I praise God that I am feeling good enough again to write and go to work. It was a rough few days of vertigo.
This morning we finish out the Sermon on the Mount and I pray we will all be as Jesusâ€™ listeners; â€œastonished at His teaching.â€ Iâ€™ve heard many a sermon and read many a commentary on this passage and many have fallen short of Jesusâ€™ intended teaching.
Our Lord is teaching about the final judgment of our lives. Upon what type of foundation have you built your faith? Do you do good works, teach Sunday school, read and study your Bible, memorize Scripture, and yet not obey Godâ€™s commands? Dear one let me warn you sternly that you have built your foundation on sand! Do the struggles in life and calamities it brings wash your home, your faith in and obedience of Jesus, away with the wind? Again, be weary of this type of temporal faith.
Letâ€™s read the final passage in Matthew 7 to understand which faith foundation is sturdy:
â€œâ€˜Not everyone who says to Me, â€œLord, Lord,â€ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, â€œLord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?â€ And then I will declare to them, â€œI never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!â€ Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.â€™ And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.â€ (Matthew 7:21-29)
Lord, Lord! Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness. The word â€œpracticeâ€ is the Greek ergazomai and in the KJV it is transliterated â€œworkâ€ and in the NIV it is â€œdo.â€ The word gives the idea of a habitual way of life. Jesus is not talking about a believer who sins, but a lost person who practices, has a lifestyle of sinful and willful disobedience. This is the person of whom Jesusâ€™ brother James wrote:
â€œBut be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.â€ (James 1:22-25)
Who is the foolish man is Jesusâ€™ parable? The person who professes Christ and perhaps displays works of righteousness and yet lives like hell today expecting to live in heaven tomorrow. This personâ€™s house will fall when the final judgment comes and those frightening words will come from the mouth of King Jesus: â€œI never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.â€
In the parallel passage found in Luke 6, Jesus said:
â€œBut why do you call Me â€˜Lord, Lord,â€™ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.â€ (Luke 6:46-49)
To dig deep, to build this foundation on solid rock is to obey Godâ€™s Word. Remember â€œTrust and obey, for thereâ€™s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.â€ True faith expresses itself in obedience; again we turn to James:
â€œWhat does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, â€˜Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,â€™ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.â€ (James 2:14-17)
Why did the foolish manâ€™s house fall? Because a storm came. Letâ€™s look to our old friend Matthew Henry for his words on this passage:
There is a storm coming that will try every manâ€™s work. When God takes away the soul, where is the hope of the hypocrite? The house fell in the storm, when the builder had most need of it, and expected it would be a shelter to him. It fell when it was too late to build another. May the Lord make us wise builders for eternity. Then nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ Jesus.
When Jesus finished preaching Matthew records â€œthat the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes.â€ This was no small deal; the scribes were the modern day Bible experts and preachers of their time.
Have you been taught by scribes for far too long? Has Jesusâ€™ teaching astonished you because of its authority? Is the conviction of the Holy Spirit resting heavily upon you this morning because you have a â€œhope soâ€ salvation and not a â€œknow soâ€ salvation?
I invite you to get this right with Jesus right now, right here. Just pray, â€œLord Jesus, I have been faking it for far too long. I have believed that I was going to heaven for the things I have done, even in your name. But I realize that my sinful lifestyle is in opposition to what you expect of me. I repent of that lifestyle and surrender my life to you Jesus. I want to build the foundation of my faith upon obedience to your word Oh God. I trust in your work on the cross to redeem my soul and I ask you to be my King. I pray this in your holy name Jesus, amen.â€
If you prayed that pray and meant it, please let someone know immediately. Email me or call me at 850-565-0993 and leave a message if I am unavailable and I will call you back as soon as possible. We can rejoice together and Iâ€™ll help you find a church home if you donâ€™t have one already and make sure you have a Bible. If you are a member of a church, then please call your pastor and let him know about your decision. If youâ€™d like, I call him with you. Iâ€™ll even set up the conference call!
May the Lord richly bless all of you and may we continually be astonished at our Lord Jesusâ€™ teaching.
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Copyright Â© 2011 David Jeffers