Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes (Matthew 7: 21-29).
The Lord Jesus winds up the Sermon on the Mount by a passage of heart-piercing application. He turns from false prophets – to false professors; from unsound teachers – to unsound hearers. Here is a word for all. May we have grace to apply it to our own hearts!
Verses 21-23 – The first lesson here is the uselessness of a mere outward profession of Christianity. Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of Heaven. Not all who profess and call themselves Christians, shall be saved.
Let us take notice of this. It requires far more than most people seem to think necessary, to save a soul. We may be baptised in the name of Christ, and boast confidently of our ecclesiastical privileges. We may possess head-knowledge, and be quite satisfied with our own state before God. We may even be preachers, and teachers of others, and do “many wonderful works” in connection with our church. But all this time – are we practically doing the will of our Father in Heaven? Do we truly repent – truly believe on Christ – and live holy and humble lives? If not, in spite of all our privileges and profession – we shall miss Heaven at last, and be forever cast away! We shall hear those dreadful words, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
The day of judgment will reveal strange things. The hopes of many, who were thought great Christians while they lived – will be utterly confounded. The rottenness of their religion will be exposed, and put to shame before the whole world. It will then be proved, that to be saved means something more than making a profession. We must make a “practice” of our Christianity – as well as a “profession.” Let us often think of that great day. Let us often judge ourselves – that we be not judged, and condemned by the Lord. Whatever else we are, let us aim at being real, true, and sincere.
Verses 24-27 – The second lesson here, is a striking picture of two classes of professing Christian hearers. Those who hear and do nothing – and those who do as well as hear. Both classes are placed before us, and their histories traced to their respective ends.
The man who hears Christian teaching, and practices what he hears – is like “a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.” He does not content himself with listening to exhortations to repent, believe in Christ, and live a holy life. He actually repents. He actually believes. He actually ceases to do evil, learns to do well, abhors that which is sinful, and cleaves to that which is good. He is a doer as well as a hearer. (Jas. 1: 22).
And what is the result? In the time of trial, his religion does not fail him. The floods of sickness, sorrow, poverty, disappointments, bereavements beat upon him in vain. His soul stands unmoved. His faith does not give way. His spiritual comforts do not utterly forsake him. His religion may have cost him trouble in time past. His foundation may have been obtained with much labour and many tears. To discover his own saving interest in Christ may have required many a day of earnest seeking, and many an hour of wrestling in prayer. But his labor has not been thrown away. He now reaps a rich reward. The religion that can stand trial – is the true religion.
The man who hears Christian teaching, and never gets beyond hearing – is like “a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand.” He satisfies himself with listening and approving – but he goes no further. He flatters himself, perhaps, that all is right with his soul – because he has feelings, and convictions, and desires, of a spiritual kind. In these he rests. He never really breaks off from sin, and casts aside the spirit of the world. He never really lays hold of Christ. He never really takes up the cross. He is a hearer of truth – but nothing more.
And what is the end of this man’s religion? It breaks down entirely under the first flood of tribulation! It fails him completely, like a summer-dried fountain, when his need is the sorest. It leaves its possessor high and dry, like a wreck on a sand bank –a scandal to the church, a by-word to the infidel, and a misery to himself. Most true is it, that what costs little – is worth little! A religion which costs us nothing, and consist in nothing but hearing sermons – will always prove at last to be a useless thing.
Verses 28-29. So ends the Sermon on the Mount. Such a sermon never was preached before. Such a sermon has never been preached since. Let us see that it has a lasting influence on our own souls. It is addressed to us – as well as to those who first heard it. We are those who shall have to give account of its heart-searching lessons. It is no light matter what we think of them. The word that Jesus has spoken – “the same shall judge him in the last day” (Jn. 12: 48).
(Adapted from Gracegems website)