Jesus Preaches the Sermon on the Mount, Part 2
Open Your Bible
Matthew 6:1-34, Matthew 7:1-29, 1 Chronicles 29:11-13, 1 John 2:28-29
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:1-34, Matthew 7:1-29, 1 Chronicles 29:11-13, 1 John 2:28-29
Pull up a chair, girls. We’re going to have a conversation about intimacy. Yep—“husband and wife” intimacy. It may very well make you blush, but I promise to keep it PG, and I promise it’s all part of a very important point.
The Bible often refers to the Church as the Bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:22-33). Our relationship with Jesus is like a marriage—but in a perfect way. He makes us beautiful, then admires us as we walk down the aisle toward Him on our wedding day (Revelation 19:6-9). Perfectly pure. Impeccably white. Kind of awesome.
So now comes that part about intimacy.
Let’s say, physically speaking, there are varying levels of intimacy. Those levels might begin with any sort of public display of affection and graduate all the way to the most intimate, behind-closed-doors, one-flesh moments meant to be shared only between a husband and wife. It’s really nobody’s business, and it’s deeply personal. A husband and wife are, indeed, one flesh. The intimate covenant they share, like Christ’s covenant with us, is sacred.
When it comes to our relationship with God, it can be the same way. There’s PDA and then there’s sacred intimacy. There are grand public gestures of skywriting and singing telegrams (praying on the street corner “to be seen by people,” as Matthew put it in 6:5). And then there is knowing the love language of God: taking time in secret to show Him the only affections you’re chasing after are His. Pursuing Him privately, closing the doors, enjoying sacred intimacy.
Any relationship that only goes as deep as public displays, or mere physical intimacy without an emotional bond and commitment, is not true intimacy. This is what Jesus warns the crowds about in Matthew 6:1, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. Otherwise, you will have no reward with your Father in heaven.”
Jesus doesn’t want your love to be a spectacle. He wants it to be sacred. He wants you to seek Him and His kingdom first, before everything and everyone else (Matthew 6:33).
In a marriage—in any relationship that lasts past the honeymoon phase—intimacy takes intentionality. Sometimes it takes scheduling regular dates on the calendar, even committing to block out distractions and making space for, ahem, intimacy on a regular basis. Intimacy can be enjoyed organically, only when it is supported intentionally. Jesus told us this: “But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret” (Matthew 6:6).
How are you pursuing intimacy as the Bride of Christ? Are you intentionally closing the doors, scheduling dates, and setting aside time in order for your relationship to deepen? Or are you publically kissing Him, then living as strangers at home? Is your prayer life simply a spectacle, or is it spectacularly sacred?
To know Jesus personally is to be in loving relationship with Him, one where He longs to be gracious to us because He loves us (Isaiah 30:18). The God who calls us His treasured possession is also the greatest treasure our hearts will ever know (Deuteronomy 7:6; Matthew 6:21). The intimacy and acceptance we crave is waiting for us.
“Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.”
– Matthew 7:7