Tuesday, January 10, 2012

260 in 2012: Matthew 7 - The Best Sermon Ever - Part 3

Jesus finishes His sermon in this chapter by continuing with various, profound teachings.
1. Stop Criticizing (1-6) – These verses do not teach that we shouldn’t make judgments (Matt. 7:15). Jesus is addressing self-righteous, ego-centered condemnation (Luke 18:11-14) that doesn’t help others from sin to holiness, but instead condemns them! Judging motives is dangerous because only God knows motives! And certainly we must deal with our own sin first! And the pigs/dogs thing – don’t waste all your valuable time giving God’s Word (pearls) to those who don’t care!
2. Start Loving (7-12) “Ask, Seek, Knock” are continual action verbs. God sooooo wants us to go to Him with our needs because He is a LOVING Father! “We would not harmfully trick or be unkind to own son or daughter! How much more would God not?! Good = Beneficial Vs. 12 is the “Golden Rule” verse, and is a paraphrase of 2nd greatest commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.
3. Which Way to Heaven? (13-14) – Ok, this is kinda’ like the “altar call” of Jesus’ sermon! There are only two eternal destinations for people – Eternal Life or Eternal Destruction. THE most critical/important decision a person can ever make is about Jesus and His Kingdom!!! We must come to God on His terms not our own ideas or agendas! Here’s the scenario of the wide vs the narrow:
a. Outward Righteousness vs Internal Transformation
b. Many ways vs One way
c. Human achievement vs. Divine Accomplishment
d. Works vs. Grace
e. Judgment vs. Salvation
f. Religion vs. Relationship
g. Destruction vs. Life
h. Sinking sand vs. Firm Foundation
i. Own Way vs, Repentance
4. Beware of False Peeps (15-20) – Not all who claim to believe and speak for God are His! This gets tricky because there will be those who would mislead you & I. We are to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1). Jim Jones, The Way International, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, etc…can all look like real thing but aren’t! “By their fruit” = the kind of tree will show itself and the same is true of people. Be discerning! We don’t want people to be deceived into thinking they have salvation when they don’t!
5. Empty Words & Empty Hearts (21-29) – There are two categories here of self-deception: First, verbal profession (empty words 21-23) - just saying things doesn’t mean it’s true. Second is Relational deception (empty hearts 24-27) – it really is all about who you know = JESUS! Take note that Jesus addressed the lack of relationship- “being”, not their lack of “doing.”
Matthew concludes this amazing sermon by Jesus with a profound statement, “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” Yeah, they knew the teachers of the law had no authority! In essence, Jesus had just told them that their teaching was wrong, their living was wrong, their attitude was wrong and everything they believed in was wrong!
*So, are you & I judgmental people? I hope not! Whenever we have issues that WE are not dealing with and our desire is to condemn, then we are wrongly judging. Be careful, would we want God to judge us in the same way? Often we want to receive mercy but give judgment!
*What are you lacking? God knows and wants us to come to Him! I have a former student of mine who does this ALL the time and you know what, God continues to supply his needs abundantly! Hmmmmm…….go figure!~
*Which road are you on? The one that leads to eternal life or the one that doesn’t? It’s the biggest decision in life. I pray if you never have, that today you will choose Jesus and life!

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