by Dr. Allan R. Bevere, pastor, professor and author of Colossians and Philemon: A Participatory Study Guide, The Politics of Witness: The Character of the Church in the World, and The Character of our Discontent.
John Wesley (1703-1791) believed the Sermon on the Mount was very relevant for the current age. Of his fifty-two standard sermons, thirteen are from texts on the Sermon on the Mount. Wesley says several things in his first sermon from Matthew 5:1-4. (All the following quotes are from this sermon of Wesley.)
First, Wesley suggests that Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5-7 focus on showing the way to heaven. He says this not only from the context of the Sermon, but because of the one preaching it– “From the character of the Speaker, we are well assured that he hath declared the full and perfect will of God.” The character of the one proclaiming means that the words spoken are “true and right concerning all things.” Wesley is placing the Sermon in the larger Nicene-Chalcedonian theological context. Jesus’ words are true and right because the one speaking the words is divine.