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To build on the rock means to be a hearing, responding disciple, not a phony, superficial one. Practicing obedience becomes the solid foundation to weather the storms of life. The two lives Jesus compares at the end of the Sermon on the Mount have several points in common: they both build, they both hear Jesus’ teaching, and they both experience the same set of circumstances in life. The difference between them isn’t caused by ignorance but by one ignoring what Jesus said. Externally, their lives may look similar; but the lasting structural differences will be revealed by the storms of life. The immediate differences in your life when you follow Jesus may not be obvious, but eventually they will turn out to affect even your eternal destiny. To what degree does your life reflect the directions Jesus gave in this sermon?

Like a house of cards, the fools life crumbles. Most people do not deliberately seek to build on a false or inferior foundation; instead, they just don’t think about their life’s purpose. Many people are headed for destruction, not out of stubbornness but out of thoughtlessness. Part of our responsibilities as believers is to help others stop and think about where their lives are headed and to point out the consequences of ignoring Christ’s message.

Jesus didn’t need to quote anyone because he was the original word. The centurion (  Roman Military officer) could have let many obstacles stand between him and Jesus- pride, doubt, money, distance, time, self-sufficiency, power, race. But he didn’t. If he did not let these barriers block his approach to Jesus, we don’t need to either. What keeps you from Christ?

Roman soldiers, of all people were hated by the Jews for their oppression, control, and ridicule. Yet this man’s genuine faith amazed Jesus. This hated Gentile’s faith put to shame the stagnant piety of many of the Jewish religious leaders. Jesus told the crowd that many religious Jews who should be in the kingdom would be excluded because of their lack of faith. Entrenched in their religious traditions, they could not accept Christ and his new message. We must be careful not to become so set in our religious habits that we expect God to work only in specified ways. Each individual is to choose to accept or reject the gospel, and cannot become a part of God’s kingdom on the basis of heritage or connections. Having a Christian family is a wonderful blessing, but it won’t guarantee you eternal life. You must believe and follow Christ.

Following Jesus is not always easy or comfortable. Often it means great cost and sacrifice, with no earthly rewards or security. Jesus didn’t have a place to call home. You may find that following Christ costs you popularity, friendships, leisure time, or treasured habits. But while the cost of following Christ is high, the value of being Christ’s disciple is even higher. Discipleship is an investment that lasts for eternity and yields incredible rewards.

The decision to follow Jesus should not be put off, even though other loyalties compete for our attention. Nothing should be placed above a total commitment to living for him.

Jesus cannot be contained, controlled, or appeased. Human beings are created in God’s image and have eternal value and Jesus commands our time and devotion. Are you more concerned about property and programs than people? How foolish and yet how easy it is to value possessions, investments, and hobbies above human life? Would you rather have Jesus leave you than finish his work in you?

Coming to know Jesus and his ways will be the most important decision you make this side of Heaven.

Book of Matthew

 

 

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