Jesus concluded the Sermon on the Mount with three very interesting parallels.
- He talked about the high risk of living on an exciting freeway as opposed to the restrictive life of the two-lane road.
- He spoke of the danger in looking for fruit on a thorn bush instead of choosing to pick fruit from a healthy fruit-bearing tree.
- He warned about the foolishness of building a house on shifting sand rather than doing the hard work of excavating to a solid rock foundation.
What is this all about; narrow roads, thorn bushes, and houses that may come crashing down?
The Lord must have been looking down through time and seeing this generation of the church when He was giving these parables.
The fast, wide-open living of this generation of church-goers embraces most any lifestyle, except the narrow road of a holy life.
That is considered legalism and judgmental.
Their favorite mantra seems to be “God’s grace covers our sin and His love understands our weaknesses.” They willingly choose to ignore the words of the Lord, Himself, “If you love Me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Jesus gave no qualifiers for this statement.
He just spoke those words, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.”
The Apostle John wrote later, “By this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. Whoever says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. But, whoever keeps His word truly has the love of God perfected in him. By this we know we are in Him. Whoever says he remains in Him out to walk as He walked” (1John 2:3-6).
Jesus knew the crowd would take the freeway because it is easy, fast moving, and pleasurable. But it also leads to destruction.
That may be the reason we are seeing the lives and marriages so many people in the church crashing and burning.
The Shifting Sand of Political Correctness in the Church
Leading through the fog of this generation is challenging at best.
Opposition to the truth is coming heavily from the politically correct crowd, as they label Evangelicals as hate mongers and call those who accept and preach the Bible as God’s infallible Word, as dangerous and need to be silenced.
You expect such from the unbelieving and atheist crowd. What you do not expect is to hear it from inside the church.
Many pastors, theologians, and church leaders are now calling for the church to be tolerant and understanding; softening the position on behavior taught in Scripture as sinful behavior, they are widening the highway of holiness.
Those things God calls an abomination are redefined, making them culturally acceptable.
Such as, from their perspective homosexual behavior in the 21st century is different from that spoken against in the Old and New Testament.
The pop-psychology, Gender dysphoria, removes the necessity of repentance.
Counseling and understanding is the new norm.
Alcohol is no longer a foolish and dangerous behavior for the child of God but an acceptable social behavior; even at pastoral meetings and “Super Bowl” parties for men’s groups.
Jesus called this kind of spiritual leadership picking fruit from thorn bushes.
“Pastor, how do you lead in this generation?” The question was not asked of me in an accusatory or critical tone but came with great concern.
My immediate thought was, “Indeed, how do you lead through the quagmire of distortion and disinformation without falling into the quicksand of delusion?”
That is the point of these three parables given by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
Build your house on a solid rock not on sand that easily shifts when a storm comes.
Take the time and painful effort to excavate deep to solid rock for the foundation of your life; rather than the easily accessible, comfortable, rapidly forward moving means of building on the soft soil of public opinion and cultural philosophy.
It may give you a beautiful view.
You may enjoy the lovely warm winds off the waters.
It may even be the high priced real estate of this generation.
Your life will not endure. It is deception and will not give your security. Your life will not stand when the tests of life come your way. It will not endure the penetrating eyes of Almighty God at the resurrection.
Jesus rather emphatically stated, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonderful works in Your name?’ But then I will declare to then, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice evil” (Matthew 7:21-23 MEV).
How does one excavate to the solid rock foundation?
Jesus explained excavating deep to the solid rock for a foundation is “Whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them” (Matthew 7:24 MEV).
Building on sandy soil is the person who hears the Word of God but does not live by the Word of God. You may build a beautiful structure but if it is on sandy soil and it will not stand.
James wrote, “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves… But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in his deeds” (James 1:22, 25 MEV).
It is a very dangerous practice when leaders of the church do not give a clear voice to the absolute inerrancy of the Word of God, but adjust the principles and precepts to fit cultural norms and to embrace political correctness.
A person will never establish their life as a true disciple of Jesus Christ as long as their opinions, reasoning and world view are shaped by the philosophy and traditions of the world and not in the wisdom and ways of Almighty God.
There will always be a measure of instability in the life of someone who chooses to allow entertainment, pleasures and behavior patterns to remain in their life that are contrary to the Word of God and especially if they practice the very things God says He hates.
So how does one build on the solid rock?
- Fully embrace the conviction every word of the Holy Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God.
- Fall in love with truth more than the pleasures and entertainment of the World.
- Study the Word of God diligently and read it on a daily basis.
- Choose to submit your will to God’s Word, before you read and know what it is going to say.
- Discipline your thoughts, reasoning, opinions, and emotions to obey God’s Word after you have read it, studied it, and know what it says.
- Choose to live by the conviction, “I will obey God’s Word with humility, love and grace, even if I am rejected by family and friends and considered to be an intolerant hate-monger by the world.”
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