by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
See the whole picture—then you see each part
The reason, then, why I believe it is important for us to take the Sermon [on the Mount] as a whole before we come to the details is this constant danger of "missing the wood because of the trees." We are all of us ready to fix on certain particular statements and to concentrate on them at the expense of others. The way to correct that tendency, I believe, is to realize that no part of this Sermon can be understood truly except in the light of the whole.
Some good friends have already said to me, "I am going to be most interested when you come to state exactly what is meant by 'Give to him that asketh thee,' " etc. That is a betrayal of a false attitude to the Sermon on the Mount. They have jumped to particular statements. There is a great danger at this point. The Sermon on the Mount, if I may use such a comparison, is like a great musical composition, a symphony if you like. Now the whole is greater than a collection of the parts, and we must never lose sight of this wholeness.
I do not hesitate to say that, unless we have understood and grasped the Sermon on the Mount as a whole, we cannot understand properly any one of its particular injunctions. I mean that it is idle and useless and quite futile to confront anybody with any particular injunction in the Sermon on the Mount unless such a person has already believed, and accepted, and has indeed already conformed to, and is living, the Beatitudes.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, i, p. 22
Comments on D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, A First Book of Daily Readings
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