09 September 30, 2012 Matthew 7;13 29 Your Decision

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09 September 30, 2012 Matthew 7;13 29 Your Decision

  1. 1. YOUR DECISION MATTHEW 7:13-29 SEPTEMBER 30, 2012FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI USA
  2. 2. ©2012 LifeWay ChristianResources of the SouthernBaptist Convention.Reproduction prohibitedwithout the expresswritten consent: LifeWayChristian Resources SBC.
  3. 3. Focal Passages:Life or Destruction? Matthew 7:13-14Genuine or Counterfeit? Matthew 7:15-23Rock or Sand? Matthew 7:24-29
  4. 4. This lesson is about choosing to build life on Jesus & His teachings.
  5. 5. *Life stretches before us asa huge road map coveredwith various routes anddestinations.
  6. 6. *Many decisions laybefore us in our lifetimes.
  7. 7. *As teenagers we mayhave asked, “Should wechoose more education orenter the work force?”*Who will be our closestfriends?*Which guy or gal should
  8. 8. we choose as a spouse?*Where should we live?*The most importantdecision was whether totrust Jesus and fashionour lives according to Histeachings.
  9. 9. Jesus used three illustrations on how to live to conclude His Sermon on the Mount:1) Two roads2) Two trees3) Two foundations
  10. 10. 1) Two gates and roads – Matthew 7:13-14symbolize the decision totrust and obey Jesus or torely on self and chartone’s own course.
  11. 11. 2) Two kinds of trees - Matthew 7:15-23show the results of thatinitial decision in this lifeand the judgment.
  12. 12. 3) The two foundations - Matthew 7:24-29reveals how that initialdecision works out whenhard times impact us aswell as at the Judgment.
  13. 13. The conclusion of theSermon on the Mountstands as both:1) an encouragement and2) as a warning.
  14. 14. Romans 15:44 “For everything that waswritten in the past waswritten to teach us, so thatthrough endurance andthe encouragement of theScriptures we might have
  15. 15. hope.” Romans 15:4 NIV
  16. 16. Life or Destruction?Matthew 7:13-14 HCSB13“Enter through thenarrow gate. For the gateis wide and the road isbroad that leads todestruction, and there are
  17. 17. many who go through it.14 How narrow is thegate and difficult theroad that leads to life,and few find it.”
  18. 18. First, let’s consider thetwo gates:*One of them is narrowand easily overlooked;therefore, few find it(v14).*The descriptive termnarrow is not inviting.
  19. 19. *We have heard all ourlives that being narrow-minded is not good.
  20. 20. None of us want to behemmed in; we like to goour way singing,“Don’t Fence Me In”.
  21. 21. Nevertheless, Jesus hadsound reasons forinsisting we enter throughthe narrow gate (v. 13).
  22. 22. The other gate is wide,easy to find, andapparently moreattractive (v. 13).
  23. 23. *Large crowds enter thatgate, but it isn’t jammed;people readily can seethey have plenty of roomto enter.*Clearly, that gate is thepopular choice, for many
  24. 24. go through it (v. 13).*Some of them assume thatbecause many people enterthere, it must be the bestchoice. Unfortunately, themajority is not alwaysright.
  25. 25. Consider the two roads:*The narrow gate leads toa difficult road (v. 14).*The word translateddifficult literally meanscompressed.
  26. 26. *The gate and the roadbeyond it both hem us in.*It wends its constrictedway through deep valleysand over high mountains.
  27. 27. *Rough and rocky patchesoccasionally mark itssurface.*The body of the Sermonon the Mount describesthat road; walking it istough.
  28. 28. *The roomy gate leads toa broad road (v. 13).*Freshly paved and wellmaintained, it offersplenty of rest stops andpicnic areas with scenicoverlooks.
  29. 29. *Entertaining andinteresting attractions linethis road, and travelersflock to them.*They claim any foolcould see the wide gate asthe wise choice, for it led
  30. 30. to a road that affordsmany delights.*Consider the twodestinations:The narrow road … leadsto life (v. 14).What an amazing claim!
  31. 31. Deuteronomy 30:19-2019 “I call heaven andearth as witnessesagainst you today that Ihave set before you lifeand death, blessing andcurse.
  32. 32. Choose life so that youand your descendantsmay live, 20 love the Lord yourGod, obey Him, andremain faithful to Him.For He is your life, and
  33. 33. He will prolong your lifein the land the Lord  swore to give to yourfathers Abraham, Isaac,and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
  34. 34. Joshua 24:1515 “But if it doesn’t pleaseyou to worship Yahweh,choose for yourselvestoday the one you willworship: the gods yourfathers worshiped
  35. 35. beyond the EuphratesRiver or the gods of theAmorites in whose landyou are living. As for meand my family, we willworship Yahweh.” Joshua 24:15
  36. 36. *What appears as afoolish choice hasspectacular benefits.*C. S. Lewis, the effectiveChristian teacher andwriter who helped manytake the narrow gate and
  37. 37. walk the difficult road,described his conversionto Christianity in a bookentitled Surprised by Joy.*In a sense, he thought hislife had ended as hemoved toward God.
  38. 38. *He expected life to takeon hues of gray and black.*The book title reflects thereality he experienced.*He found life; eternal lifein the hereafter, yes, butalso abundant life in the
  39. 39. here-and-now.John 10:10 NIV10 “The thief comes onlyto steal and kill anddestroy; I have come thatthey may have life, andhave it to the full.”
  40. 40. Deciding to trust Christand walk with Him looksbleak to some unbelievers,sort of like viewing acathedral’s stained glasswindows from theoutside.
  41. 41. On the inside, the sunshining through the glassbrings alive the incrediblylovely colors that take ourbreath away.
  42. 42. Trusting Jesus brings usinto a personalrelationship with theFather Who created us,loves us, and wants us tohave the best life possible.
  43. 43. *That does not mean theChristian life is easy, butit is the most fulfilling andsatisfying way to live.*So the narrow, difficultroad leads to a wonderfullife!
  44. 44. *The broad road leads todestruction (v. 13).*What seems so promisingat its beginning ends in theworst disaster imaginable,the lake of fire (Prov. 14:12;Rev. 20:15).
  45. 45. Proverbs 14:1212 There is a way thatseems right to a man,but its end is the way todeath.
  46. 46. Revelation 20:1515 And anyone not foundwritten in the book oflife was thrown into thelake of fire.
  47. 47. *Whether or not you viewthis fire as literal orfigurative, the worstaspect of hell is eternalseparation from God.
  48. 48. No hope abides there,only the deepest andunrelenting regret.
  49. 49. *Even in this life, thepopular path doesn’t liveup to its billing.*Sin destroys like acorrosive poison that killsthe brightest and bestaspects of life.
  50. 50. *What early on brings funand pleasure eventuallybrings sadness andmisery.
  51. 51. *Sin kills friendships,destroys marriages, ruinsreputations, andbankrupts businesses.
  52. 52. Genuine or Counterfeit?Matthew 7:15-23 15 “Beware of falseprophets who come toyou in sheep’s clothingbut inwardly areravaging wolves.
  53. 53. 16 You’ll recognize themby their fruit. Are grapesgathered fromthornbushes or figs fromthistles?17 In the same way, everygood tree produces good
  54. 54. fruit, but a bad treeproduces bad fruit.18 A good tree can’tproduce bad fruit;neither can a bad treeproduce good fruit.
  55. 55. 19 Every tree that doesn’tproduce good fruit is cutdown and thrown intothe fire.20 So you’ll recognizethem by their fruit.
  56. 56. 21 “Not everyone whosays to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’will enter the kingdom ofHeaven, but only the onewho does the will of MyFather in Heaven.
  57. 57. 22 On that day many willsay to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,didn’t we prophesy inYour name, drive outdemons in Your name,and do many miracles inYour name?’
  58. 58. 23 Then I will announceto them, ‘I never knewyou! Depart from Me,you lawbreakers!’” Matthew 7:15-23
  59. 59. True story ofDonnie the Deceiver hereat FBCJ.
  60. 60. *Religious fakery is notnew.*Both the Old and NewTestaments speak of falseprophets, and Jesuswarned us to beware ofthem (v. 15).
  61. 61. How can we tell whethera preacher, teacher, orlayperson is genuine orcounterfeit since theybleat like sheep ratherthan snarl like wolves?
  62. 62. *To do that isn’t alwayseasy, especially withreligious teachings on TVand the Internet.*Jesus said, however, wecan recognize them bytheir fruit (v. 16).
  63. 63. *Jesus elaborated on Hisanalogy of telltale fruit.*Thornbushes and thistlesdo not produce edible andnutritious fruit, so in thatsense they are bad (v. 17).
  64. 64. *Grape vines and fig treesproduce edible andnutritious fruit and thusare good (v. 17).*To expect a bad tree toproduce good fruit is folly;it can’t happen(v.18).
  65. 65. Orchard owners knowwhich trees produce goodfruit and which do not,and they cut down andburn worthless trees(v. 19).
  66. 66. *What “fruit” are we toexamine?*Because the bad treesrepresent false prophets,the fruit certainlyincludes their falseteachings.
  67. 67. *We can listen to determinewhether the teachings majoron “saved by grace” butminimize obedience toChrist. (“Believers’ sins areforgiven, so sinning doesn’tmatter anymore;
  68. 68. do what you please.”)*Do they emphasize God’slove and ignore God’sholiness and righteousjudgment? (“God is love,so He won’t allow anyoneto go to hell.”)
  69. 69. *Do the teachers talk moreabout themselves, theirachievements, theireducation, their Christianwork, and so forth, thanthey talk about the Lord?
  70. 70. *Do they rightly interpretScripture or primarilypresent their ownopinions?*Do they seriously lift upJesus’ teachings in theSermon on the Mount as
  71. 71. God’s will for His peopleor virtually dismiss themas being unrealistic saying“Wouldn’t it be nice ifeveryone lived thatway?”.
  72. 72. *Do they imply ourobedience, service, andgiving help save us?*We also can observe theinfluence of the teachingson the hearers.
  73. 73. *Are the people becominggodlier or more worldly?*Are they seeking to doGod’s will or going theirown way?*Are they putting others’interests above their own
  74. 74. or demanding their ownway?*Are the people acceptingJesus’ standards in Hissermon or explainingthem away?
  75. 75. *Aside from thesecounterfeit Christians’teachings, we can examinetheir conduct.*What evidence mightpoint to their having heartsof ravaging wolves?
  76. 76. *The term translatedravaging indicates theyare covetous and prey onothers.*They might hunger formoney, position,recognition, or power.
  77. 77. *So, watch how they act.*Are their lifestylesselflessly Christian?*Are they honest?*Do they answerquestions truthfully orbecome evasive?
  78. 78. *Are they more concernedwith their status or withserving the Lord?*How do they make anduse money?
  79. 79. *Do they pay their bills?*With whom do they hangout?*What kinds of cars orhomes do they own?*Would Jesus wear a Rolexon His television show?
  80. 80. *When out of thespotlight, are they kindand considerate of othersor irritable and impatient?*What do people whohave known them for along time have to say
  81. 81. about their moral andethical practices?*Obviously, we cannotknow or watch Christianleaders who postmaterials on the Internet,preach on television,
  82. 82. or produce writtenmaterials.*Not all of them by anymeans are false prophets,but some are.*Be cautious aboutaccepting what they say
  83. 83. or supporting themfinancially.*The Internet searchengines may be helpful infinding what people whohave investigated themhave to say.
  84. 84. Jesus asserted bluntly,“Not everyone who saysto Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ willenter the kingdom ofHeaven” (v. 21).
  85. 85. John 15:5 NIV5 “I am the vine; you arethe branches. If a manremains in me and I inhim, he will bear muchfruit; apart from me youcan do nothing.”
  86. 86. *Are you bearing muchfruit?*Sadly, many people whoassume they are saved arelost (v. 22).
  87. 87. *This includes all falseprophets and all whoseChristianity is superficial.*“I never knew you!”supplies the reason (v. 23).*The only way to knowJesus personally is to yield
  88. 88. our hearts to Him byfaith, that is, to make HimLord of our lives.*Anything less is justreligious ritual andactivity.
  89. 89. Some supposed Christianswill boast of theirChristian service, sayingthey have prophesied,driven out demons, anddone many miracles inHis name (v. 22).
  90. 90. Many impressive so-called Christian workshave been done throughhuman ingenuity, cleverdeception, and evensatanic influences as seenin 2 Cor. 11:14-15.
  91. 91. 2 Corinthians 11:14-1514 “And no wonder! ForSatan disguises himself asan angel of light. 15 So it is no great thing ifhis servants also disguisethemselves as servants of
  92. 92. righteousness. Theirdestiny will be accordingto their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
  93. 93. Jesus, knowing theirhearts, will respond tothis boasting,“Depart from Me, youlawbreakers!” (v. 23).
  94. 94. *They gave time andeffort to sensationalChristian causes, figuringthat would get them intoHeaven.
  95. 95. *Unfortunately, theyreserved the right todecide for themselveswhat they would do andwhich of Christ’scommands they wouldobey or ignore.
  96. 96. *In other words, they heldfast to lordship over theirlives, never yielding theirhearts to the Lord byfaith.
  97. 97. A number of churchgoershang onto the notion theycan earn a place in thekingdom, ignoringnumerous Scriptures suchas Ephesians 2:8-10:
  98. 98. “You are saved by gracethrough faith, and this isnot from yourselves; it isGod’s gift—not fromworks, so that no one canboast. For we are Hiscreation, created in Christ
  99. 99. Jesus for good works,which God preparedahead of time so that weshould walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10*Nail this down: we aresaved by faith in Christ.
  100. 100. *Salvation is the root;good works are the fruit.
  101. 101. 2 Peter 1:3-113 “His divine power hasgiven us everythingrequired for life andgodliness through theknowledge of Him whocalled us by His own
  102. 102. glory and goodness. 4 By these He has givenus very great andprecious promises, sothat through them youmay share in the divinenature, escaping the
  103. 103. corruption that is in theworld because of evildesires. 5 For this very reason,make every effort tosupplement your faithwith goodness, goodness
  104. 104. with knowledge, 6 knowledge with self-control, self-control withendurance, endurancewith godliness, 7 godliness withbrotherly affection, and
  105. 105. brotherly affection withlove. 8 For if these qualities areyours and are increasing,they will keep you frombeing useless orunfruitful in the
  106. 106. knowledge of our LordJesus Christ. 9 The person who lacksthese things is blind andshortsighted and hasforgotten the cleansingfrom his past sins. 
  107. 107. 10 Therefore, brothers,make every effort toconfirm your calling andelection, because if youdo these things you willnever stumble.
  108. 108. 11 For in this way, entryinto the eternalkingdom of our Lord andSavior Jesus Christ willbe richly supplied toyou.” 2 Peter 1:3-11
  109. 109. *Salvation is the root;good works are the fruit.
  110. 110. No quantity of goodworks can offset thepenalty for even one ofour sins.
  111. 111. *These are sobering andshocking verses.*We who are genuinebelievers can be assuredof our salvation and theLord’s welcome intoHeaven.
  112. 112. Still, Jesus’ words warn usto take stock of how wellwe are responding to HisWord and lordship.
  113. 113. He is not looking to us forspectacular acts of servicebut for consistent acts ofobedience.
  114. 114. *May we bring glory toHim and find peacefulassurance as we walkwith Him.6 “Whoever claims to livein Him must walk asJesus did.” 1 John 2:6
  115. 115. Colossians 2:66 “So then, just as youreceived Christ Jesus asLord (by grace throughfaith), continue to live inHim.”
  116. 116. We all know peoplewhose “fruit” testifies thattheir faith in Jesus isgenuine.
  117. 117. Unfortunately, weprobably all also knowthose in whom we“recognize” somecounterfeit fruit.
  118. 118. If others were examiningyour life, what counterfeitfruit might they identifythat needs to be “cutdown and thrown into thefire”?
  119. 119. Rock or Sand?Matthew 7:24-2924“Therefore, everyonewho hears these words ofMine and acts on themwill be like a sensibleman who built his house
  120. 120. on the rock.25 The rain fell, the riversrose, and the winds blewand pounded that house.Yet it didn’t collapse,because its foundationwas on the rock.
  121. 121. 26 But everyone whohears these words ofMine and doesn’t act onthem will be like afoolish man who builthis house on the sand.
  122. 122. 27 The rain fell, the riversrose, the winds blew andpounded that house, andit collapsed. And itscollapse was great!”
  123. 123. 28 When Jesus hadfinished this sermon, thecrowds were astonishedat His teaching,
  124. 124. 29 because He wasteaching them like oneWho had authority, andnot like their scribes.” Matthew 7:24-29
  125. 125. Word Study: AuthorityAuthority translates aword with several shadesof meaning—authority tochoose, to do somethingwith great ability, to rule,and absolute authority.
  126. 126. *The precise meaning isdetermined by thecontext.*The context of its use inMatthew 7:29 is Jesus’teaching in the Sermon onthe Mount.
  127. 127. *The audience clearlyperceived that He taught“like one Who hadauthority, and not liketheir scribes” (v. 29).*The scribes often soughtto support their teaching
  128. 128. by quoting famousrabbinical scholars ofyesteryear.*Jesus spoke as the OneWho had absoluteauthority in Himself todeclare God’s truth.
  129. 129. While Jesus certainly hasabsolute authority, theterm’s use in verse 29likely means the peoplerecognized His authorityin the sense of His beingan exceptionally
  130. 130. competent teacher ofspiritual truth because Hegot His words straightfrom the Father, not fromsome dead sage.
  131. 131. Maybe you grew upsinging:The Wise Man Built HisHouse Upon the Rock, thechildren’s song based onJesus’ words in theseverses.
  132. 132. *This illustration providesperhaps the most familiarpart of Jesus’ sermon.*At times I can recall asermon illustration butnot the point illustrated.
  133. 133. *Be sure to catch Jesus’point here.*Although Jesus is thechurch’s foundation, inthis account of two housesthe foundation representsdoing (or not doing)what
  134. 134. Jesus commanded us todo.*Jesus contrasted the fateof those who heard Hiswords and obeyed themwith others who heardand did nothing.
  135. 135. He described obedienthearers as sensible, andthe disobedient hearers asfoolish (vv. 24,26). Why?*Because eventually therain fell, the rivers rose,the winds blew and
  136. 136. pounded that house.*Some interpreters believethe storms represent thedamaging and evendevastating events thatbefall all of us in this sin-cursed world.
  137. 137. *Those who hear andobey Jesus have afoundation that sustainsthem in hard times.*They don’t collapse intobitterness or hopelessnessbut endure and persevere.
  138. 138. *Those who hear but doas they please are on theirown and will suffer for itgreatly.
  139. 139. While that interpretationof storms certainly hasmerit and expresses truth,in this context Jesus mayhave used the stormimage to illustrate thefinal judgment.
  140. 140. The conclusion of thesermon contains strongwarnings (vv. 13-22).
  141. 141. *The broad way leads todestruction (v. 13);worthless trees are cutdown and thrown into thefire (v. 19).*“On that day” ofjudgment, lawbreakers
  142. 142. will be rejected (vv. 22-23). *In line with that, thegreat collapse of the housebuilt … on the sand easilycould stand for fallingunder God’s righteousjudgment (v. 27).
  143. 143. 1 Corinthians 3:8-158 “Now the one plantingand the one watering areone in purpose, and eachwill receive his ownreward according to hisown labor.
  144. 144. 9 For we are God’scoworkers. You are God’sfield, God’s building. 10 According to God’sgrace that was given tome, I have laid afoundation as a skilled
  145. 145. master builder, andanother builds on it.But each one must becareful how he builds onit. 11 For no one can lay anyother foundation than
  146. 146. what has been laid down.That foundation is JesusChrist. 12 If anyone builds onthat foundation withgold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw,
  147. 147. 13 each one’s work willbecome obvious, for theday will disclose it,because it will berevealed by fire; the firewill test the quality ofeach one’s work.
  148. 148. 14 If anyone’s work thathe has built survives, hewill receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work isburned up, it will be lost,but he will be saved; yetit will be like an escape
  149. 149. through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:8-15
  150. 150. *In any case, obeying isthe only wise choice.*We’ve heard, read,studied, and even taughtJesus’ words.*That is vital but by itselfonly puts us in the
  151. 151. position of a rookie in theNational Football League.*He has the play-book,has studied it, and knowshis assignment for everyplay. He is well coachedand practices hard.
  152. 152. *Then he gets in a game,forgets what he’s seen andheard, and relies insteadon what worked for himon the college level.*Immediately, he isbenched.
  153. 153. The same would be trueof replacement refereesin the NFL!
  154. 154. *We know much of whatwe should do, but do wekeep that in mind as wetravel through each week?*Do we practice whatwe’ve learned?
  155. 155. *Do we allow Jesus’words to bear fruit thatglorifies Him?*We should renew ourdetermination to be doersof the Word and nothearers only (James 1:22).
  156. 156. James 1:2222 “Do not merely listento the word, and sodeceive yourselves. Dowhat it says.”
  157. 157. *We should choose totrust Christ and walk inHis ways as He hastaught us.*We need to persevere aswe walk the difficult roadwith Christ.
  158. 158. *May we not only be fruitinspectors but also makesure we produce fruitpleasing to the Lord.Colossians 1:1010 “walk in a mannerworthy of the Lord,
  159. 159. pleasing Him in allrespects, bearing fruit inevery good workand increasing in theknowledge of God” Colossians 1:10 NASB
  160. 160. *We should adopt as ourlife goal to do the Father’swill.*Let’s rejoice that for life’sstorms and the judgmentto come, we have built onthe only foundation that
  161. 161. ensures our eternalsecurity—obedience to theLord Jesus Christ.*In other words, let’sbuild our lives on Christand His teachings.
  162. 162. *Prior to turning to Christ,each of us built our“house on the sand.”*Did yours “collapse” atsome point?*If so, remember thatexperience, how you felt,
  163. 163. and what helped yousurvive.
  164. 164. *Allow that experience tomake you more diligent inseeking out others whosehouses have collapsed orare subject to collapsebecause they, too, built onthe sand.
  165. 165. Help lead them to the Rock!
  166. 166. Biblical Truths of ThisLesson in Focus:• Let us rightly judgeourselves before helpingfellow believers in theirChristian walk.
  167. 167. • Let us be honest aboutour own spiritualstruggles rather thanpretending we “have it alltogether.”
  168. 168. • Let us relate to otherswith discernment whenwitnessing to them.• Let us pray persistentlyand confidently for God’sgrace to obey and serveHim.
  169. 169. • Let us build our lives onJesus and His teachings.
  170. 170. As you reflect on thislesson, consider ways youcan better build your lifeon Jesus and Histeachings.
  171. 171. Next week:From Failure to Salvation John 4: 7-39

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