Over the course of several generations, the people of the Jewish faith in the time of Jesus had come to believe distorted versions of the original teachings handed down by the fathers of the faith. Whether it be from Pharisees more concerned with following the letter of the Law (while ignoring the heart of it) or simply the incredible influence of a culture opposed to God and everything He stood for, the men and women listening to the Sermon on the Mount had some misconceptions about interpreting the religious texts.
It can be said that many of us in the Christian faith today are guilty of a similar error in how we adhere to the teachings of Jesus. The nature of man is imperfect, so it is not surprising that we all at times can miss the point of a teaching from Scripture, or forget about an important tenet of the faith entirely. This is why the concept of a reset is so vital.
The Sermon on the Mount is the longest continuous discourse of Jesus found in the New Testament, and has been one of the most widely quoted elements of the Canonical Gospels. Jesus spent a good portion of this teaching by saying “You have heard ________, but I say _________.” He was calling out a crowd of people for incorrect interpretations of Scripture that had seeped into their religious practices and day to day life. It’s easy to look back at these people with contempt or judgment, but we all are in the same place in some form or fashion today.
The influence of our culture, our laziness in personal spiritual disciplines, and the exceedingly busy schedules that drive us all can chip away at the influence of teachings in our life that were once core to our being. But just as he did 2000 years ago, Jesus is giving us an opportunity to reset.
What if this pandemic, the social unrest, and the upheaval of our everyday existence can be a reset for each of us in our walk with Christ? What if with our increased time with our families, God resets our priorities for the rest of our lives? What if in the midst of the unrest we see throughout our nation, God intervenes with a reset to bring us back to what is most needed for our land to heal? God promises that He is going to reset the heavens and the earth one day, but His promise to reset us here and now is made clear by the Apostle Paul:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
This reset happens at the point of salvation, but Scripture makes it clear that God continues this work throughout our lives. Again, Paul shares:
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
Paul makes it clear that the good work that began in us at the point of salvation continues on into eternity. Whenever we get off course with sin, distractions, or simply confusion, God is faithful to continue the work in us that He began, providing opportunities to reset over and over again. Our salvation is secured once and for all, but the sanctification we encounter on this side of heaven is a winding path of ups, downs, and occasional detours.
As we begin this series focused on the concept of resetting, let us approach God and His word with an open heart. Many of us may not realize how desperately we need to reset our understanding of God, His teachings, or how we live our lives. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the areas that must be reset, and rejoice in the spaces in your life that have remained true to Christ even in the midst of chaos. Make plans to follow this series closely by joining us on campus or on person for the next 8 weeks, allowing the greatest and most important sermon of all time to shape our lives, and reset our behaviors and attitudes where necessary.
Worship at West U Baptist Church takes place at 8:30 am and 11:00 am
Worship at Crosspoint Church – Bellaire takes place at 9:15 am and 11:00 am
Worship at youtube.com/cityriseorg takes place at 8:30 am, 9:30 am, and 11:00 am
Justin Kellough is the Media Arts Pastor for the CityRise Network, overseeing our digital ministries, and assisting with creative elements of worship both on campus and online. Justin lives in Stafford, TX with his wife, Kristen, and his two children.