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Jesus the Teacher: Founding our lives on His Words

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Life-changing wisdom comes when we hear & apply Jesus’ preaching & teaching.

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Slide: Psalm 119:105

Introduction:

Attention: There are many things for which Jesus is known; words that describe what He did or who He was while on earth.
What are some of these things? (Allow answers)
Slide: Title Today we will be focusing on two of these: Teacher, Preacher
Big Picture:
For those of you who have been with us for a while, you know a bit of the ‘sermon journey’ that we’ve been on...
August: What is the Gospel? Jesus Christ is Lord
Shortly after that, we talked about why we have the Gospels,
“Written that we may have new life through knowing and trusting Jesus”
Then we started getting into the life of Jesus in the Gospels…
Baptism, “God identified Jesus as the sinless Son of God”
Temptation, “Jesus sinlessly identifies with sinful humans, showing us the new life He offers”
His assumption of command into ministry, “Chosen & empowered by God, Jesus delivered the Gospel”
Calling of the disciples, “Jesus invites us to respond to the Gospel, which will bring dynamic change to our lives!”
And then we back-tracked to the Christmas story in Matthew,
Genealogy, “Jesus is the Messianic fulfillment of God’s gracious salvation promises,”
Joseph’s side, “God the Son was born to save His people from their sins & bring them into a relationship with Him,” &
Wise Men, “God invites us to pursue & worship Him through King Jesus”
Now we are jumping back into where we left off before Christmas, shortly after Jesus’ public ministry began.
Between now & Easter we will journey through a survey of Jesus’ life, which can be divided into two great sections:
His first 30 years were His private life; we know very little beyond what we commonly attribute to the Christmas story!
Slide: Intro-a The next 3 years were His public ministry; and this could be divided into three parts:
Year 1, The year of Obscurity: After His baptism by John Jesus slowly emerges into public notice
Slowly over this year He gains notoriety for his preaching, teaching, & healing throughout Judea & Galilee
Three things that were definitive of His work, as Matthew 4:23 shares:
Matthew 4:23 CSB
23 Now Jesus began to go all over Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
Slide: Intro-b Year 2, The year of Public Favor: Israel becomes thoroughly aware of Jesus
He was actively ministered throughout the land, esp. in Galilee
Slide: Intro-c Year 3, The year of Opposition: In His final earth-bound year, public favor ebbed away...
His enemies multiplied & attack Him continually more until they succeeded at crucifying Him
But today back in Year 1, we’re jumping in at the very end of Jesus’ teaching & preaching in His famous “Sermon on the Mount"
Thesis: As we do, I hope that you will see that…
Slide: Thesis Life-changing wisdom comes when we hear & apply Jesus’ preaching & teaching.
Since we are jumping over the Sermon on the Mount, I encourage you to read through it this week
Take your time & read through it slowly
In these verses Jesus teachings,
The new life that His transforming power will create within those who love Him
His teachings, when taken at face value, are actually distinctly uncomfortable!
They fundamentally challenge our natural human state! & many American values!
They will legitimately make you ask, “If this is what it means to be a Christian… am I even a Christian?”
There is such challenging depth and richness in this sermon for every Christian
So, please do dive into them on your own & reach out to me if you have any questions!
Transition: But for now, I invite you to join me at the end of this sermon as we read...

Jesus’ Authority: Why we listen to Jesus

3 Slides: Verses Verses: Matthew 7:24–29
Matthew 7:24–29 CSB
24 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 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. 26 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. 27 The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. It collapsed with a great crash.” 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 because he was teaching them like one who had authority, and not like their scribes.
Explain: Let’s linger on those last two verses, “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, because he was teaching them like one who had authority, and not like their scribes.” (28-29)
At the time of Jesus Jewish teachers (scribes, rabbis, Pharisees, & Sadducees) had a certain custom.
To defend the authority of their teachings & understanding of the Bible, they would reference Jewish oral tradition, famous past rabbis, or other prominent teachers who shared their view
“As Rabbi So-and-So said, you must love your neighbor, but your enemy can be hated.”
Slide: MP1a Jesus did not follow this tradition—
On the contrary He had teaching authority—and this is why we listen to Him!
Jesus spoke without calling to any human for authority or as a defense of His words.
He was actually known for saying things like, “You have heard that it said.... but I say to you!" (Mt. 5:21, 27, 31, 33, 38, 43).
Slide: MP1b Jesus made it clear that he had the supreme authority and accuracy to teach God’s truth!
He actually called out other supposed “authorities” and masterfully correct their errors with a right understanding of God’s truth!
As He will do in our own lives, if we so hear Him!
Illustrate: It actually reminds me of one of my more frustrating teachers in college who taught a Bible class…
This teacher taught a rather liberal and loose theological understanding of the Bible
When her students called her out on it on this & asked for her to defend her view, one of her most common replies was, “Well, so-and-so says this & they are an expert in this field.” or “This-woman wrote a paper all about that, I’m not going to explain it now.”
Instead of going to God’s Word for authority, she had trusted in the people that agreed with her perspective & would turn to them for authority & defense in her understanding of God’s truth, even when it went against a plain reading of Scripture!
Argue:
Jesus was far from this!
He Himself was God in human flesh with ultimate authority & accuracy in what is true!
He is the supreme teacher & preacher!
Therefore,
He would call people back to the Bible to correct their errors
He would specifically teach what the Old Testament truly meant,
Regardless of what any supposed expert in the field at that time had said!
Slide: MP1c So, do you live in a way that recognizes Jesus’ supreme authority to accurately teach God’s truth? (more on this later…)
Transition: Assuming we indeed recognize & respect Jesus as an authority of the all-encompassing truth of God, the next primary thing we must consider is this—
What did He actually teach? As Jesus said, “Everyone who hears these words of mine...”
So let us consider broadly, what are the words of Jesus & how do we come to hear them?

Jesus’ Teachings: Hearing the words of Jesus

Explain:
Where can you find the teachings of Jesus? (Allow responses)
Of course the Gospels are the primary area we go!
But what about the later parts of the NT, or the much earlier OT?
Slide: MP2a Remember that the Bible is a book all about Jesus! Jesus is central to our faith; consider it in this way:
In the Old Testament Jesus is predicted.
In the Gospels Jesus is revealed.
In the Acts of the Apostles Jesus is preached.
In the Letters Jesus is explained.
In the book of Revelation Jesus is expected.
The Bible does not give us the liberty to ‘cherry-pick’ what we want to hear & what we do not want to hear!
As the Apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17
2 Timothy 3:16–17 CSB
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Or even as Jesus says in Matthew 5:17
Matthew 5:17 CSB
“Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.
Slide: MP2b We need a holistic understanding of the Scriptures, guided by Jesus’ clear teachings, to rightly understand God’s truth
Illustrate:
Reading the OT & never the NT is like watching the first Act of a 2-Act play & then leaving
You’re left with all sorts of unanswered questions & unfulfilled expectations!
Similarly, reading the NT & having an inadequate understanding of the OT is like watching only the second Act of the same performance
You’re left with great confusion as to why certain things happened & what they all mean!
And honestly the end of it often doesn’t make good sense!
Argue:
As Christians, may we be like the “Wee Little Man” of Zaccheus
You all remember his story, right?
He longed to see Jesus, but the crowd was so dense & tall, & he was so short, that he could not!
So he humbled himself & climbed a tree like a child (which a respectable Jewish adult male would never do!)
Do we so long to ‘see Jesus,’ not just visually, but to hear Him speak, to receive His teaching & preaching?
If you do, are you willing to make the sacrifices of time & convenience necessary to hear Him?
I pray that you are—because it will make an amazing change in so many elements of your life!
Transition: Knowing the authority of Jesus & the teachings of Jesus are of vital importance to us
But, this is never the ending point!
The hypocrite, scribes, Sadducees, & Pharisees all ended here...
But, may it not be so with us! May we press on to...

Our Response: Founding our lives on Jesus

Explain:
Slide: MP3a And this is where the final distinctions comes…
There are many who recognize the authority of Jesus, at least intellectually
And there are many who ‘hear the words of Jesus’
Scholars who have a vast understanding of the entire scriptures
But are there many who actually live their lives according to Jesus’ words?
And this is what I mean by ‘founding our lives on Jesus’
Slide: MP3a-a The crowd all heard Jesus’ words...
Slide: MP3a-b They were all astonished at how He taught with authority,
Slide: MP3a-c And yet, some were foolish and others were wise.
Before I get too deep here, let me make a note about how the Bible uses the word “Fool” or speaks of “Foolish people.”
Slide: MP3b-a A biblical fool is more of a moral position than an intellectual position
Slide: MP3b-b It is one with a life philosophy & perspective that is thoughtless, self-centered, & indifferent to God
Slide: MP3b-c One whose ‘wisdom’ is not based on God, but on human intellect and experiences
Slide: MP3b-d They are unwise because they are ungodly, having rejected living according to Jesus’ Word
Thus a biblical wise man is also not merely one with intellectual prowness, but rather one who lives according to Jesus’ words
They are the reverse of these things, being highly mindful of God in all aspects of their life
Living thoughtfully, God-centered & others-centered
We are called to be wise through living lives according to Jesus’ teachings
So, where do you stand?
OT Connection: Slide: MP3b-e Jesus’ parable is actually quite comparable to what Isaiah 28:16-17 shared hundreds of years before:
Isaiah 28:16–17 CSB
16 Therefore the Lord God said: “Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakable. 17 And I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the mason’s level.” Hail will sweep away the false refuge, and water will flood your hiding place.
There is a Rock, a Tested Stone in Zion, a precious Cornerstone, a sure Foundation…
Those who believe, or found their lives upon it, will be unshaken!
Why does this matter? Why would any others be shaken? Because a storm is coming…
“Hail will sweep away the false refuge, and water will flood your hiding place.”
In this world, that which we lay a foundation on will be tested by the normal hardships of a sinful world
And while some may seem to weather these storms & survive, even w/o their house built upon the rock of Jesus...
And there is a final, great storm coming of “divine judgment”
Every foundation will be shaken & tested & only those built upon the solid rock of Christ Jesus will stand.
Time permitting - Parable Connection:
Consider the “Parable of the Sower” (perhaps better thought of as the “Parable of the Soils”),
First shared by Jesus in Matthew 13:1-9,
We are told of a sower (farmer) who throws his seeds
And this seed falls on four different types of soil, each which has a different result
In Matthew 13:18-23 Jesus provides the interpretation
Matthew 13:18–23 CSB
18 “So listen to the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one sown along the path. 20 And the one sown on rocky ground—this is one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. 21 But he has no root and is short-lived. When distress or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 Now the one sown among the thorns—this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 23 But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does produce fruit and yields: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown.”
Notice that the different soils, in part, show us different ways people respond to Jesus’ teachings…
The soil of the path heard, but did not understand
The soil of the rocky ground heard, received it with joy, but didn’t hold to it in distress or persecution
The soil full of thorns heard, but didn’t hold to it when worries came or when the deceitfulness of wealth allured him/her away
The soil that was good ground heard, understood, & had a life change that produced fruit…
Transition: We are called to be wise through living according to Jesus’ words—
And if we do, we will produce fruit both internally & externally!
So, will you do it? Let’s consider how we can in some final concluding thoughts…

Conclusion:

Con1a Reiteration: Life-changing wisdom comes when we hear & apply Jesus’ preaching & teaching.
Jesus has the supreme authority and accuracy to teach God’s truth!
We must have a holistic understanding of the Scriptures, guided by Jesus’ clear teachings, to rightly understand God’s truth.
We are called to be wise through living lives according to Jesus’ teachings
Application:
Con1b Recognize Jesus’ supreme authority to accurately teach the truth of God.
This requires that we humble ourselves beneath Him.
As I shared before, many of Jesus’ teachings are *very* uncomfortable!
They challenge many core American values!
Yet Jesus speaks clearly about so many aspects of our lives! He addresses…
What is morally right and wrong, our natural sinfulness & overwhelming need
He teaches about your purpose & identity: Who you are and who you were made to be,
What families are and what they should be,
How we should use our money & resources,
Who God truly is & what He actually does,
Jesus’s saving work on the cross & it’s effect,
Final judgment, and more!
Many try to deconstruct & rewrite the Bible according to their own values & understandings
Many others simply ignore complicated or uncomfortable teachings & stories
But as those called into a relationships with God through Jesus, He does not give us this freedom
We must fully trust in Jesus’ teaching & preaching authority to accurately reveal God’s truth
Con1c Direct your life to regularly & accurately hear Jesus.
Regularly quiet your heart & mind to dive into God’s Words
And do so wholistic way, in the Old & New Testaments
Grow to be theologically balanced
Study His words, memorize them, meditate on them, prayer through them, consider w/in community…
Allow Jesus to correct you where you are mistaken & guide you into His truth!
Con1d Live according to Jesus’ Words
Practice them, you won’t be perfect at first & that is okay!
Do not be discouraged, know Jesus’ loving forgiveness & guidance!
Find accountability to help you toward these ends!
This is where the church of Jesus is of such great help!
As a community, as we share our lives with each other we are growing & learning together
Plug into a mid-week Bible study (or seek to start your own!)
Have times of Bible reading & devotion together with your family
The biblical fool is the one who hears the words of Jesus but then
Continues to simply go along with the flow of popular culture
Or who instead follows the teachings of a different supposed authority
Or who simply does what he/she wants, sticking with what is comfortable & temporarily satisfying
By God’s grace & Jesus’ teachings, may we never be such people!
But I will warn you—as Christians this is a real temptation!
They say that familiarity breeds contempt… Or worse yet, apathy.
Let us be diligent to inspect, with the Holy Spirit, all of who we are (attitudes, habits, attitudes, words, +) to see if we live in accordance with the words of Jesus
Let us be a humble people that allows the Spirit to so correct us
Never may we be too busy or too entangled with life to keep us from such things!
Let us instead be the good soil that the Word of God falls within and produces a great harvest!
Appeal: Make the sacrifices of time, convenience, & prestige necessary for this!
Con1e Be like Zacchaeus, long to see Jesus & lean in to hear Him!
Concluding Statement: And now, join me in prayer…
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