2020-1-17

登山宝训——作主门徒ABC
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登山宝训是马太福音第五、六、七章中主耶稣最为人熟知的教训,可惜大概也是人最不愿明白、也最疏于遵守的教训。登山宝训(太5、6、7)犹如一篇天国宣言,教导基督的门徒以天国的准则,天国八福(5:3-11)是宣言中的八个大纲。从5:12开始,直到7:24-27的总结,主耶稣的教导完全遵循着天国八福展开。

登山宝训可能令读者困惑,甚至有圣经学者猜想,使徒马太道听途说主耶稣教导的一堆片言只语,然后东拼西凑地记载在马太福音中,于是成其为“登山宝训“云云,这绝对是不正确的。我们马上会看得一清二楚,登山宝训深入浅出,逻辑严密,是神的子民天国生活的入门指引。

圣经教导的技巧之一,是使用反面教材,旧约中繁多的假先知、假神、甚至圣徒、选民的软弱和失足,都让读者看到小信或不信神的恶果。拉比主耶稣在登山宝训中使用相同的教导技巧。我们必须牢牢把握住一条贯串的纲领:外邦人虽被主耶稣点评,但在登山宝训中,主要的反面教材是假冒为善的法利赛人。而登山宝训的核心经文是:“你们不可效法他们“(6:8,或译”你们决不可与他们混为一体。“),包括不可效法当时的宗教贵族法利赛人和不认识真神的外邦人。主耶稣其实在重新强调一条古旧的诫命: ”你们从前住的埃及地,那里人的行为,你们不可效法。“(利18:3)抓紧这条线,我们可以更好明白登山宝训。

登山宝训的背景是:受浸礼、驱撒旦之后,主耶稣开始了他在地上的事奉。他呼召门徒,治病赶鬼,这位拉比一时名声鹊起,前无古人(可1:27),人们于是从四面八方来跟随他(4:25)。不过,根据5:1以及路6:20,登山宝训并不是孔夫子的“有教无类”。宝训完全是为基督的门徒而作,即是说,只有主的门徒,方有特权能从登山宝训受教,这是何等荣耀!世间不少哲人智者其实对登山宝训称许有加,但仅仅如此而已。世界行不出登山宝训来,因为他们不是基督的门徒。主耶稣对受教的门徒们总结登山宝训,说:“所以凡听见我这话就去行的,好比一个聪明人,把房子盖在磐石上,雨淋,水冲,风吹,撞着那房子,房子总不倒塌。因为根基立在磐石上。凡听见我这话不去行的,好比一个无知的人,把房子盖在沙土上,雨淋,水冲,风吹,撞着那房子,房子就倒塌了。并且倒塌得很大。“(7:24-27)我们作主的门徒,必须把房子盖在磐石上,否则我们与世界没有分别。

天国八福(太5:3-12)

有人以为,天国八福不过是八条乏味的教条,他们与一座宝藏失诸交臂。八福是门徒生命成长的八个阶段,由自觉一个贫乏的灵魂(“灵里贫乏”是原文直译,和合本的“虚心”未能完全呈现原文含义)而哀恸,因生命改变而温柔、而饥渴慕义;成长到如基督般怜恤失丧灵魂,同时心灵洁净澄澈,进而愿委身为福音的使者叫罪人与神和好,为此甘愿面对世界的逼迫和击打。我们看到一个门徒满有基督长成的身量,是主耶稣对门徒生命成长的殷切期盼,他并且应许来自天上的祝福。

欣切期望 (太5:13-16)

主赐给门徒尊贵的位份:“你们永远是世上的盐……你们永远是世上的光……”(根据原文再译,和合本无“永远”)。盐有调味和防腐的作用。如果不是教会的存在,这世界将会是何等乏味和腐败;而光驱散黑暗,主耶稣是真光,带给黑暗中的人盼望和出路,他期望门徒们也成为世上的光,叫世人“看见你们的好行为,便将荣耀归给你们在天上的父。” 这些好行为列举在八福中(3-12)。只有靠主活出八福的新生命,才能作世上的盐和光,把荣耀归给天上的父。这也是主呼召、造就门徒的目的。而假冒为善的宗教贵族披着律法的外衣,这种生命不能发光。

基督与律法,新约与旧约(太5:17-20)

新约时代,旧约的价值是什么?基督来了,律法(旧约)还有甚价值没有?主耶稣振聋发聩,有千古一答。他高举律法的永恒价值,并且由他自己成全律法所有关于公义和圣洁的要求。在这一点上,只有一个人能够做到,就是道成肉身的人子耶稣;其他人,包括你我,无一不一败涂地。

拨乱反正(太5:21-48)

这段经文中,主耶稣列举六个曲解律法的典型例子作拨乱反正:杀人、奸淫、休妻、起誓、以眼还眼、爱仇敌。在主耶稣之前,这些论题都被犹太拉比们把其中的准则随意扩大和缩减,圣经的原意因此消失。主耶稣大刀阔斧地把谬误肃清,把圣经的权威重新放在人间的宗教权贵之上。

正确理解登山宝训的要求,往往需要运用严谨的释经法(其实这是理解圣经的基本要求),以免陷入“一叶障目,不见泰山”之弊。上列“灵里贫乏”与“虚心”的对比就是一个例子。而对于休妻(31-32)的正确理解,甚至可以防止对教会合一造成完全没有必要的破坏。篇幅所限,不能在此一一列举。各位何妨访问星光点点网址https://shinelikesta.blogspot.com/ 阅读更详细的中、英文分享。

Sermon on the Mount — The Disciples’ ABC

Lord Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 5-7 is sometimes entitled as Sermon on the Mount. Sermon on the Mount is probably the best-known part of the teaching of Jesus, though it is the least understood, and arguably it is the least-obeyed. ☹ This is a heavenly declaration of the guidelines of the kingdom of God. The so-called Beatitudes are the different titles. From 5:12 to 7:23, the development of Jesus’ teachings follows the Beatitudes.

The beginners may be frustrated when they start to study Sermon on the Mount. A few Bible scholars have even argued that the apostle Matthew heard about some segments of Jesus’ teachings, and he recorded them. With the popularization of the Gospel it became Sermon on the Mount. This is, however, entirely baseless. Soon we will see that Sermon on the Mount is a heavenly Exhortation that is logical and well-prepared. It is a wisely arranged sermon preached systematically. It is the guideline for the people of God for their kingdom live.

One of the teaching techniques in Scripture is the generous uses of the negative examples. The various false prophets and gods, and even the infirmities and stumbling of the saints and the chosen people in the O.T., all of them serves as negative examples for us to learn vivid lessons. Rabi Jesus also employs such. We have to hold firm for such a fact that throughout the Gospels, out of many, the major negative example is but the Pharisees. A careful survey to Sermon on the Mount, which is in Matt 5-7, reveals that the main theme of Jesus’ teaching is found in 6:8, “Do not be like them.” (can be translated according to the Greek original: “Absolutely thou shalt not blend thyself into them.”) This includes the Pharisees as the religious elites back then and the gentiles as well. Laying hold of this will help us understand Sermon on the Mount. Note that the Lord merely refreshes an O.T. commandment: “You must not do as they do in Egypt…” (Lev 18:3)

The social background is that Jesus soon became famous after he started his ministry. “Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.” (4:25). He called a small group of people to be his disciples. According to 5:1 and Luke 6:20, Sermon on the Mount is exclusively for the disciples who are privileged to be the pupils of the Lord. What a honor we as the disciples of the Lord have! The teaching is also well populated and admired by many in the world, but they are not able to practice. For they are not disciples of Christ. Therefore, in his summary Lord Jesus challenges his disciples, saying, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (7:24-27) We as disciples of Christ should set our spiritual foundation on the rock, or we would be no different then the world, from which we were purchased and freed with the pressures blood of Lord Jesus.

The Beatitudes (Matt 5:3-12)

If you, like many others, think that the Beatitudes is just a bunch of boring dogmas, you miss a priceless treasure. The eight elements in the Beatitudes represent the eight different stages that the Lord wants his disciples to go through. Starting from one realizing his poverty in spirit, he then mourns for it. His mournful heart is comforted, and he repents and returns to God, his is now meek. Also, he hungers and thirsts for righteousness. He starts to be merciful and pure hearted, and he is willing to share the gospel of Christ to sinners, wanting them to reconciliate with God. Now he is ready to endure persecution with a joyful heart for righteousness, for there is a great reward from heaven promised.

The Great Expectation (Matt 5:13-16)

The noble status the Lord gives to his disciples: “You always are the salt of the earth… You always are the light of the world…” (according to the Greek text). Salt adds flavor and is an antiseptic agent, one can imagine how tasteless and corrupt this world would be if without the existence of the Church. Light, on the other hand, drives out darkness, Being the true light, Lord Jesus also expects his disciples to be the light: “that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” What good deed is the Lord talking about? All are highlighted in the Beatitudes (3-12) prior to this section. Only those whose lives shine with the Beatitudes can be the salt and light if the world and to glorify the heavenly Father. This is the purpose that we are called and edified. Although, on the other hand, the religious elites put on the law as their outer cover, they failed to shine the light with their hypocritical lives.

Christ and the Law, the N.T. and the O.T.

Is the Mosaic law still valid after the coming of Christ? Yes. Jesus says. Not only that he upholds the law, but he announces that he is the fulfillment of it. Only one man in the entire human history can do it, and this man is Jesus Christ. All others fail miserably.

The Restoration of Truth (Matt 5:21-48)

In the following teachings the Lord posts six cases in which the law was erroneously taught, e.g. murder, adultery, divorce, oath, an eye for an eye, and love for enemies. These are the topics taught for a long time, but the spirit of the commandments was distorted. Lord Jesus slashes the erroneous teaching and restores the authority of the word of God above the human religious elites.

It is crucial to yield sound understandings from Sermon on the Mount by employing correct hermeneutic method, or we might head for wrong spiritual directions because of our misunderstanding. Sermon on the Mount was given two thousand some years ago in a far away place call Asian Minor by a Jewish Rabbi. We have to admit that our geographical, religious, and culture environments are so distant that a simple glance of these three chapters are insufficient for a satisfactory understanding. With prayer, a more detail material can be found at the link https://shinelikesta.blogspot.com/ for you to visit. With the progress I will continue to post more material to share. Sola Deo Gloria.          —- David Yip

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