Thursday June 4, 2020
If we act upon our calling to holiness, then our life will be like a house built upon the rock - a holiness in a heart unshakeable. Only God can build it. We must commit and obey.
"And why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47 "Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood rose, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 "But the one who has heard, and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house upon the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great."
Now that all has been heard, who has heard it properly? Jesus doesn’t let us walk away without answering that question - the one who acts upon it. Jesus does not allow the hearers to go away and make of it what they will, picking and choosing what they find helpful, testing it first to see if it works. He does not give them free reign of interpretation in order to misuse it. They must act upon what was said and only on what was said. None was left out. Nothing needs to be added and nothing should be taken away.
No one has even been honored for talking about doing something good and not doing it. That is a hypocrite; an actor. Christ is not looking for actors.
A thousand commentators may interpret the Sermon on the Mount in a thousand different ways, but the disciple only interprets it one way, and that is obedience in doing it. We do not stand on opinion. We stand upon Christ, and when the storms come against the one who stands upon Christ, he will not be shaken. The one who stands upon opinions stands upon himself, and storms will collapse him.
There are some truths, the Trinity, the hypostatic union, the sovereignty of God and the free-will of man, the fall of Satan, and others that are too large to be fully framed by words. It is to these that we instinctively form opinions. No sound Christian would say that it was his opinion that Jesus was both God and Man in one Person forever - it is a fact in his mind. However, he will find himself forming opinions about how a finite nature and an infinite nature can harmoniously exist as one Person. But if we are wise we will understand that our opinions are not truth, but they form around a truth that we always adhere to but haven’t yet fully comprehended, nor might we in this life. We adhere to the truth of the hypostatic union and Trinity, while knowing that any opinion we may feel, is moveable, changeable, and not foundational, and therefore, not a point to pressed upon others becoming a source of division.
One man wrote: “Generally, in any talk worth calling conversation, every man has some point to maintain, and his object is to justify his own thesis and disprove his neighbor’s. I will allow that he may primarily have adopted his thesis because of some sign of truth in it, but his mode of supporting it is generally such as to block up every cranny in his soul at which more truth may enter.”
I read an adage today:
“When the plain sense of the Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.”
Meaning, whenever possible, we should embrace the literal meaning of the scripture and not imagine alternative meanings. Even the true man, who aims at the perpetuation of his opinion, is obstructing rather than aiding the course of that truth for the love of which he holds his opinion in the first place.
The Sermon on the Mount was a kind of storm in itself in which the hearers, not in expectation of any such thing, were swept away, pushed and pulled by His words and authority. He was finished and they were left breathless. His storm had ceased and the listeners were left wondering what had happened to them. They stood there astonished. They came out that morning for healing and teaching and they were given the words of heaven. Crashing into their finite human ears were the truths of the heart and way of the Messiah, the Son of God, the bread that had come down from heaven, who was calling all of them and all of us to be with Him as He is to the Father, and to follow Him in being as He is - not a facsimile of Him, but His very mind and way.
To act upon all of these words is to face the opposition against God’s truth and gospel put up by Satan and his world system.
This is why Christ began it with effects that will come upon those who heed the end of it.
And turning His gaze on His disciples, He began to say, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 "Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and cast insults at you, and spurn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23 "Be glad in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.
It again reveals the point we have looked at before:
Joy and peace demand suffering in this world. To not fully submit to whatever suffering comes, putting it in the hands of God, is to lose joy and peace.
We live in a world that is full of forces and opinions and ideologies that are against God’s truth. The world has always been this way. Not one kingdom on earth has ever been built on righteousness. The one kingdom that was built upon the calling of God and His Law, failed miserably. The leadership of Israel were far more often than not absorbed with idol worship. From God’s condemnation of the people through the prophets, and before them the judges, we would conclude that the majority of the population had rejected God who had been revealed to them. Yet, in Israel, as the prophetical writings show us, there was always a remnant in Israel who believed and worshipped the Lord, and it is also indicated that there were such minorities of believers in every nation.
Theologians, present and ancient, have struggled with this reality, since God is sovereign over the world. They asked, could God have let sin get so out of hand, and in so many people when nothing happens outside of His will?
Theodicy: God’s justice or the justification of God’s providential rule.
This is termed theodicy (from theo: God and dike: justice) which is the justification of God’s providential rule. If He is all-powerful, He can stop evil. If He is all-good, He must stop evil. Yet, we see sin and evil all throughout the history of man.
We cannot know all the answers to a truly biblical theodicy. There is mystery here. All who have ventured to determine the mystery have only brought division and harm to the church. We see that God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, who suffered beyond our imagination and died for the sins of the world.
“The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.”
It is significant that Moses penned the words to this song after he was told that he would not be allowed to cross the Jordan to enter the Promised Land.
God states the angelic rebellion and fall as well as the human fall as a matter of fact without the explanation that would satisfy our intrigue. This led influential theologians to conclude that God authored sin, offering various explanations for why that might be in keeping with revelation, but it doesn’t keep with revelation, and demands human reasoning which can know nothing of the matter, and which have always done great harm. The world has always been engulfed in evil, sometimes hidden and lurking, and at other times finding full and public expression, and at all times, opposing the truth.
This is why God’s joy and peace demand suffering. Christians live in the world kingdom that opposes the life they have been blessed with, and we each have the flesh within that actually wants joy and peace, but in another way other than fidelity to the Lord, and will fight against the way of Christ.
"Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood rose, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
“dug deep and laid a foundation” - eskapsen (dug) kai (and) ebathunen (deepened) kai (and) etheken (laid) themelion.
The emphasis on the depth comes out more when we see the three verbs and the two conjunctions (and, and).
This digging deep and laying a foundation is something like God’s distinction of the heart being the core of us or depth of us.
The flood and the torrent represent the tribulations and difficulties of life. They represent the temptations of the flesh and the world and the devil. They bash against every Christian consistently and relentlessly. Only those to resist them and fight them know just how powerful and relentless they are. We are often tempted to stand down, but we must never, not one day, and if we find one day that we are starting to weaken, we must acknowledge it as our own failure, immediately change our course, and stand firm again by faith upon the Rock.
It is imperative that we are anchored to the Rock in all things, especially when it is difficult, if we are to experience Christ’s joy and peace in life.
Jesus told us that we would abide in His joy when we obeyed and loved and laid down our lives. Abide means to remain and not leave.
"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. 11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. 12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
He tells us to keep His commandments just like He kept His Father’s commandments. That is to always be our goal.
It is not God’s desire to experience His joy rarely. Abide means to remain and not leave. That being our goal, it is God’s desire that we experience His joy as a rule of life rather than a fluke happening.
He told us that we would have His peace when we stood our ground in the midst of the tribulation of the world.
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
Human bliss is only found in yielding ourselves as true sons to the absolute Father. Joy is only in obedience.
1Co.3:15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;
1Co.3:16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
1CO 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
1Co.3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
1CO 4:6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
1Co.4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;