The Berean Expositor
Volume 13 - Page 60 of 159
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Leaving the examination of opinions, we turn our attention to that which is more
profitable, viz., the testimony of the Word itself.
The BEATITUDES, with which the Sermon on the Mount opens, contain the key
thought, and if we do not find the key here we shall miss our way through the remainder
of the passage. That key word is REWARD. Verse 12 sums up all that is said under
varying aspects in verses 3-11:--
"Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your REWARD in heaven."
The literary structure now comes to our aid by expanding this idea of reward. In
chapter 6: the reward which the hypocrite receives now is set over against the reward
which shall be given by the Lord at His coming. Almsgiving must not be done to be seen
of men, otherwise there will be no reward from the Father in heaven. Those who give
alms as the hypocrites do have their reward. The same thing is said of prayer and of
fasting. There is a present reward given by mortal man, or there is a future reward to be
given openly by the Father, and the section reaches its climax in the words, "Ye cannot
serve God and Mammon" (6: 24).
The second feature of this Sermon on the Mount, and one which expands and
expounds the character of the reward, is the emphasis upon ENTRY INTO THE
KINGDOM. Unless the righteousness of those addressed exceeded that of the Scribes
and Pharisees, the Lord said they should in no case enter the kingdom of heaven. In the
conclusion of the Sermon He says, "Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall
enter into the Kingdom of Heaven" (7: 21), and a little earlier He gives the exhortation
to enter in at the strait gate (7: 13). Suffering now, with the reward of the Father and
entry into the kingdom as a future compensation, is held out by the Lord to those who
possessed certain qualities which are summed up in 5: 48, "Be ye therefore PERFECT".
Our previous studies under the titles of "The Hope and the Prize" and the "Epistles to
the Hebrews" will have prepared us to see the fitness of associating reward, and entry
into the kingdom, with perfection.
The structure places the "wise man" in
correspondence with the perfect, which further emphasizes and illuminates the great
theme. This we shall see the better when we deal with the Sermon in the light of the
whole Gospels. There remain the references to the Law and the Prophets, and the sayings
of the Lord Himself. The authority of the Law and the Prophets is upheld and enforced,
while a deeper and more spiritual apprehension of their teaching is required of those who
would enter the kingdom. We can now appreciate the main outline of the Sermon on the
Matt. 5:-7:
A | 5: 3-16.  Reward.
B | 17.  The Law and the Prophets.
C | 19, 20.  Entry into the Kingdom.
D | 21-44.  But I say unto you.
E | 45-48.  The Perfect.