The Berean Expositor
Volume 52 - Page 110 of 207
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(Matt.vii.24;  Listening to them is not enough. Entering the Messianic
Kingdom demands obedience to them and this reminds us of the words of the Lord at the
beginning of the address, "Whosoever shall do and teach them (these commandments),
the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5: 19); "Doing" again
coming before "teaching". Hearing this sermon was dangerous if it was not put into
practice. The Lord divides into two classes only, the wise who put into practice what
they have just heard and the unwise who merely listened and were likened to fools.
The effect of all this on the crowds who had evidently gathered around Him as He
talked, was tremendous:
"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" (7: 28, 29, N.I.V.).
The verb "amazed" is in the imperfect tense, which means they became more and
more astonished as they considered the Lord's words. It was the authoritative manner of
His teaching that astounded them. Their teachers frequently quoted some authority,
Scripture or tradition.  The Lord Jesus spoke without argument or production of
credentials. He spoke on His own authority. The words, "but I say unto you" were given
in absolute confidence and were the words of the greatest Legislator the world has ever
seen or will see.
The metaphor of building occurs later on in the epistles. Paul, in his first letter to the
Corinthian church, refers to a building whose foundation was Christ (I Cor. 3: 10, 11).
But on this foundation every believer was erecting a building. Again there are only two
classes of builders and two kinds of material. At the end comes the testing fire of God's
holiness. "The fire shall try (or test) every man's work of what sort it is" (verse 13).
"Every man's work shall be made manifest" (13). There is no exception to this. The
only service that will endure this searching test is likened to "gold, silver, and precious
stones" (12). That which is likened to "wood, hay, stubble" is consumed and the believer
"suffers loss" (15) of reward (14), but his salvation is still secure (15) for that does not
depend on his service, but on the perfect redemptive work of Christ on his behalf.
There are those who try to eradicate reward and loss from the later epistles. This is
foolish and dangerous, for the One Who is the "righteous Judge" (II Tim. 4: 8), because
of the very fact that He is righteous, will take account of the quality of service rendered
by members of the Body of Christ. Those who have been faithful and have a good
conscience towards the Lord and His claims, have nothing to fear. They have no need "to
be ashamed" (II Tim. 2: 15).