The midweek sermon focus is posted each Wednesday as a means of drawing our attention to our God by reflecting back on the previous sermon and looking ahead to the upcoming passage of Scripture.
In the sermon last Sunday, we looked at the final verses of Matthew Chapter 7, which describe the response of the crowd to the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus had just concluded. We read that the crowds were astonished because Jesus was teaching as one with authority. For sermon audio only click here
Throughout his ministry, those listening to Jesus would respond in various ways, from astonished to angry to worshipful. These responses have to do both with who Jesus is and with what Jesus was saying. Think for a moment, Jesus has just explained to the crowd things like:
- Blessed are those who are disturbed and convicted by the fact that they have sinned against God…that very God will graciously comfort and care for you as you come to him!
- Blessed are those who experience all kinds of struggles and friction for their faith, because their reward is with God. The trials of faith in this world point us to the outcome of our faith, eternal lives of worshiping our God!
- Your righteousness needs to exceed the Pharisees – which pulled the rug out of the entire religious structure that the religious leaders had built. Instead of personal righteousness, which fails to bring us to God, we trust in the perfect righteousness of Christ, which has reconciled sinners to God forever!
- You can give, and pray, and fast, and not worry about trying to earn points with God or with other people. As we live out our faith, we can trust that God sees us, he loves us, he knows our needs, and he cares deeply for us. We don’t have to live in the bondage of doing things just so other people will see us and think highly of us…that is a never ending cycle of frustration.
- You can lean on God who is perfectly reliable in his care of us, and we can pray to him at all times for the faith to trust his provisions. This frees us from the anxiety that comes when we are leaning too much on this constantly changing world that is fading.
We could go on and on! Consider deeply the beautiful, divine truths that Jesus has laid out in the Sermon on the Mount, with divine authority! The crowds were astonished! The Pharisees…probably not too pleased! For believers, our response can be worship! What grace, to extend such promises to sinners like us! What love we can show to others because of the love of God poured out for us!
And, as we heard in the sermon, Jesus has both the ability and the right to make these kinds of statements. He proved his authority over nature (storms were calmed), over the body (people were healed), over demons (they were cast out), and over death itself (the “grave couldn’t hold him!”).
All of this means that we CAN trust the beautiful, divine truths and promises of Jesus, as well as the Bible as a whole! May God soften our hearts and renew our minds to embrace his word of love and truth given to us. May God lavish his wisdom upon his people, that we would see and understand that we can trust him completely, both with our souls and with our lives. His authority is both good and supreme…to perfection!
And yet, in our hardened hearts and darkened minds, it is easy to think that we – individually – ought to be our own ultimate authority…which leads to all kinds of issues! This coming Sunday, we will look at 2 Timothy 3:1-4 as we consider the idea that “Self” has become the greatest authority in modern times.
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” 2 Timothy 3:1-4
Pray that God would soften our hearts and illuminate our minds to receive his Word of truth and love.