In every place and time there are contending religious systems that stand against a true relationship with Yahweh. In the days of the Sermon on the Mount, the prevailing spiritual consensus among serious Jews was found in the teaching of the scribes and the Pharisees. They had a list of right views and practices for their disciples to follow. Jesus also cared deeply about doctrine and ethics, yet when He taught the people, they knew that they had heard a very different message than what others were saying.
Who was right? Jesus insisted that you could tell the real followers of the Almighty “by their fruits.” Those who were full of hypocrisy and judgment could not possibly have a vital connection with the great I-AM as the foundation of their lives. Nonetheless, such false teachers might be so convinced of their own excellence that trying to introduce them to the better way of life was useless. They were blind concerning the Lord while remaining fully convinced of their own perfect eyesight.
The genuine gifts of heaven would not come through the instruction of such misguided men. Instead, real worshipers needed to appeal to the Father above. As Jesus had said, “Ask, and it will be given to you.” How could people know that they had received life from above? Our Lord gave them a simple commandment as a test of what was inside their hearts. “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” A good yield would proceed from a new soul.
Many of the most eminent religious superstars of the first century carefully followed the teaching of the best scribes, but Jesus would one day say to them, “I never knew you.” Those who heard His words about the kingdom of a heavenly Father would be very different from the rest. Their eternal “house” would be built “on the Rock” of Jesus.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Sovereign Lord, we feel the weight of our own sin, and we mourn. Teach us how to live as forgiven sinners in a world full of transgression. We truly repent and come now to You for help. We ask for You. We seek You. We knock at Your door. Fill us with Your Spirit. You are our Father, and we know that You will give us good gifts when we approach You through Your Son. Grant us perseverance in the way that leads to life. Bless us with true and lasting fruitfulness. Above all, we beseech You that we would be known by You on the Day of Judgment that is coming upon the earth. We stand in union with our Redeemer upon the rock of His Word. In Him we not only hear Your voice, we also do what you command. Have mercy on us in our foolish doubts and wanderings.