1. Matthew 7:24-29. Jesus wraps up the sermon on the mount w/ a pretty nice ending.
2. This is such a great way to end a sermon. Basically, Jesus has been preaching for 30 minutes or so and he comes to his invitation, his conclusion. And to end his msg., Jesus says, “alright, that was my sermon, those of you who do what I say are smart, those of you who don’t are stupid, let’s pray”. It’s awesome. I think I’m going to start ending my messages that way. Powerful ending to a powerful series of messages and Matthew tells us that when he was done preaching the people were what? Amazed. Stunned. B/c He spoke like one who had authority – b/c He did. He came from heaven and it was obvious that He did!
3. And let’s look at this parable for a minute. B/c Jesus again polarizes the options – breaks his audience down into two camps. Wise and Foolish. Smart and stupid. Those who hear and do…and those who hear and don’t do. He’s not talking about believers v. non-believers or Christians v. non-Christians - that’s what we usually do. churched v. unchurched. Jesus doesn’t go there. He’s doesn’t lump all church-goers into the same boat, or all the people who check the box that say “I believe there is a God.” Or even the people who call themselves Christians. He says there are two camps here today –those who hear and do and those who hear and don’t do. A simple, straightforward, non-confusing delineation. Either you do what I say or you don’t. Two camps, two consequences.
4. Did anyone see the article this week in Newsweek magazine about Gay Marriage? Their cover article is about gay marriage and grossly misrepresented the Bible, Jesus’ teaching, Paul’s teaching, the Christian view point. But it doesn’t freak me out; I don’t expect Newsweek to properly represent Jesus. But it was interesting b/c in the article and particularly the Editor’s notes on it, they drew a line, just like Jesus does here, divided people up into two groups. Essentially the same two groups.
5. Religious conservatives –those who believe the Bible is accurate and try to live by it and those representing the rational, normal world who don’t. In one of the paragraphs, the Editor condemns churches who don’t accept openly gay pastors. He says, they “declared that their opposition to the ordination and the marriage of gays was irrevocably rooted in the Bible—which they regard as the ‘final authority and unchangeable standard for the Christian faith and life.' " To which the Editor adds, This conservative resort to biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism. We’re no longer worried about the kind of fundamentalism that flies planes into buildings, just the kind that believes the Bible is God’s Word.
6. But I think what’s clear here is that the world agrees with Jesus about one thing; there are two groups. They just disagree with what group you should be in. They think J. is wrong and that we’re stupid, but they at least agree that there are only two options. (and this isn’t about the gay debate –I’ve really got no dog in that fight and I’m not sure Jesus does. But, if we’re going to follow Jesus, we can’t practice homosexuality, no more than we can commit adultery or lust or be greedy.) But Jesus’ point, his challenge, isn’t about what you say you believe, he doesn’t challenge us to have an opinion on cultural or political issues…his concluding point in the greatest message ever preached is – Do what I say. Not think what I think or believe what I believe, or even agree with me, but He takes it a step further and speaks to us where the rubber meets the road – our lives. And He says there are two types of people listening to me right now…those who do what I say and those who don’t. The question is; which one are you?
7. B/c again, as I’ve tried to make clear so many times in this series, following Jesus is about doing what He says. Living like He called us to live. You hear it, then you do it. As our billboard says, “Live the life”!
1) When I read in Ephesians 5 that I’m supposed to love my wife as Christ loves the church, do I? I’m supposed to submit to my husband’s authority, do I? Or am I doing marriage my way?
2) When I read that I’ve got to stop lusting, do I? When I read that I can’t be drunk, am I?
3) When I read in 1 Peter 4:10 that I’m supposed to use my gifts to serve others, do I? Or am I still sitting on the sidelines?