Sunday, October 28th, 2007 | Author:

My scripture passage for this morning is Matthew 7:24-27. Listen to our Lord Jesus Christ:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.

Over my lifetime, I’ve looked at the Bible from several different perspectives. When this one was presented to me many, many years ago by the Sunday School, I thought, “They gave me this very special book. I need to take good care of it.” When I was a teenager and a young adult, I saw it as a rulebook I didn’t want to follow, so I ignored it, along the lines of “If I don’t know what it says, I don’t have to do what it says.” When I was born again, it became my lifeline, the word of God. I prayed that God would help my understand it, and many times He gave me that understanding and I thank Him.

More recently, I’ve come to see it as an owner’s manual for life. Instead of a list of do’s and don’ts, and God standing ready to womp us on the head with a baseball bat when we make a bad choice, it tells us the consequences of our actions ahead of time, so that we can avoid bad consequences and reap good consequences, even if we don’t understand why it works this way. I think it’s much like a parent teaching their children not to put their hand on a hot stove. If they do it anyhow, the good parent doesn’t beat the kid. They treat the burn and give them a hug – but the kid still has a burn to suffer through. Yes, God can miraculously heal that burn, and sometimes He does. But it’s been my experience that, most often … He doesn’t. He lets us suffer through that burn, so we learn not to put our hand on a hot stove. The wise man learns from his parents when he’s a child, and from God when he’s an adult – which takes us back to our scripture this morning.

You might think that the difference between the wise man and the foolish man is faith – the wise man believes in Jesus Christ, and the foolish man doesn’t. That’s true, of course, but it’s not what this passage is telling us. Listen again.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man … And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man

Both the wise man and the foolish man heard the words of Jesus, maybe even believed His words. The only difference between the two is that the wise man acted upon those words, and the foolish one did not.

This concept is backed up in James 2:19-20:

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?

Hearing and believing is not enough. Jesus entreats us to act on what we hear, to demonstrate what’s in our heart by using our hands and our feet and our voices.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man … And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man

So what words was Jesus referring to? What actions will make us wise men? This passage happens to be the very end of the Sermon on the Mount – three full chapters in the book of Matthew, including the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer, where it also says Jesus amazed the multitudes with His teaching. You’ll be glad to know I’m not going to read all three chapters, but I am going to read little snippets, a condensed version if you will, perhaps some of those things that we haven’t yet acted upon. I won’t editorialize, but simply let the Lord speak to each of us as He will.

Let’s pray. Father, we thank You for sending Your Son to save us. We thank you for Your Word, that we can learn and act upon what we learn. Fill us with your Holy Spirit this day, Lord, that Your Word may penetrate our hearts, and we may choose to act as wise men. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

The following are taken from the gospel of Matthew, chapters 5 – 7.

= Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

= Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

= Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

= Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

= everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

= everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.

= everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

= make no oath at all … let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; and anything beyond these is of evil.

= do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two.

= love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven;

= Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

= Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

= if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

= lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

= do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on … But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

= Do not judge lest you be judged.

= why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? … You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

= Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

= Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.

= however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

= Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.

= Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits … every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit

= Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.

= Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock … And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand.

Share
Category: Christianity, sermon
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
2 Responses
  1. Hercules Mulligan says:

    This is a great post. My thoughts have been guided along the same lines, and my own pastor has pointed out the same thing you did about this Scripture: Jesus was not talking about those who received Him and those who didn’t as wise and foolish; He was speaking about whether or not you DID what He said. In Revelation, it says that ALL were judged by their WORKS. That means, of course, that we must work what is acceptable to God.

    But God wants more than our hands. He wants our thoughts, and our heart motivations. As the Scriptures you quoted above illustrate, God considers those who are guilty of murder, adultery, etc. who entertained hateful and adulterous THOUGHTS. Would American pastors and preachers have the courage to rise up and say, “God wants you to repent of evil thoughts and ways of thinking?” Some have, and more are beginning to become bold. Thanks to God!

    I know that I am not yet perfect, but I thank God that His mercy abounds by His showing me my errors, and by giving me the guidance and ability to overcome them. That is the true definition of grace.

    Thanks for posting, and for leading me to this article of yours. It is a reminder and an encouragement. God bless.

  2. Peter P says:

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

    I like this article and I like the idea that following the sermon on the mount is a good practical way to die to your self.

    God bless,

    Peter