Thursday in the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 7:13-29; Luke 6:43-49

Doers of the Word

Christians know that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ Jesus – his person and work.  Christ is the Mediator who gave his life for ours, the perfect sacrifice in which the sinless God-man took our place by bearing our sins, and rising to new life that we too may rise.  Those who believe this are born again (Mark 10:45; John 3:3; 20:31; Ephesians 2:8-10).  However, we should never preach this to the exclusion of good works.  It is true that good works save no man; however, one who is truly saved shall do good deeds, and this is what Jesus is telling us in this passage.

Here, Jesus speaks of two kinds of gates that one may enter.  There is the wide gate that many, indeed most, choose.  It is easy and leads to destruction.  A chosen few enter the narrow gate.  It is hard but leads to life.  Why is it hard?  One reason is that Christians carry about them their sinful natures which harass them at every turn (Romans 7:13-25).  Moreover, Christians must always remember that they are pilgrims, aliens – people who do not belong in this world.  Thus, the world hates them (1 John 3:13).  All of this makes the way hard.

And then there are those false Christians, the pretenders.  How shall we know them?  By their fruits, Jesus said.  You see again that works do not save but are proof that one is saved.  One’s deeds testifies to one’s heart; this is true even for a child (Proverbs 20:11).  And then the Lord tells us those frightening words that calling him, “Lord, Lord,” is not proof of salvation.  Even doing great and mighty deeds, casting out demons, preaching – none of this matters.  After all, it would appear that Judas Iscariot did these things when Jesus sent the disciples on their preaching tour (Mark 6:7-13).  But these are rejected.  Jesus didn’t know them because they did not do what he said.  He calls them “workers of lawlessness.”  (Here is a reminder to preachers that building the largest church in the world is no sign of personal salvation if you are living in willful sin throughout your ministry.)  James says that we must be doers of the word and not hearers only (1:22).  This is Jesus’ message throughout the “Sermon on the Mount.”  To hear and do is to build one’s house on the rock – Christ himself.  To hear and not do is to fool oneself.  There is good reason why the Bible tells us to examine ourselves on a regular basis (2 Corinthians 13:5).

The people went away amazed at his teaching.  This is a common response to Jesus.  What is uncommon is following his teaching; narrow is the way.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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