Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do What You Are Told!


Matthew 7: 24-29

Story & Lessons

We may profess the name of Christ and yet be lost.

Prophesying in the name of Jesus will not save us.

Neither will the ability to perform miracles in His name.

What is important is obedience to the word of God.

Reflection...

The parable of the two builders challenges us to consider the kind of foundation on which we are building our lives.

The houses in the parable may have been constructed with the same materials and appeared similar, but their foundations were different!

When the floods came and the storms battered the house built on the sand, it collapsed but the house built on the rock stood firm.

What is the point of this parable?

The Lord Jesus warns us that hearing His sayings but failing to obey them will prove disastrous for us.

It is not enough to say that we believe the Bible from cover to cover, or to listen to good preaching.

We must obey His word.

We must beware of deceiving ourselves.

There is an easy type of Christianity which makes no demands for commitment to a life of discipleship though it pays lip service to the teaching of Scripture.

It attracts many but it leads to hell and not to heaven.

The people who heard the Sermon on the Mount were astonished at the teaching of Jesus, but we are not told that they obeyed His words (28-29).

Let us take God’s word seriously and obey it!

If we do not, our religion will not stand the test in difficult times!

We will be like the foolish man who build on the wrong foundation and lost everything when the storms came.

Jesus said, “Whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them” is like a wise man (24).

Are we building our life on the solid foundation of love and obedience to Christ?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Beware Of False Prophets


Matthew 7: 15-23

Story & Lessons

Many voices and influences seek to entice us to go on the broad way that leads to destruction.

Many on that way do not profess to have any religion; others are very religious.

Their problem is that they are not true Christians.

Satan wrecks many a promising life through the evil influence of false teachers.

Jesus warns us, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves" (15).

Reflection...

How can we recognize false prophets and teachers?

Jesus said, "You will know them by their fruits" (16).

They teach error and they do not lead holy lives.

True servant of God is more concerned with the fruit of the Holy Spirit than in spectacular gifts.

False teachers often claim to be able to work miracles.

On the Day of Judgment, many will claim that they have prophesied, cast out demons, and done many wonders in the name of the Lord Jesus, but they will be cast out of His presence.

The false teachers deceive themselves as well as deceiving others (21-23).

The Day of Judgment will be a day of shocks!

The most important thing for every Christian is not the possession of spectacular spiritual gifts, but doing the will of God (21).

Are we seeking to obey God’s will as it is revealed in His word?

If we are not, how do we know that we are a Christian or whether our decision to follow Christ was genuine?

Beware of false prophet.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Narrow Is The Gate And Difficult Is The Way


Matthew 7: 13-29

Story & Lessons

The sermon was coming towards its end.

The Lord Jesus then pressed home its challenge to enter the kingdom of God.

"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it" (13).

We all have to make a choice about the road we will follow in our lives.

There is a wide gate and a broad way which leads to destruction. This is 'the way of evil', the way of 'doing our own thing' which shuts out God.

The frightening fact is that there are many who enter the wide gate to take the broad way to destruction.

There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

Reflection...

There is a better way!

Jesus said, "Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (14).

Scoffers tell Christians that they are ‘narrow-minded’ but that may be a good indication that we are on the narrow way!

The gate is narrow because the Lord Jesus is the only way to God the Father.

We cannot be saved unless we trust in Christ, turn from our sin, and follow Him.

The narrow way is difficult because it is a way of self-denial, of suffering, and persecution.

It is, however, the way that brings forgiveness of sins, peace with God, great joy, eternal life, and heaven!

If we are not a Christian, we are on the wrong way!

Will we continue to follow the crowd on the easy way that leads to eternal separation from God?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Golden Rule


Matthew 7: 7-12

Story & Lessons

We cannot live the Christian life in our own strength.

We must be people of prayer!

God will not meet our needs if we do not pray and bring them to Him.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (7).

The Lord Jesus promises that if we ask, we will receive.

Are we asking, seeking and knocking in prayer?

Reflection...

Our heavenly Father encourages us to ask and to persist in prayer. He does not always answer us immediately or in the way we expect, but He knows what is best for us.

God is better than the best human father and He lovingly provided for us! He gives good things to those who ask Him. This is a great encouragement to pray and to persevere in prayer!

Verse 12 gives us 'the golden rule' — "Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."

If we really love God and desire to please Him, we will love our neighbor and always seek to do good to him.

The Lord Jesus warns us against a censorious, judgmental spirit. — "Judge not that you be not judged"(1).

We certainly want people to understand us and to make allowances for our faults and frailties.

We should be prepared, therefore, to treat them in the same way, and to apply ‘the golden rule.’

We must treat others as we would like them to treat us.

If every Christian took seriously ‘the golden rule’ and lived by it, God would be glorified and we would know much blessing in our lives.

Are we living by ‘the golden rule’?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Judge Not, That You Be Not Judged


Matthew 7: 1-6

Story & Lessons

"Judge not, that you be not judged" (1).

Many have misunderstood this verse.

It is not an excuse to turn a blind eye to wickedness or to avoid church discipline.

We must judge those who continually reject the gospel truth and those who are false prophets or teachers.

We must use our judgment and test the spirits, comparing what we are taught with the teaching of Scripture.

The apostle Paul reminds the Corinthian church, 'He who is spiritual judges all things' (1 Cor. 2:15).

We must support church discipline against those who are sexually immoral and we must lovingly seek their restoration.

*******

This verse is a warning against having a critical and censorious spirit.

It is very easy to find fault with other believers, especially where they are weak in those things where we imagine ourselves to be strong.

The Lord Jesus used a humorous illustration in His warning.

The hypocrite sees a speck of dirt in his brother’s eye and wants to remove it, while having a plank of wood in his own eye.

No Christian is perfect! We all have our faults, some of them sticking out in our lives like great planks.

We are not to be irritating busybodies; we are to busy ourselves in sorting out our own lives and repenting of our own sins.

Reflection...

The word of God says, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).

The Lord has placed pastors in the church to lovingly guide, rebuke and help us.

Do not try to be a ‘mini-pastor;’ it does not work!

We can only put others right if we have earned their love and respect.

In such cases, we will not be resented, but will be thanked for our care and counsel.

We must also be certain that we can take rebuke as well as give it.

— "Judge not, that you be not judged."