Preached @ Anchor Community Church on June 22nd 2014
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
In California, it is important to Earthquake Proof your homes. The importance of all of this is obvious. Homes built without it have a far greater chance of being destroyed in the many earthquakes that hit in California. The question is how earthquake proof is your life. Marriage counselor, Steve Farrar once asked, “Is your marriage affair proof?” That’s a great question, and one that some of us do not know until it’s too late. But the real question is, how do you know if you marriage to Jesus is “Affair” Proof? How do you know you are saved for eternal life? That seems like a more important question than knowing whether your house is earthquake proof?
In Matthew 7:21-23 there are some daunting words coming from the mouth of Jesus that ought to make all of us a bit squeamish, and force us to do a little inventory to see where we stand with Jesus. Are we truly a believer? Can my faith withstand a huge earthquake? None of us want to be tested, and I pray we aren’t to the point of death, as many of Jesus’ disciples were, but the fact remains, how do we know we are “In Christ?” What does it take to “Know” Jesus?The first thing we need to ask is, Who Are these People who Say “Lord, Lord?” Since they do what they do “In your name,” it appears they are professing Christians. And since they say “Lord, Lord,” it appears they have a solid level of orthodoxy in their theology. And since they are doing mighty works, they appear to be gifted to do ministry. Then What’s the Problem? Jesus says in v. 23, “I never knew you!”To be in Christ is to “Know” Him (See John 17:3). To know Him is to be in relationship with Him! In a sense it’s a marriage (See Revelation 19:7-10). Once again, Jesus shows us it’s not being religious, but being relational. And relationship means love and a desire to obey out of love and gratitude.
Big Picture: Those who trust in Jesus will bear much fruit and weather the storms of life!
From the Head…
It is important to recap 7:13-14. The 2 roads our passage seems to be indicating is not a road that consists of licentiousness on the one side and good works on the other, but of Religion and Relationship, or works versus Trust (Faith).
What looks narrow actually ends up very wide. The narrow road is hard and comes through Jesus alone, and requires Radical Repentance! The World looks easy, but delivers little, while the Gospel looks hard, but delivers the world. It produces in us, Love, Joy, Peace, Identity, Acceptance and Security.
But How Do You Know?
Trust in Christ is the hallmark of a believer. And that trust bears the fruit of the gospel. See Acts 26:20,which says, “but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.” Trust works its way out in obedience. I want to look at 2 Realities for those that bare the Mark of the Gospel.
Those Who Know Christ Bear the Fruit of the Gospel (Matthew 7:15-23)
Matthew 13:18-23 is a parable Jesus tells about the sowing of the Gospel, and the responses we can expect from people. Only one of those responses reflects the life of a true believer. It is one who bears fruit.
What False Prophets?
False Prophets show easy paths to hard truths. Also, False Prophets ultimately bare poor fruit.
What Fruit Are We Talking About?
While our context doesn’t give us a clear answer, it must at least contain the fruit of the Spirit we see in Galatians 5:22. This is in concert with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 22:37-39. Basically good theology leads to loving God/Others. Thus those struck with the truth of the kingdom, would see this fruit being produced in them, and according to Matthew 13, it would be more reflective in some than others. The important thing to realize here is that we are all at different levels at different times, and it’s not a matter of how much, but whether or not our lives reflect this transformation in us.
Those Who Know Christ Will Weather Life’s Storms (Matthew 7:24-27)
Those that are truly in Christ will remain in Christ when life’s storms hit us hard. 1 John 2:19 reminds us that, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”
The foundation is clearly found in Matthew 7:27 (“Rock” = Jesus). It is easy to build a beautiful house on less than firm foundation. The true believer shapes His/Her life around Christ, and His story. We enter into His world, and live according to His rules.
Our largest storms are often created by our idols, whether they are, physical, mental or relational. Those who “Know” Jesus Have the Tools to Cope with the hardest things life has to throw at us. Our storms in life come from both tribulation/persecution (Matthew 13:21) and our own anxiety caused by our idols (Matthew 13:22).
…to the Heart
Jesus weathered the storms for us, so we could live on a firm foundation What sort of houses are we building? Are we building our lives on knowledge or relationship? Are we hearers only, or doers, motivated by the love of Christ?
Both fruit trees and houses can look the same from the outside, but on the inside can be something totally different. Jesus has been nailing the heart throughout this whole sermon, and He isn’t stopping now. We can have assurance we are in Christ, when we display the Fruit of the Spirit, and handle our stress in a different manner than the world does, because our heart is transforming around His rule in our life.
Questions To Ponder
1. Why do you feel the road to God is “Narrow?”
2. What is Good/Bad Fruit?
3. How can we know that we “Know” Jesus?
4. If we’re saved by grace, then what does “Doing” have to do with our faith?
For Further Reading
A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Craig S. Keener
The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew, Michael J. Wilkins
The Gospel According to Matthew, Leon Morris
Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament 1A, ed. Manlio Simonetti
Sermon On the Mount; Sinclair Ferguson