Jesus’ Stern Warnings – By Ben Fronczek
Since the beginning of the year I have been sharing lessons from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. It is my favorite sermons in all the Bible because it is full wisdom as spoken by God the Son.
I would like to give a brief review of what we looked at in this sermon so far before I conclude this series of lessons today.
First of all in Matthew 5:1-12 …
●He began with the beatitudes, or attitudes we should adopt a disciples.
- Blessed those who are humble, or poor in spirit.
- Blessed are those who grieve or mourn especially over sinful behavior.
- Blessed are those who are gentle, or meek.
- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after God’s righteousness.
- Blessed are those who are merciful, pure, and those who are peacemakers.
- Even blessed are those who are persecuted for doing right, or standing up for Jesus.
●He tells us that such individuals are the salt of the earth, and they can have an effect on those around them. They are also the light of the world, and can open eyes and show others the way. (5:13-16)
●In Verse 5:20, He told those people and I believe us as well, that unless their righteousness surpasses that of the show off, hypocritical Pharisees and teachers of the Law they would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
●In 5:21-26, He said that we should not let our anger get out of control and that we are to be careful not to insult others. And in vs. 25, He said that we should make things right with those we offend us or have trouble with.
●In vss 27-30, He said not to do anything that may cause you to be thrown into hell; even if it means cutting off your hand or plucking out your eyes. No temptation is worth losing your life over and ending up in hell.
●In 33-37, He said to keep our oaths and promises that we make.
●And then in verses 38-43, He said that we should to be the kind of people that go the 2nd mile, even if means helping our enemy, which includes praying for them.
●In chapter 6, Jesus goes on to say that we should be generous and give unto others but not to be like the show off and hypocrites in doing so. (1-4)
●In verses 5, and followings, Jesus also said that we should pray, and as we do so we should not pray like those show offs and hypocrites as well.
●Starting in verse 16, He also said that we should fast, but likewise not in a way that draws attention to our self.
●Starting in verse 19, He tells them not to be greedy and only store up treasure on earth where moths and rust destroy and thieves steal, but rather store up treasure that will last. Store up treasure in Heaven.
●In verses 25, to the end of chapter 6 Jesus tells us to stop worrying so much about stuff and what we think we need. But rather, we should seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness and God Himself will take care of the needs that we have.
●Then finally in Chapter 7:1-6, Jesus begins by telling us to be careful how we Judge others. We should also be careful and wise not to give away that which is precious to those who could care less about those things.
●In verse 7-11, He tells us to talk to God, and to ask, seek, and knock if you need something. He lets us know that God is even more caring and able to meet those needs than our earthly fathers.
●And then in the last lesson, in 7:12, Jesus lets us know that since God is so willing to bless us, that we also should do unto others what we would want them to do unto us; (which is otherwise known as the Golden Rule) in doing so we fulfill the law and the prophets.
Now that was a quick summary of the instructions that Jesus gave in the Sermon on the Mount. But then Jesus concludes with some warnings which we will briefly look at today.
Now look at how Jesus concludes His sermon here:
#1. He warns those who hear and read His words, that it is important to get on the right path.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. “
Here Jesus lets us know that there are ultimately two paths one can take; a wide well traveled one, which the majority takes and leads to destruction, and the narrow path, which few take and leads to life. He is warning us to make sure we are on the right path.
#2. Jesus lets us know why so many are on the wrong path which leads to destruction. He warns us that we should be careful who we listen to and follow.
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
Now today we don’t have many people going around claiming to be prophets, but there are those who would like to convince you to do this or that, or even accept that which is evil as something acceptable and ok. (eg. Oh it’s ok to abort or kill unborn babies, it’s ok to sleep around. Or it’s ok to tell little white lies, smoke pot, or a hundred and one other things people seem to indicate that are now acceptable)
If God Himself indicates something is wrong and sinful then it is wrong no matter what anyone says. Jesus lets us know how we will recognize these false prophets who will try to trip us up. He said that you will recognize them by the fruit they bear. So if you have someone who is trying to counsel you to do this or that and his life is a mess and you know what he is saying is contrary to God’s word, watch out and be careful.
#3.And then we have an eye opening statement that Jesus makes concerning who will be in Heaven…
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
First of all notice what He said, “Not everyone.”
Now there are those who seriously believe that all, everyone is going to make it into heaven. The term that describes this philosophy is called Universalism. Those who accept this philosophy believe that all will eventually be reconciled to God, without exception. They believe that the penalty for sin is not everlasting, and they reject the teachings concerning everlasting damnation to hell, and, that all souls will ultimately be conformed to the image of divine perfection in Christ. This is taught by many of the Unitarian churches as well as some other groups.
But is that what Jesus said here? He said,
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
First of all he said, “Not everyone” and then He says “but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
This is exactly what Jesus warned them about in His last statement when He said not to listen to false prophets or those who teach contrary to what God, Jesus, or the Bible teaches. You will be led down the wrong path. That’s why it is so very important to read, study and actually know for yourself what God said, in His word, and what He wants and expects from us.
‘Only the ones who do the will of my father will enter the kingdom of heaven.’
It is reported that there are about 38,000 different Christian denominations world wide (http://christianity.about.com/od/denominations/p/christiantoday.htm).
I am sure many of them teach the same things, but why so many factions? I believe it’s because there aren’t enough people in the pews who really know what God wants and expects. They haven’t for whatever reason read and studied God’s word for themselves enough to determine whether they are being duped by a divisive preacher, false prophet, or error plagued church leadership.
Do you remember the Bereans in Acts 17? In verses 11 & 12 it says,
“11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.”
The Bereans didn’t trust anything but God’s word. They did not trust another man’s word nor human traditions. Likewise, we should be of the same character. We need to read God’s word for our self and then do what it says. That’s what Jesus is telling us to do here. And so when people come to us and ask, why do you do such and such at your church, we can give them the answer, “We do what we do because we can read it right here in the God’s word, the Bible.”
#4. Jesus closes His sermon by telling the people that they not only needed to listen to what He was saying, but to do what it said.
By doing so they could prevent themselves from getting swept away in a flood of misinformation.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”
What about you? How well do you know God’s word?
The Bible is a book that can fill your life with great blessings. We live in a time of great learning, yet how many of us really know and understand what God almighty want and expects of us? Isn’t our eternal soul worth the investment of time and effort to learn for ourself what God wants?
Don’t let anyone lead you down that wide road and through that big wide gate that Jesus talked about in this lesson. Don’t live a life of ignorance. Don’t let someone convince you that you can’t understand the Bible, they are wrong. It has been perserved so that we read for ourself and know what his will is.
I challenge you, if you have not read the Bible, especially the New Testament to read it carefully and learn how God wants to bless you.
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566