THE CHALLENGE OF OBEDIENCE

Mathew 21:28 – But what do you think?

Mathew 21:28-32 records the parable of the two sons. Jesus asked the chief priests the question, “What do you think?” after they had tried to trap Him with their question about the authority of John’s baptism, whether it was from heaven or from man (see Matthew 21:23-27).

Jesus uses the parable to reveal the heart of these religious leaders. The first son was asked by his father to go work in the vineyard, but he answered “I will not.” Eventually he did go. The father came to the second son and instructed him to go work in the vineyard, and he answered, “I will sir.” This son did not go. Jesus then asked, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They answered “the first.”

Jesus responds to their answer with an amazing response. “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.” They gave the correct answer, but their lives demonstrated the attitude of the second son’s rebellion.

Jesus then answers their first question about the authority of John’s baptism. “For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him” (Matthew 21:32).

Belief is always the issue and belief is demonstrated in action. Some believe that James and Paul had two different views about faith. I believe they were dealing with two different issues. James was combating a superficial faith that had no wholesome effect in the life of the professed believer. Paul, on the other hand, was combating legalism—the belief that one may earn saving merit before God by his good deeds.

Father, I trust You for a belief system that evidences wholesome faith. Faith that is evidenced by my obedience to Your word as I allow the Holy Spirit to lead me.

MAKE SURE YOUR FOUNDATION IS SOLID

Matthew 7:24 – Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Jehovah God gave to Israel through Moses and the prophets, the material to build a sound foundation. Solid, because the words that formed the Law and the words the Prophets spoke perfectly of Christ who was created in the image of God and of man. Jesus is that man and He is the foundation of the new creation. The Holy Spirit is God’s instrument in the earth to bring forth God’s will through His new creation man born of God’s Spirit. First Christ, then all those who believe on Him.

A solid foundation begins by “hearing” the words of Jesus. Hearing is not simply hearing with one’s ears, but applying what has been heard. The key is in “acting” on Christ’s words. Jesus is the foundation, but the believer does the building with the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says the one who acts on His words is “wise.” We begin with a solid foundation then build wisely through obedience to the words of our Lord.

The Scriptures, in many places, guarantee that what we are building will be tested. The testing will be by rain, floods, and winds that will slam against our building. Each of these natural conditions is representative of events that bring destruction. Jesus uses these as examples for spiritual conditions that will arise against the building. If the building was not built wisely, it will not stand.

The truth which Jesus is teaching applies not only to individuals, but to nations as well. It is important that we examine our hearts and examine what we have built in our lives. Is it built upon the Lord Jesus Christ and His words? Are we dependent on the Holy Spirit to empower us in the building process? When we read the Scriptures it is important to ask the question, “How am I applying this truth in my life?”

Father, I ask for understanding concerning the building of my life in Christ. I ask for the Holy Spirit to show me any part that is not up to Your divine code. I pray that I might be a wise builder that brings glory to You as the tests come and as others observe what has been built.

THE CHALLENGE OF OBEDIENCE

Mathew 21:28 – But what do you think?

Mathew 21:28-32 records the parable of the two sons. Jesus asked the chief priests the question, “What do you think?” after they had tried to trap Him with their question about the authority of John’s baptism, whether it was from heaven or from man (see Matthew 21:23-27).

Jesus uses the parable to reveal the heart of these religious leaders. The first son was asked by his father to go work in the vineyard, but he answered “I will not.” Eventually he did go. The father came to the second son and instructed him to go work in the vineyard, and he answered, “I will sir.” This son did not go. Jesus then asked, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They answered “the first.”

Jesus responds to their answer with an amazing response. “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.” They gave the correct answer, but their lives demonstrated the attitude of the second son’s rebellion.

Jesus then answers their first question about the authority of John’s baptism. “For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him” (Matthew 21:32).

Belief is always the issue and belief is demonstrated in action. Some believe that James and Paul had two different views about faith. I believe they were dealing with two different issues. James was combating a superficial faith that had no wholesome effect in the life of the professed believer. Paul, on the other hand, was combating legalism—the belief that one may earn saving merit before God by his good deeds.

Father, I trust You for a belief system that evidences wholesome faith. Faith that is evidenced by my obedience to Your word as I allow the Holy Spirit to lead me.

WHAT FOUNDATION HAVE YOU BUILT UPON?

Matthew 7:24 – Everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.

True grace is an absolute revelation of the total work of Christ through the cross. By faith, I receive His work on my behalf. By allowing the Holy Spirit to manifest Christ’s life through me it reveals that I am a wise person. The Holy Spirit only builds upon the words of Jesus. In His messages, Jesus warns us against the flesh and the devil. Both the flesh and the devil want to hinder the life of the true conqueror, Jesus, from being manifested through believers. Believers are members of His body, joined together and representing Jesus’ will in offering to an unregenerate world, “reconciliation” through the death/resurrection process accomplished by the Holy Spirit.

What wonderful grace we have been given. My efforts are worthless; my rest is in His finished work. Yet, my awesome responsibility is to allow the Holy Spirit complete control of my spirit, soul, and body for the glory of God. A responsibility is to share with others this marvelous grace with the hope that they too will receive the love of the Father, and be transformed by His power becoming part of filling the earth and heaven with the “one new man,” even Christ. One day we will see the King, but the question today should be; is the King being seen in me?

In our passage for today, Jesus is addressing the Jewish covenant people. Their lives had been shaky for centuries as they built contrary to Moses instructions. Now Jesus had appeared to give them a new foundation “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). He came to fulfill the law and thus provide a better foundation than that of Moses. Jesus came to build His house, built upon His words. The building process is both hearing His words and acting on His words. This cannot be done in our own efforts, but only through the power of the Holy Spirit which the Lord sent after the cross and His resurrection.

Father, I ask You to help me evaluate how I am building. I pray for You to work in my heart to only build on the foundation Christ has given: His words and acting on those words daily.

GOD SETS APART THE GODLY

Psalm 4:3 – Know the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself

The Palmist asked three questions in verse 2: “O sons of men, how long will My honor become a reproach? How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?” These are questions that could be asked of people today. Those who represent the God of righteousness are seen as a reproach by a secular culture that has rejected the principles of right for worthless and deceptive norms.

We live in a time of “virtual reality shows,” that in truth, are unreality at its highest. Culture is filled with a love for fantasy and a disdain for truth. The greater issue is how individuals lie to themselves. It is difficult to face the truth, but only truth can bring freedom and destroy deceptive thinking. True repentance comes when one faces the truth or reality of where their life is really at.

The great lie is that we don’t need God. In the garden, it was the lie the serpent used to deceive Eve. It remains an effective lie for multitudes. The goal of Secular Humanism has been to totally remove God from culture. The “I’m okay, you’re okay” is not okay philosophy. Secularism is rooted in a lie. The American society has become a bigger loser because she has believed the lies of the secularists. Of course, this manifests in the lives of millions of individuals.

It is difficult to face reality at times. It is hard to hear truth when spoken about areas of one’s own life that are bound by a lie. Paul, when trying to help the Galatians asked them this question; “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?”(Galatians 4:16). Later, Paul spoke this word to the Galatians, “Be not deceived. God is not mocked; for whatever man sows, that he shall also reap” (Galatians 6:7). As a good friend of mine once said, “Pay day can be delayed, but not forever denied.”

At present, nations, churches, and families face a crisis of not requiring much accountability. Bailouts, subsidies, and entitlements are a way of life. The truth is this, it cannot be sustained. Reality will set in and great loss will follow.

The Lord has set apart the godly for Himself. There is a cry going out from the godly. It is a cry for repentance, the changing of the mind, a cry for reality, the turning from fantasy. It begins with each individual taking stock of their affairs. To be set apart by the Lord requires a yielding to the Spirit of God. It is the Holy Spirit alone that produces righteousness. Ask for His power to think clearly, face reality, and be established in godliness.

Father, I ask to be empowered, to throw away what is worthless and embrace what You deem valuable. Use me to help others to be set apart for Your glory by dealing and facing reality.

FROM DEATH INTO LIFE

John 5:24 – Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

We learned yesterday that all judgment has been given to the Son. John 5:24 is an example of that judgment which Jesus possesses. Jesus emphatically decrees the one who hears His word and believes what they heard has eternal life. He decrees that they do not come into judgment, but pass out of death into life. What an interesting way Jesus has of saying they are saved from eternal damnation.

Jesus creates the law of grace and judges the one who hears His word; the one who believes the Father sent Jesus “has eternal life.” Eternal life in Christ is a state of being. I was lost, but now I am found. Daily I thank the Lord, “I have eternal life,” not going to have it, but indeed I now have it because Jesus has judged it to be so.

The believer “has passed out of death into life.” Our daily walk is to be founded in hearing and believing God. Daily, the believer grows in their relationship with their Lord by drawing from the eternal life in them. It is learning the process of discipleship. The believer learns how to walk in their salvation by not choosing death, but life in the everyday situations they encounter.

Conversion is the process of rejecting the old ways of thinking and responding through the life supplied by the Holy Spirit. The old ways came from our experiences while we lived in the death state, lost in our sins. Because we have passed out of that state of death, we are now to draw from His life in us by the Holy Spirit. Think life and not death. Draw from the eternal life that is in you, not the old life and habits from which you have passed.

Father, I have heard the word of Jesus. And I believe you sent Him for me. I receive the eternal life that the Son has given to me. Holy Spirit, I ask to be quickened day by day in the life of the Father and the Son through Your abiding presence.