Beyond Lip Service
Pastor Brent Whitefield
Introduction: As he concludes the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus leaves his disciples and the others in attendance with words of warning. Those who recognize in Jesus’ teaching divine authority and confess him as Savior do well. But the kingdom of heaven is denied to those whose verbal assent to the Lordship of Christ is not manifested in the doing of his will. The disobedient Christian is an oxymoron.
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. Read Luke 6:46-49. What is the difference in the example of the house on the rock between Luke’s and Matthew’s account? Is it significant?
2. What was it about Jesus’ teaching that made it authoritative in the eyes of the crowds?
3. When Jesus says that those who do the will of the Father may enter the kingdom of heaven, does this suggest that we earn our place in the kingdom?
4. What does the rock represent in Jesus’ illustration? And the sand?
5. Why might Christ not acknowledge those who have done “mighty works” in his name?
6. Read James 1:22-25. In what ways does James reaffirm the words of Jesus here?
1. Read Matthew 7:21-29.
2. 01. God is neither impressed nor deceived by “lip service.”
3. 02. The kingdom of heaven is reserved for those who have a relationship with God; evidenced by obedience to His word and will.
4. “What, then, is the essential characteristic of the true believer, the genuine disciple of Jesus Christ? It is not loud profession, nor spectacular spiritual triumphs, nor protestations of great spiritual experience. Rather, his chief characteristic is obedience. True believers perform the will of their Father, consistent with their prayer, ‘Your will be done on earth as in heaven.’” – D.A. Carson
5. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” – James 1:22-25
6. 03. Jesus offers a dire warning to those who would hear but not heed his words.
7. “In applying this teaching to ourselves, we need to consider that the Bible is a dangerous book to read, and that the church is a dangerous society to join. For in reading the Bible we hear the words of Christ, and in joining the church we say we believe in Christ. As a result, we belong to the company described by Jesus as both hearing his teaching and calling him Lord. Our membership therefore lays upon us the serious responsibility of ensuring that what we know and what we say is translated into what we do.” – John Stott
8. “But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.’” – 2 Timothy 2:19
9. 04. To acknowledge Jesus’ teaching authority is to recognize his lordship – our only sure foundation.
10. “It was the scribal habit to appeal to authority, for it was an age in which originality was not highly prized … it was important to cite authorities if one wished to obtain a hearing. But Jesus ignored this scribal commonplace. Where others appealed to authorities, Jesus simply said: ‘I say unto you.’” – Leon Morris