Obedience to God as Our Foundation

Sermon on the Mount  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Over the last few weeks, we have seen a comparison that Jesus is giving to those He is preaching to of two options that every human being has. Two gates, two paths, two prophets to follow, two people who say “Lord, Lord” and final two ways to build your life.
In our final Sunday morning in the Sermon on the Mount, we come to a very similar message to last week that revolves around the idea of obedience to the commandments Jesus gives. We will discuss the differences in depth but as we read the passage, I want to encourage you to pay close attention to the two situations that Jesus gives and the differences between them.
Read Matthew 7:24-27
Each of the points in this message will describe Obedience to God. First, a definition.

Obedience to God is hearing and doing.

This message is similar to last weeks in the fact that it has to do with obedience. The difference comes in the fact that Jesus specifies to those who have heard but not done and the consequences come while here on earth as opposed to the end of this life.
Whenever we hear an absolute like ‘everyone’, our ears should perk up. Jesus says, at the end of a sermon, that everyone who does what He has said… This is important but should make us go back and look exactly at what it is that He has said.
With the beatitudes, Jesus said that we should mourn over sin, be meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, should be merciful, should be pure in heart, should pursue peace, and promises that if we live His way, we will be persecuted.
He said that we should be salty in a world with no Godly flavor and provide light in the middle of darkness. We are told we should not be angry with our brother or look on another person with lustful thoughts. We should understand what biblical marriage means and we must never swear falsely. We should never exact revenge but instead face conflict with humility.
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
We should practice righteousness by giving to the needy in a private way, pray without seeking attention for ourselves, and fast without seeking pity or attention.
The disciple of Christ should seek the Kingdom above all else. We must serve Jesus as the sole master of our lives.
Jesus says, “Do not be anxious about your life.”
Do not judge others and be sure that your life is free from impurity before helping your brother with their own. Be wise about who the gospel is shared with.
Do to others what you would have them do to you.
Choose the right gate and path. Choose the right prophet. Serve the one who you profess as Lord!
No, this list is not exhaustive but when Jesus says that those who hear them should do them, doesn’t that make us want to take note and apply those things to our life?
And it might sound like it is a lot. Yet, I would submit that when we give our lives fully over to God, obedience to Him will become more natural. Just as a person who has wandered in the desert desires water, the person who has placed their trust in God will desire to do the will of God!
One other note regarding obedience here is that if we desire to obey God, this means that we will do what is in our power to put ourselves in a position to hear what it is that He says. You hear me talk so often about being in church. A great deal of that has to do with the fact that your brothers and sisters in Christ need you just as much as you need them. However, another aspect is that hearing from God’s word often benefits you greatly and gives God glory. However, we should all spend time in God’s word outside of church often. We should listen to music that comes from God’s word. We should read books that dive deeper into the truth of the gospel! Put yourselves into a place that promotes the teachings of Jesus so that you have something to obey!
The definition of obedience is laid out very simply but that is not all that there is to obedience. Next,

Obedience to God comes from submission to the Lord

It ought to be clear that I am not referencing a works based salvation where a person is able to earn their way into heaven. We ought to be reminded that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. We see this laid out by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:8. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,”
One of the significant aspects of the Christian life that is difficult for so many to grasp is that doing good things is like earning enough tickets to buy the big prize at the end of your night at the arcade. It is not as if a person can do well and then be admitted to heaven. Instead, the desire to obey the commands of God comes from being saved. Salvation is what leads to good works rather than good works leading to salvation.
So, when we consider the words of Jesus and then evaluate our own lives based on these things, we are simply looking at where our desire is. It is possible to be saved and yet the desire to obey God is lacking. No, our desires do not immediately shift to a point where all of the sudden we change everything. However, our desire does shift and, over time, our level of obedience does the same.
It is because Jesus Christ is the Master we have chosen to serve that we obey. But still in verse 24, we notice that Jesus describes the ability of a person to put into practice the knowledge that they have gained.

Obedience to God is wise.

Jesus compares two men in this parable. The first is wise because of what they do, not what they know or even who they know. Wisdom is a subject that the scriptures speak on with great frequency. Each time wisdom is mentioned in the bible, it is important to note that action is imperative. A person’s wisdom is based on what they do with knowledge and not just on the knowledge that has been gained.
Listen to these verses from Proverbs: Proverbs 8:33 | Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Proverbs 12:18 | There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 20:26 | A wise king winnows the wicked and drives the wheel over them.
In each of these examples, there is implied action on the part of the one who is wise. And Jesus is pointing directly to this point in stating that those who hear AND do what He is saying is LIKE the wise man in this parable.
We look to verse 25 to see what it is that makes the obedient disciple so wise.

Obedience to God is the Christian’s Foundation

In this parable there are two identical situations described except for one thing: the foundation that their house is built on. In this parable, the house that has been constructed represents the entirety of their life. The storm, with its winds and rain, describe the difficulty and trial that each and every person faces in the midst of life. You see, each and every person is building their life. It is being constructed and we all face trials and difficulties. The fate of our lives, though, is determined not on the quality of the craftsmanship on the house. Instead, whether or not the person’s life has been built on the only suitable foundation is the determining factor on whether or not they will be able to survive the storm.
I hope that this makes sense for you from a logical standpoint like it does me. Jesus is giving a great deal of sound advice. However, not all of these things are unique to Him, right? The golden rule is generally agreed upon as a good rule to live by. Loving your neighbor is something all people would agree is a good thing to do. But there are other things, such as turning the other cheek, that is counter to what our culture would tell us to do.
When we build our lives on the foundation of the teaching of Jesus, we will be able to stand up against whatever it is that life could ever throw at us. And when we trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will desire to take those commandments seriously.
Let’s look closer, then, at this foundation that is remaining obedient to Christ. Next, we see that

Obedience to God is hard work

Yes, I know that I’ve already told you that the desire to obey comes from trusting in Christ as Lord. However, we are constantly in battle against our own desires that run against what it is that God would have for us to do.
It is the easy thing to just give in to those desires, to not battle. In the same way, the easy thing to do when building a house, where sand is abundant, on sand rather than rock. You see, you have to go and find the rock first. But it is possible that the rock is not level and may need to be trimmed up. Just in searching for the rock, a builder may become overwhelmed or realize that the property that the rock is on is far more expensive than the land where there is sand. Do we settle for the cheaper land or do we acquire enough money in order to build on the rock?
The answer is obvious based on what He says in verse 25. This wise mans house does not fall because of what it has been built on. He did the hard work.
But finally, I want to offer a word of encouragement about verse 27 where we are told that the foolish man built his house on sand. And the house fell, and “great was its fall.”

Obedience to God Includes second chances

One of the great things about this parable is the fact that this man has to rebuild his house if he wants to live. Where do you think he will build his house now that things did not go so well on the sand? He’ll build it on the rock.
So many people have hesitated to obey God because of their past. It’s littered with mistakes. They fallen too many times. Maybe you’re hear but have never entrusted your life to Jesus but think you’ve done too much for Him to love you. The truth is there are many chances even if you’ve messed up twelve times.
So, if you’re here this morning and have heard the name of Jesus but have not called out to Him, “Lord, Lord,” may today be the day where everything changes for you!
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