Thursday midweek Holy Communion at St Giles
Gospel Matthew 7.21-29
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to N.
All Glory to you, O Lord.
Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
“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. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
All Praise to you, O Christ.
Each of us has two sets of beliefs. One is what we say. The other is what we do. In order to discover what we truly believe, instead of listening to the words we use, you get a better indication from examining our behaviours.
For example, we may say we always avoid falsehood and hold the truth dear, but we may then go on to tell a lie if by doing so we gain an advantage.
Often we delude ourselves. We are convinced by what we think we believe, but in reality our actions do not line up with our words.
Here at the end of the Sermon on the Mount is a stern warning. It concerns our eligibility to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Are we people who are convinced we are saved by what we say we believe? Or are we able to demonstrate our faith by showing we have done the will of God throughout our lives?
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
This is the explanation of the parable that follows. The Man who built his house on a sure foundation. He was the one whose house was securely rooted. He did what he said. He took the trouble to ensure permanence.
The other man’s house looked the same from the outside. He probably said the same things, and even believed he did the will of God. But his house was not securely founded. Temptation, adversity, unsound doctrine, and challenges to his faith left him fatally weakened. His house was swept away. His words were as fine as the appearance of his house, but they lacked a secure foundation.
So it is with us – this parable challenges us to examine our faith, and ask ourselves whether we sound good, or whether we really are that way. Does the way we live our lives match the way we act?
Remember the story of the lamp stand? Does our light shine out, or is it concealed from others’ view?
You are the light of the world:
no one after lighting a lamp puts it under a basket but on the lamp stand and it gives light to all.