The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 5: Read Here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/5?lang=eng
The Sermon on the Mount begins with the Beatitudes. It is so encouraging to seek the blessings that are available to those who are disciples. Indeed we are fortunate, blessed, and happy when we do those things which set us apart from the world as the children of God and the disciples of Jesus.
The Blessings We Can Receive
The Beatitudes were given by the Lord to tell us the things that we can do in order to be fortunate, blessed, or happy. He listed attributes that different individuals possess and a direct correlation to a blessing that they will receive, such as a cause and effect flowchart.
1. Those who are poor in spirit, who come unto Jesus, will be given the kingdom of heaven.
2. Those who mourn will be comforted.
3. Those who are meek (gentle, forgiving, benevolent, and humble) will inherit the earth.
4. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled with the Holy Ghost.
5. Those who are merciful will obtain mercy.
6. Those who are pure in heart (chaste, clean) will see God.
7. Those who are peacemakers (who establish contentment not contention)
will be called the children of God.
8. Those who are persecuted for righteousness’s sake will be given the kingdom of heaven.
Interesting thought: Both those who are poor in spirit and those who are persecuted for righteousness’s sake will be given the kingdom of heaven. Is it the persecution that we endure for the Lord that makes us poor in spirit.
9. A continuation of number 8. We are blessed when we are reviled and persecuted and have false reports against us for Jesus’s sake. We are compared to the prophets (or teachers of the gospel) before us, and we can rejoice and be glad because our reward in heaven will be great.
Jesus then tells His disciples that they are the salt of the earth. As such, we need to keep our saltiness and not become tasteless. We cannot become like the rest of the world. We cannot give up hope; we cannot lose our savor.
His disciples are also the light of the world. That is because they hold up His light to the world. We need to be that city on the hill. We need to extend Jesus’s gift of salvation by holding up His light. We cannot hide or bury the light that we’ve been given. Disciples must keep their faith bright. We cannot let the darkness of the world dull our testimonies of Him. We must invite other people into the light so that they may be able to see His glory also and glorify Him.
When policies change, when new things are asked of us, our faith should not be diminished or destroyed. God’s purposes are never destroyed, but will all be fulfilled. The prophecies will unfold.
We are responsible and accountable if we break commandments and lead others to break them. In other words, we are not only accountable to God for ourselves, but also for how we treat His children. We don’t become great, but we become the least, in the kingdom of heaven if we break God’s commandments and lead others away from Him.
10. If we teach the commandments, both keeping them ourselves and helping others to do so, we will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
How can we guard ourselves from becoming like the scribes and Pharisees? We are told that such shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. The scribes and Pharisees appear to be the antithesis of the pure in heart.
How can we guard ourselves from being angry at our brothers and sister; our nieces and nephews; our fellowmen?
Jesus counsels us to reconcile ourselves quickly to those whom we’ve offended or who’ve offended us, or seek to be reconciled. We need to reconcile ourselves with God before we partake of the sacrament or go to the temple, or teach a class, or offer another gift. If reconciliation is not completely possible, reconcile your heart to God and do not think or speak evil to or about the person at odds with you. Pray for them. Love them. Hope for the best.
How can we be more agreeable? How can we remain friends even when we have huge differences of opinion and belief?
The Savior strictly commands us not to lust, saying that if we lust after someone, we’ve already committed adultery in our hearts. I think that this is particularly important to us today. We are left without excuse, whether we lust after someone before we are married or after, or whether we lust after someone of the opposite gender or the same. The Lord expects us to be in control of what we allow ourselves to experience even in our thoughts.
So if we have improper thoughts that could lead us to be lustful behavior or even to adultery, we need to push those away. In an earlier chapter, the Savior gave us a good example of how to do that. When Satan came to tempt him, Jesus appealed to the scriptures, staying true to His Heavenly Father’s will. He did not succumb to temptation, but rebuked the devil and received added strength from His father for doing so.
Are we an offense to our own selves, to our beliefs, to our God? To be at one with Him, we need to comply to His commandments; we need to do His will.
Jesus tells us not to use extremes in language, not to swear, but to say yes or no. Why is that?
An important teaching of Jesus is to turn the other cheek. How often do we want to strike back if we feel offended or attacked? That seems to be the most natural response. But the Savior provided a more controlled example throughout His life; one that takes extreme discipline. We should stop worrying about how we look to others, whether it is that one side of our face is red from being slapped, or we have been slighted and made to appear silly by being belittled; or whether we have some type of scar or disfigurement that we carry with us because of our past lives. Revenge will only serve to darken and destroy. The Spirit will beautify us and sustain us, even when we must bear persecution.
Jesus teaches us to give more than is taken. So many worry today that they are badly used by family and friends. If we give good gifts with pure and honest hearts, our Father in heaven will see and acknowledge and always repay us. We do not need to worry that are needs will not be met, that we will not be looked after. Our Father sees and knows our wants and our needs. And if we are loving and patient, even when others may take advantage of us, God will always provide. Be ready to love and to give to those who seek your assistance. Lend freely and forgive debts. Go the extra mile.
Love your enemies; return blessings for cursings; show kindness to those who purposefully hurt you; pray for those who use you to lift themselves up and push you down. By doing all these things, we will become the children of our Father in Heaven. Jesus certainly did these things.
God always gives us good gifts. We are commanded to be like Him.