The hardest sermon

Once more we are reminded of the greatness of this Sermon on the Mount, its searching character, the profundity of its teaching, indeed its truly alarming character. There never has been such a Sermon as this. It finds us all somehow, somewhere. There is no possibility of escape; it searches us out in all our hiding places and brings us out into the light of God. There is nothing, as we have seen several times before, which is so unintelligent and fatuous as the statement of those who are fond of teling us what they really like in the New Testament is the Sermon on the Mount. They dislike the theology of Paul and all this talk about doctrine. They say, ‘Give me the Sermon on the Mount, something practical, something a man can do himself.’ Well here it is! There is nothing that so utterly condemns us as the Sermon on the Mount; there is nothing so utterly impossible, so terrifying, and so full of doctrine. Indeed, I do not hesitate to say that, were it not that I knew of the doctrine of justification by faith only, I would never look at the Sermon on the Mount, because it is a Sermon before which we all stand completely naked and altogether without hope. Far from being something practical that we can take up and put into practice, it is of all teaching the most impossible if we are left to ourselves. -Martyn Lloyd Jones, from Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, p. 426

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