NEW TESTAMENT - LESSON 8
- Jesus teaches the Beatitudes to his disciples.
- Jesus declares that his disciples are "the salt of the earth"
and "the light of the world."
- Jesus teaches a higher law than the law of Moses.
A study of this lesson should encourage us to come unto Christ by applying
the principles he taught in the Sermon on the Mount.
- The Lord ascended a mountain, probably to escape the crowds that thronged
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THE LORD DELIVERED THIS SERMON ON THE MOUNT?
- The disciples gathered about and Jesus taught them.
- It is interesting to note that the law of Moses was delivered on a
mountain. The Lord has ascended another mount to deliver this higher law.
- As far as we know the sermon has never been recorded in its entirety.
- An almost identical sermon was preached to the Nephites when Christ
appeared to them after his resurrection (see 3 Nephi 12-14).
Bruce R. McConkie: "This sermon is a recapitulation, a summary,
and a digest of what men must do to gain salvation; and the eternal concepts
in it are so stated that hearers (and readers) will get out of it as much
as their spiritual capacity permits. To some it will point the way to further
investigation; to others it will confirm and reconfirm eternal truths already
learned from the scriptures and from the preachers of righteousness of
their day; and to those few whose souls burn with the fires of testimony,
devotion, and valiance, it will be as the rending of the heavens: light
and knowledge beyond comprehension will flow into their souls in quantities
that cannot be measured. Every man must judge and determine for himself
the effect the Sermon on the Mount will have upon him." (Mortal
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: "Happiness is the object and
design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the
course that leads to it" (TPJS, p255).
- To instruct and counsel the newly ordained apostles.
- To open the door of spiritual progress for the new members of the Church
& the Kingdom of God on earth.
- To stand as a beacon inviting men of good will of every doctrinal persuasion
to come to the fount of wisdom and learn of those things which will assure
them peace in this world and eternal glory in the world to come.
- This sermon is the single greatest source of principles, which if followed,
will lead a person to happiness and prosperous living.
- This first part of this sermon are teachings, which if heeded, can
teach us to be like the Lord and testify of his divinity.
Following the Brethren:
- "The Latin beatus is the basis of the English 'beatitude,'
meaning 'to be fortunate,' 'to be happy,' or 'to be blessed'."
(see footnote 5:3a)
Humility & Baptism.
- The first two beatitudes are missing from the King James Version, but
are found in the Joseph Smith Translation.
- The 1st Beatitude: "Blessed are they who shall believe on me;
and again, more blessed are they who shall believe on your words, when
ye shall testify that ye have seen me and that I am." (JST Matthew
- 3 Nephi 12:1 reads: "Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto
the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister
unto you, and to be your servants".
- WHAT PRINCIPLE IS TAUGHT HERE?
- To follow the brethren.
- The Lord's ministry on earth was very short. He commissioned representatives
to carry on his work and teach his gospel in his absence. Blessed and happy
are they that follow the servants of the Lord.
- This is a true principle:
- To follow the brethren brings great peace.
- To be in disharmony with the brethren throws us in to turmoil and can
lead to our apostasy.
The Poor in Spirit.
- The 2nd Beatitude (not found in KJV). "Yea, blessed are they
who shall believe on your words, and come down into the depth of humility,
and be baptized in my name; for they shall be visited with fire and the
Holy Ghost, and shall received a remission of their sins." (JST
- What greater blessing can we receive in this life than to be filled
with the Spirit and receive a remission of our sins.
- As Alma said to his son Helaman after he humbled himself before the
Lord: "And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold;
yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
"...there can be nothing so exquisite
and sweet as was my joy." (Alma 36:20-21)
- WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THESE FIRST TWO BEATTITUDES ARE MISSING FROM THE
KING JAMES VERSION?
They That Mourn.
- Matthew 5:3: "Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is
the kingdom of Heaven."
- JST: "Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit, who come unto
me; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
- WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE POOR IN SPIRIT?
- To be humble and submissive to the Lord.
- President Benson has said that "humility is an acknowledged
recognition of our dependence on a higher power." (Teachings of
Ezra Taft Benson, p370)
- WHAT IS THE OPPOSITE OF HUMILITY?
- WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF PRIDE?
- We know what happened to the Book of Mormon civilizations when they
followed the course of pride..
- The Book of Mormon also teaches us the reward of being poor in spirit
or humble. After the Nephi and his people broke from Laman and his followers,
they lived in obedience and submission to the Lord. As Nephi said: "And
it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness" (2
- Matthew 5:4: "Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be
- HOW DOES THE LORD COMFORT THOSE THAT MOURN?
- Through the Holy Spirit.
- Bruce R. McConkie: "The peace that passeth understanding shall
rest upon all those who have a knowledge of the plan of salvation. What
greater comfort is there than to know that lost loved ones shall be returned
to the family unit, and that all the saints shall reign in joy and peace
forever?" (Mortal Messiah, 2:121-122)
They Who Hunger and Thirst After Righteousness.
- Matthew 5:5: "Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit
- WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE MEEK?
- According to Elder McConkie: to be God fearing and righteous (Mortal
- Moses was described as "very meek, above all the men which
were upon the face of the earth" (Numbers 12:3); yet he had great
- If we use Elder McConkie's definition, we know that Moses was God fearing
- "A Church leader once toured a facility that housed a huge
hydraulic crushing machine that could reduce old cars into small cubes.
For a demonstration, the guide asked the man to remove his watch. The operator
then placed it in the machine and adjusted the controls, and the top blade
came crashing down, stopping just a millimeter above the watch. Next the
sides slammed together, but once again they stopped just shy of the crystal.
Then the operator removed the watch and returned it unscratched.
"Much pleased with the demonstration,
this good man turned to those with him and said, 'We have just witnessed
the greatest demonstration of meekness I have ever seen. Meekness is great
power under complete control'." (Ensign, January 1991)
- Matthew 5:6: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after
righteousness; for they shall be filled."
- The Joseph Smith Translation goes on to say that "they shall
be filled with the Holy Ghost."
- WHAT CAN WE DO TO LIFT OUR APPETITES FROM THE THINGS OF THE WORLD TO
THE THINGS OF GOD? TO TRULY HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS?
- Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught of one method of changing our desires or
appetites: "My widowed mother understood that principle. 'Pray
about your feelings,' she used to say. She taught her three children to
pray for the right kind of feelings about their experiences--positive or
negative--and about the people they knew. If our feelings are good, we
are more likely to have appropriate desires, to take right actions, and
to act for the right reasons." (Pure in Heart, p151)
The Pure in Heart.
- Matthew 5:7: "Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain
- The question we must ask ourselvess: How can we expect the Lord to
forgive us of our many sins and weaknesses, if we cannot forgive others?
- "Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren;
deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all
these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy
restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again;
ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall
have good rewarded unto you again. For that which ye do send out shall
return unto you again, and be restored." (Alma 41:14-15.)
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Working out one's salvation consists in gaining
and developing the attributes of godliness in this life so that those same
attributes, in the exact measure earned by the laborer, may be restored
to him in the state of immortality." (DNTC, p216)
- Matthew 5:8: "Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall
- D&C 93:1: "Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to
pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth
on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see
my face and know that I am."
- ARE THERE THOSE WHO HAVE SEEN THE FACE OF GOD?
- Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Nephi, Jacob, Moroni, the brother of Jared,
Joseph Smith, Lorenzo Snow, among others.
- WHAT IS KEEPING US FROM HAVING THAT SAME OPPORTUNITY?
- Purity of heart according to this Beatitude.
- Bruce R. McConkie: "After a man so devotes himself to righteousness
that his calling and election is made sure, 'then it will be his privilege
to receive the other Comforter,' the Prophet says. 'Now what is this other
Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ himself; and
this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains
this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend
him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even he will manifest the
Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions
of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face
to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom
of God'." (Mormon Doctrine, p687)
They Who Are Persecuted.
- Matthew 5:9: "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be
called the children of God."
- A peacemaker is one who invites the Spirit; then the Spirit grants
- President Heber J. Grant told the story of two men who had quarreled
about business dealings. They came to President John Taylor and asked him
to settle the matter: "President Taylor consented, but said: 'Brethren,
before I hear your case, I would like very much to sing one of the songs
of Zion for you.' Now President Taylor was a very capable singer, and interpreted
sweetly and with spirit, our sacred hymns. He sang one of our hymns to
the two brethren. Seeing its effect, he remarked that he never heard one
of the songs of Zion but that he wanted to listen to one more, and so asked
them to listen while he sang another. Of course, they consented. They both
seemed to enjoy it.
"Then President Taylor sang a
third and a fourth hymn. When he finished, the two men 'were melted to
tears, got up, shook hands, and asked President Taylor to excuse them...for
taking up his time. They then departed without his even knowing what their
difficulties were'." (Ensign, January 1991)
- Matthew 5:10-12: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for
righteousness' sake (JST: for my name's sake): for theirs
is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are ye, when men shall
revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against
you falsely, for my sake.
"Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:
for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets
which were before you."
- HOW CAN PERSECUTION BE A BLESSING?
- Exodus 1:12: "But the more they afflicted them, the more they
multiplied and grew."
- Joseph Smith: "I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from
a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets
rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated
force against religious bigotry, priestcraft, lawyer-jurors, and the authority
of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt
men and women--all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there.
Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty."
A Light To The World
- READ MATTHEW 5:13-16. Salt of the earth/light
of the world.
As members of the Lord's church we have a responsibility to share the
light that we have with the world.
- Once again we find the Master teaching in ways that his followers can
understand. He uses two wonderful comparisons:
- Salt = What happens to a dish of food when just a bit of salt is used?
- Light = What is the power of a small light?
- We have all had the experience of having the power go out and having
to use a candle for light. A single candle provides sufficient light to
continue to function. It can light a whole room.
- We live in a world filled with darkness. Though our lights may be small,
through our example we can provide light to many.
- We have covenanted to take upon us the "name of the Son".
- In the 39th chapter of Alma, Alma speaks to his son Corianton.
- He calls attention to the fact that Corianton forgot his ministry and
went over to the land of Sidon in pursuit of the harlot Isabel.
- What was the effect of Corianton's actions: "...for when they
saw you conduct they would not believe in my words."
- DO YOU KNOW A NON-LDS PERSON WHO HAS HAD A NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE WITH
A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH? WHAT WAS THE RESULT?
A Higher Law
- READ MATTHEW 5:17-20. Jesus came to fulfill the
Killing & Anger.
- WHAT IS THE LORD TEACHING HERE?
- He is going to reveal greater principles..
- The Lord is going to teach his people about a higher level of righteousness.
- The righteousness of the people must exceed that of the scribes and
- It must be a true righteousness that looks beyond the letter of the
law and its punishments.
- It is interesting how often, throughout the scriptures, the prophets
had to spell out the consequences for unrighteousness to keep the people
- Would not a truly celestial people be anxiously engaged in striving
to overcome weaknesses and obey the principles as taught in this sermon,
rather than constantly falling prey to great sin.
Agree With Your Adversary.
- READ MATTHEW 5:21-24. Anger threatens one's eternal
- Both the Joseph Smith Translation and the Book of Mormon versions of
this sermon do not contain the phrase "without a cause".
- Thus, it appears there is no justification for getting angry.
- WHO SUFFERS MOST WHEN YOU GET ANGRY? HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ANGRY AND FELT
THE SPIRIT AT THE SAME TIME?
- Verses 23 & 24 teach that before we make offerings to the Lord,
we must first seek reconciliation with those who may be offended (whether
it is our fault or not).
- Many years ago my grandmother shared with me the following story. As
I recollect from memory, at a time when grandma was serving in the Relief
Society presidency, one of the sisters in her ward was offended at something
grandma had said or done. Grandma could have ignored the situation, but
in all likelyhood, this hurt would have continued to fester. Grandma said
that she baked a cake, took it over to this sister's house, and apologized
for any offense she had caused. The result: this sister accepted grandma's
offering and they became lifelong friends.
- Though this is a simple story, it reveals the higher principles taught
by the Savior. A lifelong friendship may have been lost if there had there
not been action. Maybe gospel activity would have been affected, thus jeopardizing
eternal rewards. Who knows? We cannnot, we must not allow our anger to
come between us and others. We must take positive action to resolve the
differences between us and those around us. Blessed are the peacemakers.
Adultery & Looking With Lust.
- READ MATTHEW 5:25-26. Agree with thine adversary
- WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
- It does not mean that we are to compromise truth and righteous purposes.
- We should be peacemakers.
- We should be conciliatory in order to avoid contention, lawsuits, and
- Consider current examples.
- Might we even absorb worldly hurt and unfairness when doing so would
advance the cause of righteousness?
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Members of the Church, and those who desire
such affiliation, who have differences among themselves, or who bear grudges
one toward another, have an affirmative obligation to resolve their difficulties,
so that perfect peace, love, and charity will prevail in the kingdom."
- READ MATTHEW 5:27-30. Adultery & lust.
- WHAT GREAT PRINCIPLE IS TAUGHT HERE?
- Proverbs 23:7 states that as a man "thinketh in his heart,
so is he".
- You are/or will become that which you think about.
- Dr. Maxwell Maltz as quoted in the February 1991 Ensign: "Experimental
and clinical psychologists have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that
the human nervous system cannot tell the difference between an 'actual'
experience and an experience imagined vividly and in detail."
- There are both positive and negative ramifications of this principle:
- Negative: if we think of negative, evil, downgrading thoughts we head
- Positive: if we think uplifting, righteous thoughts we then move in
- We move in the direction of our most dominant thoughts.
- A letter from two missionaries.
- February 1991 Ensign: "Although we cannot avoid all the stimuli,
we can plead with the Lord to help us control and channel our thoughts.
We can consciously avoid compromising situations and forthrightly resist
temptation. Rather than allowing improper thoughts to linger--and enhancing
and savoring them--we can dismiss them with a prayer or an uplifting hymn
or song, and deliberately channel our thoughts into positive paths."
- READ MATTHEW 5:31-32. Divorce
not permitted, except in the case of adultery.
- This is a rather strict law, which we have not
yet fully implemented in the church.
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Divorce is not part
of the gospel plan.... But because men in practice do not always live in
harmony with gospel standards, the Lord permits divorce for one reason
or another, depending upon the spiritual stability of the people involved....
Under the most perfect conditions there would be no divorce permitted except
where sex sin was involved. In this day divorces are permitted in accordance
with civil statutes, and the divorced persons are permitted by the Church
to marry again without the stain of immorality which under a higher system
and in a better civilization would attend such a course." (DNTC,
Reacting to Offenses.
- READ MATTHEW 5:33-37. Oaths
not needed to secure your word.
- WHAT PRINCIPLE IS THE LORD TEACHING?
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Under the Mosaic
law the taking of oaths was so common and covered such a variety of circumstances
that, in practice, little verity attended statements that were not made
with an oath.... Under the perfect law of Christ every man's word is his
bond, and all spoken statements are as true as though an oath attended
each spoken word." (Mortal Messiah, 2:140)
- We are accountable for that which we say or profess.
- Consider all of the legal situations that could
be solved if men abided by this principle.
Loving Our Enemies.
- READ MATTHEW 5:38-42. How
to react to offenses committed against us.
- Once again, the Lord has raised the law to a
- The law of Moses allowed men to seek justice
for offenses committed.
- The Lord taught men to turn the other cheek,
to give up one's cloak, and to go the extra mile.
- HOW DO YOU REACT TO OFFENSES COMMITTED?
- WHAT SPIRITUAL DAMAGE TO WE DO TO OURSELVES WHEN
WE REACT NEGATIVELY?
- The Principle of going the Second mile:
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Apparently Jesus
had reference to the Roman law which authorized troops passing a district
to commandeer the people and compel them to carry their luggage. To comply
with this law often resulted in great inconvenience. The principle involved
is that the saints should pay their taxes, abide by the laws of the land,
and submit to those public burdens attendant upon citizenship."
- The Lord taught us to go the second mile because
it was the right thing to do. Going the second mile invokes a law of the
universe, that appropriate compensation is given for any acts committed.
- Old Hindu proverb: "Help thy brother's
boat across--and lo! Thine own has reached the shore."
- READ MATTHEW 5:43-47. Love
- The Lord has given us a great challenge!
- HOW DO WE ACHIEVE THIS LOVE?
- Moroni 7:47-48: "But charity is the pure
love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of
it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren,
pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled
with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers
of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when
he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that
we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."
- The Lord concludes this part of the sermon with
this invitation (Matt. 5:48): "Be ye therefore perfect, even as
your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
- JST: "Ye are therefore commanded to be
perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect."
- If the Savior had not issued sufficient challenges
in his sermon to this point, he certainly did it with this concluding statement
to Matthew 5.
- HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO KEEP SUCH A COMMANDMENT?
- Joseph Smith: "When you climb up a ladder,
you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive
at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel--you must begin
with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation.
But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before
you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world;
it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond
the grave." (DHC 6:306-307)
In the fifth chapter of Matthew, the Lord has
taught a greater law. Those teaching are as applicable and necessary today
as they were 2000 years ago. If we could master these teachings, I dare
say we would be well on our way to perfection.
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Changes last made on: Sat Feb 13 1999