‘The right foundation. The right response.’ (Matthew 7:24-29)

Everything that Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount was designed to get those who heard Jesus to do something, that is, not just hear him and walk away, but hear him and act. In Matthew 7:24-29, the final conclusion to everything that Jesus said that day, this could not be more true! The illustration he gave to complete the sermon was designed to highlight the pointless nature of merely hearing what he had said. His words demanded a response and the right kind of response. They still do. Only then can we be sure that our foundation is secure.

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‘True and false teachers, teachings and believers’ (Matthew 7:15-23)

Jesus really puts the ‘cat among the pigeons’ in Matthew 7:15-23. After making clear that he wanted those who heard him to enter through the ‘narrow gate’ and so enter his kingdom, he straightaway warned of those who would keep people away from that narrow gate by their false teachings. More than that, he also warned those who think they have entered that narrow gate, to be doubly sure that their profession of faith in him is real. Two dangers are clear in his words. Those who tru to deceive others by distorting the truth and those who are self-deceived, who say they believe but do not!

‘The best way to die’ (Luke 23:32-43)

The story of the dying thief on the cross next to Jesus is recorded in Luke 23:32-43. Given his circumstances (that he was convicted, condemned and dying), the fact that he found grace in the eyes of Jesus (who was also dying), stands as a testimony to the reality of the saving power of the Saviour. The story teaches us many things, but greatest of all is the challenge to all to come to Christ and find that salvation He offers those who do.

‘The road to His cross…and yours too’ (Mark 8:31-9:1)

Mark records the occasion at Caesarea Philippi when Jesus asked his disciples, ‘Who do you say that I am?’. In response, Peter said to Jesus, “You are the Christ’. In response to Peter’s confession, Mark 8:31-9:1 tells how Jesus explained to the disciples what kind of Christ (Messiah) he had come to be, and from that moment, Jesus set His eyes upon the cross and took the road that went to it. The harder road. The one that would end in death for Him. But more than that, He called His disciples to take that very same road.

‘Two gates. Two ways. Two ends. Two crowds’ (Matthew 7:13-14)

Everything that Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount is so important, but these words of Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14 seem to have much more importance and weight than the rest. Why is that? Because eternity hangs on what Jesus said in these verses. The outcome of our response to what He said will either be heaven or hell. There is no in-between. And so what He said is so vital.

‘The rights and wrongs of the Lord’s ‘general’ rule’ (Matthew 7:12)

A lot of people have made far too much of what is called the ‘Golden rule’ found in Matthew 7:12.  While this verses is important in the whole context of all that Jesus said and taught, it is not, nor was it ever, the be-all and end-all of His teaching. The Golden rule can never save us – only God can do that! However, the Godlen rule does remain an important expression of what it means to ‘love our neighbour’ as God’s Word consistently teaches us. The danger comes when we place the Golden rule as the most important and neglect to love God (the first and greatest commandment).

“Ask, seek and knock: What an incentive to pray!” (Matthew 7:7-11)

After instructing His disciples on how to avoid being careless in making evaluations of one another and then how to be careful with His Word and so make wise judgments, in Matthew 7:7-11, he then spoke about prayer. While it may at first glance seem that there is no connection between what Jesus had been saying in the previous verses and these ones, the connection is there and it is a strong one. If we are ever going to come close to doing what Jesus taught in verses 1-6, we’re also going to have to do verses 7-11 very well!

‘There is a time to judge! There is no question!’ (Matthew 7:6)

After Jesus warned his disciples to be careful of passing judgment on one another (Matthew 7:1-5), Jesus went on in Matthew 7:6 to say some words that are a little bit harder to understand. What is it about pigs and dogs that we must take note of? And, what did he mean by warning us ‘to be careful with what we do with our ‘pearls’? HIs words are weighty and they require some thought and some application!