The Amazing Authority of Jesus Christ
The Gospel of Matthew
Sermon by Rick Crandall
(Prepared June 19, 2021)
*Today in Matthew 7:13-29, we will get to the end of the Lord's Sermon on the Mount, and in these verses, Jesus told four short parables. Remember that a parable is simply an earthly story with a heavenly meaning, and the Bible includes about 40 parables that Jesus told during His earthly ministry.
*Today's parables can help us have a life worth living, but the big picture in this Scripture and throughout the Sermon on the Mount is the amazing authority of Jesus Christ. Verses 28-29 say "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."
*Those people were astonished. They were shockingly amazed by what Jesus said. And it shouldn't surprise us because they were listening to the one true God who had humbled Himself to become a man. That's why Jesus was able to speak with divine authority. The same original word for "authority" is often translated as "power" in our Bibles. We see in this in Matthew 9:6 where Jesus said, "That you may know that the Son of Man has POWER on earth to forgive sins'' then He said to the paralytic, 'Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.'" And that's exactly what that paralyzed man did!
*This word for "authority" is also the same word in Matthew 28:18 where Jesus said, "All POWER is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Ephesians 1:20-21 tells us that God the Father raised Jesus "from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come." And Colossians 2:9 tells us that all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus bodily! No wonder those people were amazed!
*Acts 10:36 tells us that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. Our Risen Savior is King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He is always in control. Even when it came to the cross, Jesus was in control. In John 10:17-18 Jesus said, "My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."
*Jesus Christ has the ultimate authority. And the more we really listen to Him, the more we will submit ourselves to Him and begin to do the things He tells us to do. That will give us a life worth living.
1. SO, LISTEN TO JESUS AND LET HIM PUT YOU ON THE RIGHT ROAD IN LIFE.
*Jesus wants to help you find the right road in life. That's why in vs. 13-14 He tells us to:
13. "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
14. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."
*In other words, of all the many ways we could go in life, there is only one right way. There is only one way that works. There is only one way that will give us a life worth living. There is only one way that will give us eternal life. And that is the Jesus way.
*That's why in John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." This is also why in John 3:36, John the Baptist said, "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.''
*And in John 8, Jesus said:
12. . . "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.''
21. Then Jesus said to them again, "I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.''
22. So the Jews said, "Will He kill Himself, because He says, 'Where I go you cannot come'?''
23. And He said to them, "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
24. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.''
*And in John 10, Jesus said:
7. "I am the door of the sheep.
8. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.
9. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
10. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
11. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep."
*There is only one right way to find a life worth living. It's the same way that will take you to Heaven, and the way is Jesus Christ.
*A lot of misguided people are like the man who said getting to Heaven was like getting to Boston. There are many roads that will get you there. But a wise Christian told him, "No. Getting to Heaven is much more like flying into the Boston airport. The pilot has to land that plane on just the right runway, at just the right speed, at just the right time, and at just the right angle." (1)
*There is only one way to land that plane, and there is only one way to get to Heaven. There is only one way to have a life worth living, and that is Jesus Christ! Make sure you are on the right road in life.
2. BUT ALSO LET JESUS WARN YOU ABOUT FALSE PROPHETS.
*This is what the Lord did in vs. 15-20. Jesus said:
15. "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
16. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?
17. Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
19. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20. Therefore by their fruits you will know them."
*Jesus warned us about false prophets because He knew that until God makes the new heaven and new earth in Revelation 21, there will always be people trying to lead others away from the Lord. The situation is worse in our nation today than ever before. In the name of anything-goes tolerance, or misguided love, and intellectualism, false teachers are leading people down the paths of destruction.
*One of the worst examples is found in our prestigious universities. Most of them were actually founded to train Christian preachers. Harvard University was established in 1636, and their statement of purpose from 1642 basically said that every student's main aim is to know Jesus Christ, and to recognize that Christ is the foundation of all learning. It also demanded that all students exercise themselves in reading the Scriptures twice a day, and be ready to give an account of their proficiency in God's Word. (Note: Direct quotes are at the end of this message.) (2)
*Can you imagine the hate-filled howl that would take place if administrators enforced those spiritual rules today? Some of the students would want to burn the place to the ground. What happened to Harvard? It was taken over by false teachers, enemies of the cross. And we must beware of false prophets.
*How can we know the difference? What's the measuring stick? Here in vs. 15-20 Jesus tells us that the measuring stick is the fruitfulness of their lives. That's why some of the old preachers used to say we have to be "fruit inspectors." And the New Testament shows us at least four kinds of good fruit in Christian life.
 THE FIRST IS HOLINESS AND GOODNESS, THE CHARACTER OF JESUS CHRIST.
*Romans 6:22 tells Christians, "Now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life." Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance." And Ephesians 5:9 says, "The fruit of the Spirit is in all (all believers) goodness, righteousness and truth."
 THE SECOND KIND OF CHRISTIAN FRUIT IS OUR FINANCIAL GIVING.
*In Philippians 4:15-17, Paul said:
15. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.
16. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.
17. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
 THE THIRD KIND OF CHRISTIAN FRUIT IS OUR HEART-FELT PRAISE TO GOD.
*Hebrews 13:15 says: "Therefore by Him (by Jesus) let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." God wants all of us to be intentional about praising Him. Praise Him when you first get up in the morning. Praise Him in the shower. Praise Him on the way to work. Praise Him when you lay down at night.
*Praise the Lord! Praise Him because He is always worthy of our praise. Praise Him because it will cheer you up and ease your worries. And praise the Lord because all of your heart-felt praise is spiritual fruit in your life.
 THE FOURTH KIND OF FRUIT IS THE ONE WE THINK OF THE MOST, AND THAT IS REACHING MORE PEOPLE FOR JESUS CHRIST.
*It is spreading the good news of forgiveness and eternal life through the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In John 4:35-36, Jesus said, "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together."
*God wants all of us to have fruitful Christian lives. And here, the Lord tells us that fruitfulness is the measuring stick to protect us from false teachers. We should only follow people who have evidence of godly fruit in their lives, because these are the people who are following the Lord.
*Put another way, we should run away from people who lead us away from Jesus, and we should follow people who lead us closer to Jesus. Thank God we've got good people like that in our lives! We've got the heroes of faith we can find in the Bible. We can also look up to devoted Christians down through history who took a strong stand for the Lord. On top of that, we've got the everyday heroes we know personally, other Christians who have inspired us to trust and obey our Lord. But best of all, we've got Jesus Himself! So, let Jesus warn you about false prophets.
3. AND LET HIM GIVE YOU A REAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
*Do we really know the Lord in a personal way? We need to make sure. Jesus showed us how important this is in vs. 21-23. And there He said:
21. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
23. And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"
*There are some very crucial truths for us to see in these verses.
 FIRST: IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO JUST SAY THAT JESUS IS OUR LORD.
*We know this because in 21, Jesus said: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." It's not enough to just say that Jesus is our Lord.
 AND WE CAN NEVER BE SAVED BY OUR GOOD WORKS.
*The people in vs. 22 thought that they had earned their way into Heaven by their good works. That's why they said, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?" But in vs. 23 Jesus declared to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"
*We can never be saved by our good works. Even if we could do all of the amazing things the Apostles could do: Heal the sick, and raise the dead, none of those wonders would get us into Heaven. (By the way, Judas Iscariot could do all of those things, and he was never saved, not even for a moment.)
*The only way for anyone to be saved is through the merciful love of God. We must be saved by His gift of grace, or we won't be saved at all. That's why Ephesians 2:8-9 tells Christians: "By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
*But why does salvation have to be by God's grace? Alan Perkins gave a great answer when he said, "It's because God is completely holy, and His standard is perfect righteousness. It doesn't matter if you're a little better than someone else, or even a lot better than someone else, you're still guilty of sin, you're still condemned.
*The person who jumps halfway across the Grand Canyon winds up just as dead as the person who only jumps 8 feet out from the cliff. They both fall a mile to the bottom. That's why we must depend on Christ's perfect righteousness to make us right with God. Our goodness will never be enough. We can't make it to heaven by even the most outstanding attempts at good behavior. All that matters is that Jesus Christ fulfilled all of God's requirements, and He gave His life on the cross to pay for our sins. That's grace." And we must be saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ! (3)
 BUT TRUE SALVATION WILL PRODUCE GOOD WORKS IN OUR LIVES.
*We know this, because again in vs. 21 Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." True salvation will produce good works in our lives. Paul also made this truth clear Ephesians 2:10, where he said that Christians "are (God's) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
*Christians, the bottom line is this: If we have received the Risen Christ as our Lord and Savior, then yes, we are saved. And as saved people, we must continue to turn away from the sin in our lives, and start doing all the good we can. But only Jesus can give us an everlasting relationship with God.
*The Bible uses human relationships to help us understand God's desire for us to have a personal relationship with Him. The Church is called the Bride of Christ, Jesus wants to be our best Friend, and God the Father wants to be our Heavenly Father. This is the heart of Christianity: God the Father wants to have a close, personal relationship with us through His Son Jesus Christ.
*Nothing could possibly be more important. Listen to what Jesus said when He was speaking to His Heavenly Father in John 17:3: "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." Listen to the Lord and let Him give you a real relationship with God.
4. THEN LET JESUS HELP YOU BUILD YOUR LIFE ON A FIRM FOUNDATION.
*Jesus helps us with another short parable. It's in vs. 24-27, where the Lord said:
24. "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:
25. 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.
26. Now 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:
27. and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.''
*Everybody is building a house with their life. And every house will be battered by storms. This is one of the things I try to stress to young couples who are about to get married. We can avoid a lot of trouble by wise and godly living, but storms will hit every family, every life, every heart.
*Every house will go through storms: That's why the foundation is so important. What are you building on? God's Word is the only rock-solid foundation that will last forever. As Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."
*And Church: We can always stand on the Word of God! Mitchell Gonzalez gave this great testimony: "I saw my two-year-old daughter Natalie carry my Bible by the case's handle. She dragged it in front of a tall table we have. And as I was about to take it away from her, she took the Bible, and laid it on the floor. Then she stood on it, and reached up to take something from the tall table."
*In that moment, Mitchell said it was as if the Lord spoke to him and said: "If you would take My word, bring it where you need, and stand on it. You'll reach things you couldn't reach before." (4)
*Christians: The same thing is true for us! And when the waves come crashing, we can always stand on the rock-solid foundation of God's Word!
*God wants to give you a life worth living, and He will! But there is only one way to get it, and that is through the man who preached the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God who died on the cross for our sins and rose again to conquer death forever.
-Jesus is Lord of all! (Acts 10:36).
-He is the Lord of His heavenly armies (Romans 9:29, James 5:4).
-He is the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:8, James 2:1).
-He is the Lord of peace (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
-He is the King of kings and Lord of lords! (1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14, Revelation 19:16).
*And Jesus is the only Savior of the world. You must put your trust in Him and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. He will forgive all of your sins, and give you His life that lasts forever. Then keep listening to the Lord. Be amazed at who He is and what He has done. Learn from Jesus, follow Him, love Him, and do the things He tells us to do. That will give you the only life worth living.
(1) Original source unknown
-"Old South Leaflets" Peter G. Mode, "Sourcebook and Biographical Guide For American Church History" - Menasha, WI: George Banta Publishing Co., 1991 - pp. 74-75
"Every one shall so exercise himselfe in reading the Scriptures twice a day, that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein, both in Theoreticall observations of Language and Logick, and in practical! and spiritual! truths, as his Tutor shall require, according to his ability; seeing the entrance of the word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple, Psalm, 119:130."
(3) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "The Tax Collector and the Pharisee" by Alan Perkins - Luke 18:9-14 - Apr 21, 2002
(4) SermonCentral illustration contributed by Mitchell Gonzalez