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The Conclusion Of The Sermon On The Mount 


The conclusion of a sermon is usually the hardest part to prepare.
 
It is also the most important part of the sermon. Thus it's often easier to start a sermon than to end one.
 
The lawyers know that no matter how well they argue their cases, if their closing arguments do not bring forth a decisive verdict, they may eventually lose their cases.
 
The salesmen are well aware that no matter how good their sales presentations are, if they do not know how to close to make a sale, all their efforts will go to waste.
 
Similarly, a sermon basically has 3 parts:

  • The introduction grasps the attention of the people.
  • The body brings instruction and inspiration.
  • The conclusion leads the people to decide what actions to take.

The Sermon on the Mount was the greatest sermon Jesus ever preached. The whole scriptural text is found in Matthew chapters 5 to 7.
 
There are six sections in this thought-provoking and life-transforming sermon:

  1. Beatitudes – What it means to be truly blessed.
  2. A Higher Law – How to have righteousness exceeding those of the scribes and Pharisees.
  3. The Lord's Prayer - Instructions on prayer and right motives for fasting and giving.
  4. Money - Attitudes towards money and also reasons to avoid worry.
  5. Warnings - Dangers of false teachers, false prophets and hypocrisy.
  6. Conclusion - The parable of the wise and foolish builders.

Jesus preached not just desiring people to hear Him only. He also desired them to do something with what they had heard. Thus He concluded with a strategic parable so that if they truly believed what He had said, they would have to do something about it. The conclusion called for a change of heart and a decision to journey towards His kingdom and righteousness.
 
The conclusion is a summary. But the people will get bored if the sermon is re-preached in the conclusion. To drive a preacher’s message deeper home, a conclusion must pull together all the points of the whole sermon. No new arguments are presented. Just a simple decision to make.
 
In the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount is a parable of the wise and foolish builders.
 
Matthew 7:21-29
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:
27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching,
29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Amazingly before His conclusion, Jesus warned us about false prophets, false teachers, false miracle workers and lawless people. He then concluded with the word "therefore". Because of these lawless people and false prophets, He therefore gave us an excellent example of two kinds of people – those who hear the Word and do it, and those who hear the Word but do not do it.
 
Who are these lawless people who have prophesied in His name, cast out demons in His name, and done many wonders in His name?
 
Many of them are leaders, ministers, prophets and pastors in some of our churches! They do not obey the Lord and practice lawlessness! Without any law, they are lawless! Many do not seek the truth but have contracted a deadly disease called self-deception.
 
In the eyes of men, they may look great and wonderful. But in the sight of God, they are simply lawless. Their works will not stand the test of the Refiner’s fire!
 
We are living in the last days where false prophets and teachers are abounding and spreading like a deadly virus inside our churches.
 
Matthew 24:11-12
Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
 
Matthew 24:24
For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Many churches in many nations are filled with false prophets and teachers today. They are speaking from lying spirits but they claim to speak for the Lord. Their message is not from the Word of God. Their message is sourced from the wisdom of the world promoting the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. They are not of the Father but are of the world. Their message is a message to lust after worldly prosperity and spiritual superiority.
 
We are blessed in the Lord, but we are blessed to be a blessing. God doesn’t bless us to make us to become blessed only, He also makes us to be a blessing to others around us! Our message needs to be founded upon the Word of God, turning away from the world and returning to the Lord. We are called to serve others and not to lord over them!
 
A mere outward profession of Christianity is useless in the eyes of God. Though at times, outward appearances may deceive many people. Not everyone who confess and say "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven. Many profess and call themselves Christians but they are not. They do not desire to become more like Jesus, come after Him, deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow Him.
 
What will we do after Jesus personally teaches us about what it really mean to be truly blessed; how to be the light and salt of the world; how to have righteousness exceeding those of the scribes and Pharisees; how sacred marriage is; how to go the second mile; how to love our enemies; how to be perfect as God our Father is perfect; how to please God by doing good and charitable deeds in secret; how to pray like the Lord; how to fast; how to offer to God something that will really please His heart; how to have true treasures; how to serve God and not money; how to seek His kingdom and righteousness; how not to worry about our tomorrows; how not to judge others; and how to seek God? What will we do when Jesus personally warns us against false teachers and false prophets?
 
In very simple words, anyone who listens to His teachings and obeys them is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in hurricanes and stormy winds, and though the floodwaters rise and though the winds beat fiercely against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on solid and firm foundations. But anyone who hears His teachings and doesn’t obey them is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the stormy rains and terrible floods come and the strong winds beat against that house, it will collapse and become crushed with great destructive forces.
 
Do we live our lives for what will last or for what will fade away? Are we striving for the world’s praise or for Christ’s “well done” one day?
 
I will conclude this article with a song I taught my children choir many years ago. One of the musicals we did in 1982 was called "Kids’ Praise 2". Within was an old favorite song called “Sandyland" and the lyrics are:

Don't build your house on the sandy land,
Don't build it too near the shore.
Well, it might look kind of nice
But you'll have to build it twice,
Oh, you'll have to build your house once more.
 
You better build your house upon the rock,
Make a good foundation on a solid spot.
Oh, the storms may come and go,
But the peace of God you will know.

You can listen to the song @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2Q_6srXLfE


Written on 3 November 2012