Obeying Jesus’ Words Gives Life
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
We have been talking about believing and following Jesus. The terrible mistake of calling Him Lord when He is not, or trusting in the works that you have done apart from Him. The path is broad that leads to destruction and many find it.
Well, in today’s passage Jesus connects us very practically to our place of safety. How can we know that we are right with God. How can we trust our own confession of faith when we can be self deceived?
The word therefore is very important in this passage because it connects what follows to what preceded it. The solution to our self deception is…
Hearing Jesus’ Words and putting them into practice.
- Hearing and Obeying Jesus
- How can we hear Jesus?
Proverbs 7: 1 My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you.
2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
3 Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.
Read the Bible.
Listen to the Bible.
Study the Bible.
Ultimately none of this matters if we do not obey the Bible! We put it into practice by basing our lives on its teachings. If we are just going along with culture, with what other people do, then we are not following the Scriptures!!
- The point of hearing is obeying
This is what Jesus is saying here. Many of the people are finding Him interesting. Many people are fascinated by His ministry. But they do not submit to His teaching. The point of Him speaking is so that they might have life!
John 7: 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
Luke 6: 46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
This is right before the passage that parallels the one in our sermon this morning!
- The result is the ability to endure hardship
Hardship is that which tries to frustrate our lives, even kill our lives. What gives us the endurance to walk through the valley of the shadow of death? It is the confidence that God is with us! How can we know that God is with us? It is found in obedience to His will!
What are the hardships of life?
Death of a loved one
Any loss of a blessing from God
Anything that would bring our future into doubt!
Every person will go through these types of issues. But some people might not even know it!!
- What Does The Word of God Do?
- Original testimony about God’s Word
Moses is communicating with the Children of Israel. They have been in Egypt for 400 years. I would assume that they are basically Egyptians, sharing an Egyptian world view. Many Gods that control different strands of nature that they should appease in order for them to be safe from the hardships of life. This is what the plagues repudiate. But, apart from their experience, Moses has written down the law. The Law in this context is not just the ten commandments or the books of Exodus through Deuteronomy that describe the rules and regulations that they are to live by. The Law is all of the first five books of the OT. I want us to look at the very beginning of the Bible. Genesis 1:1-5
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
- God’s Word creates life from chaos
The Creation Story is about more than the heavens and the earth. It is about God. It is about what God’s word does in all of creation. You are His creation. And Eph 2:10 says you specifically are His new creation created to do good works that He has prepared in advance for you to do. That means that today you can know that you are doing exactly what God wants for you to do. He orders your circumstances. Walk in His ways. What are His ways? Follow Jesus’ teachings and example!!!
Genesis 1:2 The earth was formless and empty and dark. That was reality. It is a picture of chaos. It is a picture of uselessness!!!
And I believe that we are to see that on a personal level as well. Our lives can be formless and empty and dark.
And then God speaks. And when God speaks, the darkness is immediately driven away. There is light. And what the light allows us to see is the pathway forward. God has given us light to walk in. And each time that God speaks andresolves the chaos of darkness, of formlessness and of emptiness, the refrain rings out: It was good!
God speaks to bring good out of the chaos, to bring light to the darkness, to bring form to the formless and fullness to that which was empty.
God will bring light, meaning, purpose and goodness to all of your life! And He does this by speaking His word to us.
The Ten Commandments are examples of this. As we follow God’s laws for us, we find light, purpose, meaning and goodness. We live the very best life possible, a life of blessing! Think of what all of our lives would be like if no one lied, stole, murdered, was sexually immoral or coveted! The world would be a completely different place! It would be full of goodness and blessing. Our lives would be full of goodness and blessing. That is what the COI need to see in the creation story. God creates light, life, purpose and blessing and He does this by His Word. He speaks.
- Jesus is the Word of God
Hebrews 1: In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration:
Matthew 17: After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Moses: The Law. Elijah: The prophets. This is the Word of God! And finally, Jesus. And one of them is more prominent. One is greater and it is Jesus obviously. And so God speaks out loud to Peter, James and John. And His message is clear and simple:
- Jesus is My Son
- I love Jesus
- Listen to Jesus
Peter testifies about this experience in his epistle:
II Peter 1: 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
“I say to you…”
III. Hearing the Words of Jesus Here
- They will direct your attitudes
Jesus began this teaching talking about our attitudes and how we should direct our thinking. Our mindset in life.
Spiritual humility rooted in our great need for grace and to hear God.
Mourning over our sin that leads to repentance.
Gentleness toward others because of our own sinful state.
Hunger and Thirst for righteousness. We need to be hungry to live according to God’s standards. And as we establish this hunger, we also will return to the spiritual humility and the cycle will begin all over again.
And then our attitudes move outward toward others:
Merciful toward others
Pure in heart
And finally having the settled direction of mind that is not moved even by suffering.
These are the very attitudes that are demonstrated by Jesus!
- They will direct your behavior
Jesus focuses on the law for a large section of the SOM. In doing so He shows us that obeying the law means focusing on reflecting God’s character: We must love as God loves, we must be perfect as God is perfect. We must forgive as God forgives. We must be patient and allow for repentance as God does.
- Jesus Words purify our hearts
And Jesus shows us that keeping the law begins in the heart. Our behavior is founded upon our desires! We must love God with all of our heart, mind soul and strength, and that means loving His Word!! Our heart issues, our false desires are that which fool us into thinking we are doing what is good when we are not.
He shows the examples of giving, praying and fasting in such a manner that the reward of those activities is making us worse off. Instead of drawing our hearts to God, they can be done in such a way as to draw us to man!
He uses the example of money to demonstrate that we cannot serve both God and money, but that God must come first! And He shows that anxiety or a lack of peace in our lives is a demonstration that our hearts are not settled on the things of God yet.
So, how will you hear Jesus’ Words and put them into practice? You will need to be a hearer, a reader and an obeyer of God’s word.
Start by giving a relationship with God priority in your life. You are to live today in order to obey Him. That is your purpose.
Proverbs 3: 5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
II Thes 5: 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4: 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
John 16: 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”