In #7 in his series Building a Life, Pastor Don spoke from Matthew 7:21-23 and Mark 7:6-8.
We aren’t our own judge of what’s right or wrong for us. God is our judge. Feelings of guilt are good when they alert us to a problem. Guilt should bring us to God, the Judge of our lives, to receive His cleansing and forgiveness.
In this warning at the end of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is referring not to His followers, but to false followers, who have no living relationship with Him. We’re not perfect, and God doesn’t expect us to be—but we must know that we’re not perfect and that we need Jesus. The people Jesus is talking about are the ones who think they can do everything God requires all by themselves.
Sin is real and serious. It’s why Jesus came to earth and suffered and died for us. We can’t handle it without Him. We do need a Savior.
The Pharisees in Jesus’ day had hundreds of rules. They thought they were safe from God’s judgment. But their rules weren’t God’s law, and their heart wasn’t with God. Their talk was without truth.
We can’t make ourselves holy, even though God commands us to be holy. God’s law shows us that we need Him to make us holy. We need to be born again, or we won’t even see the kingdom of God (John 3:5). Jesus came to bear the judgment we deserve and to give us His own righteousness. He accomplished that when He died on the cross for our sin.
All of us have sinned, and we deserve death—but God offers us the free gift of eternal life through Jesus.
God is present with us on earth, helping and preserving us. God is not present in hell. Heaven is where we will be in the glorious presence of God—that’s the reason to want to be there, saved by Jesus because we know we need Him. Do we have a heartfelt need for Jesus? A Christian is one who gives all the credit for salvation to God.
Religious institutions and the world won’t save us, and they can pull us away from Jesus. Are we passionate to know Jesus, to follow closer to Him? What’s important isn’t that we think we’re Christians, but that Jesus knows that we belong to Him. That will affect everything about us. When we build on the solid foundation of His word, our talk will be with truth.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
All, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.
Romans 6: 23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
English Standard Version
Here are the quotes that Pastor Don used in this message:
“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction” (Blaise Pascal).
“Thomas Linacre was king’s physician to Henry VII and Henry VIII of England, founder of the Royal College of Physicians, and friend of the great Renaissance thinkers Erasmus and Sir Thomas More. Late in his life he took Catholic orders and was given a copy of the Gospels to read for the first time. The Bible, of course, was still the preserve of the clergy and not in the hands of ordinary people. And Linacre lived through the darkest of the church’s dark hours: the papacy of Alexander VI, the Borgia pope whose bribery, corruption, incest, and murder plumbed new depths in the annals of Christian shame.
“Reading the four Gospels for himself, Linacre was amazed and troubled. ‘Either these are not the Gospels,’ he said, ‘or we are not Christians’” (Os Guinness in The Call).
“There is only one God and He has only one kingdom with only one entrance—Jesus Christ. Only those who rest in Christ alone for salvation will enter heaven. This message was controversial and offensive to the pluralistic pagan culture of the first-century Romans Empire, and it is perhaps even more so today. If we shrink back from declaring it, however, we are sinning against our neighbors, for what could be a worse transgression against them than to know the only was to eternal life and yet not tell them about it? Moreover, Jesus is not only the sole avenue to life eternal, but He is the source and guarantor of life itself” (Tabletalk, Ligonier Ministries, February 2016).
“When all the political foundations of religion are wiped out, when the organization and the institutional structure of the church are destroyed, then normally religious faith, the Christian faith, would have to disappear. But it is not out of the question that the Christian faith will survive anyhow. This would mean that there is a religious reality that does not depend solely on the sociological and the institutional; and under these conditions, we would have to heed this reality, which is not in the category of traditional religion” (Karl Marx).