UPON WHAT FOUNDATION ARE YOU BUILDING?

Matthew 7:24 – 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.

A rock represents a solid foundation, which does not move easily. Jesus teaches truths that are the foundation of the kingdom He came to establish in the earth. Note, Jesus says that the one who “hears and acts” upon His words is wise. There are many of God’s people who hear the Word of God regularly, but do not act on the Word consistently. What good is a solid foundation if we do not build upon it? The truths contained in the Sermon on the Mount are the Foundation on which the Holy Spirit builds us into Christ and His kingdom. The Holy Spirit soon was to be given to all those putting their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He brings to the believer power to transform his natural life into a Christ-like life. The foundation laid by Jesus on the Mount becomes the expected foundation of practice for each one trusting in the Lord. Power to live out the life which Jesus is teaching in this magnificent sermon is realized through a daily fellowship with the Holy Spirit and the word of God He reveals to us.

“So faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Hearing God’s Word produces one level of faith which includes an expectation. Another type of hearing is when the Lord makes a scripture alive to us personally. Both types of hearing God’s Word require the Holy Spirit’s leading. He creates an expectation in our spirit and soul. Faith begins to develop, first in our spirit man, and then in our thinking. As one hears a personal word from the Lord, faith demands an action, not just a mental assent. In order to obey the Sermon on the Mount, it requires faith, which produces power to live a kingdom life and testify to others what it is like to live under the government of King Jesus.

In summary, hear and act on the Words of our Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name, to help you walk in the faith of expectation and the faith of acting on the words of Christ.

MANY WILL SAY TO ME ON THAT DAY, LORD, LORD

Matthew 7:21 – 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 associate the kingdom of God with Israel. Some actually teach that Jesus failed to establish the kingdom on earth because of Israel’s rejection of Jesus as their Messiah. This is a wrong understanding of God’s kingdom. The kingdom is in the Holy Spirit. Many in Jesus’ day called Him Lord, but never submitted to him as Lord. It is not simply in the words, but in the actions. In Matthew 7:21, Jesus is speaking about the future judgment day. In that day, there will be an accounting for things said and done. On that day, Jesus says there will be those who will declare what they have done in His name, but Jesus will tell them to be gone because He never knew them. He calls them “workers of iniquity” (Matthew 7:23 KJV). The word iniquity means “lawless” as translated in the NASB. This means they did a lot of things in Jesus’ name, but not by His authority.

Today, much is done in the name of the Lord, but not all is done as a directive from Him. In my own life, I have both done things that He directed through the Holy Spirit and I have done those things that turned out to be by my own directive in His name. When He revealed to me my error, I quickly repented. It is so important to wait on the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to direct and lead us. Only what the Spirit does will last and be accepted by the Lord Jesus Christ. Often, our human pride causes us to think, “I am doing this for Jesus.” Maybe we are, but if He did not direct us, it is just a good idea at best. It is good to question our motives; it is good to receive approval from godly authority and let the Lord confirm our decisions as we wait upon Him for direction. As the old adage says, “haste makes waste.” The Lord is never in a hurry.

Invite the Holy Spirit to be in control of all your plans. Know that as you wait upon the Lord, He will bring it to pass. “Wait for the Lord, and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it” (Psalm 37:34).

EVERY GOOD TREE BEARS GOOD FRUIT

Matthew 7:16 – You will know them by their fruits. The context of Jesus’ teaching is “be aware of false prophets, who come in sheep’s clothing.” They look and sound good on the outside, but inwardly are “ravenous wolves.” We are to be fruit-checkers. If a person...

ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE

Matthew 7:13—Enter through the narrow gate: for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many that enter through it.

Jesus is teaching an eternal truth that is important for us to grasp. The serpent gave Eve a broad choice in tempting her to eat of the tree. “God knows that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). It is clear from Scripture that God always had it in His heart to elevate man, and open his understanding. God’s ways are narrow and time-tested. He proves us, before giving to us greater responsibility. He wants to protect His sons and daughters from the pitfalls which will stop us from experiencing His very best. This is what Paul meant when he said, “No temptation has overtaken you, but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13). The way of escape for Eve was Adam who had received the Word of God. Instead of turning to her husband, she ate the fruit. Adam’s way of escape was to turn to God, but instead he followed his wife’s choice. They opened the broad way which humans follow. Jesus teaches we must “enter through the narrow gate.” He is that gate!  He chooses the cross, rather than an easy way out. He established the narrow gate for all of mankind from that point on.

America has become a “pluralistic” society. This means we have swung open the gate to all of the false religions of the world. The original intent of America’s founding fathers was a “Christian Society,” made up of all the different Christian denominations. Everyone could express their Christian faith as their conscience dictated. The founding fathers knew that only the Christian faith would provide an atmosphere for other religions to survive. America, for many years, honored the narrow gate of the gospel of Christ. In more recent times, the narrow has been rejected and replaced with the broad, leading us down a road of destruction. Only by allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us back to the narrow gate, which is Christ, will our nation and its institutions survive.

Will it be relativism, whatever feels good and right to you, or will it be God’s Laws, which are narrow by worldly standards, but lead to life and that abundantly? The Holy Spirit is present to empower us to choose life.

Father, today I choose life. Life in Christ by obeying Your word through the power of the Holy Spirit.

GUARD WHAT IS HOLY

Matthew 7:6 – Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

The Jewish people called the Gentiles dogs. We know that there came a time when the Gentiles were accepted and qualified for salvation. Jesus is using the term “dogs” referring to any that reject God’s provision and treat it as a dog might treat a precious possession belonging to his master. What God the Father has given to us is compared to a “pearl.” A swine would not care anything of the pearl’s value. He would just bury it in the mud and slop. Likewise, the swine might turn on you and do you great damage.

Jesus was preparing kingdom-minded people for the reality of the tribulations that lay ahead for those trusting Christ. In our witnessing, we need to use wisdom and not flaunt what Christ has done for us. The conduct of our lives is our real witness to the unsaved. Vocal volume and many words will not bring the lost to Christ. It is our steady and faithful lifestyle that will ultimately convince people of the kingdom of God and create a desire to follow Christ.

Many Christians suffer persecution because they do not follow the counsel which Jesus gives to us in this verse. The Holy Spirit is our guide in witnessing. We cannot hope to be effective without His power and leading. We must learn to hold our counsel as well as share it as the precious Holy Spirit leads. Paul’s witness on Mars Hill gives us valuable lessons regarding receptivity. “Some began to sneer, but others said, we shall hear you again concerning this” (Acts 17:32-34). A third group received the Word of God freely and became disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. Ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide, to give you power to proclaim the gospel, and live a consistent Christian witness before all.