Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20040414.htm
APPLYING THE CHRISTIAN'S POSITIONAL RICHES IN CHRIST
Part XV: Applying The Truth That Believers Are On The Rock, Christ Jesus
(Matthew 7:24-27 et al.)
Lesson: When one trusts in Christ's GOSPEL of His substitutionary atonement on the cross to be saved, his salvation is founded on Christ so that his WORKS or LACK of them do not affect the fact that this believer is UNCONDITIONALLY ETERNALLY SECURE!
- Many in Christendom place a heavy emphasis on the importance of good works either to gain eternal life or to keep it: some teach we must believe in Christ plus do certain deeds to have the merit to enter heaven while others teach one is first justified by faith, but that he must maintain his faith or lose his salvation.
- However, such beliefs produce great undedifying insecurity: even though one may have believed in Christ for fifty years, such parties believe one may still miss heaven because enough good works were not done or because he failed to maintain his faith in Christ to the end! This insecurity can stifle one's enjoying God's peace as God desires we have according to Romans 5:1, cf. Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 455-456.
- One of the 33 positional truths every believer has the instant he trusts in Christ is the fact that he is placed on the Rock, Christ Jesus so that he is unconditionally ETERNALLY SECURE in that salvation status (cf. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. III, "Soteriology," p. 248-249):
- Applying The Truth That Believers Are On The Rock, Christ Jesus, Matthew 7:24-27 et al.
- The positional truth that the believer is placed "on the Rock, Christ Jesus" is taken from Jesus' Matthew 7:24-27 illustration of the house founded upon the rock versus the one built on the sand, Ibid., Chafer.
- That building construction illustration concludes Christ's important "Sermon on the Mount" in which He conveyed to His hearers that, contrary to what the Pharisees held, unless one's righteousness exceeded that self-help, good works righteousness upon which the Pharisees were depending for eternal salvation that they would in no way enter God's kingdom, Mtt. 5:20; in fact, Jesus expansively explained this very truth in Matthew 5:21-7:6; Ibid., Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament , p. 30-33, 34-35.
- Well, if we study Jesus' illustration of these contrasting house constructions in light of the illustration of the same subject taught in rabbinical writings in His day, His truth stands out in stark relief as follows:
- The parallel rabbinic illustrations placed an emphasis on man's works for obtaining God's blessing:
- One rabbinic teaching held a man whose wisdom eclipses his works is like a tree with many branches but few roots that can be uprooted by the wind; however, one whose works outdo his wisdom is like a tree whose branches are few but its roots many, enabling his tree to withstand great winds, Alfred Edersheim, The Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah , vol. i, p. 540.
- Another rabbinic teaching noted a man who did good works while learning from the Law was like one who built his house starting with stones at the base before placing bricks on them; when a flood came, his house was able to withstand the flood as the water could not dislodge or dissolve the stones. However, the man who failed to do good works while still learning much from the Law was like a man who laid a foundation of bricks first with stones upon the bricks; when the flood came, they dissolved the bricks below the stones, causing the house to fall, Ibid.
- A third writing likened the man who highlighted works to putting mortar between his bricks while the other had the mortar plastered only on the outside where his house was destroyed by rain, Ibid.
- However, in stark contrast to these rabbinic illustrations, JESUS noted that what mattered was not HOW one built his house, but the FOUNDATION he chose: if one heeded Jesus' words, he would build his house on Himself, the Rock, and neither flood nor rain nor even strong winds that beat upon it would destroy it, Matthew 7:24-25; yet, if a persons did not heed Jesus' words, no matter what he built, it would be destroyed by flood, rain and wind since it was founded on sand, 7:26-27. In other words, it was not man's works that decided his salvation, but whether he was founded on Christ's WORDS: one needed to be justified by God's grace as opposed to any Pharisaic, self-justification by man's merit or works, cf. Matthew 19:25-26 with Romans 3:20-28!
Application: (1) Let us first trust in Christ to be saved from sin! (2) Then, may we NOT depend on our WORKS for the SECURITY that salvation, but trust in our Savior and His work ALONE for that!