by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
When he had sat down, his disciples came unto him, and he opened his mouth and taught them....
There is a kind of logical sequence in this Sermon. Not only that, there is certainly a spiritual order and sequence. Our Lord does not say these things accidentally; the whole thing is deliberate. Certain postulates are laid down, and on the basis of those, certain other things follow. Thus I never discuss any particular injunction of the Sermon with a person until I am perfectly happy and clear in my mind that that person is a Christian.
It is wrong to ask anybody who is not first a Christian to try to live or practice the Sermon on the Mount. To expect Christian conduct from a person who is not born again is heresy. The appeals of the gospel in terms of conduct and ethics and morality are always based on the assumption that the people to whom the injunctions are addressed are Christian.
Now that is obvious in any one of the Epistles, and it is equally obvious here. Take any Epistle you like. You will find that the subdivision in each one of them is the same: always doctrine first, then deductions from doctrine. The great principles are laid down, and a description is given of the Christians to whom the letter is written. Then, because of that, or because they believe that, "therefore" they are exhorted to do certain things.
We always tend to forget that every New Testament letter was written to Christians and not to non-Christians; and the appeals in terms of ethics in every Epistle are always addressed only to those who are believers, to those who are new men and women in Christ Jesus. This Sermon on the Mount is exactly the same.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, i, pp. 23-4
“Text reproduced from ‘A First Book of Daily Readings’ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, published by Epworth Press 1970 & 1977 © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. Used with permission.”
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