CHOOSING THE ETERNAL KINGDOM
So we were saying that the Sermon on the Mount was the Kingdom Manifesto and considered to be one of the greatest sermons of the Lord wherein He declares what it means to be Citizens of the Kingdom of God. In every nation, there are certain stereotypes and behaviours that are distinguishable. We call these cultural markers or national identity. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us the highest value systems or the cultural markers and identity of His Kingdom.
Let's be reminded that the Sermon on the Mount is not an ‘evangelistic’ sermon - it is instructive to those who are already disciples. If you consider yourself a Christian, you cannot divorce that to being a citizen of the Kingdom of God. You cannot just impose on your own behaviours or preferences especially when it is contradicting the values of the kingdom of God. THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT as I said last week, is NOT A PREFERENCE or A SUGGESTION - an option that JESUS is trying to offer the disciples. They are edicts - INSTRUCTIONS. Nevertheless, it’s still a CHOICE, isn’t it? To live the Kingdom life that God offers or to conform still to the patterns of this world.
Last week we finished with that note: WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE ABILITY TO CHOOSE THE KING WE WILL SERVE
We have to understand that if we have truly given our life to JESUS - we did not just receive grace to be saved from the bondage and curse of sin and death but we have received grace to become CHILDREN of GOD - CITIZENS of the KINGDOM - for HIS DIVINE and ROYAL PURPOSE here on EARTH as WE AWAIT HIS RETURN or OUR DEPARTURE. So let me offer you THREE CHOICES that we are inevitably going to make in light of the last few verses of the Sermon on the Mount:
The CHOICE of RELATIONSHIP
The CHOICE of FOUNDATION
The CHOICE of AUTHORITY
1. The CHOICE of TRUE or FALSE RELATIONSHIP with JESUS
2. The CHOICE of WHAT KIND of FOUNDATION we are going to BUILD our life on
3. The CHOICE of WHICH AUTHORITY we are going to RECOGNISE AND SUBMIT our life to
So let’s read the text together shall we:
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
1. The CHOICE of TRUE or FALSE RELATIONSHIP with JESUS
“The Lordship of Christ is inevitable - if you want to belong to the Kingdom of God - you have to give allegiance to its KING. We cannot just be born again - say the prayer of salvation and have insurance that says - we will go to heaven - and live whatever way of life we want. That is not how true Christianity works. When you are truly BORN AGAIN - there is a spiritual desire that is birthed - something clicks in your heart - a hunger and thirst for righteousness - to be right - to live right - to obey the Lord - to follow Him!
Look at these words in v. 21 "who says to me"; and in v. 22 "they will say to me"
GOD knows who is genuinely loyal to Him - who genuinely has a relationship with Him - who really are His. JESUS is not just the Saviour of the world - but will come as a judge of the world.. JESUS is GOD! His claiming His LORDSHIP here. V. 22 "did we not..." You are not saved by what you do for GOD. You are saved by what He has done for you. The point here is what you do is not your means of salvation but should be the fruit of your salvation. But if there are no fruit, are we really connected to the vine?
We are not to pursue the miracles and the extravagant more than we are pursuing the miracle worker.
THERE'S ONLY ONE WAY TO GOD - it’s not about what you do for Him. It’s about who you KNOW. It’s not WHAT YOU KNOW but it’s WHO YOU KNOW.
What makes Heaven, Heaven is the Presence of God. If you are not seeking God’s Presence here.. if you don't desire God's Presence here - then why do you want to be in heaven?
2. The CHOICE of WHAT KIND of FOUNDATION we are going to BUILD our LIFE ON
The Wise and Foolish Builders
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
The analogy of 2 builders. Only God knows and can see the difference between the two
From the OUTSIDE all the houses looked the same
We will know the difference between the two when the storm comes.
The time to build a strong foundation is when there is no storm.. but many people only start building their foundation during the storm.
v. 26 - What are these foundations? Dos or Don’ts: Are we doers of the Word?
Number 32:23: “…your sin will find you out”
You know what this sin is pertained to? It’s the sin of doing nothing. The sin of omission.
“But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” - Numbers 32:23
People will not intentionally build a lousy house. If you build your house through ignorance or neglect - through arrogance and pride - thinking you know better - that’s when your sin will find you out.. (e.g. IKEA cabinets)
Negligence and not paying attention can cause damage
THREE ENEMIES THAT WILL HINDER YOO TO BUILD ON A FIRM FOUNDATION:
Ignorance: I don’t know
Apathy: I don’t care
Pride: I know better
If what it means to build the House Upon the Rock is to practice what JESUS teaches, then here is the summary of THE SERMON on the MOUNT:
To be catalysts; to let our light shine in a dark world
To not harbour hatred and bitterness and so commit murder in your heart
To not look lustfully at another and commit adultery in your heart
Not to seek revenge
To love our enemies. And pray for those who hate us
To pray and. To do it right
To fast and To do it right
To give generously to the needy and to do it right
To store up treasures in Heaven more than we do on earth
To not worry but to trust a loving Father in Heaven.
Not to be judgmental or think of ourselves better than others
Not to be hypocritical
To be discerning of false prophets - by being sound in the Lord’s teachings.
A list of Do's and Don'ts will be an excruciating obligation if a personal relationship exisits. This list will be reduced to religion and legalism if we have no TRUE RELATIONSHIP with the LORD. But if THE ROCK we build upon is JESUS; meaning if we have a genuine relationship with the Lord, and if we love Him, this list are just the bare minimum or the basics. A person who loves goes above and beyond any written rules.
THE CHOICE: Are we just going to hear nice messages or are we going to do it?
The fear that any Pastor has for its people is that the people become a Sermon appreciation society. It’s flattering for the pastor - but it’s never useful for the Kingdom of God and not good for your soul. Pastors know they have succeeded not when they have preached a nice message but when they see the people putting them into practice.
3. The CHOICE of WHAT KIND of AUTHORITY we are going to RECOGNISE and SUBMIT our life to
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
WHAT is the AUTHORITY in your life? What influences your decision making? Peer Pressure? Your wife, your husband? Popular culture? Social Media? Your own opinion? Your own heart?
Whether we like it or not or aware of it or not, we have an authority we are submitting to. All our decisions and actions are governed by that authority. You can be ASTONISHED, by the Word, but it has to go beyond astonishment. It should move us to obedience. The CHURCH is never meant to entertain or astonish you but to disciple you.
What are the non-negotiables of your life.Oftentimes, they are the highest values we hold on to based on the authrity or supreme principles we adhere to. Are they Biblical? 2 Timothy 3
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
We have to ask ourselves; if the Bible or the Word ofGod is the supreme authority of my life, am I allowing it to teach me, rebuke me, corrrect me and train me for rightesousness? Or do I just take it lightly and consider it as a suggestion, a preference, a "nice idea" or worse just another philosophy and not the Truth? Ours was given by the Lord these CHOICE.
QUESTIONS for DISCUSSION:
What are the markers of a true and genuine relationship wih JESUS based on the above key Bible passage?
How does the text above differentiate between the Wise adn the Foolish Builders?
Discuss how IGNORANCE, APATHY and PRIDE can become our enemies to building on a strong foundation of faith in our lives. What are they and give examples.
Define Authority. How do we know that we are under the Authority of the Lord?
Define humility. Why is humility a high value character in the Kingdom of God? Hw can we cultivate humility and contrition of heart?
Why do you think Jesus ended with these words in His Sermon on the Mount? How is it related to the Beatitudes?
How has the Sermon on the Mount influenced the way you think and live right now?