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SOTM #16-Conclusion

October 16, 2010

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. 15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ 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.

In a sermon on this text (Mars Hill Bible Church podcast), Rob Bell explained that there were essentially three dangers spoken about in the concluding section of the SOTM:

  • A danger within culture (Matt. 7:13-14)-the danger of living according to the wrong “story”.
  • A danger within the Church (Matthew 7:15-23)-the danger of false teachers (leads to false disciples).
  • A danger within ourselves (Matt. 7:24-29)-the danger of hearing what Jesus taught, and not putting it into practice.

As a teacher in the church I have to take these dangers very seriously, especially the middle passage. It is a reminder that we are watched, and that people will try to recognize whether we are a true or false teacher by our fruit. I wish to be an example and help lead others toward the way of Jesus, and a healthy Church needs good leadership to do so. I pray that I can be the type of teacher who produces good fruit and does the will of our Father in heaven. But also realize that, as a pastor, there is a need to help others discern what is true and what is false.

The final danger affects all of us. Do we hear what Jesus is saying? Are we willing to allow these words to become flesh within our lives? Are we ready to put it into practice? What does it mean to be “wise” and to build “on the rock”?

In the Perkiomen Valley where I live, we are very familiar with rain and flooding. Just about anytime there is a decent amount of rain we have to worry about the Perkiomen Creek rising and flooding the roads into town (most of the roads have bridges to cross the Creek; half of them become unusable with heavy rain). As a result homes here are intentionally built up above ground level, or up on top of one of the hills overlooking the valley. We know the sandy low ground at creek level is a dangerous place to be during a storm when the water is rising. Last week (about 2 days after the most recent flooding) my wife and son and I were walking on the trail along the creek and witnessed the aftermath of the rising water: all the plant life combed down in one direction, huge trees uprooted, crayfish crawling around on land nearly 100 yards away from their creek home. It was definitely not wise to be in this spot 48 hours earlier. In fact, it would have been completely dangerous.

Building on the rock means being committed to an “upside-down” kingdom coming to earth that Jesus announced and made possible. It means trusting that putting these words of Jesus into practice is solid and ultimately life-giving. It also means being willing to be strange or peculiar, compared to the way things normally work in the world right now.

As we finish this series on Jesus’ SOTM, may we be people who hear the words of Jesus and help one another to put them into practice. And may Christ continue to form us into his way that leads to life and to the restoration of all things. Amen.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 22, 2010 2:26 am

    Amen!

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