A few months ago I had a friend come and visit from out of town and he asked if I could take him to see some of historical sites in Philadelphia. We went to Independence Hall, saw the Liberty Bell and went to the National Constitution Center. During the opening presentation at the Constitution Center the speaker said something that immediately struck me as important; she referred to the framing of the Constitution as “the language of liberty”. As I sat in the theatre my mind drifted away from our nation to the Kingdom of God, I sat there and asked God if liberty has a language and if it does what does it sound like? That question began the journey that we are starting today, a year of studying the Sermon on the Mount. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus said six different times “You have heard it said . . . but I say to you . . .” He was not refuting what had been first said, He was teaching a new language. Some have called the Constitution the “language of liberty” for our nation, that may be true, but the Sermon on the Mount is the language of liberty spoken by the author of life. In these three chapters of Scripture Jesus teaches an entirely new language. He teaches blessing in things like meekness, mourning, hunger, mercy, intercession and persecution. He offers gifts of comfort, inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven, seeing the face of God, being filled with righteousness and receiving mercy. Up until this time men had hoped for reputation, exaltation, vengeance and the fruit of effort, in a few minutes time Jesus had turned everything upside down, restored order as it was created to be and introduced justice as God saw it. The law was given by God to reveal man’s need for a Savior, man used the law as his attempt to display his righteousness, what Jesus reveals is that man has no righteousness of his own but is free to become the righteousness of God by being transferred into His Kingdom by the blood of Jesus and learning the language of liberty through Jesus’ teaching.
The Sermon on the Mount reveals a God that never leaves and creates a people that live without bondage. In Galatians 5:1 Paul wrote “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” We were all born as slaves to sin. Everything about our lives was touched and ruined by sin. In Christ we have been set free from sin and its ownership, as such we have to learn to live in a new kingdom, freed from the kingdom of this world and accepted into the kingdom of God. In this kingdom there is a different King, a different law, a different plan, a different end and a different language. If I don’t learn the language of this kingdom I won’t ever be able to hear the King when He speaks, I won’t be able to understand the law and that will keep me from receiving all the gifts and joys that have been prepared for me, I won’t be able to understand the plan which will leave me trying to create my own and I won’t understand the beauty of the Kingdom’s eternal outcome which will leave me clinging to my old kingdom while trying to live in the new one. Everything about living in the Kingdom of God comes down to learning a new language, the language of liberty that I believe is found in the Sermon on the Mount.