4 Missions Verses in the Sermon on the Mount
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus touches on a number of subjects that have occupied many books and commentaries. But threaded throughout the sermon, as well as the entire Bible, you will find one subject He returns to repeatedly. And that subject is the call for Jesus’ followers to bring the message of the gospel to the world.
Here’s a brief look at the missions-related verses in the Sermon on the Mount.
Pre-Sermon – Matthew 4:19
Come after me, and I will make you fishermen of people.
-Disciples Literal NT
While not technically part of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew probably placed this verse right before it because he wants us to see the message of the sermon as one application of what it means to follow Jesus.
Jesus makes clear very early in his ministry that he doesn’t seek followers just so he can change their lives. He wants followers who will also work to bring other people into God’s kingdom – people from around the world, from all cultures and people groups as well as those in our own lives.
The focus of this verse is on other people, all of whom Jesus wants to come to repentance.
The Sermon on the Mount expands on righteousness, sin, our need for repentance, and many other subjects. And this is the message Jesus wants his followers to share, which is the ultimate purpose behind missions.
Matthew 5:9 – Peacemakers
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
The Sermon on the Mount opens with the beatitudes, which are blessings, encouragements, and promises for what happens when we live as God desires us to live. Verse 9 says the “peacemakers” are blessed and will be called sons of God.
What is a peacemaker?
Is this just referring to people who negotiate peace to end wars? Likely not. Is it referring only to those who help mediate between two parties, be they organizations or people, who disagree about something? Again – this is a noble profession. Reconciliation of any sort is a good thing. But this is likely not the focus of Jesus’ words.
The place where every single person needs peace is between us and God. We cannot repair the offense of sin that has separated us from God. It is because of sin that God’s wrath is poured out. But through Jesus, there can be peace between us and God. And by extension, between us and others.
A peacemaker, therefore, is anyone who helps to reconcile a lost person with God so they can become part of his eternal family. Peacemakers share the gospel to bring peace between God and man. A byproduct of that is greater peace on earth too, because people who are transformed by God’s mercy and forgiveness become new creations. This leads to greater peace between people, as well as inner peace, joy, and contentment, as Paul speaks about in Philippians 4.
Being a peacemaker is part of the job description of a missionary, and Jesus marks this as one of the core characteristics of his followers, along with being poor in spirit, humble, mournful, merciful, and the other qualities he opens the Sermon on the Mount with.
Matthew 5:14 – Light of the World
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
This has always been an intriguing verse. Most of the time, we refer to Jesus as the light of the world, because He is, and scripture calls Him that.
But here, Jesus calls His followers the light of the world. Why?
Because His light spreads throughout the world – through us. How does that happen? In part, it happens through missions, because missions involves going into dark places. Places where you meet people who have never heard the gospel. Places which are governed by earthly authorities that are actively hostile to the good news. Places where getting baptized or making disciples can ostracize you from your family.
Simply by calling them the light of the world, Jesus is commissioning his followers to go into this dark world and bring the light of the gospel to it.
Matthew 6:10 – the Lord’s Prayer
Let your kingdom come, let your will be done – as in heaven, also on earth.
-Disciples Literal NT
Within the Sermon on the Mount we find the Lord’s prayer, where Jesus teaches his followers how to pray. The second line of the prayer, which we are told to pray “daily”, says we are to ask God to bring His kingdom and His will to earth.
We are to pray for God’s presence, power, authority, and goodness to rule on earth just as it already does in heaven.
How is this going to happen?
It happens a little bit more every time the gospel spreads and a new disciple is made. While on earth, Jesus said the kingdom of heaven was already here, and He wasn’t just talking about himself. He was talking about His followers.
The kingdom sprouted through him and grew into the church, which continues to grow and spread around the world – through missions, church planting, and discipleship.
And for iBAM’s part in this, we help believers in other cultures start and grow kingdom businesses and make disciples through those businesses. We use this approach because as the church spreads, new believers need to continue living in their communities and supporting their families. They also need to influence the people around them with the gospel.
Business ownership has proven to be a very effective method of achieving this. Business owners have influence economically in that they bring commerce and jobs into their communities. They also have influence as leaders, and this platform gives them opportunity to be witnesses and to disciple new believers.
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