Sermonettes on the Mount

Near the beginning of Matthew’s gospel, he records a discourse delivered by the Savior, which is commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount. (See Matthew 5-7.) Rather than a single message, it reads like a collection of smaller messages, some connected with the messages which precede or follow them, others relatively independent.

When Jesus visited the American continent following His death and resurrection, He delivered essentially the same sermon with only a few minor variations. (See 3 Nephi 12-14.)

Luke records an abbreviated version of this sermon, which Jesus delivered on a plain. (See Luke 6:20-49.) Luke also shares various passages from the sermon in other contexts, suggesting that Jesus considered these components of the sermon to be useable in a variety of contexts. Here are a few examples:

All These Things

Immediately after sharing the Parable of the Rich Fool, about a man who spent his life saving for a luxurious retirement and then died on the very day he retired, Jesus gave His audience some advice from the Sermon on the Mount. “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on,” He said. After asking them to consider how God cares for ravens and lilies, He gave this promise: “Seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Luke 12:22-31; see also Matthew 6:25-33, 3 Nephi 13:25-33). He then added that they should seek to increase their celestial capital: “bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not,” because “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:33-34; see also Matthew 6:19-21, 3 Nephi 13:19-21).

The Very Last Mite

After prophesying that divisions would increase in the world, Jesus reiterated the importance of resolving differences quickly. “When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate,” He said, “as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.” Illustrating the difficulty of resolving issues later, He added, “Thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite” (Luke 12:58-59; see also Matthew 5:25-26, 3 Nephi 12:25-26).

The Strait Gate

While He was traveling toward Jerusalem, someone asked Him whether few or many would be saved. In response, He counseled them, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24; see also Matthew 7:13-14, 3 Nephi 14:13-14).

Elaborating further on that point, He said that many people will be surprised to find the door to heaven shut. “Lord, Lord, open unto us,” they will cry, but He will respond, “I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity” (Luke 13:25-27; see also Matthew 7:21-23, 3 Nephi 14:21-23).


After urging people to “count the cost” before committing to become His disciple, He warned that their positive impact would be muted if they failed to stay the course: “Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out” (Luke 14:34-35; see also Matthew 5:13, 3 Nephi 12:13).

Two Masters

Immediately after sharing the Parable of the Unjust Steward and urging His disciples to make “friends of the mammon of unrighteousness,” He reiterated to them where their ultimate loyalties must lie: “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13; see also Matthew 6:24, 3 Nephi 13:24).

Use mammon to build friendships, which themselves have eternal value. But do not, in the process, become attached to the mammon itself.

One Tittle

When the Pharisees criticized Him, Jesus told them that God knew their thoughts. Then, He reiterated the permanence of God’s law. “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17; see also Matthew 5:18-20, 3 Nephi 12:18-20).

He then followed up with a specific commandment which they could be more conscientious about: building strong marriages and not taking divorce lightly: “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (Luke 16:18; see also Matthew 5:31-32, 3 Nephi 12:31-32).


Today, I will be grateful for the applicability of the Savior’s teachings to many life situations. I will strive to master the principles He taught and to be prepared to share them in a variety of circumstances, as He did.

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