Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter Fourteen: The Great Sermon on the Mount (part two)   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible
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Chapter Fourteen:

The Great Sermon on the Mount (part two)


        Continuation with Jesus' Sermon on the Mount


     And Jesus went on to say:

     "Take care! Don't do your good deeds publicly; to be
     admired, because then you will lose the reward from your
     Father in heaven. When you give gifts to someone in need,
     don't shout about it as the hypocrites do - blowing trumpets
     in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their
     acts of charity! I assure you, they have received all the
     reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone,
     don't tell your left hand what your right hand is doing.
     give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all
     secrets, will reward you."

     We also need to be careful in understanding what Jesus was
MAINLY getting at here. In a great many cases it is just not
possible to give to someone, especially if it is a large gift,
without someone knowing, and then the possibility they tell
others about your kindness. If you are famous in the public eye,
it will be even harder to give to others in a secret way. And if
you are famous and give huge amounts to charity then it is harder
still to "do it in secret." The founder of Microsoft and the
famous "Windows" nearly everyone in the world uses on their
computers, Bill Gates, is one of the very wealthiest men in the
entire world. He must be among the top half dozen wealthiest
people on the planet. It has been said that he "gives away" more
money in any single year than the total revenue of some
"countries" of the world. You do not hear about his charity
giving very much at all, so Bill Gates, for being a famous man,
has done a pretty good job of keeping his "good deeds" to
himself, without any loud publicity about it. He lives in a large
and relatively expense home, but when you see him on TV he is
dressed very modestly, even casually, and you would never think
to look at him that he is one of the top six most wealthy persons
in the world.
     
     The main thing Jesus was getting at here is that we be
humble, quiet, laid-back so to speak, in our good deeds giving.
That we have an attitude of doing it yes, helping others when and
where we can, and how we can, but doing it all in relative
quietness, with no big blaring  sounds of announcements to the
neighborhood, town, or world, that you are "giving to others."
     Many in Jesus' day were doing just that. They were literally
hiring people to blow trumpets in the churches and on the street
corners to get the attention of people, and then having it
shouted out they were doing such and such good deeds. Most of
these
people Jesus knew (because He knew the hearts of people, could
see into their heart and know their motives) were hypocrites,
play-actors, pretending to be someone they really were not. Their
religion was all about "acting" a part, pretending, putting on an
outward show to make people think they were so righteously in
tune with and walking in the ways of the Lord. The truth was they
were anything but true God fearing and humble children of the
Father.
     Jesus taught that we should do good deeds to others, but in
doing them, to be humble and try to do them all as much as
possible without anyone knowing about it.

     Jesus then turned His attention to the subject of prayer,
another religious deed that had been greatly abused by certain
ones, to again make people think they were "very religious."

     " And now about prayer. When you pray, don't be like the
     hypocrites who love to pray publicly on the street corners
     and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure
     you, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you
     pray, go off by yourself, shut the door behind you in your
     room, and pray to the Father secretly. Then your Father, who
     knows all secrets, will reward you openly.
     When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other
     religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by
     repeating their words over and over again. Don't you be like
     them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even
     before you ask Him!
     Pray after this manner:
     Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored and praised.
     May your Kingdom soon come. May your will be done on earth
     as it is being done in heaven. Give us our daily
     requirements. Forgive us our sins, just as we forgive those
     who have sinned and done evil against us.  Lead us not into
     trials and temptations, but deliver us from the evil one.
     For your is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
     Amen "

     Jesus' instructions on some points of prayer are pretty
simple and straightforward. You are to pray basically in private.
Now that does not mean a husband and wife cannot pray together.
In marriage two become one as ordained by God way back in Genesis
chapter two. It does not mean congregations cannot get together
and pray. We have examples in the book of Acts (that we shall see
in detail much later) where the Church of God did meet and have
times of prayer together (usually under some severe trial that
was upon them or some of their members). What Jesus is addressing
here is our regular basic everyday prayer life. It was to be a
private matter, not something that was done on the street corners
and with the attitude of "look everyone, I'm so godly I'm
praying, you can all see then I'm so religious." Some were
performing their prayer life exactly like that, making a it a big
public production. Again, Jesus knew their hearts and they were
in the main religious hypocrites so He said.
     Our prayer life is mainly to be a personal thing, done in
privacy, and the Father who then sees in private, will reward us
"openly" as it is in the KJV translation. We are also not to use
vain repetitions. Our prayers are to be from the heart, not
something like reciting a poem and maybe doing it over and over.
As Jesus said there are some religions that teach only through a
set repeating of certain words can their prayers be answered.
That was not the case with the Father, Jesus explained, for He
knows our thoughts and needs and requests even before we begin to
pray.  Of course that does not mean we should not pray. It is a
lot like an earthly father (or mother also) knowing the needs and
desires of his or her children (what they would like for their
birthday, and that sort of thing), but still wanting their
children to talk about it them to them.

     Jesus then went on to give a basic outline of prayer. There
maybe many other things we can pray for and talk to our heavenly
Father about, but here we find some of the very basics that
should be a pretty regular part of our prayers.
     The supreme God in heaven is "our Father."  It is clear from
reading all the Gospels that Jesus taught a "family" relationship
between the Himself and the Father and us. That we were all part
of one large heavenly family, with the Father God being the
supreme head in authority, but still our Father, with all that a
"father" is within a family unit. Wonderful and glorious it is
that God is our "father" and we are His sons and daughters.
     We need to honor and praise our Father in heaven and honor
His name, just as we should try to honor the name of our own
earthly family. We need to be always full of praise, thanking God
for all the wonderful blessing we have, both spiritually and
physically. Stop for a moment now, put this book to one side for
a little while and think of some of the many good things you
have. Then praise the Father for them. Make this meditation and
praise a part of your regular prayer life.
     Praying for the soon coming Kingdom of God should be a
constant priority. If you have read about that Kingdom and how it
will govern the entire earth one day, as related by all the Old
Testament prophets. If you understand what that age will be like,
and you reflect on the evil, sorrows, pain, hardships, wars,
sicknesses, of today's age, then you will want to cry out for
God' s Kingdom to soon come, to deliver this world from Satan and
all his wrong ways, and to see the knowledge of the Lord filling
this earth as the waters cover the sea beds. 
     You will want to see God's will done on earth as it is being
done in heaven. You will want to pray that the Lord's children
will stay faithful, and be a light of doing God's will to all
around them. You will want to ask for help from God via His Holy
Spirit to love and obey His word, His will, His commandments.
     Yes, it is okay and fine to ask our heavenly Father for our
daily needs. He knows we are physical human being that need
physical things each and every day in order to live our life. It
is "daily"  needs we need to ask for, not to amass stock-piles of
"goodies" for a time far into the future. It is not wrong to have
a nest-egg or two (the book of Proverbs teaches us that) but
praying that the Lord will grant us what we need (and that
could be spiritual, emotional, as well as physical) for each day,
as the day comes, is the focus in this basic outline of prayer
from Christ.
     We are to remember we are sinners, and to ask for
forgiveness, as we forgive others for sinning against us. Notice,
it is being forgiven, asking to be forgiven, AS, in like
manner as, we forgive others who do wrong to us. Just a few
verses down below this prayer outline, Jesus said, "If you
forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will
forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father
will not forgive your sins."
     Kind of plain would you not say? We must be willing to
forgive others, if we expect our Father in heaven to forgive us.
Sometimes others come to us asking for us to forgive them, when
they acknowledge they have done us wrong. Sometimes, they have
done us wrong and cannot see that they have or will not admit
they have. We still must have forgiveness towards them, at least
within ourselves, a kind of "Forgive them Father for they know
not what they do" attitude, as Jesus did when surrounded by those
who nailed Him to the cross and wanted to see Him dead. Letting
go and forgiving someone does not mean you are a sitting duck for
them to trample all over you again and again. But it does mean
you "let go" and are not having sleepless nights over the matter,
or figuring out how you can "get back at them."
     Having this kind of forgiving attitude towards human beings
means that you will sure obtain forgiveness from the Father in
heaven when He needs to  forgive you for your wrong doing towards
Him.
     We need also to pray that God will not lead us into
temptation. Hummm, a little hard to understand for James was
inspired to write that God does not tempt any man (James 1: 13). 
God  does not try to break us down by He Himself putting a snare
or trap into sin, in front of us. But He does allow sin to be
around us. He does allow Satan and the demons to do their evil
work. He does allow various trials, test, and troubles to come
our way. The best way to understand what Jesus was saying, is I
think, to ask God that He will lead us "out of" trials and tests
that could lead us to sin. To ask God for wisdom (James chapter
one again) in dealing with life situations, for the ability to be
corrected and to learn from life the lessons we need to learn,
and then after learning them to not fall into the same errors
again. We ask God for all this, and so in granting it to us, He
is leading us out of the sore trials that can come our way, and
throw us into a real mess. We ask Him for help from the ways and
influence of the evil one. For the evil one is always there like
a roaring lion sneaking about searching for whom he can devour (1
Peter 5: 8). One of the great ways to stand up against the devil
and not be slain by him is to do as the
apostle Paul said, put on the whole armor of God. We can pray for
help to do just that (see Eph. 6: 10-18).
     We finally once more give our heavenly Father praise and
honor and glory, for He indeed has the power and the glory for
all things, and certainly to answer our petitions.
His is the Kingdom that is in heaven and that will one day come
to this earth, which we can be a very part of for all eternity.

     Another tool that has always been used by the people of God
to obtain victory, spiritual strength, and closeness to the Lord,
is that of physical "fasting" - going without food and water for
a period of time. Jesus now instructs on this matter.

     "And when you fast, be not  as the hypocrites, of a sad
     face: for they change their faces in different ways that
     they may appear to people to be fasting. Truly, they have
     all the reward they shall get. But you, when you fast, put
     on hair cream, and wash your face, be in your physical
     appearance so people will not know you are fasting. But your
     Father which is invisible to you, but sees all secret
     things, He will reward you openly."

     Moses fasted for 40 days (Deut. 9: 18); Elijah also did the
same (1 Kings 19: 8); Esther fasted (Esther 4: 16); David fasted
(Psalm 35: 13);  and Jesus fasted for 40 days (Mat. 4: 2).
     Fasting had always been apart of the life of God's people.
Jesus here did not say "if" you fast, but "when" you fast, taking
it for granted that His followers would fast.
     It was to be done again without public notice, in fact in
such a none noticeable way that people would not know they were
fasting. This was quite opposite from the way many in His day
practiced fasting. They wanted people to know, and went far out
of their way to make sure they knew they were doing it. All to
put on the false face that they were super religious. They had
their reward of acclaim from the public, but their practice of
religion got no higher than the ceiling with God.
     But the Father knows the heart, and He can see when His
children serve Him, even if the world does not, and He will
reward them, sometimes even in an open way in this life time. If
not in this life then surely in the age to come, in His Kingdom.
     For most people today to fast more than three days without
food or drink will be beyond them. Then you can fast for half a
day, missing one or two meals. Our time should be spent in
prayer, Bible reading, and meditation, when we fast. The whole
purpose behind it is to get close to God.

     Naturally, as we live in a physical world and must have
certain physical things to sustain us, Jesus had to speak on this
subject also.

     "Store not for yourself physical treasures on this earth,
     where moths and bugs and rust can eat them up and destroy
     them, or where thieves can break in and steal them from you.
     Store your treasures in heaven, where it really counts, and
     where they will never become moth eaten or crumble away with
     rust, and where they will also be safe from thieves. Where
     your true treasure is there will be your heart also.
     Your eye of the heart and mind is the lamp of your body. A
     pure eye lets in the sunshine into your life. But an evil
     eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. If
     the light you think you have is really darkness, oh, how
     deep indeed is that darkness you have!
     No person can two serve masters. For you will hate and
     despise the one while you love the other, or you will be
     devoted to the one and disregard the other. So in like
     manner you cannot serve and be slave to God and at the same
     time to physical money and goods.
     So I am telling you, don't be overly anxious and worried
     about everyday life - whether you have enough food, drink,
     and clothes. Does not life consist of more than food and
     drink and clothing? Take a look at the birds. They do not
     need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your
     heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to
     Him than the birds. Can all your over anxious and fretful
     worries add a single moment to your life, or food to your
     stomach?
     And why be fretful about your clothes and what you shall put
     on from day to day? Take a look at the lilies and how they
     grow. They don't sit and fret about their clothing.
     Yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully
     as the lilies are. And if God cares so wonderfully about
     flowers that are here for only a short season and then they
     are gone, do you not think He will care for you even the
     more? Oh, you that have so little faith!
     So do not fret and be overly concerned about having enough
     food or drink or clothes. Why be like those without God who
     indeed are concerned about such things? Your heavenly Father
     already knows all the physical things you will need in order
     to live, and He will provide these needs for you from day to
     day if you will first of all seek His righteousness and make
     being a part of His kingdom your primary concern in this
     life.
     So do not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring
     enough of its own problems and troubles. Today's troubles
     are enough to be concerned about without added what may or
     may not come tomorrow" (Remember I am paraphrasing Jesus'
     words).

     The Bible is a complete book and we must read it all and
take into discernment all parts of what God teaches us on any
particular subject. The book of Proverbs, as well as elsewhere in
the Gospels and other parts of the New Testament, show us that is
it not wrong to be wise in this physical life, to have some put
away for a rainy day as they say.
     Jesus, we shall see, also taught us to be good stewards of
all the physical things we have. God does not want us to be
spendthrifts, lazy, living with a "oh, I couldn't care less"
attitude, and sponging off other people as if everyone owns us a
living.  There are so many passages in the Bible that show that a
Christian is to work (if he/she at all can), not to be a "lazy
bum" to put it bluntly.  To take care of his own (as the apostle
Paul once said), to be a responsible person, one who uses and
actually increases with what God has given him to use.
     What Jesus was saying then, in the light of all the totality
of the word of God, is that our life, mind, heart, thoughts,
should not be wrapped up in the physical things of this life; how
we can get more and more, how we can stockpile more and more
material goods. We are not to be consumed, anxiously concerned
and fretting over making sure we have huge amounts of more than
enough to live on.
     This is true what I'm about to tell you. I once met a man
who had been away for a four day week-end, and he had not slept
at all, for he was on some course that went through the nights
even, teaching, teaching, and still more teaching. I was amazed
when he told me this and he could see it in my facial expression.
"Oh, that is nothing!" he exclaimed, "I was once in California on
a 7 day course and we never slept for 7 days, the teaching
continued day and night."  Then in a matter of fact manner and
with absolute sincerity and meaning every word, he said looking
me straight in the eye with a cold serious face, "Hum, I want to
be a millionaire."

     Jesus on the other hand said your heart, your mind, your
life, should first of all be seeking God's righteousness and His
Kingdom. That, He said, should be the most important mission in
life for you. As we have seen, Jesus taught that to serve Him,
sometimes we would have to part with certain physical things,
maybe a job, or a person once close and dear to us, and there may
comes times we would wonder how we were going to have the
physical things we need in this life just to continue living.
When we read through the letters of the great apostle Paul we
find that sometimes he was in great need of the physical things
in life, but God always saw him through and provided for him, not
always as much as he may have personally wanted, but enough.
     Jesus was saying and telling us that we need faith, we need
to trust our heavenly Father. He knows what we need for each day,
so trust Him to provide it for you, seek first His righteousness
and His Kingdom, and be assured God will give you your needs for
the day.
           
BE CAREFUL HOW YOU JUDGE

     Jesus said, "Do not judge unfairly, that you be not judge
     unfairly. For others will judge you as you judge them.
     Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used
     to measure how you are judged. And why worry about a speck
     in the eye of your brother or sister or friend, when you
     have a log in your eye?  How can you even think of saying,
     'Friend, let me help you get the speck out of your eye,'
     when you cannot see past the large log in your own eye? 
     Hypocrites! First get rid of the log in your eye; then
     perhaps you can see clearly to get rid of the speck in your
     friend's eye."

     We know from the rest of the New Testament, that to discern
right from wrong, to judge the righteousness or sin of an act or
way of life that someone may have done or may be living, is not
wrong.  We can see from 1 Corinthians chapter 5, that Paul said
he had judged the matter of an unrepentant sinner in the
congregation at Corinth, and told the people of the church there
that they also needed to judge the matter.
     Jesus on another occasion, said of Peter, "You have rightly
judged" (Luke 7: 43). And at another time said, "Judge not
according to appearance, but judge righteous judgement" (John 7:
24).
     So, it is evident, Jesus was here in Matthew chapter 7
telling us that we need to be very judicious, circumspect, guard,
mindful, attentive, on how we judge others and their actions. We
need to be careful not to jump to wrong conclusions. We need to
have all the facts on the situation. And we also need to be able
to look into ourselves and see our faults, weakness, errors,
before we start to bring down the hammer on the faults of
others.
     It is very important that we always remember and apply the
words of Paul as found in Galatians 6: 1-3.

     The Gospel writer Luke gives us a few more words that Jesus
said in this context of judging righteously and correctly (Luke
6:39,40).

     To be able to judge righteously means you must become like
the one who is the holy righteous judge of all people's hearts
and minds. The disciple is never above their teacher, and
everyone who aquires the full teaching of their teacher, will be
like their teacher. In this instant Jesus was talking about the
children of God becoming like God in righteous judgment. If they
did not then they were still as blind men, and would be leading
and teaching others to follow that blindness, and hence blind men
would be leading blind men. Such blinded ones would both fall
into the ditch as they tried to lead each other in the wrong ways
of judging and condemning sin and sinners.

     Then another key that is required to unlock the door of
righteous judging is what Jesus went on to add in verses 41,42 in
Luke chapter 6 (also in Matthew). It is the key of first being
able to examine yourself, look at yourself honestly, admit to
yourself your errors, sins, and where you miss the mark at times.
You must first be able to see the log of sins in your life, if
you are going to be a true effective and helpful judge of errors
and sins in other people. By doing this in your life, you will be
humble in how you try to help another with their problems of sin,
and weaknesses of the human flesh. It is not wrong to convert a
man from the error of his way (see James 5:19,20), but it must
always be done in the context of what the apostle Paul was
inspired to tell us must be the context of such righteous judging
(see Gal.6:1-3). 

BE CAREFUL HOW YOU HAND OUT YOUR TREASURES

     This may shock some people, but Jesus taught that sometimes
it is not prudent to give out the holy and fine pearls that God
gives us, to other people. 
     "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast
     your pearls before the pigs, for they may simple trample
     what you give them under their feet, and even turn and beat
     you up" (Matthew 7: 6).

     Sad to say, but some out there are so against and so hate
the holy and fine pearls of God, that they will only laugh at
them, disregard and immediately trample them under their feet,
and some may get so violently upset at what you are trying to
give them, they will literally try punching you out.
     We need wisdom in ascertaining the heart and mindset of
people towards what we know as the holy things of God. Wisdom to
know when and where and with whom, to share such holy things.

EFFECTIVE PRAYER AND REQUESTS

     Jesus also knew that praying or requesting something from
the Father in heaven, was not always answered the first time, but
it would be answered and you would receive that which is best and
good for you.
     "Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for.
     Keep on looking, and you will find it. Keep on knocking and
     the door will be opened to you." The original language of
     the New Testament shows that Jesus said it this way, KEEP ON
     asking...looking....knocking...
     Jesus continued, "For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone
     who seeks finds. And the door is opened to all who knock.
     You parents, if you have children and they ask you for a
     loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they
     should ask you for a fish, do you give them a snake instead?
     Of course not! If you being sinful people know how to give
     good things to your children, how much more then will your
     heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him."

     God the Father loves His children. He wants the very best
for them. He will give us that which He knows is good for us.
Sometimes, as James told us, we may ask amiss (James 4:3), so of
course we will not receive. The apostle John was inspired to give
us two other conditions in order to receive from the Father. "And
whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His
commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight"
(1 John 3: 22). And, "And this is the confidence we have in Him,
that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He hears us" (1
John 5: 14).
     So we see that the "whatsoever we ask" must be according to
His will. We may not receive the good gift  from above (James 1:
17) immediately. So as Jesus said, we must keep on asking. Later
we shall see where Jesus gave a parable especially to teach
that God's people must not faint, but continue is prayer,
supplication, and request, and the Father will, in His time,
answer and give.

DOING GOOD TO ALL PEOPLE

     How should we live our basic day to day lives as we mingle
and converse with other people? Jesus told us how. 
     "Therefore all things whatsoever you would that people
     should do to you, do you even so to them, for this is the
     summary of all that is written in the law and the prophets."

     Most of us like to be treated by others in a nice
respectful, even kind and helpful manner. So, said Jesus, we must
likes treat others in the very same kind and respectful manner,
for this is what God has taught from the beginning, this is what
in the overall way, the Old Testament was teaching through its
many laws, commandments, statutes, and precepts.

THE NARROW GATE - ANOTHER SHOCKING STATEMENT

     Oh, some of the teaching and statements that Christ made are
truly shocking and in many respects quite the opposite of what a
lot of theologians of the Christians religion today tell you. A
lot of them preach that it is as easy as falling of a log to get
as they may say "to heaven." Jesus taught exactly the opposite!
     Listen to this! 
     "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the NARROW gate.
     The highway to destruction is BROAD, and its gate is WIDE
     for the many who choose the EASY WAY. But the gateway to
     eternal life is SMALL, and the road is very NARROW, and ONLY
     A FEW EVER FIND IT."
     
     Coming to Christ in repentance (knowing and acknowledging
you have sinned, that you are a sinner) may be relatively easy
(but many today who accept Christ as their Savior don't even know
what sin and repentance is), but that is just the beginning of
the road to salvation, we must continue to walk its path, to
"grow in grace and knowledge" as Peter wrote (2 Peter 3:18) and
we must make our calling and election sure by doing the things
Peter listed in 2 Peter 1: 3-11.  We must "endure to the end" as
Jesus said in Matthew 24: 13, and then we shall be saved into the
Kingdom of God.
     Yes, Jesus knew there was much more to "being saved" than
just "giving your heart to the Lord" as many preach today. The
fact is, you can think and argue with all the arguments in the
world, but the words Jesus spoke here are CLEAR and SIMPLE  - the
road to eternal life is NARROW, the doorway to enter is SMALL,
most in this life will not walk that narrow way, and only the FEW
in this age will enter the Kingdom.

FALSE PROPHETS AND FRUITS

     Jesus warned us that many would come along telling you they
were Christians, telling you they knew Christ, accepted Him as
Savior, telling you they were speaking in His name (Mat. 24:
4-5), but they would be deceivers. Here He says:
     "Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless
     sheep, but are really wolves that will tear you apart and
     eat you up. You can detect them by the way they act, just as
     you can identify a tree by its fruit. You do not pick grapes
     from a thornbush, or figs from a thistle bush. A healthy
     tree produces good fruit, and an unhealthy tree produces bad
     fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree
     cannot produce good fruit. So, every tree that does not
     produce good fruit is eventually chopped down and thrown
     into the fire. Yes, the way to know and identify a tree or a
     person is indeed by the kind of fruit that is produced."

     Jesus is speaking in a very personal way here, of personal
fruits, the way of life, that people live. He is not speaking
about people who have large numbers of other people following
them, as fruit. There have been some very evil men down through
the centuries, such as Hitler, in the 30s and 40s who had
hundreds of thousands devoted to him and his cause and desire to
rule the world. Having people follow you is not what Jesus was
talking about at all. It was the personal fruit of the person in
their day to day lives, how they lived according to the way of
the Lord, and how they lived in relation to others, as taught by
the Word of God.

     Jesus continued:
     "Not all people who sound religious are godly. They may
     refer to me as 'Lord, Lord,' but they still will not enter
     the Kingdom of heaven. The decisive and pivotal issue is
     whether they OBEY my Father in heaven. On judgment day many
     will tell me 'Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name, and
     even cast out demons and evil spirits in your name, and
     performed many miracles in your name.' But I will reply to
     them, 'I never knew you. Go away; you that continued to work
     lawlessness. ' "

     There it is again, from the very lips of Jesus Christ
Himself, from the one that many claim to know and follow and
believe in as Savior of the world. Many want to have Jesus as
Savior but will NOT BELIEVE what He said and taught. He clearly
said you can have His name, call yourself a Christian, do all
kinds of seemingly "good" things in His very name, yet on
judgment day He, Jesus, will not know many of these people. He
will tell them He never walked with them, never lived in them. He
will tell them to depart from the Kingdom, and the main reason He
gives is that they were LAWLESS!  They did not do what He had
just said above, OBEY the Father in heaven. They were not within
the laws, commandments, statutes, and precepts, of the Father.
They did not live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of
God (Mat.4: 4). They did not do what Jesus had already expounded
previously in this sermon on the mount as we covered in Matthew
chapter 5: 17-20. 

     To ensure a place in the Kingdom Jesus went on to say,
     "Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is like a
     wise person who builds a house on a good solid rock. Though
     the rains and storms come in mighty torrents and the
     floodwater rise and the winds beat against that house, it
     will stand and not fall because it is built on rock as a
     foundation. But anyone who hears my teachings and ignores
     them is like a foolish person who builds his house upon the
     weak and shifting sand. When the rains and floods come and
     the wind blows hard against that house, it falls with a
     mighty crash."

     Believing and obeying what Jesus taught is just as important
as believing in Him as personal Savior. The two go hand in hand,
like a horse and buggy, like a car must have a steering wheel and
tires as well as a motor, to correctly move along the correct
road, so too, the whole life of a Christian must consist of
believing ON Jesus and believing IN Jesus, believing and obeying
what He taught. As one famous hymn says, "Trust and obey, for
there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and
obey."
     
     Matthew then records:

     "After Jesus finished speaking the people were amazed at His
teaching, for He taught as one who had real powerful authority -
quite unlike the lawyers of the law called scribes."

     Jesus had finished His sermon on the mount.

                  ..........................

Written September 2002


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