Deadly seriousness

Freshwater Staff   -  

John Stott perfectly sums up our series on the Sermon on the Mount with the following words:

“We must respond to (Jesus’) Sermon on the Mount with deadly seriousness. For here is his picture of God’s alternative society. These are the standards, the values and the priorities of the kingdom of God. Too often the church has turned away from this challenge and sunk into a bourgeois, conformist respectability. At such times it is almost indistinguishable from the world, it has lost its saltiness, its light is extinguished and it repels all idealists. For it gives no evidence that it is God’s new society which is tasting already the joys and powers of the age to come. Only when the Christian community lives by Christ’s manifesto will the world be attracted and God be glorified. So when Jesus calls us to himself, it is to this that he calls us. For he is the Lord of the counterculture.”

In the final message of our series, Josh Raines looked at Matthew 7:13-29, where once again Jesus calls us to renounce the prevailing secular culture in favor of the counterculture Stott references in his quote.

Jesus provides us with a choice: the broad gate or the narrow gate. As Josh explained, we can carry whatever we want through the broad gate. Traveling that road requires no attention on our part and only leads to destruction. Walking through the narrow gate, on the other hand, requires us to be intentional about how we travel, to be very focused. To be apprenticed to Jesus, we must put down most of what we tend to carry in this world, to “travel light” with only the easy yoke and light burden of our master and teacher.

And then, Jesus begins verse 24 with the word “Therefore.” The previous 105 verses of the Sermon on the Mount all funnel into this one moment, where Jesus is very clear that those of us who “hear” His words will fall into one of two groups: those who “put them into practice” and those who “don’t….”

As you reflect on the teachings of the past eight weeks, which group do you fall into? What do you do with Jesus’ words in these passages?

Because Jesus doesn’t mince words: Those who have lives rooted in Jesus, whose hearts are centered on our King – those who hear and do – they will stand the test of time and will be safe when we encounter storms, rising water and driving winds.

So why should we believe Him?

Because, as it says in Matthew 7:28-29, Jesus is the voice of authority and the fulfillment of Scripture. We can trust Jesus because of his death and resurrection that substantiated his claims of authority and Lordship and make Him the only one worthy of centering our lives around.

We can trust Him because we know how the story ends.

And so, as Stott says, may we all respond to Jesus’ words “with deadly seriousness.”

(If you missed our Sermon on the Mount series, you can find all the sermon videos here. You can also read our weekly sermon notes here.)

Watch the Message