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Matthew 7:21-29 – On Being Hearers and Doers

Summary

The Sermon concludes with a summary that underscores the seriousness of the call for repentance and new life that characterizes the righteousness of the kingdom. Its twofold reference to the importance of doing "the will of my Father in heaven" (7:21, 24) is sealed with a short parable contrasting wise and foolish hearers who build their houses, respectively, on rock or on sand.

Analysis

This summary of the Sermon bears witness to its reliance on wisdom traditions for its view of a wholeness of life that is centered in a heart that is anchored in the blessing and gifts of God and responsibly hearing and doing together in a way that bears practical fruits in daily life. Much in the Sermon is traditional material and common sense. Nevertheless, its anchoring in the initial assertions of the blessing of God and its status as the initial and authoritative teaching of Jesus (who has already been announced as Emmanuel and Savior) launch a narrative that will eventually place these words also in the context of the promise of the resurrected Lord as he commissions his disciples to confident obedience to all that he has commanded (28:20).

Matthew 7:21-29

Concerning Self-Deception

21 ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?” 23Then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.”

Hearers and Doers

24 ‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!’

28 Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, 29for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.

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10 February 2011

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