SOTM – The Two Foundations

“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 will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.” 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.” (Matthew 7:21-29)

The Sermon on the Mount is a message from Jesus about the Kingdom of Heaven. With that in mind now at the end of His sermon Jesus is correcting His listeners on their understanding of what it takes to be accepted into the Kingdom. In His sermon Jesus has been answering questions that people might have about the Kingdom. In the Kingdom of Heaven people would want to know what God’s rule would be like. Believing that people would rather be in heaven as to the other option they would want to know who are close to God and entering the Kingdom and who would not? The answers to these questions throughout His sermon has been surprising to His listeners. From the very start of the sermon Jesus made an astonishing statement. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

In the present day of His teaching the Kingdom of Heaven was something that someone would have to earn to gain entry. To enter into God’s Kingdom one would have to be completely obedient to the Law of God as written by Moses. It was viewed as a contractual agreement by the standard of the Old Covenant Law. If one kept the law in its entirety, then God would allow them entry into His Kingdom. This is what the scribes and Pharisees taught and practiced. Jesus clearly was challenging that teaching. “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20) This must have popped a bubble in the minds of the scribes and Pharisees. The scribes and Pharisees were devoted to observing the law obediently. Jesus is now teaching that it is not good enough to enter into the Kingdom.

The righteousness that Jesus desires is not fulfilling a contractual agreement but having a trust in God to make us pure enough to have a right relationship with Him. This relationship we are to have is one of faith to trust God that He will give us what we need to have a right relationship with Him. This is the message that Jesus has been teaching and this is the mission that He came to fulfill, a way that we can be righteous in the eyes of God the Father. The righteousness that Jesus will give us is not the righteousness we can create by being religious. It is certainly not the righteousness that we think we can gain from the words of the false teachers, which lead us down the path to destruction. We cannot trust in our own selves and what we think we can do for the Kingdom and expect to ever arrive there.

To enter in to the Kingdom of Heaven we must recognize and believe who Jesus is. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) All of our obedience must be towards Jesus. All of our words and deeds must come from our faith and trust in who He is. Jesus is our Lord and if our actions are not in response to Him, then they have no recognizable value and connection to Jesus as our Lord. Jesus is searching for a reflection of Himself in our actions. This is what the Christian is striving to become the image of our Master and Lord. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29) Only our faith and trust in Him honors Him.

We have been purchased by the redeeming blood of the Son of God, Jesus, and therefore we are not our own, we are twice His. Once by creation and twice by redemption. As we have believed on Him He has accepted us and we are to be submitted to His rule over our lives. “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) We have come to the truth that we were created to serve Him by living our lives in His will to accomplish His good works. We are on His mission to share the gospel message of God’s salvation for man. Therefore we must confess and believe in the One that God raised from the dead. “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) As the follower of Jesus lives to exalt Him in this world He will exalt us in the world to come. “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:10)

We have converted, we have repented from the ways of the world. We now do not follow our own lust for the worldly things but seek His Kingdom and His righteousness. We are no longer of this world, “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8-10) but are of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, we are to live in the transformation of His power over our lives. Our hearts and minds must reflect that change in us. We must be growing into the image of Christ. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

The structure that we build our Christian faith upon determines how we will face the trials that the adversary will place into our paths. If you are to speak on God’s behalf, then you must know His Word. This is the foundation that we build our spiritual lives upon the Word of God. “Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” (Matthew 16:16-18) What the Christian says and what the Christian does is what is judged by the nonbelievers. If we are to be the lights of righteousness in the world then our light must be the true light. There are many false lights out there that do not give full vision of the truth. People cry for truth as much as they cry for peace and the Christian is supposed to be both, at peace with God and living in truth. If you love the Lord, then listen to His Word, listen to His Spirit through His Word, and pray. “A fool rejects his father’s discipline, But he who regards reproof is sensible.” (Proverbs 15:5)

There are many philosophies in this world for men to live by. They seem to be of good advice but they are built upon flawed men who have flawed thinking. If this were not so the problems of this world certainly should have been solved by now. Yet the problems we face today seem to magnify. I remember a song of long ago titled “The Things We Do for Love.” The opening lyric was this, “Too many broken hearts have fallen in the river, Too many lonely souls have drifted out to sea, You lay your bets and then you pay the price.” Without a strong and true foundation built on the word of the Ancient of Days a life is built on nothing less than quick sand and will not stand the test of time. “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

The people were amazed by the power and authority of Jesus’ teaching. He spoke in that context because all power and authority was His. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18) Jesus promised that God would supply all of man’s needs if they would put Him above all else. We are not only to applaud this Sermon on the Mount that the Son of God spoke to us, but we are to apply it to our life. We must discipline our lives by its practice and praise God for His gift of instruction.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, July 20, 2016

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