Sermon on the Plain, part 13

For any preacher, the conclusion of the sermon is very important. You can wax eloquently and hammer the podium and really preach your heart out, but the conclusion is where you tie the whole thing together, wrapping it up and giving it to the audience in a nice, neat little bundle. I believe Jesus knew this; you must finish well when you preach. At the end of the sermon of the plain (and the Sermon on the Mount) Jesus wrapped his sermon up so well that his audience had to respond, either positively or negatively; either the crowd acknwoledged his lordship and gave their life over to him, or they continued in disbelief, refusing to bow the knee to the Lord.

Foundation

The Christian faith is based squarely on the Lordship of Jesus. Therefore, it is a dispicable thing for a disciple to proclaim that Jesus is Lord and yet to live their life in such a way that denies that very truth. Jesus clearly denounces this kind of lifestyle in Luke 6.46-47. This kind of man who does not put the words of Jesus into practice is a hypocrite and a liar; Jesus is very clearly not the “Lord” of his life because if he was this man would do what Jesus says.

Certainly, “what I say” catches everything Jesus ever said and did and certainly that interpretation of this passage is appropriate. As Christians, we must people who live the kind of life Jesus explicated while on earth. Summed up in a word, a Christian is obedient. We obey our Lord. Contextually, what Jesus said is what he has detailed in this sermon. He explained a proactive love, a non-judgmental disciple, a blessed life, etc. Thus, Jesus is summing up this sermon: this is how a disciple a disciple is to live. Based upon his Lordship, we live this way.

Foundations

Now, Jesus details the wisdom of the disciple who does what Jesus says. He has a good foundation. However, it must be noted that this kind of building takes time and effort. It is going to cost you something to build a well-gorunded faith; will you pay the toll? Jesus tells us that the time and effort put into a well-grounded building is well worth the effort. When the storms of life come upon this well-grounded man/woman, he has nothing to fear for he/she has an anchor which keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll.

Otherwise, without a good foundation, your destruction is imminent. You have not paid up and prepared for this great test and therefore, the work of your labor is evident. My wrestling coach used to smash the phrase “practice makes perfect.” He said that was wrong, but instead it is “perfect practice that makes perfect.” How very true! We can practice the words of Jesus very poorly and though we are “practicing” the words of Jesus, we are only building on weak foundations. Instead, we should make perfection our goal and really work at practicing perfection in our life, striving to be like Jesus in all we say and do. If we do not, Jesus clearly says that we will buckle under the pressure.

Summary

It has taken some time, but we have successfully concluded this marvelous passage of Scripture called the Sermon on the Plain. Jesus, the master teacher, has certainly taught us some very poignant lessons concerning discipleship. He has taught us not to look to the world for blessing, for the world only holds woe; instead we fix our eyes on what we do not see for true blessing in this life. He has once more shown us what love is. Perfect love, that is love like the Father, is proactive, jumping the gun on doing good to all men. This love spills over into life; we do not pass judgment on others, writing them off and consigning them to hell. Rather, we are merciful, demonstrating a quality our Father has for us. By doing these things, we bear the marks of a disciple, which Jesus called fruit. Over all this is the call of Jesus to meet him at a higher level, higher ground. We are not simply sitting with our hands folded, but we are disciples who act on the words of Jesus, establishing our faith in the solid rock of God’s truth as revealed to us by his Son.

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