Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock (Matthew 7:20-24).
Today’s passage is the Sermon on the Mount. So many “classic passages” of scripture are found here. The Lord’s Prayer (Some call it the model prayer), the admonition against judging, don’t lust, love your enemies, the beatitudes, the wise and foolish builders, and the list goes on and on. I really enjoyed taking half a year and preaching through these chapters last year. What stuck out to me today was what Jesus said at the end of the message and quoted in part above.
Jesus warns us that just like a tree is known for its fruit, so a follower of Jesus will be known by their obedience to his commands. You cannot shrink away from this no matter how hard you try. Jesus makes demands on those who would follow Him. I think sometimes this message gets placed on the back burner because of our emphasis on grace.
While it is true we do not earn or merit salvation… it is true that perfect obedience was necessary for salvation and Jesus provided that obedience on our behalf. Now he calls us to join Him in His obedience to the Father. Salvation isn’t given to us because of our obedience, but our salvation is a good reason to become obedient to God.
The call to the kingdom of God isn’t to come and live in your own power, but to come and live in the power that God provides. Obedience is the only way forward in the Christian life, everything else is only sinking sand.
Here is how I am praying through this passage today:
LORD, I am praying for your kingdom to come, and your will to be done. Help me set my heart on your kingdom and your righteousness. I want to be the wise man who built his house on the rock. I trust you with the cares of this world. Today I lift up those who are building their lives on sand and they don’t even know it. I pray confidence for those who have put their trust in you that their lives are ready to withstand the storm. Draw us near you today. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.
What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.