Jesus didn’t mince His words in His ‘crashing’ epilogue to His most famous Sermon. His ‘two by four’ close -- two ways, two trees, two claims, two builders, one way to LIFE -- is a sobering reality in balance to His attractive picture of an ideal Christian life. Hearing and not obeying Jesus, put plainly, is a fatal and self-destructive position that guarantees everlasting isolation from His radical love. Hard words, yes. But motivating for His people who have been gifted with God’s message of redemption whilst there is still time.
As Foyle Vineyard presses on into the last foundation of the four – gather, grow, give, and now GO - Jesus’s teaching challenges us to firstly reflect on our own position after hearing His sermon: like His listeners, who thought that “this was the best teaching they had ever heard” (7:29 MSG), we must now decide if we are going to wholeheartedly follow the one with ultimate authority. This means risk. But the good news is that this is not an empty risk in which we rely on our own pietistic powers to live out this ideal life. Rather, it is one which relies on God’s powerful Holy Spirit, His ‘Helper’ (John 14:26).
The ‘Helper’ pours God’s love into our hearts (Romans 5:5); it’s how the Kingdom works – transformation from the inside out. If we are honest, perhaps some of us don’t feel too ‘filled up’ right now with this love and promised ‘help’. Jesus’ teaching, although attractive on one hand, may be making us realise that we have been building parts of our life in the wrong direction - on a poor foundation, even allowing increasing spiritual isolation and sinful pride to grow. A joy of the Christian walk is that it is one of habitual repentance (having a significant change of attitude) away from destructive beliefs and behaviours that don’t lead to life. God’s ‘Helper’ Holy Spirit is given without measure (or limit) (John 3:34 ESV) to ‘help’ us and glorify Him, so it’s never too late to respond to His probing and seek more from His ‘Helper’.
And by the way, if you are struggling to bring yourself to pray for ‘help’, please ask one of the team at FVY! They’d be only too delighted to pray for God’s limitless love to be ‘poured in’ and walk with you as you journey with Jesus.
So, as we contemplate the last foundation -- GO -- it is imperative that we sharply reflect on our own lives before we try taking this saving reality out anywhere. Of course, we are not going to get it all right, and we will have slips. But at the very least, let’s make clear decisions to risk with the ‘Helper’ after honestly reflecting on our standing with Jesus.
Jesus wants doers, and not just hearers to follow Him.