Monday Sermon – Count The Cost
People may be tempted to negatively pre-judge persons. Before Jesus gave His followers His commandments, He seemed to address what others saw, as opposed to what He saw.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3-10)
He then explained what they would likely experience if they followed Him.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
Jesus then called His followers to be visible, so that God may be glorified by their responsible behaviour.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 13-16)
Jesus then explained the importance of His commandments.
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-20)
The scribes and the pharisees knew the scriptures. Jesus explained to His followers that they should be better than those who knew, but did not obey the scriptures. Hear Jesus.
“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.” (Matthew 23:1-3)
Jesus then explained His challenge with those who have knowledge, but lead others away from God because of their bad behaviour. Hear Jesus.
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte [convert], and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” (Matthew 23:13-15)
It is very dangerous for knowledgeable persons to practise behaving badly. Soon, they are simply unable to change course. Hear Jesus speak of their likely end.
“Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:32-33)
Since Jesus will judge us at the end of the age, it is much better to choose the sure path of following Jesus’ commandments, and bear the reviling that Jesus said to expect.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com