As Jesus comes towards the end of the Sermon, he talks about two ways and two gates, two trees and two fruits, and two foundations and two houses (vv.13-27).
Journey in the Narrow Way
There are two basic ways wherein we journey, at the end of each way is also a gate; one way may seem wide, safe, and promising, but it leads to destruction in the end; the other may seem narrow, unsafe, and demanding, but it leads to the kind of life that is truly good.
Bear Good Fruits
There are also two kinds of trees, one bears good fruit, the other bears bad fruit. Our lives are either of the two – bearing good fruits of good hearts and good deeds; or bearing bad fruits of crooked hearts and hypocritical deeds.
Build Strong Foundations
Similarly, there are two kinds of foundations upon which houses are built. Our lives are like that too. When the storms of life come and hit us, what matters is not so much how our houses look on the outside, but how strong their foundations are.
Follow Christ Truly
Jesus’ basic point in all this is that often we appear, both to others and to ourselves, to be doing pretty well in our righteousness. But one day we will be exposed for what we truly are.
Jesus then concludes his Sermon by saying that following him is NOT just about what we SAY about him: “Not everyone who says, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom.”
For Jesus, a true Christian is not just about confessing and professing to be Christian. In Christianity, confession is important, but mere confession is not enough. All of us who profess and identify ourselves as Christian should beware.
Jesus also says following him also NOT about what we DO for Jesus: “Many will say, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons, and do many mighty works in your name . . . but I will declare to them I never knew you…depart from me.”
Again, in our Christian lives, serving Christ and his cause in ministry is important, but again is not enough. In fact, ministry can sometimes be self-deluding. This is a serious warning to those of us who are active in ministry.
Following Christ Wisely
Following Jesus is also NOT about what we KNOW: It’s not enough to just “hear these words of mine,” Jesus says. In other words, Jesus says that it’s not enough to just be aware of his teachings. It’s not enough to be just informed about Jesus, the Bible, and the Christian faith. Theologians, Christian philosophers, Bible teachers, apologists beware!
Ultimately, following Christ and being a Christian IS about being WISE: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man.” The word for “wise” that Jesus uses is “phronimos,” which refers to the person who personifies and exemplifies “practical wisdom,” the one who is able to put into practice what he knows.
The way of practical wisdom goes beyond verbal CONFESSION (what we SAY), religious EXERTION (what we DO), and mental INFORMATION (what we KNOW). It is ultimately about wise ACTION (how we WALK).
That is the challenge and call of Christ and his kingdom.
“And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching” (v. 28).
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