In this sermon, the beginning of a series of messages, our founding pastor, W. Graham Smith, talks about the misconceptions of the Sermon on the Mount and why we should study it. Here are some excerpts:

“This morning we begin a series of sermons on “Beatitudes” which, as you know, comprise the first portion of our Lord’s “Sermon on the Mount” as recorded in the Gospel according to Matthew, chapters 5 through 7.

Misunderstandings of the Sermon on the Mount

At the outset, let us clear the ground by noting certain misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the Sermon on the Mount:

1. At the turn of this century there arose what was called the “Social Gospel” movement

“…But unfortunately, the Social Gospel movement had one great and ultimately fatal defect. It idolized Christ’s ethic, as contained in the Sermon on the Mount, but it tried to preach that ethic to people who had never experienced the new birth in Christ, and who therefore did not possess the life of Christ within them… ”

2. Another misunderstanding of the Sermon on the Mount is found in a certain type of evangelistic preaching which identifies the Sermon with legalism.

According to this teaching, the Sermon on the Mount is basically a carryover from the Old Testament Law, and as such, is opposed to the gospel of salvation by faith in Christ alone, and to His atoning work on the Cross… This view is, in fact, blasphemous, because it simply does not take into account our Lord’s teaching… ”

3. A third misunderstanding of our Lord’s Sermon is to the effect that the standards He sets out are impossible to keep, and are, therefore, not to be taken seriously by Christians

This heresy at least recognizes the ineffably high standards that Christ demands from His people, but it does not understand that Christians are called to live that kind of life through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit Who alone can enable them to achieve Christ’s standard…”

4. The final misunderstanding of the Sermon on the Mount is what we might call the older “Dispensational” view of Scripture,

… a view popularized by the original edition of the famous Scofield Reference Bible published in 1909. Their position was that the Sermon on the Mount had nothing whatever to do with present-day Christians…Now this teaching is, of course, patently untrue, and most Dispensationalists today do not believe it. It is untrue for the simple reason that Christ preached His message to His followers for all ages to come… ”

Why Study The Sermon on The Mount?

“… Let us now ask ourselves the question — Why should we study the Sermon on the Mount? There are at least three good reasons…”


Graham has a lot more to say about this topic. If you would like to learn more, please download and read the attached transcript of the sermon, as the above excerpts do not even scratch the surface. If you would like to do a word search on the transcript, download the file, and then open the file with your web browser after downloading and use your browser’s find feature.


October 10, 1993

Matthew 5:1-2

Rev. W. Graham Smith

Download Transcript (PDF)