Hearers and Doers

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock…” Matthew 7:24-27

There are two kinds of hearers under the ministry of the Word of reconciliation of Christ. One cannot really tell by their attentiveness as such whether they are wise men or whether they are foolish men. This is a matter which is seen in the fruits which they bring forth: either a walk of faith and godliness or else it is a walk of unbelief and godlessness.

Jesus had spoken a very tremendous sermon; it was the Word of God which he spoke, which is living and sharper than any two-edged sword and passeth into the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Yes, all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do!

All who heard that sermon of Christ “on the mount” heard and noticed emphatically that all his teaching, day by day, was not as that of the Scribes and Pharisees, but that he was teaching as one who had authority from God to speak. They recognized in him a real and authentic prophet. They heard God speak before whom all things are naked and opened!

More particularly, they heard “these my words” as Jesus designates them. They heard the chief Prophet who came to reveal the secret counsel of God concerning our redemption. Never a man spoke as he spake. They heard a very orderly, constructive, penetrating sermon in which the citizens of the Kingdom of God are portrayed, their chief characteristics, their walk in righteousness, their prayer-life, their humble trust in the heavenly Father, their leaving all judgment in the hands of the Judge of heaven and earth and in their walking the straight and narrow way which leads to life. Take your Bible in hand, my youth friend and read the three chapters of Matthew 5, 6 and 7. You will see a wonderful exposition here.

Did you notice that in the so-called “beatitudes”, which are seven in number, the Lord describes the believers according to their spiritual name and characteristics by grace? Did you notice that the Lord here really gives the “three things” which we must know to enjoy the only comfort in life and in death? Did you notice that these three earmarks are so clear and distinctive, as infallible fruit of election in your life, that the world will certainly hate you and persecute you and that even this adds to your “blessedness”? And did you notice that the church is placed exactly in the center of the world, in the very heart of history, so that she is compared to a light on the candle-stick-holder and as a city on a hill-top which cannot be hid? And did you observe that this being “light” of the world and the “salt of the earth” comes to manifestation in that you believe and love the commandments of the Lord, that you give alms to the poor, turn to the Lord in prayer and childlike trust, a thankful Christian who prayerfully walks in the precepts of the Lord? And did you too, take note of the fact that we need not fear in the midst of the world as such a people, as the children of God, since our heavenly Father makes our needs His care? You heard all this, you read it and did not become a forgetful hearer. You will flee from every so-called preacher of the gospel, even though he be an angel from heaven, if he does not teach according to the sound Word of Christ uttered by Him on the mount?

Take notice of “these my words”!

Take them to heart, treasure them as an irreplaceable goodness and riches; view them as the treasure of great price, for which a man will sell his all to obtain and retain! You believe these words? You understand that the word “believe” in medieval English is like the Holland “believen”, that is: to put our love and affection upon something or someone!

Thus “believing” these words you attend the worship services on the Sabbath day, diligently come to learn God’s Word, use the sacraments, give alms to the poor, publicly call upon the Name of the Lord and cease from sin all the days of your life and thus begin the eternal Sabbath in this life? Thus you prepare for and attend the catechism class, the Young People’s Society meetings?

Jesus has something to say to you if you are such a believer, a lover of his words. Then he makes a happy comparison of you. He compares you with a wise man, who builds his house upon the rock. You are one who is wise because you reckon with reality—with the reality of the coming storms that will take the measure of your house. You understand that it all depends on the rock, the foundation. You believe in Him, who is our Rock, the Lord whose work is perfect.

Presently, youthful reader, the storms will break loose over your life, the storms of trials and distress, sickness and pain, death and the grave. As you stand at the side of the open grave you will then need to have “all these my words” in your heart, lest you be driftwood in the storm, going down into the deep of God’s billows and judgments.

Be of such a nature that you are not as the workers of iniquity to whom the Lord will say: “I never knew you!”

May it be said of your house: the rains descended, the floods came and the winds blew and beat upon it. And it stood. For it was, it had been built upon the Rock, the certain and immutable promises of God!

Learn this while you are young and when you are old you shall not depart therefrom.