Read Matthew 7 -- 9
Jesus warned His followers to: Beware of false prophets . . . in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15). Teaching is false when it offers eternal life without discipleship. Teaching is also false when it says that good works will qualify a person for Heaven.
To clarify the difference between the true prophet and the false prophet and their followers, our Lord said: Not every one that says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your Name? and in Your Name have cast out devils? and in Your Name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity (7:21-23). The evidence of being a true Christian is not doing good and great things, but desiring to be obedient to the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Our Lord proclaimed a parable: Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on the Rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; but it did not fall: for it was founded on the Rock. And every one who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, shall be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell: and great was its fall (7:24-27).
The Rock is not repentance, baptism, or church membership, as important as these things are. The Rock is our Redeemer Jesus Christ, who is the Word (John 1:1).
The house built upon the Rock illustrates how true Christian discipleship comes through obedience to His Word. The emphasis is twofold: first, hearing these sayings of Mine, and then doing these sayings of Mine. The wise and the foolish are both giving much thought and labor to their activities -- one to laying up treasures in Heaven, but the other to achieving human goals that will soon be worthless (I Corinthians 3:11-15).
When our desire is to please Christ, His Word will be the supreme rule of life. It will lead us to avoid the snares of self-will, pride, and the many deceptions of Satan. Through His Word alone, guided by the Holy Spirit in answer to our prayers, we are enabled to discern true holiness and live as those who are accountable to our Creator-God.
It is impossible to relive the wasted years, but it is possible to turn from the sinking sand to build upon the Eternal Rock. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie (Revelation 22:14-15).
Word Studies: 7:2 mete means to measure; 7:5 mote means insignificant speck; 7:6 rend means to tear or pull apart; 8:31 suffer means permit, allow; 9:9 receipt of custom means tax collector's office; 9:10 at meat means at a meal; 9:36 fainted means weary, distressed.
For Matthew 7:23: See Psa. 6:8. Matt. 8:4: See Lev. 13:49; 14:2. Matt. 8:17: See Isa. 53:4. Matt. 9:13: See Hos. 6:6.
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Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 3:17