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Gospel Doctrine Lesson Eight

The Sermon on the
Mount: “A More
Excellent Way”
Remember, the beatitudes
are not meant to be
interpreted as a simple
list of proverbs or a
compilation of
independent sayings. They
are instead a step by step
description of how our
Father in Heaven rebuilds
the hearts of those who
follow the Savior.
There is not space on this
worksheet to cover all of
the beatitudes, nor the
entire Sermon on the
Mount. Entire books have
been written on these
subjects. Nevertheless, I
hope that my thoughts
will start you on your
own path of
contemplation regarding
what steps the Savior
would have you take to
change your heart from
that of a simple believer
to that of a devoted
disciple.

Purpose: To
encourage class
members to come
unto Christ by
applying the
principles he taught
in the sermon on
the mount

Step One: Blessed are the poor
Matthew 5:3
The Greek work poor translates more
closely to the English word beggar.
Therefore, it doesn’t simply mean one with
few earthly possessions. It applies to those
who require the charity of others in order
to survive.
In what ways are you “poor in spirit” or
dependent upon the charity of others to
survive?

Why would Jesus make this the first step
in his plan to turn believers into disciples?

 

      Blessings are received upon surrender, not

awarded upon conquest. The first step to receiving a
blessing is a plea for help, an acknowledgment of
moral destitution, an admission of inward paucity.
Those who receive God’s presence have declared
spiritual bankruptcy and are aware of their spiritual
crisis. Their cupboards are bare. Their pockets are empty.
Their options are gone. They have long since stopped
demanding justice and have begun pleading for mercy.
They don’t brag. They beg. They ask God to do for
them what they can’t do without him. Oh the irony
of God’s blessings—they thrive in the parched soil of
destitution rather than in the fertile ground of
achievement.
Max Lucado

Step Two: Matthew 5:4
Blessed are they that mourn
Mourning follows from an honest
acknowledgement of our poverty of spirit. Once
we recognize our weakness, we naturally
become disturbed by our predilection toward
sin and error. As King David cried out in Psalms
6:7, "Mine eye is consumed because of grief”.
Peter said in Matthew 26:75, "And Peter
remembered the word of Jesus, which said
unto him,’ Before the cock crow, thou shalt
deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept
bitterly’, And Nephi laments in 2 Nephi 4, "Oh
wretched man that I am”
Thus, the second beatitude logically follows
the first. Of all the paths to joy, this one has
to be the strangest. True blessedness, Jesus
says, begins with deep sadness. In layman’s
term, “Blessed are those who know they are in
trouble and have enough sense to admit it”.

1. 

After thinking about these first two
steps, complete the sentence:
“Blessed are those who mourn for:

2. What specific kind of grief do these
verses speak of?

3. Can you think of cases in which
admitting failure can become a cop-out
or an excuse to stop trying? What (if
any) is the difference between “mourning”
and giving in to failure?

Step Three: Blessed are the meek
Matthew 5:5
Sorrow is followed by meekness. The meek are filled with regard to God and His
purposes in the universe. The meek are not awe-struck by the world. They are not
distracted by the many frustrations of life; they are more easily mobilized for
eternal causes and less easily immobilized by the disappointments of the day.
Because they make fewer demands of life, the meek are less easily disappointed.
They are less concerned with their entitlements than with their assignments. The
meek are amazed that God would save them, and they are surprised that God
would use them. It is as if they are the junior-high-school clarinet section leader
chosen to play with the Boston Pops. They don’t tell the maestro how to conduct;
they’re just thrilled to be part of the concert.
Step Four: Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness
Matthew 5:6
Step Five: Blessed are the merciful
Matthew 5:7
The first step is to ask for help, become poor in spirit, admit our need for a Savior
The next step is sorrow: No excuses, no justification, just tears.
The next step is one of renewal: blessed are the meek for it is the realization of
weakness that leads us to our true source of strength, God. The first two
beatitudes take us through the fire of purification. The third places us in the hands
of the master. The fourth shows us the result of this process.
Hunger. You want more. You are continually drawn to this process of becoming a
disciple, this process which is so different from anything to be found in the world.
You admit sin, you get saved. You confess weakness, you receive strength. You say
that you are sorry, you find forgiveness.
Then comes mercy. The more you receive the more you give.

Where are you on your journey through the Savior’s steps to become a disciple? Do
you need to be more merciful? More meek? Write down one very specific thing
that you can do this week to further your progress in this area.

The Parable of the Candles

 
Late one night there was a blackout. In the darkness I stumbled to the closet where we keep the candles for
nights like this. Flicking the lighter, I lit four of them. I was turning to leave the closet when the largest of
the candles spoke.
"Don't take me out there! Please!”
"What? I replied”
"I said, Don't take me out of this room."
"What do you mean? I have to take you out. You're a candle. It’s your job to go out there and bring light to the
darkness.”
"But you can't take me out. I'm not ready," the candle explained with pleading eyes. "I need more preparation."
"More preparation?"
"Yeah, I've decided I need to research this job of light-giving so I won't go out and make a bunch of mistakes.
You'd be surprised how distorted the glow of an untrained candle can be ...."
"All right then," I said. "You're not the only candle on the shelf. I'll blow you out and take the other three!"
Just then the other candles began to speak. "We aren't going either!"
I turned to the remaining candles, "You are candles and your job is to light dark places!"
"I don’t have time to go out there”, said the second candle. I'm busy ... I'm meditating on the importance of
light. It's really enlightening."
"And you other two," I asked, "are you going to stay in this closet too?"
The smallest candle spoke up. "I’m afraid to go out there. I'm working on getting my life together. I'm not
stable enough yet."
The last candle said, "I'd like to help, but I’m not very good at lighting the darkness. I'm a singer. I sing to
other candles to encourage them to burn more brightly."
She began a rendition of "This Little Light of Mine". The other three candles joined in. I took a step back and
considered the absurdity of it all. Four perfectly healthy candles singing to each other about light but refusing
to come out of the closet.

Matthew 5:14-16
“ Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill
cannot be hid. 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.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”