Faith – Matthew 7
Continuing our “New Year, New You” series, we will look at the Sermon on the Mount. In just 111 verses Jesus teaches what it means to follow Him and have faith. There is a new kingdom, a new people, a new commandment, a new covenant not written on tablets but written on our hearts, etc. Jesus makes all things new! Only your spiritual life has the power to change the other areas of your life.
Examine Your Words
In Matthew 7:21 Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven….” Talk is cheap. It is easy to learn a religious vocabulary, memorize a Bible verse, or sing a Christian song. Many people called Jesus “Lord” out of respect, but their hearts were far from Him. It takes more than a verbal confession to go to Heaven. Romans 10:9 says we must also believe in our hearts. We will all give an account one day for the words we’ve spoken (Mt. 12:36). Are you judgmental of others? Do you criticize others? Talk about others? For many it is a way of life. No human can judge or determine the motives of others. Don’t jump to conclusions or make hasty judgments when you don’t have all the facts. Stop setting yourself up as judge and jury. Stop playing God in the lives of others, rather, judge yourself! “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith…” (2 Cor. 13:5).
Examine Your Ways
A religious vocabulary will not save you and neither will religious works. Jesus also said, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’” (Mt. 7:22). There are going to be a lot of surprised people on judgment day from all religions and denominations. Faith is not based on your performance. God does not love us based on our performance review. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Rm. 5:8). You can’t do anything to make God love you more or to make Him love you less. He loves us with an everlasting love. Faith in Christ is internal. It is not about being a better person. It is about having faith in God and He makes us a new person. Look at Matthew 5:21-28. Jesus took the commandments of not murdering and not committing adultery a step further. He looks at the heart and tell us to not even be angry or look lustfully. The change we need is from the inside out. Real faith is the difference between a tube of toothpaste and a balloon. Toothpaste changes shape from the outside in. A balloon changes shape from the inside out as the owner breaths into the balloon.
Examine Your Will
In the end of Matthew 7:21 Jesus says, “…but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” We see here God’s will versus man’s will. Are you living a selfish life or a selfless life? Life is filled with choices. Which way will you choose? There are two gates- straight and wide, two ways narrow and broad, two destinations- heaven and hell, and two groups- few and many (Mt. 7:13-14). What is saving faith? Buddhism – ceasing desires and keeping the eight-fold path. Hinduism – effort to rid self of bad karma live in unity with divine. Islam – good deeds outweigh the bad / martyrdom. Judaism – keeping the law. New Age – gaining new perspective seeing all is one and one is all. World religions are all about human achievement. Christianity is all about divine accomplishment. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it isthe giftof God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Jesus concludes His sermon with these words: “Therefore everyone who hearsthese words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Mt. 7:24). “House” hererepresents your life. All of us are building either on Christ the solid rock or on religion and humanism which is sinking sand. A few chapters later Jesus says He came for the sick, not the healthy (Mt. 9:12). We are all sick! We all have our issues. Jesus can handle your sin. He knows everything about you and He still wants you to follow Him.Only people who know they need help… find it. Turn to Jesus and put your faith in Him today.