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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted on Monday, September 09, 2019

09Sep

THE GIST OF THE CHURCH SCHOOL LESSON

Spiritual Discernment

Read: Matthew 7.1-29

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.

Matthew 7.24-25 (NRSV)

This lesson concludes our look at Matthew Chapters 5—7, the Sermon on the Mount. These three chapters have a variety of sayings and teachings. Jesus ends this section with a parable that shows the result of following his commands.

Jesus’ command to “judge not” is often misunderstood. The Greek word krino literally means “to pick out by separating.” When used in a legal sense it means “to come to a judgment.” In the ancient world, krino was not an evaluation; more often, it was a condemnation. “I am right so others must be wrong.” Jesus said final judgment is not in our hands. In fact, a way to avoid judgments is to observe the “golden rule.” In everything do to others as you would have them do to you. (Matthew 7.12). A Greek philosopher said that rule 500 years before Jesus (Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing) but note that Jesus made a positive expression; he described what to do rather than what to avoid doing. Jesus further stated that true and false teachers will be known by their fruit (vv. 16-20), not by their appearance. Jesus warned that it will take more than just calling him “Lord, Lord,” to enter heaven. The Father will recognize those who do His will.

The teachings of Jesus were like maxims; statements that were obviously true to any reasonable person. His sayings were like the proverbs of the Old Testament wisdom sayings. So it was appropriate for this Sermon to conclude with a parable. “All those who hear the words of Jesus and put them into practice will be like a wise person who builds his home by first digging down to the bedrock. Then, on that sure foundation, the home is raised up. Anyone who hears but does not act on Jesus’ words is like the foolish person who build a house on what appeared to by sturdy but was only sand. When the storms came the first house stood up to the wind but the second house was totally lost.”

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence