July 24, 2011

Founded on the Rock

Obedience doesn't always manifest itself in obvious ways, and so the counterfeit Christian may easily pretend to be real.

Scripture: Matthew 7:24-27; Leviticus 26:1-19; 1 John 2:1-6

Sermon Notes:

  1. Jesus concludes His sermon with four exhortations: 1) Enter the narrow gate; 2) Beware of false prophets; 3) Even religious enthusiasts may be fakes; and 4) Disobedience will lead to destruction.
  2. Jesus gives words of blessing and cursing as He concludes His sermon, similar to Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 where there is blessing for obedience and cursing for disobedience.
  3. Jesus promises blessing for hearing and obeying His words, and warns of destruction for disobedience.
  4. Unlike Moses' sermon, Jesus' sermon is the very voice of God commanding obedience and promising blessing and cursing.
  5. Both the wise and foolish man are in the church, but the wise man obeys Jesus' word and the foolish doesn't.
  6. This passage is an exhortation to action, calling us to put Jesus' teaching into practice.
  7. Moses calls the people to listen, to hear, and to do God's commandments (Deuteronomy 5:1).
  8. The gospel is not a message to which we merely give intellectual assent; it's the hard (narrow) way of daily following Jesus.
  9. Blessings and curses based on obedience are not unique to the Old Testament. The Lord equally commands obedience in the New Testament. (See Romans 1:5; 15:17-18; 1 John 2:1-6.)
  10. The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 is the command to disciple the nations, teaching them to obey God's commands.
  11. Our salvation doesn't depend on our works. Rather, our ability to obey depends on our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10).
  12. In Deuteronomy 6:20-25, the children are to be instructed that God has saved us and so we are to obey His commands for our good.
  13. Obedience makes us fruitful individuals, confirming our salvation, and fortifying our faith.
  14. Obedience doesn't always manifest itself in obvious ways, and so the counterfeit Christian may easily pretend to be real.
  15. Jesus turns our attention from outward acts of piety and obedience to the inner motivations which reveal the heart.
  16. Jesus wants to heal our hearts and to change our inner motivations: If you're set on earthly treasure, set it on heavenly treasure; if you're anxious about material goods, seek His kingdom first; if you pray to be heard by others, then pray in a closet; if you fast to receive recognition, then do it secretly.
  17. Are we focused on our neighbour or on ourselves?
  18. Who are you when the mask is taken off? Are you meek, a peace maker, do you mourn? Are you salt and light?
  19. When the world sees the fruit of our obedience, the consequence is that they'll give glory to our Father who is in heaven (Matt. 5:16).
  20. Do we love to merely hear the teaching? If we hear good teaching but fail to put it into practice we're doomed (cf. Ezekiel 33:30-32).
  21. It was the scholars who were opposed to Christ; true wisdom is applied knowledge.
  22. Let's be zealous for good works, which is our purpose (Eph. 2:10).
  23. He who began a good work in us will complete it (Philippians 1:6).
  24. When we obey Jesus we are not only blessed but we ourselves become a source of blessing.
  25. Do we seek to receive the Lord's affirmation: “Well done, good and faithful servant”?

Application Questions

  1. Why is it so important to examine our inner dispositions and motivations?
  2. What are the results of living obediently?
  3. What are the consequences of living carnally or hypocritically as a professing Christian?
  4. Why do both John and Paul insist strongly on obedience in their pastoral letters?
  5. What is the relationship between our salvation and obedience to God's commands?
  6. What changes are needed in my attitudes and actions this week to put Jesus' sermon into action?
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