What is the framework for the structure of the Sermon on the Mount?

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Is there any framework for the structure of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 that we are aware of, or is it just a collected sermon, or portions of sermons from Jesus Christ’s ministry on earth?

In my exegesis of this passage, I am struggling to find the common thread as to why the points Christ raises in the Sermon on the Mount are in the order they are, or even why they are all present in this one sermon. This is particularly puzzling for me, as the rest of Matthew is so well structured, especially in regards to Christ’s fulfillment of old testament prophecy.

32 Comments

  • Reply May 11, 2017

    Street Preacherz

    I always thought of it as one piece. The open and close are Divine. If you want to look at it as a sermon that is. Our Lord might find it amusing though. I would say you can feel the coals throughout. Nice to have one on the lips…

  • Reply May 11, 2017

    Steve Phifer

    I started out to write a book on the Sermon on the Mount called “Too Far Down the Mountain.” I saw a connection between the opening and the closing. The Beatitudes present spiritual promises to the faithful and the conclusion promises the believer a house built on a Rock that is impervious to storms. In between are the details of how this spiritual life can be lived (20+ topics!) My title comes from the idea that we lead from a position too far down the mountain–we don’t hear Jesus clearly anymore. May still get around to that book.

  • Reply May 12, 2017

    Street Preacherz

    I always thought of the sermon on the mount as one piece. Matthew presents it that way. And he is our witness.
    For me the open and the close are Divine. If you want to look at it as a sermon that is. Our Lord might find it amusing though. I would say it is filled with coals throughout. Ohh to have one on the lips…

  • Reply May 12, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Do you mean that the social status of the people mentioned in the Beatitudes was Downwards?

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Steve Phifer

      Troy, is your question addressed to me? I don’t see this as an issue in the SOTM.

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Yes – addressed to you. There is a downward (dis)gradation in the text. Almost like a social deconstruction if you will. Wonder if you noticed it in your study

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Steve Phifer

      No. Pardon my insensitivity! I was looking for instruction on the spiritual life Jesus is preaching, especially as His teaching applies to leadership. I think of the SOTM as the Constitution of the Kingdom of God. The storms are guaranteed to come: poverty of spirit, mournful loss, powerlessness, and deprivation of righteousness. Those who are proactive in obedience to this spiritual life: the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and those who are persecuted for these things will be apart of the Kingdom of Heaven and their rock-built lives will stand the storm. You’ll have to point out the downward spiral to me.

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Street Preacherz

      Is down from the mountain into “the maddening crowd” a metaphor. I never saw the leadership aspect of “the peacemaker” if you can believe and receive and live and pray those few chapters you’re set! Of course they are before he visits that “hill far away”

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Steve Phifer

      Street Preacherz If you mean the ministry of the Holy Spirit post the Atonement, this is exactly the case. The spiritual life Jesus calls for is supernatural and can only be done with the power of the Abiding Spirit of the New Covenant.

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Street Preacherz

      You don’t have to be Calvinist to enjoy grace

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Steve Phifer

      Of course.

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Steve Phifer

      Puritans and grace? Is that a non-sequitur?

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Puritans too enjoyed grace

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Street Preacherz

      If they got saved it was grace.

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Steve Phifer

      They had it but I don’t know if they enjoyed it.

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Street Preacherz

      If you read their writings they did. They loved the stuff. We could use some too. They believed as I do that it’s more than saving grace. It’s keeping grace. And Grace for service to Christ our King

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Steve Phifer

      Not up on Puritan writing, except for “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Their iconoclastic reforms would eventually rob Pentecostalism of the power of the Spirit in the Sacraments and in liturgical worship elements.

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Street Preacherz

      Sorry you lost me..

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Steve Phifer

      Pentecostals inherited their ordinance theologies from the radical reformation of the Puritans. Along with this came the extreme prejudice against anything perceived to be “Roman” or “Popish.” The A/G was formed by a combination of Anglican spirituality (Wesleyan Holiness) which is more sacramental and revivalists in the Puritan tradition which is more legalistic and leans toward the ordinance thinking. Without thinking we adapted the ordinance theology for the signs of the New Covenant–table and tank. This was a mistake (in my view). With ordinance theology the emphasis is on what we do. With sacramental theology the emphasis is on what the Spirit does–take the ordinary and make it significant.

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Street Preacherz

      This is where you need grace and temperance. lol

  • Reply May 12, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    My original question was: has anyone noticed that the social status of the people mentioned in the Beatitudes is listed Downwards?

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Steve Phifer

      Still same answer–no. Not sure what you mean.

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Street Preacherz

      Jesus kinda blasts everybody equally. Unless you mean teachers in 5 Pharisees in 6 and everybody else in 7

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Steve Phifer

      Yes He does! We are all human!

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Street Preacherz

      Not if you’re a child of God. That is if by human you mean temporal and sinful and full if doubt and unbelief. Is that Wesleyan? Or just good Bible.

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Steve Phifer

      By human I mean human–created perfect by the Lord but fallen into sin and then redeemed by the Lord if we believe in Him. This is not denominational; it is universal.

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Street Preacherz

      I defer to your judgment

  • Reply May 12, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    In the Beatitudes, social categories were turned on their heads, expectations were shifted, the weaker and more vulnerable populations were given places. If you follow the 8 social categories mentioned in each of them, there is a definite step-by-step decease in social value in the people groups described by Jesus

  • Reply May 12, 2017

    Steve Phifer

    Fascinating. Give me the 8 social cateories.

  • Reply May 12, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Steve Phifer

      Can only find the introduction.

    • Reply May 12, 2017

      Steve Phifer

      Got it. Not an easy read. How did the governor end up? The failure of Christian politicians to act according to Scriptures is not new nor is the price paid by those who succeed. To look to them as servants of God and the poor is a faint hope. I live by Jesus’ announcement in Luke 4. This is my vision for worship, that Jesus would walk among us doing these things. The hope of the poor is in the church as Jesus leads her. The destiny of justice is likewise placed in voices and hands and feet of God’s people in or out of government. The making of peace is in the hands of the Children of God.

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