Sermon on the Mount

Rock & Sound

This devotional is written by Owen Hopwood. Owen is a musician and a husband to Laura who is also known as Larry.

Matthew 7:21-29

True and False Disciples

21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does 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!'

The Wise and Foolish Builders

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.

Reflection

It's easy to approach the words of Jesus as a philosophy. With a little bit of tweaking and selective reading we can even round off some of the more challenging aspects of his message and end up with some solid life lessons that fit neatly into our existing cultural and personal identities. This isn't necessarily a bad thing in and of itself and makes for a generally positive message but it's just not Jesus. Jesus doesn't ask us to subscribe to a moral philosophy, he asks us to follow him. And that's where things get complicated for those of us who wish to be disciples. The words of Jesus are hard, what he asks of us is costly and there is a big difference between believing in the idea of following Jesus and actually following Him. German Theologian Johann Baptist Metz puts it this way:

"Are we christians in this country really changing our hearts or do we just believe in a change of heart and remain under the cloak of this belief in conversion basically unchanged? Are we living as disciples, or do we just believe in discipleship and, under the cloak of this belief in discipleship, continue in our old ways, the same unchanging ways. Do we show real love or do we just believe in love and, under the cloak of this belief in love, remain the same egoists and conformists we have always been? Do we share the sufferings of others, or do we just believe in the sharing, remaining under the cloak of a belief in "sympathy" as apathetic as ever."

I pray that these words would challenge you as they do me to take the call to follow Jesus seriously. That Jesus' words would not be ‘incidental additions' to our lives but the foundation.

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