the shore

To which their silvered sails shall never stretch again

Then the mortal coldness of the soul, like death itself, comes down.

This is tremendously important.  This is significant.  This is basic.

‘It cannot feel for other’s woes.  It dare not dream its own.

The heavy chill has frozen, frozen o’er the fountain of our tears.

Though the eye may sparkle, still, ‘tis where the ice appears.

Though all the wit may flash from fluent lips and mirth distract the breast.

Through midnight hours that yield no more their former hope of rest.

‘Tis but as ivy leaves around the ruined turret wreathed

And green and wildly fresh without, but worn and great beneath.’

Get this.  This is Lord Byron speaking to you at age 33, dying a mental wreck. Dying, saying there is nothing to life

‘Oh could I feel as I have felt, or be what I have been

Or weep as I could once have wept o’er many a vanished scene

As springs in deserts found seem sweet, all brackish though they be,

So midst the withered waste of life, those tears would flow to me.’

You will never hear that put in better words than that.  I don’t know whether you saw this morning’s paper or not.  In this morning’s paper it told of the death of a child 21 months of age, and what do you suppose caused that child’s death?  Ate 24 tranquilizing tablets she found in dad and mother’s bed room. People all over the world taking tranquilizing tablets!  Can’t go to sleep at night!.  Living under tensions God never intended you to go through.  That is the purpose of the Sermon on the Mount, to teach you how to live so that you won’t live under tensions.  So that when you go to bed you say, “God, if I should die before I wake, I pray thee Lord my soul to take.”  Then lie down and go to sleep. If you live by the Sermon on the Mount you will never need a tranquilizer tablet. Never!  If you live as Jesus taught you how you can live, remember this – as I shall sow you in a little bit – remember this, that Jesus never taught us to do something that we can’t do. I have no time nor place for the fellow who says, “Oh, well, that is too idealistic.” Oh, never!  The Christ never asks me to do something I cannot do.  Now he may ask Bro. ob to do something I can’t do, he may ask Bro. John to do something I cannot do.  I am hoping that John, standing on my shoulders, will go way beyond in his comprehension and his ability to teach the Sermon on the mount.  I am hoping for him that he can.  But God is not asking me to anything I cannot do. They told me I couldn’t drive my car down here, told me I couldn’t stand up here before you folks for two hours.  But I believed that God was sending me and with his help I expect to go through these two weeks of meeting.  Not with spitefulness on my part, not because I am so wonderful or anything of that kind. But because of God has called on me to do this, he will give me the strength to do it.

 

Now then, any comprehension, any understanding, the most superficial understanding of what Jesus is teaching on the Sermon on the Mount bases in three words, and you have to get them first or you will never understand.  You will never comprehend with any sort of adequate comprehension what Jesus is teaching in the Sermon on the Mount.  Those three words: What is man? Until you realize that, until it breaks in upon your consciousness, until you see that it bases in that –What is man? A Psalmist said that thousands of years ago.  What is man?  You are a reality.  Everyone is a reality here. Somewhere back the line man started.  Not from a little piece of life wriggling out of the ocean, wriggling out on land, the each time it needed  something –well, it got it .  Let’s not let anybody put across anything like that on our thinking.  I was kicked out of one school – well not really kicked out, but a fellow saw to it that I got out because I didn’t have a sufficient certificate to hold down the job of principal of the school. Because I dared in a Baccalaureate sermon to stand up and attack the evolutionary theory he wrote to the State Department of Education and saw to that I could have my job only one more year.  But I am still standing before people and saying to you that there is a thousand fold more of a gap between the evolutionary theory as the beginning of man and the creation fact as given in God’s word. Man was created, not evolved.  Now folks, I say to you parents, if your child is going to college, and it will be nice if he or she can, that’s fine – but you teach that child ( now he may not dare to say anything about it to his professor.  If he does he might get and F) but don’t let him be indoctrinated with that devilish sin.  Well, what is man anyway?

I wonder if you read the first verse in our Sermon on the Mount.  And then I wonder if you read the preceding verse.  Now folks, you understand that in the Greek  this is all one story.  There is no such thing as chapters and verses in the Greek.  So when you read the last verse of chapter four, you just read right on into the fifth chapter Matthew 4:24-5:2:

And the report of him went forth into all Syria; and they brought unto him all that were sick, holden with divers diseases and torments, possessed with demons, and epileptic, and palsied; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes from Galilee and Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea beyond the Jordan.

And seeing the multitude, he went up into the mountain and when he sat down, his disciples came unto him; and he opened his mouth and taught them saying..”

There you have it. What or whom was it that Jesus saw?  The multitudes.And what was the condition of those multitudes? Sick. Helpless. What did he say when he taught that woman at the well in Samaria?  (By the way folks, there was a woman who had six husbands and was then living with a man in adultery and all your nicety-nice folk – what would they have done? Oh, even his disciples did not dare ask him what he was talking to her about.  The implication being that even the disciples had to fight   up here not to say something or do something that would show that they wondered what he had been talking about.)  But what I started to say is this: One of the profoundest discourses that Jesus ever preached that has been recorded was preached to that woman. So if you are poor, if you are uneducated God may be able to use you tremendously.  Now let’s go back to it.  We will get a foundation pretty soon, I hope.

Let’s go back now.  Jesus saw the multitudes.  Folks, the whole Sermon on the Mount bases itself in the fact that Jesus is teaching you and me to see people.  Not to live goody, goody lives,  Not to stand up before people as I am doing tonight and say great swelling words and tell you (you’re) wonderful –oh, no, no, no.  He is teaching in the Sermon on the Mount; and if you will read it from beginning to the end, you will find that it bases in people, persons and how we see them. That is fundamental. God pity the poor little preacher, who when he stands in the pulpit to preach,  only sees Elder Goldrocks over there who furnishes money for his salary.  So he goes over Goldrocks’ head and preaches at that poor fellow back there that every body says he a sinner – Oh, no, no, no.  God help that poor little preacher.  God waken him up.  Jesus saw the multitudes.  As I started to say about that woman: she went back to the city, and it is almost unbelievable. If it wasn’t in God’s word I would think it was just a newspaper story. (It is) unbelievable that the whole city almost came out there to meet Jesus, to see him.  Because of that one woman, a bad woman, a woman that most of us would have shied away from when we met her on the street;  that woman had the telling power, the convincing power of telling her story so great that she set the whole city to thinking, and they came out there to meet him. And when Jesus saw them coming he said, “They are like sheep without a shepherd.”  Oh, see people like that folks.  See these little ones back here, the lambs without a shepherd unless you shepherd them.  He saw the multitude and went up onto the mountain.

Now here is a point you want to be sure that you get.  I suppose there are some of you folks that have studied grammar. We studied grammar – now they just study English! And the way they can butcher it in papers they turn in, you wonder.  I taught school for quite a while and I saw a lot of it.  Well when I was young 8 or 10 years ago, we studied grammar, and I mean we studied grammar.  We put a sentence up there on the board and we diagrammed it.  We saw every part of speech.  We not only diagrammed it we parsed it.  We told all about that verb, we told all about that noun.  Now I’m telling you that for this purpose: in the first verse of this chapter it says he went up on the mountain and his disciples come to him and he taught them.  Now you fill find a lot of people thinking he was teaching the multitudes. No!  I don’t know that the multitudes didn’t hear.  As far as I know they heard.  But he is teaching that little group of 12 men. Why?  He sees the multitude and their great need, and those 12 men must be so indoctrinated with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, must come to have such a great comprehension of God’s love for even sinners, must have a desperate feeling of need toward those people that when he is gone they will carry on.  And so he is teaching those men. You have to have that (feeling for people’s needs) to explain to people. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I told you that I believe in baptism just as absolutely as any of you folks.  I do. But baptism is only a door.  And am I to go on and on, and on telling people to go through the door when most people I am talking to have already gone through the door?  Does that make sense? No. Not to me.  I want to tell people what to do after they get through the door.  I am interested in their going on beyond the door. And so don’t worry yourself because Jesus didn’t teach baptism in the Sermon on the Mount.  The 12 men he was talking to have already been baptized, as far as men are concerned, even though it was John’s baptism.  Those men have been baptized. They are in the Kingdom of Christ.  And now he is teaching people what to do beyond the door.  And you never understand or get the right attitude or comprehension from the Sermon on the Mount until you realize that Jesus is talking to his disciples. That he is indoctrinating those 12 men so that when he is gone  and they no longer can see and feel him physically, they will have such great depth of comprehension of his purpose in life and his purpose to them, they will carry on.

QUESTION: Was it just the twelve, when his disciples are mentioned here?

ANSWER: Go back and read Matthew 4:18-22. (Jesus calling Peter, Andrew. James and John)  I am inclined to think that is was the twelve.  I wouldn’t argue that with anybody, nor attempt to prove it.  They are the ones to whom he is leaving the propagating of the kingdom after his departure.  Now there may have been other disciples there, I do not know.

QUESTION: Was this the early stages of Christ’s preaching?

ANSWER: There is a question about that. Some bible students say that this occurred several months, ora perhaps a year or two after his ministry began.  And I wouldn’t be able to answer.  There are two or three schools of thought there.  Some believe it took place right at the beginning of his ministry, others believe perhaps a year or so had passed before he preached this Sermon on the Mount.  (There is another record of it later on in Luke.)  I wouldn’t get mixed up in that aargument.  You will find people arguing on both sides of that and I wouldn’t let myself get lost in some detail.  That is what Satan wants me to do, see. Then I miss the big thing he is teaching.  I am not accusing you, I am just warning you of the danger of it.

QUESTION:  Could you expound a little on the disciples being in the kingdom of Christ?

ANSWER: Well, they had taken what we call the first steps.  As his disciples they had been baptized.  I would stand on that whether I could l prove it or not.  Teaching that he is giving here is teaching to a disciple, a follower of Christ, one who he is preparing to live, walking in his footsteps.  I don’t have any scripture that will prove that.  All I know is that he called them disciples, and he spoke of the multitude.  So he certainly drew a distinction between the multitude and the disciples. He certainly drew a distinction between part of the people there and the disciples.  The distinction so far as I am concerned is the based upon the fact that these people (disciples) had done all that God required of them to do up to that

point.

QUESTION: What about the church and the kingdom?

ANSWER: Wait ’till we get to the first of the “Blesseds. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is –not will be, or shall be, or is going to be – but, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  It is in the present tense.  It was something they had then –  The poor in spirit.

QUESTION:  What is the (the meaning) of Matthew 7:29 “..for he taught them as one having authority (an authority, King James) and not as  their scribes.”

ANSWER:  Yes.  Williams translates that I think, much better: “For he was teaching them as one who had authority.”  He did have.  He was teaching them what God had given him to teach.  Now to day we worship authorities.  What is your authority for this? What is your authority for that? What great man can you quote?  All right. Jesus taught as one who had authority, and folks. That means just this to me, and it means this to you, that what  he teaches is truth, and what he teaches I am going to answer to God for  believing. He taught as one who had authority. And therefore I can’t fool around with what he teaches.

The devil tried to get God’s power.  And he couldn’t do it.  So when man was created in the Garden of Eden, the devil wrecked mankind, because God loved His creation so tremendously.  Now what Jesus is seeking to get through to me and you is to reach a perfection of our comprehension of those around us.  A perfect love, if you please. But you can do it, or Jesus never would have called you to do it   “You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”   What kid of world would we be living in if we had all reached that condition?  Do you see?  What kind of condition will you be living  in when you reach over there on that other shore: perfect, or not?  Are you going to live in a perfect condition beyond this gate of death?  Absolutely.  You had better be getting ready for that right now.  You know there is a strange belief, I don’t know how we got it, nor where we got it, and maybe I can say I don’t know why we got it – I think we got it because the Devil plants it in our minds; this idea that  when I go through  the door of death it is going to change me.  It is not. The I, the ego, that which is I, not the body, not the house I live in. G. D. Knepper, when he passes through that door he will be the same when he gets on that side as he is on this side.  And if I can’t love my brothers and sisters in Christ, if I haven’t got a great love for my fellow-man, if when I see the multitudes as Jesus saw them I don’t see them through his eyes. I will not see them when I pass over.  Death is not going to change you.  Oh, it will change your body. Understand that.  That is the house you live in. But it will not change you. Jesus was the same when he walked with the disciples there in Galilee after the resurrection. Jesus was the same Lord.  He said, “Feel me, talk to me, have company with me, and see that it is I, myself.”  He had the same great desires, the same great needs.  He said to Simon Peter who had denied him three times. He said, “Simon, do you love me? Do you love me?”  Simon said, “Yes Lord I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”  Then he said “Simon do you love me?” Simon said, “Yes Lord, I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”  He said, “Simon, do you love me?”  The third time folks, the third time.  He said, “Simon, do you love me?” Simon Peter was cut to the heart.  He said, “ Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you.”  He said then, “Feed my sheep.”  In other words Jesus had the same yearning love for people after his resurrection the he had before. You thank God from the depths of your soul tonight that this is true, that Jesus has the same yearning love for you tonight  that he had for those people with whom he walked back there at the shores of the Sea of Galilee. He loves you just the same as he loved those people back there. And he will do just every thing he can for you.  But he won’t give you poison for your food. (That little child taking those tranquilizing pills.  Now the father and mother took them for what they at least considered a good purpose, but the child taking the same things…that is the reason Jesus taught us the things that he teaches us in the great Sermon on the Mount). Lay not up treasure on earth where moth and rust consume and where thieves break through and steal. He isn’t saying that folks, because he doesn’t want to have the best that this world  gives you.  He isn’t saying that at all. But he is saying to me, “G.D. Knepper, if you got to laying that stuff up as your treasure on earth, it will curse you for time and eternity.  Don’t do it. Don’t do it. That’s what he is saying.  Not because he doesn’t want me to have the best, not because he doesn’t want it. But that stuff can become a vine that chokes out the Christ in me.   So Jesus, because he loves me, because he loves you, is saying these things to you.

Now 5:48 is introvertive.  It is something that concerns you inside. It is subjective. “Ye therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  That is introvertive.  That is subjective.  That is something that happens inside of you.  This perfection takes place in you.  You’ve got to have it or you can’t have the next one.

Read Matthew 7:24-27. Matt 7:24-27

 

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

That’s extrovertive, or objective.  That is your reaction because of what you have built into you.  That’s extrovertive; that’s objective.  Now then, you have two classes there.  One class hears and does.  That is what the matter with most of us today.  We hear but we don’t do. And folks, that is not enough you could quote scripture from beginning to end (I knew a man who could quote the whole New Testament) which could be almost meaningless.  Until those words are translated into action they are worthless in the Kingdom of God.  When you become perfect as God is perfect you can’t help but doing, I’ll tell you that.  You will have to do.  I say this reverently:  god had to give his son.  Why?  Because of His love. If anyone of you have had a wayward boy, you had to do for that boy.  You had to do everything you could for that boy.  You had to do everything you could for him, not because the law said you had to, but because your love said you had to do everything you could for that boy, and when I am perfect as God is perfect.  Not as perfect as God..  when I am perfect in my love, when I am perfect in my outlook, when I see people as sheep without a shepherd, when I see people astray, when I see them in need – not only physical need, folks, some of the greatest need you will ever meet in people is a heart need.  I told you last night about that woman that startled me when I was up at Findlay that time. I was shaking hands with people at the door when somebody kissed me on the cheek.  A great heart-hunger in Helen.  I met her at the cross-roads of life,  and because I did what I believed was right for Helen, tonight Helen is a saved woman doing as great work with the church in Findlay.  She has to do it because she loves.  See what I am driving at?  When  you accomplish that first 5:48,  and that is what the Sermon on the Mount will do for you, it will cause you to do this  other. He that heareth what words?  “These words of mine..”  What words does that refer to?  “These” words.   If I am talking about something way back yonder I would say “those” words wouldn’t I?  But If I am talking about something that is close, then what words does he say we are to do?  The words he has just spoken.  “These words.”  The words I have just been speaking..  The one who practices these words (as Williams translates it) the one who does these words, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house upon a rock.  That is what I am talking about folks, that is what this whole Sermon on the Mount is intended to do for you – to enable you to build something that will go with you into eternity, that will build you into something that you will take with you when you meet God face to face.  That is what it is intended to do.

Now, what is man?  Man is a part of God, and these words that he has been speaking to you, that are spoken in the Sermon on the Mount, these words develop the god part of you. They magnify the God part.  And he teaches you to reject those things that do not develop the God part of you, or to use them in such a way they will develop the God-part..   That is the reason I don’t dare lay up my treasure on earth, because when I do that chokes out the God-part and develops the physical, the temporal part.  Where your heart is there will your treasure be. What I want you to see that God is not and arbitrary despotic God.  He isn’t saying things to you just because he is God  and you are just a little being down here on earth and he has power to do these things to you.  He is saying these things to you because it will make you happy.  That is what “blessed” means – happy.  Happy. Isn’t that what you are trying to find out?  Isn’t that is what everyone of us is trying to find in life?  Happiness?  Absolutely.  That is what we are all trying to find.  And that is what God wants us to have.  God wants you to be happy.

Now I suppose you have all seen a drunk man.  Some people think he is a happy man.  Is he? Of a sort I suppose.  But how long does it last?  Just ‘till the effect wear off. God wants you to be happy here and here after.  So He tells you what to do with your life in this great Sermon on the Mount.  And it is told in such a simple language folks, that a great many people turn away from it.  Because Jesus didn’t use some four dollar words (You go to a psychologist and he will teach you some of these same things, but he will do it with four-dollar words that you don’t understand and he probably doesn’t either.  Half the time I wonder if he does.  He will try to tell you that is great big words, you know, that don’t mean anything to you.) Because Jesus has told this in such simple language – Blessed are those who feel poor in spirit, for there is  the Kingdom of Heaven; Blessed are  the pure in heart, or Happy are the pure in heart for they shall see God; blessed are meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  No man, living or dead, can ever put into more compact language what Jesus is saying here.  So don’t let their simplicity deceive you.  Jesus is the great Master Teacher, and if any of you folk are preparing for teaching, read after the great Master Teacher, and then you will become a real teacher.

Man is a part of God.  And folks, you can give men everything  this world has to offer (God allowed it with one man – Solomon).  As you read in Ecclesiastes that Solomon says, “ I did not deny my heart anything it desired.”  He had money enough to buy anything money can buy.  Anything money could purchase he had. He said at the end of the journey, “Vanity of vanities all is vanity and striving after a wind.”  And I tell you that is the absolute truth.  Solomon was a bit of God.)  And folks you cannot satisfy that bit of God with anything visible.  It cannot be done. It has been tried over and over again. And God is not asking you to do these things just because he is God, and a great dictator, a despot, and he is saying do this and do that. People seem to have that idea. Oh, no, no, no.   God is putting his arms around you, not grabbing you, but putting His arms around you and saying, “Son, listen to me.  I know more about it than you do. I know what tomorrow is going to bring.  I know how you can build into your life something that will go on in existence for ever.  I know what you want to do beyond that gate.  When you pass through that gate of death I know what I want you to do, and so I am getting you ready for it now.”

So you cannot.  It can’t be done –satisfying that bit of God in you with anything visible.  Folks, you can try it.  Life is a desperate series of choices.  I would like to say that again.  I would like to make that very effective.  Life is a desperate series of choices.  You chose tonight where you would spend from 7:30 to 9:30.  You chose.  Now one of your neighbors maybe chose to be up there at the picture show, I don’t know.  That was his business.  But folks, we all pass through that door eventually, and give an account for the deeds done in the flesh.  What is man?  Man is a part of God, and because he is  a part of God he has got to develop the God-part in him.  That is what Jesus is teaching you in the Sermon on the Mount.  How to develop the God-part.  How not top get into the Kingdom, but how to live in it, how to develop in it, how to grow in it, how to function in the kingdom, not how to get in.  He later told the disciples, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.  He that believeth not shall be condemned.”  We are told that we are baptized into Christ, and in Him, of course, we are in His Kingdom.  He told us how to get into His Kingdom all right, He saw after that. But Oh, don’t stop there!  As I read to you last night from the 5th chapter of Hebrews, if you stop there you are just a babe in Christ.  That is why we have so much of the quarrelling and fighting and back biting and envy and jealousy.  We get it among preachers; that is part of it. There are preachers that if they don’t get put in a certain place on the program, mister there is going to be trouble.  After all, he is a bigger man than I am, he’s a bigger preacher.  Make up a program with Bob Ross and G. D. Knepper on it, Bob Ross expects to be put above G.D. Knepper.  Yessiree, he’s a bigger preacher than I am.  See what I’m talking about?  Envy. Jealousy.  Love doesn’t know such a thing as envy or jealousy.  When you find that in a person’s life you know there is no love there.  I fought it with my wife.  Ashamed, ashamed  to look her in the face because I was jealous of her.  No reason for it.  But I have learned that love does not express itself that way.  In this great Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is teaching us how to live so that we will become perfect in our love, so that we shall see those around us as God sees them.

Now just a word or two about what we will be talking about tomorrow night.. Ask yourself, “Whom does he mean by poor in spirit.”  “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Now if it means what most of us I suppose have thought it means, the man that is the poorest spiritually in your community is that drunken fellow that is just spending his life.  And yet you have Jesus saying “Blessed are poor in spirit..”  you know better than that, and so do I. I know that he isn’t saying that.  So I have to work and work and work.  I have to study and study, I have to try and find out what did Jesus mean when he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit..”

Then “Blessed are they that mourn.”  That is very upsetting.  That turns us topsy-turvy.  Everything that we think about, “Blessed are they that mourn..”   How can that be?  Whom does he mean? Why are they mourning?

We had a couple in our town.  I think he had made his money, if I remember rightly, I am quite sure of it, as a saloon-keeper.  They had become quite wealthy.  They had no children.  Every year they used to put a Christmas tree out on their front lawn, and decorate it beautifully, but a child must not step on that lawn.   When the man died, for a year or so, I am telling you the actual fact, winter and summer, rain or shine, that woman went out to the cemetery and sat at the grave of the man she had lived with.  Is that mourning?  I’d say it was.  But would you say she was blessed?

Now here are a couple of scriptures that I would like to have you use in trying to work out “Blessed are they that mourn..” : Revelation  7:17 and 21:3  I would like to have you see if you can relate  those scriptures  to the people Jesus is talking about here when he says “Blessed are they that mourn.”  Now if you have already looked up those scriptures you know that they say that God shall wipe  away all tears from their eyes.  You hear people say at funerals that there will be no tears in heaven.  Well, they don’t read their Bible or they would know better than that.  Those tears, look them up in Revelation 7:17; 21:3, are tears that are spilling upon the floor of heaven in the presence of God.  You tell me why those people are weeping. “Blessed are they that mourn, they shall be comforted.”

 

              See Dale Jorgenson’s article in this month’s edition for a background of Bro. Knepper.

              See also John Fulda’s article in the July edition.

 

 




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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4