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Ears to hear – Parable reflections

We can so easily think it is enough to hear, to read, to know, to understand, even to believe … but Jesus said that we need to actually do what He says.

BIBLICAL PREACHING AUTOR 108/Peter_Mead 28 DE JULIO DE 2022 10:20 h
Photo: [link]Daniel McCullough[/link], Unsplash CC0.

When I preached on the two builders parable that Jesus used to finish up the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) or the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6), it struck me that there are some helpful points for preachers in that story. 



I’m not going to write about how to preach the parable, but lessons from the parable that may be applicable to us. 



The parable is very simple. Two men, two houses, potentially identical in every visible respect, but different in one very significant way: the foundation



The first man (Luke 6:48) dug down until he got to rock upon which he made the foundation.  The second man just built his house on top of the ground (Luke 6:49). 



I have absolutely no building experience, and yet I know that the second man was crazy to build the way he did. I have been living for years, and yet I do the “crazy option” with alarming regularity.



Here are a few things for us to ponder:



 



1. What was the point?



Just like the Sunday School song, we can easily miss the point of a very easy passage to understand. Jesus is not pointing to himself as the rock on which we must build our lives. That may be true truth, but it is not the truth of this passage. 



The point of the story is that the wise builder is the one who hears Jesus and does what he hears. Is there an area of obedience that is missing in your life right now?



 



2. Jesus did not say “if” but “when”



We can easily fall into a modified prosperity misunderstanding, just like the Sunday School song: the blessings will come down as the prayers go up! Nice, but not always true. 



Jesus said “when.”  Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble.  As preachers we need to prepare people for the real stuff of life, and we need to live our lives with awareness that trouble will hit us too. 



Will we stand firm, or will we stand in a pile of rubble when trouble hits?  That depends, according to Jesus, on our doing what he teaches.



 



3. We are not exempt from the “hear and do” teaching.



All Christians are prone to fall short of the “do” step. Preachers are especially prone to this error.  We can so easily think it is enough to hear, to read, to know, to understand, even to believe … but Jesus said that we need to actually do what he says.  



This is true in two respects:




  • It is true as a preacher. We need to be those who hear Jesus and put into practice what Jesus preached. It is frightening to get up close to some big-name speakers and discover that their spiritual immaturity has been pandered to because of their status.  It is sad to discover some who hold positions of spiritual influence have gaping flaws in their character and would rather excuse themselves than seek to grow in those areas.

  • It is true for our preaching. What kind of sermons are we building?  It is a problem if our sermons are being built late on Saturday and early on Sunday (I know I have been guilty of this for various legitimate and less legitimate reasons!)  Even if we start several days earlier, when do we have time to do what the passage teaches?  Could it be that we read, we study, we understand, we believe, and then we preach a sermon built directly on the ground without a foundation because we have not done the doing part?  Our sermons will stand up to testing if they have first been tested “under applied conditions” in real life.



 



4. Let Jesus motivate you. 




  • There is motivation in the words Jesus spoke on several levels.  It is encouraging to us in those areas where we are actively obeying even though it is not easy, and we don’t see automatic fruit.  It is a warning that we all need, that disobedience may not yield instant consequences, but the house will eventually collapse if it is built on hearing only.  It is an explanation for some who find themselves picking through rubble because of past choices.  There is lots of motivation in the words Jesus spoke.

  • There is also motivation to be found in the Jesus who spoke the words.  We can drop into the passage at a parable and hear the instruction, but miss the voice that is speaking.  This is the same Jesus who was pursuing the people, inviting them to follow him, to be with him, to see who he was, to discover his love for his Father, his compassion for hurting people, and his love for his own.  Four verses at the end of Luke 6 can pack quite a punch, but the book of Luke as a whole invites us to put ourselves completely under the influence of Jesus, the one who loved us and came to seek and to save that which was lost.  Parables are not just good stories, they are stories spoken by a good person.



Peter Mead is mentor at Cor Deo and author of several books. This article first appeared on his blog Biblical Preaching. 


 

 


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Ángel
28/07/2022
08:59 h
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