SCRIPTURE Matthew 7:1-29
SITUATION Matthew recorded the ending of Jesus sermon. Jesus called his hearers to put his teaching into practice.
OBSERVATION Jesus said that the true way which leads to life is based on an internal transformation, not on external deeds.
INSPIRATION You want to make a difference in your world? Live a holy life.
Be faithful to your spouse.
Be the one at the office who refuses to cheat.
Be the neighbor who acts neighborly.
Be the employee who does the work and doesn't complain.
Pay your bills.
Do your part and enjoy life.
Don't speak one message and live another.
Note the last line of Paul's worlds in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, "Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Take care of your own business, and do you own work as we have already told you. If you do then people who are not believers will respect you.
A peaceful life leads non-believers. What is John's life had not matched his words? What if he'd preached repentance and lived immorality? What if he'd called for holiness and yet had a reputation for dishonesty? If John's life had not matched his words his message would have fallen on deaf ears.
So will ours.
People are watching the way we act more than they are listening to what we say.
Saint Francis of Assisi once invited a young monk to accompany him to town to preach. The novice was honored at the opportunity. The two set out for the city, then they walked up and down the main street, then several side streets. They chatted with peddlers and greeted the citizens. After some time they returned by another route to the abbey.
The younger man reminded Francis of his original intent. "You have forgotten, Father that we went to town to preach."
"My son," he replied "we have preached. We have been seen by many. Our behavior was closely watched. Our attitudes were closely measured. Our words have been overheard. It was by thus that we preached our morning sermon."
John was a voice for Christ with more than his voice. His life matched his words. When a person's ways and words are the same, the fusion is explosive. But when a person says one thing and lives another, the result is destructive. People will know we are Christians not because we bear the name, but because we live the life. (From A Gentle Thunder by Max Lucado)
APPLICATION What would other say about your life? What kind of fruit are you producing? Think of three specific steps yo u can take to live the life of a Christian.
EXPLORATION Producing Fruit -- Isaiah 3:10, Matthew 3:8, 21:43, John 15:1-17, Colossians 1:10, James 3:18
The Devotional Bible by Max Lucado, New Century Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, page 1155
TODAY PRAYER My Heavenly Father, I often approach you for help in my plans. Teach me to wait upon you Lord and to seek your will over my life. You know my deepest needs and I trust that you will answer my prayers in your timing and in your way. As it says in the Bible, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7 NIV). Lord, I ask for your wisdom and guidance for this next season of my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.