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Ethics of the Kingdom: Final Judgments Pt 5

Ethics of the Kingdom: Final Judgments Part 5  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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What you do with Jesus' words reveals who you believe Jesus is.

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In my hand is a broom. It is a useful tool. With it I am able to remove dirt, trash, and messes when used properly. I owe McDonalds for teaching me how to use a broom. I say that, because apparently this simple tool is not all that simple. When I put it in the hands of my kids, they look at me with blank expressions that basically say, “What am I supposed to do with this?”
This same mentality is experienced just about every time we come together and hear the Word of God spoken. The Words of Jesus are presented and shared. By it we hear about how the dirt, trash, and messiness of life can be cleaned and our lives can be transformed. Yet, like my kids dragging the broom around pretending they are sweeping, so many who hear the words of Jesus and go about demonstrating an altogether different pattern of life inconsistent with what Jesus taught. Sure, we might say the right things and even do deeds in “Jesus name,” but as we saw last week, simply retelling right theology and doing busy work do guarantee that we are on the difficult path that leads to life. Only until we hear the Words of Jesus and then do them will we demonstrate the kind of transformation the Gospel brings into our lives. So...
What will you do with the words of Jesus?
What will you do with the words of Jesus?
Matthew 7:24–
Matthew 7:24–27 HCSB
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”
By now it is clear that Jesus is calling His audience to respond to the message that He has shared with them. In chapter 5 Jesus reveals the heart change that comes by way of spiritual brokenness. This transformation becomes quite apparent when followers of Jesus live out counter-cultural lives. Instead of retaliation and vengeance, they treat others greater than themselves. Instead of hating their enemies, they pray for them, do good to them, and love them. Instead of living out a righteousness the glorifies self, they live out a truer righteousness that glorifies God. Over and over Jesus highlights the kind ethic that His disciples are to live out. They are no longer under the rule of the Devil or of themselves. Now they are surrendered to the rule of God in Christ Jesus who has come in power to overthrow the domain darkness. The citizens of Christ’s heavenly kingdom no longer reflect the dark manners of the world, but the eternal light that is capable of revealing God to those on the path to destruction.
So Jesus calls us to respond to His words. We are to forsake the treasures of earth for the eternal treasure of heaven. We are to not live in worry, but in faith that God will supply our every need as He brings in to us His kingdom. We do this by abandoning the broad gate and roomy way and entering through the narrow gate of the cross of Christ and walk the path that is filled with tribulation, but ends in eternal life.
There are many who have bought into the false, cheap gospels that wolves in sheep’s clothing have peddled. These would-be disciples speak know the answers to the test, they do deeds that have the trimmings of Christianity, but in the end they are empty for they have not truly responded in surrender to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now once again, Jesus gives us another set of polarizing people—the wise man and the fool. Naturally, we’d like to know which category we would fall under, and that all depends on what you do with Jesus’ words. For...

What you do reveals who you are.

Earlier in verse 23, Jesus said that He will turn many away because they were committed to sinful practices. In verse 21, Jesus said that those who do the will of His Father will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Now Jesus says they must not simply hear His words, but do them as well. Once again, Matthew demonstrates that Jesus is no ordinary teacher, He is God incarnate. Just as humanity must live out the will of God the Father, must also adhere to the Words of God the Son—The Will of the Father and the Words of Jesus are one and the same and what you do with them reveals whether you are child of the kingdom or still lost in this world.
The Will of the Father and the Words of Jesus are one and the same.
Once again, we find ourselves in one of two positions. Like the two ways, we are all committed to some form of building project. Here, we have two kinds of people, and we are left with no other option. There is one who builds his house on solid bedrock and another who builds his house on shifting sand. Which are you? Well that depends what you do.
Jesus says of the person who “hears” and “obeys.” Now, in Matthew 7:23, Jesus said that many will be dismissed from His presence because they practiced lawlessness. But He also said, that the ones who will enter into the kingdom are the people who do the will of His Father (v. 21). Now Jesus says that it is not a matter of only doing His Father’s will, but calls all people to obey His Words. The Will of the Father and the Words of Jesus are one and the same.
Jesus said that both men are building. That both will undergo rain, flood, and wind, but only one will endure it all. This story pictures an autumn season that would have been familiar to Matthew’s audience. With the hard, dry ground, a hard rain would not have time to soak in the water. Instead, flash flooding would occur. So the man who built his house on the rock experiences the torrential outpouring of the storm as the rain, waters, and wind crashes into his house, but then as the storm gives way and the sun peers out from the breaking clouds, we find that the man survived the storm along with his house. This man, Jesus says, is wise. Not so with the other guy. Not thinking ahead of the potential dangers of what could befall him or his home. The fool quickly builds for himself a place of living, only to go through the exact same storm as the other guy but with far grimmer results. As the storm smashes into his house and then passes by, we are left with the seen of a demolished home and a destroyed life.
Growing up in Louisiana, the only serious storm I remember going through was hurricane Andrew. This storm smashed Florida, and then got back into the gulf and struck Louisiana. I remember how we tried to prepare for whatever could happen. My grandparents stayed with us as we weathered the hurricane. At one point our power was out and the wind was really pounding our house. My grandfather just so happened to be walking by the sliding glass door when all of a sudden the wind blew it in on him. Fortunately he caught and was not hurt. And the damage was nothing that a roll of duct tape could not fix!
The wise man represents those who hear the words of Christ and does them, and the fool represents those who hear the words of Christ and then ignores them. The storm, as in what we have seen earlier in this passage, represents the final judgment that is to come. The ones who endure the storm and live to tell about it
The storm, as in what we have seen earlier in this passage, represents the final judgment that is to come. The ones who endure the storm and live to tell about it. The wise man represents those who hear the words of Christ and does them, and the fool represents those who hear the words of Christ and then ignores them. Earlier, you had people who could talk the talk but failed to fulfill the will of the Father. They were comfortable pretending to be disciples, but in the end they found themselves at the dead end of the broad road. Here now, you have people who hear the words of Christ and consciously make the decision to either obey them, or to ignore them. Both build. Both face storms. But only one survives. This is because those who hear the words of Jesus, hang on to every word of Jesus. His words bring life and are life. Too many times we find ourselves simply agreeing with the message that comes from the word of God, but seldom actually doing anything with it. Sure, we highlight here and there, occasionally say “amen!” or share an inspiring verse on social media, but then quickly move on from that word and go about the same destructive patterns that have always characterized our lives. As Baptist, we believe ourselves to be people of the Bible, but I am not sure why. We seldom read it, use it, or live by it. At one point, this good book had the authority to speak into our lives, and we would listen with reverence and respect, and then react to what we heard with urgent obedience.
Where has that reverence gone? Do we really believe the words we are reading, and is it as authoritative in our lives as it should be?

Matthew 7:28–29 HCSB
When Jesus had finished this sermon, the crowds were astonished at His teaching, because He was teaching them like one who had authority, and not like their scribes.
This scene is incredible and we need take notice the kind of response Jesus receives. The crowd was amazed by the teaching of Jesus, but why? It was because He taught in a manner they were not accustomed to. Their scribes relied on the teachings of others and sought to preserve and repeat tradition. So they never spoke out on their own, but stood on the words and ideas of those who were before them. Yet, as Jesus spoke, it was with absolute authority. He did not depend on other rabbis, and He was quite unlike the prophets of old. Even they did not speak with their own authority, but had to say, “Thus says the Lord.” Not so with Jesus. As He addressed the multitude, He spoke with the authority as God incarnate. Emmanuel, God with us, was in their midst and the very voice that brought all creation into existence was now giving to them the very words that could bring them into a new existence—one where Satan no longer ruled over them and sin no longer enslaved them. The choice laid before them, and is now before you..
What do you believe about Jesus? Is simply a good teacher? A rabbi on the cutting-edge of theology? Or is Jesus really the Son of God?
Now get this...

What you do with Jesus’ words reveals who you believe Jesus to be.

We can say all we want about who we believe Jesus is, but our actions hardly match our theology. We say that He is Lord. We say that He is God’s only begotten. But then we hear His words, we say that they are simply positive suggestions for life. If we were honest, we would recognize that the word of God has no greater value to our lives than what someone might say to us on Facebook, or in a handwritten letter, if people still know how to do that. The church fails to model the ethics of Christ’s kingdom, because the church fails to recognize Jesus for who He is. No, either Jesus is who He says He is, or as C.S. Lewis said, he is some kind of megalomaniac or something far more sinister. His words are either the way to life or they are cancerous lies that have deceived so many throughout the centuries. For if His words are not true, then what you see is what you get and you better get while the getting is good! Pursue your treasures; chase your dreams; achieve fame, fortune, and power. For we only have a little while to gain all that this world has to offer. But if His words are true, and He is the author of life, then there is not treasure enough in the world that could surpass the eternal wealth of the words of Jesus.
Jesus said earlier in chapter 5:17, that He did not come to destroy the law or the prophets but to fulfill them. From beginning to end, they are His words. As states, all scripture is inspired by God, that is God-breathed. So as Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and so many others preached, prophesied, sung, and cried out, it was not their words that was recorded, but God’s. And as they proclaimed His message they spoke of His plan of salvation, they spoke of His Son.
The Aaron Jeoffrey song “He is” captures this so well. It says,
In Genesis, He's the breath of life In Exodus, the Passover Lamb In Leviticus, He's our High Priest Numbers, The fire by night Deuteronomy, He's Moses' voice In Joshua, He is salvation's choice Judges, law giver In Ruth, the kinsmen-redeemer First and second Samuel, our trusted prophet In Kings and Chronicles, He's sovereign
Ezra, true and faithful scribe Nehemiah, He's the rebuilder of broken walls and lives In Esther, He's Mordecai's courage In Job, the timeless redeemer In Psalms, He is our morning song
Ezra, true and faithful scribe Nehemiah, He's the rebuilder of broken walls and lives In Esther, He's Mordecai's courage In Job, the timeless redeemer In Psalms, He is our morning song
In Proverbs, wisdom's cry Ecclesiastes, the time and season In the Song of Solomon, He is the lover's dream
In Proverbs, wisdom's cry Ecclesiastes, the time and season In the Song of Solomon, He is the lover's dream
He is, He is, HE IS!
He is, He is, HE IS!
In Isaiah, He's Prince of Peace Jeremiah, the weeping prophet In Lamentations, the cry for Israel Ezekiel, He's the call from sin In Daniel, the stranger in the fire
In Isaiah, He's Prince of Peace Jeremiah, the weeping prophet In Lamentations, the cry for Israel Ezekiel, He's the call from sin In Daniel, the stranger in the fire
In Hosea, He is forever faithful In Joel, He's the Spirits power In Amos, the arms that carry us In Obadiah, He's the Lord our Savior In Jonah, He's the great missionary
In Hosea, He is forever faithful In Joel, He's the Spirits power In Amos, the arms that carry us In Obadiah, He's the Lord our Savior In Jonah, He's the great missionary
In Micah, the promise of peace In Nahum, He is our strength and our shield In Habakkuk and Zephaniah, He's pleading for revival In Haggai, He restores a lost heritage In Zechariah, our fountain
In Micah, the promise of peace In Nahum, He is our strength and our shield In Habakkuk and Zephaniah, He's pleading for revival In Haggai, He restores a lost heritage In Zechariah, our fountain
In Malachi, He is the son of righteousness rising with healing in His wings
In Malachi, He is the son of righteousness rising with healing in His wings
He is, He is, HE IS!
He is, He is, HE IS!
In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, He is God, Man, Messiah In the book of Acts, He is fire from heaven In Romans, He's the grace of God In Corinthians, the power of love In Galatians, He is freedom from the curse of sin
In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, He is God, Man, Messiah In the book of Acts, He is fire from heaven In Romans, He's the grace of God In Corinthians, the power of love In Galatians, He is freedom from the curse of sin
Ephesians, our glorious treasure Philippians, the servants heart In Colossians, He's the Godhead Trinity Thessalonians, our coming King In Timothy, Titus, Philemon He's our mediator and our faithful Pastor
Ephesians, our glorious treasure Philippians, the servants heart In Colossians, He's the Godhead Trinity Thessalonians, our coming King In Timothy, Titus, Philemon He's our mediator and our faithful Pastor
In Hebrews, the everlasting covenant In James, the one who heals the sick. In First and Second Peter, he is our Shepherd In John and in Jude, He is the lover coming for His bride In the Revelation, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords
In Hebrews, the everlasting covenant In James, the one who heals the sick. In First and Second Peter, he is our Shepherd In John and in Jude, He is the lover coming for His bride In the Revelation, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords
He is, He is, HE IS!
He is, He is, HE IS!
The prince of peace The Son of man The Lamb of God The great I AM
The prince of peace The Son of man The Lamb of God The great I AM
He's the alpha and omega Our God and our Savior He is Jesus Christ the Lord and when time is no more He is, HE IS!
He's the alpha and omega Our God and our Savior He is Jesus Christ the Lord and when time is no more He is, HE IS!
Jesus speaks with all authority because He has all authority. He went to the cross so that you won’t have to stay in the grave. He came that you might have life and have it abundantly, but in order to gain, you have to lose. You must surrender your will, your desire, your ambition, and yield control to God. And as you give your life over to Christ in faith, you live your life in accordance to His words. But His words are not like the Law of Moses, they will not weigh you down. Instead, as , echoing , says, the law of liberty enables you to prosper in whatever you do. But you must pay careful attention to the words of Christ, to not only hear them, but to live them out. What will you do with the words of Jesus? Are you ready to recognize, trust, and follow Him as Lord? Are you prepared to not just hear His words, but live by them every single moment of your life?
Let it begin with repentance! If you have never come to a point in your life where you confessed your sin and your need of the salvation Jesus provides, make that decision today! Come and take my hand and I will share with you how you can experience a new life in Christ. If you have already placed your faith and trust in Christ, let me ask you, can you honestly say that your life reflects the ethics of the kingdom? Do you truly devote yourself to the teachings of Jesus in such a way that you live them out each day? If there is even the slightest hesitation to answering that question, let challenge you today to repent as well. To confess your shortcomings and admit your need for His strength. And let me further challenge you to commit yourself over again to the standards Jesus has laid before you. If you are ready to recommit and to lead a life that shines brightly in this world for the glory of God, then come, commit yourself to Jesus today. Matt and I will be waiting for you here at the front, when I am finished praying, however you need to respond, respond. Stand with me as we pray.
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