The greatest sermon ever preached actually did end with an invitation. The parable of the wise and foolish builders closes the sermon and invites the hearers to participate in the kind of life Jesus described in the sermon. That is how the sermon ends. How does the sermon begin? It doesn’t start with a list of rules. Jesus does address not just behavior but motivation, intention and desire that underlies our behavior at a later point in the sermon. Jesus starts with simply being. The beattitudes are people who have at the core of their being qualities that are close to the heart of God. They are not perfect people but they are people who depend on God…hunger for God…show mercy like God, etc. This is not a call to do more stuff for God. This is a blessing given to those who just are.
God is not after performance. God can make robots for that if He so chooses that could produce God-widgets all day long until God piled His widgets up to heaven. God is after people.
This is where we often get things messed up because we like to know how God wants us to perform but fewer people are desiring to know how God wants them to be.