Summary: A profession of faith apart from obedience is worthless.
One of Jesus’ best-known sermons is coming to an end. Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain is one of the most important sermons in his early ministry.
Jesus opened his Sermon on the Plain with a description of the blessings that belong to those who have entered the kingdom of God, and a warning to those who have not yet entered the kingdom of God by professing faith in him.
Then Jesus described how his disciples are to live as citizens of the kingdom of God. He said that they must love their enemies, not judge others, and examine the fruit of their lives.
Finally, like a good preacher, Jesus concluded his sermon with personal application. Jesus challenged his disciples to examine whether their discipleship was genuine or counterfeit.
Let’s read about it in Luke 6:46-49:
46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:46-49)
Hurricane Ike roared through Galveston, Texas in September 2008. It was the third-costliest hurricane ever to make landfall in the United States and the costliest hurricane in Texas history.
In the days following Hurricane Ike, aerial photos were taken of the devastated area. One astonishing photo showed a single house standing in an area where previously there had been about 200 homes. Everything in the area was completely flattened – except for one, single, lone house that belonged to Warren and Pam Adams that was still standing. In fact, that lone house that was still standing was so unusual that many people questioned whether the photo was actually authentic.
Aaron Reed, a spokesman for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, confirmed that only the Adams’ home survived on that Gulf-side beach. Reed also said, “I thought, if I were to ever build a house on the coast, I’m going to contact the guy who built this.”
I remember seeing that same photo in 2008 and thinking that the builder of that lone, standing house had just received national affirmation that he was indeed a good builder.
As Jesus concluded his Sermon on the Plain he used an illustration about good and bad builders to demonstrate the difference between genuine and counterfeit discipleship.
In today’s lesson, we learn that a profession of faith apart from obedience is worthless.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. Jesus Asks a Personal Question (6:46)
2. Jesus Gives a Powerful Illustration (6:48, 49b)
3. Jesus Delivers a Penetrating Application (6:47, 49a)
I. Jesus Asks a Personal Question (6:46)
First, Jesus asks a personal question.
Jesus asks a personal question in verse 46, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”
Even though Jesus is still in his first year of public ministry, he has already attracted a large number of followers. Luke said that Jesus preached this sermon to the twelve apostles, “a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon” (Luke 6:17). Although Luke does not give us a number, we may safely estimate that there were many hundreds – if not thousands – of people following Jesus, listening to Jesus, and even calling Jesus, “Lord.”
The Greek word for “Lord” is kurios. Sometimes, it is used as “a title of respect used in addressing or speaking of a man—‘sir, mister.’” We use the term when we address someone we don’t know but who is serving us, say, like a waiter at a restaurant. We may say, “Excuse me, sir, may I have a menu please?”
However, “Lord” is also sometimes used for one who is “supreme in authority. . . God, Lord.” Clearly, the people following Jesus are using it in this sense. They are affirming his authority, and even his deity.
But, equally clearly, even though they are affirming his authority, they are not submitting to his Lordship. These people want Jesus as their Savior but they do not want Jesus as their Lord. That is why Jesus asks so pointedly, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”
II. Jesus Gives a Powerful Illustration (6:48, 49b)