Jesus declared, definitively, that the “end” will not come until “this gospel of the kingdom of God is proclaimed to all nations.”

When we discuss the future coming of Jesus, quite naturally we ask what “signs” will precede it. Wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, famines, and the like? Spectacular cosmic events in the heavens? The rise of unprecedented evil and chaos? Fortunately, Jesus provided us with a most definitive answer – The completion of the church’s mission.

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Prudent or Foolish?

The Sermon on the Mount is NOT a program for reforming civil society, implementing economic justice, or a perfect society. Instead, it provides clear instructions for how his disciples must live in the present age as faithful citizens and envoys of HIS kingdom.

And for his followers, his teachings in the Sermon are NOT optional. To stress the point, Jesus ends his discourse with a stern warning. To modify, compromise, or ignore his words will result in everlasting destruction for the offender.

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When Christians react in kind to hostility, whether from government, society, or individuals, Satan triumphsMatthew 5:12.

The reality of persecution in the Christian life raises numerous questions. For example, how should we react to our persecutors, especially when we are persecuted by governing authorities? Should we respond with indignation, civil disobedience, and public protests? Or should the disciples of Jesus follow his example and that of the early church?

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The Law & Prophets

Fulfillment is a prominent theme in Matthew’s gospel – with the arrival of the Messiah, the time of fulfillment has arrived. All that was anticipated in the Hebrew Bible began to come to fruition. But with his advent, what are the implications for the Law?

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus provides clear answers and examples of just what he means. He did not come to adjudicate the interpretive disputes between competing Jewish sects over the details of the Law or to validate which oral traditions were correct.

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Following Jesus

Jesus admonished his disciples that if anyone wished to come after him, “let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” This was more than metaphorical or hyperbolic language. It was said at the very time he was on his final journey to Jerusalem where he would demonstrate to the world just what it meant to “deny oneself and take up the cross.”

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