Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom
Part XII: Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Summons Unto His Kingdom
D. Christ's Motivation Unto God's Righteousness In Calling People To Salvation By Grace Alone
(Matthew 7:24-29)
  1. Introduction
    1. Jesus illustrated the surpassing Biblically consistent righteousness of His kingdom subjects in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-7:12), but it is a righteousness available through the narrow way, taught by a narrow selection of true messengers with a narrow group of people being its recipients, Matthew 7:13-23.
    2. Accordingly, one must watch that He observe Christ's teachings to avoid human effort to acquire God's righteousness and be sure his salvation is built upon the only foundation available -- Jesus Christ, a truth powerfully illustrated in Matthew 7:24-29 especially viewed against the teaching of the Jews of His era.
  2. Christ's Motivation Unto God's Righteousness In Calling People To Salvation By Grace Alone.
    1. Alfred Edersheim, in his work, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (1972), i, p. 528, claimed that two stark contrasts between Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and the Jewish teachings of the day were (1) the New Testament humility versus the Jewish pride in the kingdom subjects, and (2) the Jewish effort to gain perfection by "external or internal" striving up to God's standards versus Jesus' teaching of "a new life, springing from God, and in God."
    2. Nowhere in the Sermon on the Mount is this contrast more evident than in Jesus' closing illustration in that famous sermon on the house that stood versus the house that fell in Matthew 7:24-29 (as follows):
      1. The Hebrew rabbis taught that "the man who has good works, and learns much in the Law, is likened to one, who in building his house lays stones first, and on them bricks, so that when the flood cometh the house is not destroyed; while he who has not good work, yet busies himself much with the Law, is like one who puts bricks below, and stones above which are swept away by the waters," Ibid., p. 540.
      2. In this illustration by the Hebrew rabbis, how one builds his house is the focus, with an emphasis on the primacy of good works over even knowing the law.
      3. Jesus offered an incredibly CONTRASTING illustration to show the importance of TRUSTING in HIM versus GOOD WORKS for SALVATION, Matthew 7:24-29:
        1. Nothing is said by Jesus in the construction of the house built that lasted or in the construction of the house built that was destroyed by the flood on how a man was to build his house, Matthew 7:24, 26.
        2. However, that upon which he built his house made all the difference, Matthew 7:24b-25, 26b-27: (1) The wise man built His house on the rock, so that when the rains, the floods and the winds came, it stood firm, Matt. 7:24b-25. (2) In contrast, the foolish man built his house on the sand, so that when the rains, the floods and the winds came, his house was greatly destroyed, Matt. 7:26b-27.
        3. Jesus was clearly teaching that salvation was not a matter of how a man functioned as to the works he did in his life, but that upon which his works were founded -- whether they were founded on the sand of self-help righteousness or upon the substitutionary righteousness of God, Matthew 5:20.
        4. Note how this point is reflected in Paul's writing at Ephesians 2:8-10: (1) the Apostle Paul taught that salvation was by grace through faith alone, not by works, lest any man should boast, Eph. 2:8-9. (2) However, once saved, he is to perform good works, Ephesians 2:10, and these are ordained of God that we should walk in them as believers who are now founded on Christ.
    3. Jesus' teaching in this sermon stunned His listeners (Matthew 7:28), for He did not teach like the scribes who relied on the traditions of other rabbis or past rabbinic teachers, teachers who taught salvation by man's works, but He taught as One Who had the authority of God in presenting salvation by God's grace apart from works held by teachers with the "credentials' as an official teacher" of the traditions of the Judaism of that day, Matthew 7:29; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Matthew 7:29.
Lesson: In striking contrast to the Hebrew teachers of His day, Jesus did NOT rely on rabbinic tradition to highlight human effort for attaining to God's righteousness in selfish pride, but in man's humble acquisition of God's salvation by grace through faith based on the authority of God Himself.

Application: May we be blessed by trusting in Christ to be saved versus tragically relying on our works.