When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching;for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes. Vs 28-29
In July 2019 we took the Youth Choir Tour to Washington D.C. It is customary to treat the Seniors to a nice dinner for their last hoorah in the youth group. That year we took them to the Capital Grille on Pennsylvania Avenue. The moment we walked in the door, it was clear there was power in the room. As we sat down we quickly realized that in every corner of the room was a different U.S. Senator, including Texas’ own Ted Cruz. All eyes followed them as they would get up from their table and work the room. Their authority was captivating.
If these politicians could command this type of attention, can you imagine what listening to Jesus must have been like? Jesus made the politicians of His time seem powerless with the authority in which He spoke and carried himself, but that’s not even the coolest part. Check out what Jesus says in Matthew 28:
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.Go therefore and make disciples.
Jesus had real authority and He still does. Yet, He chooses to share that authority with you to equip you to do His work here on earth. That is the point of the Sermon on the Mount. You have been given authority and direction. Now, will you help Him bring the Kingdom of God to your world today? Will you get up from the table and work the room?
It is possible to live a religious life that has little to do with the Kingdom. That kind of life is all pomp and circumstance but no substance; confession but no obedience. The prophet Isaiah addressed this kind of religiosity:
And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.” Isaiah 29:13
As Jesus concludes his sermon, that is precisely the kind of religious life he implores his listeners to avoid. Keep seeking, keep asking,…keep obeying.
Re:Verse passage – Matthew 7:24-29(day five) “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them…”
It’s the end of the sermon and Jesus is calling for a response. There are acts of obedience that must ensue. He has just contrasted the difference between saying and doing. In these last four verses, He is contrasting the difference between hearing and doing. When we hear the Lord, we must respond- repair, renovation, demolition, construction. We must find eternal truth and start there (foundation). If the Lord continues to speak to us, then there is a call to obedience.
“We need to consider that the Bible is a dangerous book to read, and the church is a dangerous society to join. For in reading the Bible we hear the words of Christ, and in joining the church we say we believe in Christ. As a result, we belong to the company described by Jesus as both hearing his teaching and calling him, Lord. Our membership, therefore lays upon us the serious responsibility of ensuring that what we know, and what we say is translated into what we do.“ – John Stott
Jesus ends this sermon with a metaphor that delivers a word of warning. He says that the teaching he gave us should become the new foundation for our lives, just like the foundation on which an entire home is built. Too often, we want to take Jesus’ words and graft them into our already-constructed worldview. We find ways to fit them into our life like filling in cracks in the walls, or building an addition on our house. We try to fit Jesus into what we’ve already built.
But Jesus does not mince words. Any other foundation for life will wash away as soon as a storm comes. If we encounter Jesus’ words and realize that we have built a house for ourselves on the sand, then we don’t just add another room founded on the gospel, we have to tear the whole house down and start anew, building on the firm foundation of truth.
This takes a great amount of faith and patience. Demolishing what we have built on the shaky foundation, on the ways of the world, is challenging, even heartbreaking. But it’s in our newly built home that we’ll find an appreciation for the storms – they remind us what a firm foundation we have in Christ.
“The crowds were amazed at his teaching; for he was teaching them asone having authority, and not as their scribes.”
Whatever teaching justifies people in positions in which they hold power over you; whatever teaching conveys that you possess little worth; whatever teaching encourages you not to advocate for your well-being; whatever teaching claims God’s will as a trump card to quell dissent; whatever teaching tends to favor the powerful; whatever teaching places some people above God’s judgment – such teaching magnifies man, not God. It wasn’t the downtrodden, the spiritual outsiders, the sinners whom Jesus disturbed. Rather, it was the celebrated, the spiritual elite, the most biblically literate who became alarmed. The prostitutes and tax collectors? They knew hope when they saw it. This is what happened when the real authority taught the scriptures. Jesus opens doors the system has slammed shut.
Re:Verse passage – Matthew 7:24-29 (day two) When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching;for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes. vs. 28-29
A good teacher will understand his students and know what they need to hear. Whether by his actions or by his words, Jesus was an excellent teacher. Perhaps you have sat in a lecture where you have been captivated by the teacher so much it seemed like a privilege to hear them speak. The last verse of our reading sums it up fairly well. Jesus had authority. He wasn’t regurgitating facts. He was the author and perfecter of our faith.
We may not be able to sit on a hillside and listen to Jesus teach, but we can trust the accounts of those who recorded these stories. Jesus’ words still have authority. He still speaks through the scriptures, through the Holy Spirit, and through the testimony of others. Our foundation should be founded upon Christ alone.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty, and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Matthew 7:24-29 in our Winter Re:Verse Series: “The Sermon on the Mount – Living Kingdom Values.”
Thank you for praying for Freedom Weekend. We truly felt the power of your prayers through the week and into the last several days. On Friday night the speaker, Laine Melikian (FBC Marble Falls), challenged our students to identify the things that hold them back from living for God. We find healing in confession and repentance of these things. Then on Saturday he brought it back up again by pointing out that we repetitively come to points in our life, such as a freedom weekend, where we find ourselves in the same state of confessional repentance, but the repentance should be meant to remove something from our life in order to make room for God to work. What are the good things that God wants to do in your life now? Not a point in the future, but right now! How will you let the Kingdom of Heaven overlap with your life today so that you can join in God’s good work today?
Does this challenge you? I know our students were challenged! Pray with me as students continue to process what this means for them and what next steps God is calling them to take!
Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. 3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
As Jesus taught them about “false prophets” and “fruit,” I imagine they thought about Psalm 1. Jesus is making a similar appeal: be discerning with the prophets you allow in your life; find the ones who will teach you to delight in God’s Kingdom and model Kingdom fruitfulness.
Ultimately, Jesus is inviting them to learn from him. (Matthew 11:29)
“Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
These are the four most dreaded words in scripture. “I never knew you.” Yet, there is hope and comfort in them. Jesus is mandating that what is absolutely essential for eternal life, is a relationship with God through Him. God desires a relationship with us- a relationship that shapes our minds, hearts, and wills. Interaction. Engagement. Speaking and listening. Learning and growing. Serving and sharing. If this relationship is real it must be vibrant- producing fruit. There must be a connection to what we profess and our actions. You evilDOERS (emphasis mine). Verbal and moral. Lips and life. Attitudes and Actions. All/both are evidence and affirmation of a relationship with the Lord. (See James chapter 2)