READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary | The Beatitudes is about the Way of the Kingdom. At its core are two words – Trust and Obey. Jesus says that whoever hears His word and does them, is like a wise man who builds his house upon the rock. It stands firm in the face of rain, floods, and winds. However, anyone who hears His word and does not do them, is like a foolish man who builds his house upon the sand. The house is unable to withstand the elements of life.
To trust God is to have a heart posture that earnestly asks, seeks and knocks (Matt 7:7) for what God wants; for His ways, and not ours. Often, we go to God only when we need something, or face a crisis in our lives. Instead, we should regularly and earnestly ask, seek, and knock to understand God’s desires. The focus is not to pursue what we want but what He wants.
We know we can trust what God wants because:
- He is our good Heavenly Father
- He knows the good things that we need; the good things are His best for us.
Obedience doesn’t happen naturally. It is hard work, and we have to make the effort to build deep. Jesus likens this to building our house on the rock (Matt 7:24-27). Interesting fact: During summertime in Israel, the sand is deceptively rock hard. This changes in the rainy and winter seasons. A builder constructing a house in the summer must do the hard work and go beyond the hard sand to lay foundations on solid rock.
#1 Build Deep through Regular Obedience
Practise is the key! We build deep through regular obedience, similar to athletes training and building muscle memory. The more we obey, the more we are ready for the next obedience!
#2 We have to live right and show it with good fruit (Matt 7:16-20)
It is not labels that make us a Christian, but our fruit. When we obey God, we produce good fruit (Matt 7:17) that reflects our relationship with God.
#3 We have to follow Christ by walking the narrow path and entering the narrow gate
Obedience is personal and individual. We cannot be obedient on someone’s behalf, neither can we piggyback on someone else’s obedience. This is reflective of the image of the narrow gate where only one person is allowed through each time.
The path and gate are narrow also because our obedience is to be unencumbered (Heb 12:1). We cannot bring our earthly treasures with us. Jesus says that where our treasure is, there our heart will be as well (Matt 6:21). Obedience is about our inner heart and not external deeds.
This Holy Week, let us reflect on the cross as our narrow gate. Jesus invites us to take up our cross and follow him (Luke 9:23). When we get our heart right, we focus not on the narrowness of the path and gate, but what lies beyond the gate. This refers to a spiritually abundant life that God desires for us (John 10:10). This can only happen when God is our King. Importantly, He is not just our King, but our good Heavenly Father.
This Easter, God invites us to trust Him, and to have faith to carry our cross and walk through the narrow gate.
(Sermon notes by Stella Chiam)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- Why should we seek, ask and knock?
- Even if our prayers are unanswered, why should we not stop seeking, asking and knocking?
- Do you only seek, ask and knock when you are in need? What can you do to cultivate the habit and posture of always seeking, asking and knocking?
- Obedience requires us to make effort. Discuss if this is true and give examples.
- Obedience is shown through good fruit produced by it. What is one area of your life you struggle to produce good fruit? Pray for each other.
- Obedience requires taking the narrow path and entering the narrow gate. How true is this in your experience?
- What is the life that lies beyond the narrow gate? How does this strengthen your resolve to walk the narrow path to enter the narrow gate?
- What is one cross God is calling you to bear? Share and pray for each other to have the courage and strength.