Jesus was a radical man with a radical mission. In expressing the life and love of His Father, He didn't hesitate to turn the apple carts of theology and tradition upside down. This habit outraged the religious leaders of His day. In fact, it was ultimately those very people who "signed his death warrant."
Many a sermon has been preached about The Sermon On The Mount in Matthew chapter five. Most often we are told how those verses show us the way to live as citizens of the kingdom of God. The sermons often sound so lofty, so sweet, so sentimental that you can almost hear angelic harps playing in the background. But an honest look at that chapter casts the sermon in anything other than a light that would produce "warm-fuzzies" in those who would have heard it.
Jesus said some hard stuff that day; things that wouldn't have set well at all with those who thought they were all ready to be a part of the Kingdom they wanted Him to establish on the earth. There is one phrase that had to have shaken them to the core. Five times in the chapter, He said, "You have heard it said . . . but I say to you."
Having stated the traditional teaching, Jesus then went on to rip it apart by showing how religious platitudes aren't enough. He made it clear that the Kingdom He came to establish wouldn't walk along nicely and quietly beside the religious lifestyle they had carved out for themselves. In fact, to walk in step with Him would require a radical kind of response that religious people wouldn't understand at all. Their radical response would begin with an acknowledgment that what they had heard wasn't the whole truth... and a half-truth is a lie.
What things have you heard said that are out of step with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
You've heard it said that you should dedicate yourself to God and do your best if you want to be a good Christian, but He says unto you that you must deny yourself (see Matthew 16:24) and realize that if your best was enough His death would have been in vain. (see Galatians 2:21)
You've heard it said that you should constantly examine yourself to see if there is any sin in your life, but He says to you that when you understand the finished work of the cross and that you have been perfectly cleansed by His blood, you'll stop even thinking about sins. (See Hebrews 10:1-2)
You've heard it said that it is hard to live the Christian life and that it takes serious commitment to stand against the world, but He says that if you love Him you will keep His commandments and it won't even be a struggle. (See John 14:15 and 1 John 5:3)
You've heard it said that you need to change things about yourself if you really want to be a good Christian, but He says that it isn't possible for you to change yourself and that He will take care of any changes in you that need to be made. (See Philippians 1:6 and 1 Thessalonians 5:24)
You've heard a lot, but don't believe everything you hear. A grace revolution is underway. It will gain momentum as more and more Christians think for themselves and go back to what the Word of God says instead of believing everything they're told. Don't worry if Jesus turns over your religious applecart. They're rotten apples anyway and bad fruit never made anybody anything but sick.