Welcome, we’re Scot and Maurine Proctor and this is Meridian Magazine’s Come, Follow Me podcast. Today’s lesson is Matthew 5 and Luke 6 called Blessed Are Ye, and it’s about a section of the Sermon on the Mount.
We hope you tell your friends about these podcasts. That’s the only way we can spread the word. And they’re very easy to find at ldsmag.com/podcast. And we’re trying to put them on as many platforms as we can so that you can get them on your devices at home.
The Sermon on the Mount was called by President Joseph Fielding Smith, “the greatest sermon that was ever preached so far as we know.” And it was so important that it was given, with some changes, again to the people in the Book of Mormon when the Savior arrived. President Harold B. Lee called it, quote, “the constitution for a perfect life” (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places: Selected Sermons and Writings of President Harold B. Lee, 341–48).
What secrets must be hidden there?
We need to take you to this place. There is a traditional site in Israel where this took place, and it’s most likely authentic. It’s just above the north shore of the Sea of Galilee on a beautiful hill overlooking that entire Sea of Galilee basin. It is beautiful, and we were there one morning shooting some photographs for one of our projects and we had run to take pictures of a gorgeous sunrise. And we had tried to capture just the right light, and there were birds flying through the air and the grasses were beautiful. And as we were heading back up from taking the sunrise, I realized that in our storyboard I had to shoot some pictures of some weeds or some thistles that also fit into the story. And so, I pulled out the big camera with that long lens on it, and I was focusing in on some beautiful weeds or thistles. I had the long lens and as I pulled focus on this I started to feel their spirits crying out to me. They were saying, pick me, pick me, I want to testify of the Creator! And here it was in this very place where the Savior gave the Sermon on the Mount. And yet they were crying out to me, and I could feel them. I could feel them desiring. A number of them were just crying out, please let me testify of the Creator. That was a very sacred and wonderful moment for me.
From Mount Sinai, Jehovah had delivered the great law to Moses. Now from another mountain with the Blue Sea of the Galilee spread below, He gave the new law of the gospel. Where the law of Moses had focused on outward performances—actions visible to the world and easy to see—the new law focused on the state of the heart, the flow of the soul. This is much more challenging developmentally, but it is all about making us happy and truly free of the pain that comes from our own weaknesses. When Jehovah gave that law from Mount Sinai, He said:
“I am the Lord [your] God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2).
So in other words, He was saying, I took you out of bondage and here are the laws that will continue to make you free of bondage. Follow these commandments to make you free. Now, here on the Mount of Beatitudes, He was going to give a higher course of action to make us free.
We call these first few verses of chapter five, the Beatitudes. “Blessed are they,” the Lord would say again and again, not so much commanding His followers as describing the happy life, the way of true wellbeing. A better translation might be, “oh, the happiness of those who are meek, merciful, or pure in heart.” The direct translation from the Aramaic seems to have the sense of being prospered. They will be prospered if they are peacemakers, merciful, the pure in heart. In the Hebrew it’s the word Barach or Barakaah, and that is reminiscent of the covenant blessing that is upon all those who will do these things or be this way. These commandments are not meant to be a straitjacket. What Jesus gives is in harmony with eternal law. One definition of the word blessed (makarios in Greek) means “privileged to receive divine favor.” It is the way of true wellbeing.
Commandments aren’t some imperative laid upon you to bind you. They’re not a list of things to do. They are the description of how happy people live. Your spirit, born of God, is never happy unless you are aligned with Him and His eternal laws. This Sermon on the Mount is not something to do, it’s a way to be. And then from that naturally flows behavior. We are taught some false ideas in our secular world. The natural man might believe he must compete for his share of things, oppress others, fight for dominion, protect his ego, prove his importance, and be ever wary lest another take advantage of him. But this was the way of misery. This sermon gives us a description of the inner man that seems almost impossible to achieve, such as love your enemies. This is real development, but we are not left alone to do this. It is the Lord who transforms us. Follow these commandments to bring you home.
Both Mt. Sinai and the Sermon on the Mount, were laws of sacrifice. But this was a higher kind of sacrifice. Jesus would ask for the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. From the Latin we learn that a contrite spirit is “one that is ground to powder,” and we become as the dust of the earth and the dust of the Earth is completely obedient to God. He can command and the mountains move immediately in an instant. We are to become like that.
So these phrases are so familiar to us.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
Well, in the Book of Mormon adds, “blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me” (3 Nephi 12:3).
I think that’s a wonderful addition.
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
And “blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
And, of course, the addition is “they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost” (3 Nephi 12:6).
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
And “Blessed are [all] the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
We know this. We’ve heard it so much.
Ancient languages are very fluid in their translation. We’ve found that English is quite rigid and boxy. An example comes from the Turkish language: günaydın. Günaydın is a very common phrase that we use there. It just means “good morning.” But if you look at the word gün means “day;” it also means “sun”. And aydın actually means “intelligence”, or it means “intellectual.” It’s an odd little combination, but you can translate it this way: instead of just “good morning” it means, “may the light of the sun shine upon your face and fill your countenance and fill your innards with light and with joy.” That’s how you can translate it. And that’s a real translation.
So there is so much more in these words than we often give credit for. “Blessed are they that mourn,” but in one translation of the Aramaic it says: “Healed are those weak and overextended for their purpose. They shall feel their inner flow of strength return.”
The Lord’s love can be counted on without fail to heal the wounded and worn out. And what is amazing is that when you are wounded and worn out is when you come to know the Lord the best.
“Blessed are the meek,” He said. Or from the Aramaic: “Blessed are the gentle who have softened what is rigid within. They shall receive physical vigor and strength from the universe.”
It’s interesting that “they shall inherit the earth,” but nothing about this life teaches us meekness. This includes submission to the Lord’s will, and there is no one more powerful than the meek. Jesus was meek.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught us, quote:
“Meekness […] is more than self-restraint; it is the presentation of self in a posture of kindness and gentleness[, reflecting] certitude, strength, serenity; [and] a healthy self-esteem and a genuine self-control.
“The meek are filled with awe and wonder with regard to God and His purposes in the universe. At the same time, the meek are not awe-struck by the many frustrations of life; they are more easily mobilized for eternal causes and less easily immobilized by the disappointments of the day.”
I love that.
“Meekness is not a display of humility; it is the real thing. True meekness is never proud of itself, never conscious of itself.” (Neal A. Maxwell, “Meekly Drenched in Destiny” September 5, 1982, speeches.byu.edu)
Among the meek, there is usually more listening and less talking.
Isn’t that nice?
“Be meek and lowly, upright and pure; render good for evil. … Be humble and patient in all circumstances of life; we shall then triumph more gloriously”, said the Prophet Joseph Smith. (History of the Church, 6:411; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on May 26, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Thomas Bullock.)
“Blessed are the pure in heart.” Blessed are those whose lives radiate from the core of love. They shall see God everywhere. These are the qualities that bring us back to see Him again without guile, without hidden agenda, without overconcern for self, but with an eye single to the glory of God.
I had a sweet experience once when I was reading to one of our little children. We were reading a book about Jesus and our daughter looked up with big blue eyes and said, Mommy, is that what Jesus looks like? And I said, I don’t know, but that is what the artist put together to express what Jesus might look like. And she said, has the artist seen Jesus? And I said, I don’t know, but I don’t think so. And then she said, with all sincerity, can I see Jesus? And I looked at her and knowing that the pure in heart shall see Jesus and that, in fact, it is all of our goals to come face to face with the Lord again, I said yes. Someday you can see Jesus if you are pure in heart.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” And from the Aramaic: “they shall find their own prayers answered.”
The meek, merciful, and pure hearted may seem to be the ones overlooked and trampled in a world where pride and ego rule, but evil is paid back and a heart filled with anxiety and fear are running for, but never finding, satisfaction. On the other hand, the Lord offered the way to draw us out of ourselves, to focus His light within us, to give us peace. And we have to understand here the audience that Jesus is talking to is His disciples. There’s a large group there, but He’s really focusing this message on His disciples, those who are willing to follow Him.
And it’s interesting that in these words, there are so many allusions to the Old Testament that His followers would have heard and understood. For example, when He talks about blessed are the meek, He is also referring to Isaiah 61:1-2, where it says,
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, […] to bind up the brokenhearted, […] to comfort all that mourn.” (Isaiah 61:1-2)
This is a Messianic message, and He is really saying here that He is the Messiah.
And that’s the same verse that He was reading in the synagogue at Nazareth, remember? A disciple senses his homesickness. He comes hungering and thirsting, and he it is who will be filled. From the Psalms we read:
“They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.” (Psalm 107:4-5)
And then it continues, “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:9). That’s from the 107th Psalm.
Then there is this wonderful phrase that people would have completely understood from the Psalms on the pure in heart. This is actually a temple text, and it reads:
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
“He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” (Psalm 24:4-5)
So people knew that when He’s talking about the pure in heart, He is talking about the temple experience, which brings us to be able to stand in the presence of God.
I love this verse:
“Blessed are [those] who are persecuted for my name’s sake” (3 Nephi 12:10).
This gives us the greatest opportunity to triumph over fear and hate.
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you” (Matthew 5:44).
It reminds me of Joseph Smith on his way to Carthage. He and his brother were heading on horses to Carthage and they knew that it would be their end, but Joseph said:
“I am calm as a summer’s morning; [and my] conscience [is] void of offense towards God, and towards all men” (D&C 135:4).
I just love that when he is surrounded by his enemies, but he has no offense in his heart.
That is so moving. It always has been moving to us.
Now, burnt offerings have marked the law of Moses, and now the new law required another sacrifice, which we mentioned:
“Ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (3 Nephi 9:20).
This is not something you can check off on a list of things to do. It is not outward. Jesus would say, as an offering on the altar true disciples must put their old selves, those complaining, protective, frightened selves that see the world through the blinders of their own will. The disciples must be transformed, born again, unafraid to render unto the Lord all that they have and are. They must not hold back even the slightest part of themselves, afraid of what the Lord will ask.
That’s certainly not what the world teaches.
It isn’t. And it is developmentally challenging. Let’s face it. It really is. But that’s why to make the sacrifice means that we are truly having a relationship with God. He is part of our lives. He walks with us.
Now, this idea that “ye are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13) is interesting. Christ told His followers that, and He also said that, “ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). And He was talking here something far different from the world’s frail lessons of success, of social survival of the fittest. And He says it differently in the Book of Mormon when He talks to the people there. He says:
“I give unto you to be the salt of the earth” (3 Nephi 12:13).
What is the salt? The salt is the preservative. And this is an action statement. It says, I challenge you to be this preservative of the earth. It’s part of what a covenant blessing is. Both salt and fire were used in the offering of sacrifices in the temple. Salt, as a preservative, represented the covenant between God and Israel. The priest kept the fire burning on the altar in the temple, symbolizing the perpetual covenant which made the ordinance of sacrifice efficacious. Salt, like fire, is also a purifier, and it’s interesting that salt doesn’t lose its savor with time. That is not what takes the savor away from salt. Why salt sometimes loses its savor is when it is contaminated with something else. So, in other words, He’s saying to the people, I give unto you to be the preservative and you must be the preservative by not contaminating yourself with other ideas besides the gospel.
He said, “ye are the light of the world.” He identifies Himself as the light of the world, and you are the light of the world by doing missionary work. He says:
“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house” (Matthew 5:15).
That always brings to my mind Truman Madsen teaching years ago: “Why hide your light under a bushel when a thimble will do?”
The words of the Lord are more clear in the Book of Mormon on this:
“I give unto you”—again there’s that commission—”I give unto you to [be a] the light [unto] this people (3 Nephi 12:14).
We are commissioned to be a light unto the people and unto the world.
“Therefore,” he says in 3 Nephi 18:24, “Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do.”
What a clear commission.
It reminds me of a wonderful story. I remember years ago when they were doing negotiations to put the BYU Jerusalem Center in Jerusalem and there was a great deal of pushback. People were not sure they wanted it there. And finally, the Church had to make an agreement that the students would not do any proselyting, that they would not talk about the Church or try to share the Book of Mormon or anything else while they were there in Israel. And the mayor at that time, Teddy Kollek, said, “Yes, but what are we going to do about the light in their eyes?” And that is so true. We’ve been to Jerusalem so many times and we can pick out these students from a mile away as they’re coming toward us because they have a shine about them. This light that the Lord is talking about is a real thing. And especially we need to shine that light when we find ourselves challenged, when we find ourselves alone, when there are times when people would say that we should be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love what Paul says in Romans:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16).
In the Book of Mormon, one disciple said:
“I will give away all my sins to know thee” (Alma 22:18).
And indeed, that is required. Just as new wine could not be put into old bottles, so a new society could not be built out of external performances. Jesus asked that His disciples strip themselves of jealousies and fears. Jesus asked that His disciples sacrifice their self-righteousness, their need to create a worthy impression.
That’s a tough one. Even our thoughts must be pure. Where the law of Moses said one should not murder, now Christ said that His flock must sacrifice their anger, their contempt for their fellows, their enmity.
“If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
“Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
That is a very strict standard. We can’t be angry. We can’t be contemptuous. We can’t be judgmental.
I love the more correct text of the Book of Mormon in this particular section. In the King James Version, it says:
“Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matthew 5:22).
But in the Book of Mormon, it says:
“But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment” (3 Nephi 12:22).
It drops the line “without a cause.” We cannot be disciples of Jesus Chris if we live with contention, judgment, or criticism. This can be a conscious choice. We are tempted sometimes to say: I can’t help it; the emotion is bigger than I am. The emotions follow our thoughts.
And we can choose better. I remember one night we were in a very small social situation when someone arrived, who we thought was our friend and should have been kind to us, but very pointedly ignored us—wouldn’t answer our greeting, wouldn’t look us in the face, turned her face away. It was very hurtful. And we went on as if nothing had happened, but when we got back into the car we said to each other, did you see what I see?
Boy, I sure did. Oh, my goodness.
We felt bad, and we felt clearly offended.
We always call our car our soundproof booth where we can talk through these things.
So we were talking about how upset we were about this. And we got just a few blocks before we said…
…wait a minute. Let’s stop this altogether. This is not going anywhere good.
Yes, we said, we are just nursing our own hurt here. We are just enlarging it with our talk. Let’s talk about something else and work on not holding any feelings about what just happened. It was a great moment for us.
It reminds us one of our granddaughters taught us a great lesson one day. We were coming through an intersection and it was clearly a green light for us and we were just about to head through. It was a pretty big intersection, and out from nowhere came this car that went zooming through the intersection the other direction, ran the red light, could have slammed into us and killed us all. And I said something like, What an idiot!
Which, of course, is the most natural response in the world in that kind of situation when you feel so threatened.
And from the back seat, our granddaughter said, oh, let’s give him three what-ifs. What if he’s heading to the hospital with his wife who is just about ready to give birth to their first child?
What if he just lost his job today and he’s so upset he’s not even thinking clearly?
So she taught us you just give three what-ifs in any circumstance that looks very much different than what you would have supposed.
Giving up contention is so important that the Lord made it a very important point when He came to the people in the New World. In 3 Nephi 11:29-30 we read:
“For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
“Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.” (3 Nephi 11:29-30)
Wow, done away even if I feel overcome by emotion. Done away even if somebody is running through a red light. Done away in my whole system. That’s a lot to ask, and the Lord will help us get there.
Jesus asks us to love our enemies. This may be the last great frontier of the gospel is to love our enemies. And especially in this setting where the country is occupied by these sometimes brutal Romans. He’s asking them to love their enemies:
“Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).
In fact, Christ asked the seemingly impossible: the complete sacrifice of will, of returning love for injury.
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
His flock would sacrifice retaliation, vengeance, even taking offenses, cankers in the soul they could not afford. Instead of focusing on the sins of others, they would look to shed their own weaknesses with His help.
I’m reminded of Joseph Smith’s amazing example in relationship to W.W. Phelps, who had been his friend. However, in late 1838, W.W. Phelps, who had been a trusted church member, was among those who bore false testimony against the Prophet and other church leaders leading to their imprisonment in Missouri. In June 1840, Brother Phelps wrote to Joseph Smith pleading for forgiveness. The Prophet Joseph replied:
“I must say that it is with no ordinary feelings I endeavor to write a few lines to you in answer to yours of the 29th [of last month]. At the same time I am rejoiced at the privilege granted me.”
He continued in this letter:
“You may in some measure realize what my feelings, as well as Elder Rigdon’s & Bro Hyrum’s were when we read your letter, truly our hearts were melted into tenderness and compassion when we ascertained your resolves, I can assure you I feel a disposition to act on your case in a manner that will meet the approbation of Jehovah (whose servant I am) and agreeably to the principles of truth and righteousness which have been revealed and inasmuch as long-suffering patience and mercy have ever characterized the dealings of our heavenly Father towards the humble and penitent, I feel disposed, to copy the example and cherish the same principles, by so doing be a savior of my fellow men.
“It is true, that we have suffered much in consequence of your behavior—the cup of gall already full enough for mortals to drink, was indeed filled to overflowing when you turned against us: One with whom we had oft taken sweet council together, and enjoyed many refreshing seasons from the Lord.”
And he continues later on:
“Believing your confession to be real and your repentance genuine, I shall be happy once again to give you the right hand of fellowship, and rejoice over the returning prodigal.
“Your letter was read to the saints last Sunday and an expression of their feeling was taken, when it was unanimously resolved that W. W. Phelps should be received into fellowship.”
Then Joseph ends with this wonderful couplet:
“Come on dear Brother since the war is past, For friends at first are friends again at last.” (“Letter to William W. Phelps, 22 July 1840,” p. 157-8, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed February 3, 2023, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/letter-to-william-w-phelps-22-july-1840/2)
Joseph Smith said:
“One of the most pleasing scenes that can occur on earth, when a sin has been committed by one person against another, is, to forgive that sin; and then according to the sublime and perfect pattern of the Savior, pray to our Father in heaven to forgive [the sinner] also.” (From Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 392)
Isn’t that beautiful?
Now, “Be ye therefore perfect,” we’re told “even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
Many of us misunderstand what it means and spend a lifetime stressed and feeling badly because we are not good enough. Every event and every day is another excuse to measure ourselves. In our limited sphere, even if we had the capacity to become perfect, it would be just almost impossible with all that comes at us every day. So we spend a lot of time feeling bad.
We have to try to understand this verse 48 of chapter five. In the Greek and Hebrew, perfect means “whole,” “healed,” “complete,” or “the end product of a process.” It was an invitation to joy, for only when we are whole can we be free. It does not mean that we always perform perfectly or competently, but that, repentant, we have no inclination to do evil having been cleansed through Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Christ’s disciples must ultimately choose whether at the center of their souls is their own self-importance or the Lord, for no man can serve two masters. We cannot seek both personal gain and the Kingdom of God. Only when our eye is single to the glory of God will our whole body be full of light. I think we have to look at this as an invitation to accept the Savior as our perfection partner. He is perfect and if we hold onto Him and stay very close to Him, by and by, we will become like Him.
The law of sacrifice is eternal, but in the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord changed the form.
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil,” He said. (Matthew 5:17)
These were provocative words to Jewish ears. For them, the law had ceased to be a means to an end and had become the end in itself. They viewed the law as the source of salvation. Jesus’s message here was that He, not the law, is the source of salvation.
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life” (John 5:39).
How is this new law to be lived? He gives instruction:
“I am the light and the life of the world[,]” we read in 3 Nephi 9:18-20, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
“And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away,”—this is after His resurrection—”for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.
And ye shall offer for a sacrifice,” as we have already said, “unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost[.]” (3 Nephi 9:18-20)
The ruptured land graphically demonstrated just how complete the new change would be.
Our friend Wally Goddard, wanting to be very good in college, began to make a list of the things he did every day that were good and the things he did that were bad. He put them on a scale and graded himself every single day on how well he was doing. And, being very stern taskmaster of himself, he never got better than a C on anything. You can imagine by the end of the month he was a very discouraged and distraught human being. That is not the way he should have done it, and it’s not the way the Lord does it. But here is what we do learn. We find when we make a list that we cannot do it, but there is nothing so helpful to human beings as total desperation. Wally wrote:
“As long as we have even a sliver of hope that our efforts might resolve our dilemmas, we are likely to keep floundering along. But when we come up against impossibility, then we can discover the power.”
It certainly was true for Moses. Imagine how he felt with the Red Sea in front of him, millions of clamoring children of Israel around him, and murderous Egyptian troops approaching them. That’s when he had to turn to the Lord. And of course, he had many times before, but it was the Lord who had the answer before all those impossibilities. And trying to make ourselves better by some kind of a checklist is just an impossibility. But turning to the Lord with all of our hearts, that’s how it happens.
One of the great foundation insights from this sermon is the extent to which we can come to the Savior and the extent to which He will come to us.
“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you,” He says in another commandment in this dispensation. That’s in Section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 63.
To give up, finally, all that stands between us and Him seems at first a heavy task as we see how all-encompassing the requirements are. Nevertheless, the reward is incomparable. The old concept of God as primarily an emergency source evaporates, as does the idea that we might still live our own lives, God helping a little now and then. Remember what He said in John 15:5,
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).
This means we have to sacrifice our weaknesses, many of the things that we identify with, and do it for something higher. Joseph Smith observed:
“A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things […] God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God.”
“When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.” (Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith 6:7)
This sermon that Jesus is giving us from the Sermon on the Mount would change the world. Imagine all these teachings compressed into just 107 verses. Those verses would really be a life stream for the whole world for generations to come, and are to this day.
Goodbye and thank you for being with us. Next week’s lesson is Matthew 6-7, the concluding chapters of the Sermon on the Mount.
Thanks again to Paul Cardall for the beautiful music that he’s provided for this podcast. See you next time.