At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, Jesus said: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24 (NIV). This verse is, of course, the basis for the children’s song I posted a couple of days ago: “The Wise Man Built His House Upon The Rock.” This is familiar scripture–perhaps so familiar that it doesn’t sink in each time we read it.
It’s not just everyone who hears Jesus’s words in his famous sermon, it’s everyone who “puts them into practice.” Often Jesus’s words are easier to hear or say than to put into practice. Let’s do a quick review of some of the things he said we should be or do:
Poor in spirit; mourn; meek; hunger and thirst for righteousness; merciful; pure in heart; peacemakers; persecuted; light of the world; forgiving; free from lust; faithful to spouse; tell the truth; turn the other cheek; love enemies; give to the needy; humble; fast; free from worry; free from judgment; and more.
Jesus also gave the foundation for everything he taught: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12) Hearing (or maybe listening deeply) and then putting into practice.
It’s difficult to hear the Sermon on the Mount as though we’ve never heard it before. But we should try. Read a short portion of the sermon and then think about it–meditate on it. Wait until the next day to read a little more of Jesus’s teachings. And so forth. Then practice what he said.
This sermon is chock full of reasons to follow Jesus. To follow Jesus, however, we must put his words into practice.