Speaker: Lukus Counterman - This morning we will be looking at the opening three verses of a text known as the “Sermon on the Mount.” Many believe that no other religious speech in the history of humanity has attracted as much attention as this sermon that Jesus preached two millennia ago. Philosophers, presidents, activists, and religious gurus have admired its ethos. St. Augustine described the Sermon on the Mount as “a perfect standard of the Christian life.” In contrast, one of the most famous non-Christian devotees to Jesus’ sermon was a man of the 19th century named Mohandas Gandhi. More recently, in a Democratic debate held in New Hampshire in 2007 candidates were asked, “What is your favorite Bible verse?” To which, 3 out of 8 alluded to the Sermon on the Mount. Who were those three politicians – Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barak Obama, and Bill Richardson. How can a single sermon have such broad popularity? I think Warren Kissinger summed it up, “The sermon is like a mighty tall mountain that from a distance has attracted people from all traditions and faiths.” Perhaps it has attracted people from a distance, but as we get closer can its teachings be so broadly applied and so easily embraced? This morning we will find that Jesus’ sermon was not intended for Ghandi’s struggle to free India from British imperialistic oppression. Nor was it a “good rule for politics” as Hillary Clinton suggested. Instead, the sermon begins with a description of the character of Kingdom citizens. It opens with a profile of true followers of Christ. The opening verses are called the Beatitudes.