20 December 2018

Matthew 7

In the final section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches His disciples to treat others as they would like to be treated and not to judge others—a sentiment many secularists might agree with. They would not affirm what follows though, where He speaks about effective prayer, and that the gateway to God’s kingdom is very narrow and difficult with only a few ever finding it. Jesus also teaches, how true disciples will be recognised by their actions and only they will be welcomed into Heaven.

Many books have been written on the Sermon on the Mount. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones took sixty Sundays to preach his way through it! It is, therefore, somewhat challenging to write just a few hundred words on a section or sections of each chapter. Perhaps though, rather than focusing on a few individual teachings, it might be equally helpful to look at the wider picture and the final section of Jesus’s teaching, where a metaphorical umbrella is placed over all that He has said.

‘Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock’. (verse 25, NLT)

Jesus taught many different things in this sermon, and He concludes with an affirmation of those who practice what He preaches. They are wise. This clearly implies that what He has been teaching is also wise. Although a thesaurus might explain wise as intelligent or astute, the Bible has a very different understanding on what wisdom is and it does not relate to a high IQ.

Psalm:111:10 helpfully frames what being wise or having wisdom is; ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise’. (NIV)

Prayer: Lord, enable us to listen to and follow Your teaching so that we may be wise in Your sight.