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The Journal

2 Ways to Respond to God

REV DAVID O'MARA

Dear Friends,

Today we have a brief interlude from Genesis as Rev Peter Adkins from BCA helps us think about mission to the lost within Australia from Matthew 7:13-29. Matthew ,a follower of Jesus and a Gospel writer is seeking to show that Jesus is the fulfilment of God’s promises in the Old Testament to send a Messiah or special king who will save God’s people. Matthew opens his Gospel with a genealogy to show that Jesus is the seed of Abraham and of David and so has the right pedigree to be the Messiah. In Chp 7 Matthew is showing us that just as God gave the Law in the Old Testament Jesus Himself has God’s approval and gives God’s law with authority. In Matthew 7 Jesus is calling people to listen to His Words and build their lives on His Word – Matthew 7:26. Jesus is teaching God’s Word and the people recognize His authority. In Joshua 24:15-16 the people are on the verge of entering the promised land so Joshua has set before them God’s Word and God’s call on their lives.

The people are called to choose whether they will choose and serve God or serve other gods – Joshua 24:15-16. In Matthew 7 Jesus puts before them 2 ways, 2 destinations , 2 kinds of fruit and 2 types of houses all of which illustrate that there are 2 ways of responding to God. So in 7:24 Jesus says “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Jesus is portraying himself as the one who Gives God’s Law and understands God’s mind. Earlier Matthew has taught us that in chapters 1-2 Jesus is the King, the one who brings the Kingdom of God, Chapter 3 Jesus is the Son of God and Chapter 4 Jesus conquers Satan’s kingdom and now in chapters 5-7 Jesus is portrayed as the true law-giver. We are left with no other conclusion except that Jesus is God and speaks for God and has God’s authority. This means that whilst the Christian faith is attractive and beneficial for us in that we find peace and are saved our response is not optional. Jesus as God’s messenger calls us to repent of sin and accept His Him and by faith obey His teaching. In life there are only 2 gates, one leading to heaven and one leading to hell. Following Jesus is hard because it is a narrow road and there are false teachers who are very deceptive and will try to entice us away. We are encouraged that just as the decisive issue is Jesus’ words as our foundation so it is only through Christ’s death that we can be on the narrow road. This is a great gift from Him. In the parable of the 2 houses the rain and wind that blows point to the final judgement that will come when Jesus returns. Jesus himself has provided the way to pass through this time of judgement and that is His death on the cross for our sin.

Rev David O’Mara