The Sermon on the Mount Part 22

by Mike Ratliff

37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 40 Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, “This certainly is the Prophet.” 41 Others were saying, “This is the Christ.” Still others were saying, “Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He? 42 “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him. 44 Some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. 45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, “Why did you not bring Him?” 46 The officers answered, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.” (John 7:37-46 NASB)

We come to the last two verses of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:28, 29. I confess to all that this study has been extremely humbling for me. Not only did I exegete each passage so I could develop each post, I translated each word from the Greek to English. This involved not only the translation work, which really isn’t that difficult, but the more difficult part of getting the grammar correct. It is at that point that I did a great deal of study and cross-referencing and further exegeting. After all, the process of exegeting Sacred Scripture has as its primary goal the original message penned by the author of the text. It as we pursue that goal that the Holy Spirit moves through Word of God which bears the very form of our Lord to bring the truth to bear upon our hearts and through this we are transformed through the renewal of our minds. In this dark age in which professing Christians can confess to love the Lord Jesus and love his Word, but then deny the necessity of defending his doctrines for the sake of unity with others who deny those truths, we must determine whether we really love the Lord Jesus or not. If we really do then that means we really would love his truth completely and that means his doctrines as well even to the point of death. Yes, that also means that we must divide from fellowship with those who refuse to do so. 

Much of the introduction paragraph was “inspired” by a “rant” in a “sorta-sermon” preached by Ed Young Jr. that was basically a straw-man attack on Reformed Theology or Calvinists or Calvinism (it was difficult to tell since the “sermon” was a bit ‘rambling’ and made little sense). His attack made me think about this post and the authority of our Lord. His attack was based entirely within his traditions and presuppositions and had no basis in Biblical truth. His “theology” can only be understood as “there is no way for there to be any precise way for us to understand how God saves anyone. Election is a mystery. Choice is a mystery. Therefore, anyone who tries to define it is attempting to put God in a box.” Sigh…

I have absorbed many punches in the back like that by synergists after posting some of my very precise posts on election that were completely based in Biblical Doctrine, not proof-texting. They can’t refute what the Bible teaches so they use philosophy or feelings or guilt trips, but mostly straw man attacks and very ugly ad hominem…not very Christian…

28 And it came about when Jesus finished these words the crowds were amazed at his teaching 29 for he was teaching them having authority and not as their scribes. (Matthew 7:28, 29 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1) 

What does it mean that Jesus taught with authority? The English word “authority” in v29 translates ἐξουσίαν (exousian) the accusative, singular of ἐξουσία (exousia), “authority, jurisdiction, ruler, control, power.” What our Lord taught, that is, commanded, is from his authority because he is God. His Word is the truth. His teachings and what he commanded his followers to do to obey him is our theology and all of that is broken down into doctrine of different aspects of our relationship to the Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and our role in the Kingdom. We do not make the rules. We do not create these doctrines. We do not take a doctrine (teaching) of our Lord or one of his Apostles and see it all a different way than them because we want things our own way. No! That is why we have the Word of God and all that we need to know by the authority of our Lord to love and serve him in all things that we are commanded to do as his Church.

Therefore, when men such as Ed Young Jr. and those who emulate him such as Stephen Furtick (for instance), continually attempt to redefine the good doctrines of the our Lord Jesus Christ along the lines of what men want and what makes them the most money and causes them to look very successful in the eyes of men because they have huge churches and auditoriums full of  people either with itching ears seeking to have them tickled or believers desperately underfed who need to be in a real church where they can be nourished on the Word of God and pastored by a real man of God who is under the authority of Christ.

As I stated above, we live in a dark age. Some say we are under the judgment of God. I believe that to be true to a large extent. That is why there is such barrenness across the land of hearing the preaching of the Word of God. Piety and religiosity seems to be what has replaced real love for our Lord. All of that is simply works of the flesh. When personality of a preacher is why people go to a church rather than to hear the Word of God preached with the power of Holy Spirit behind it, I think the wasteland of the Western Church has, for the majority, reached the stage of when God told the Israelites to stop their sacrifices because he was sick of them. All they were doing was going through the motions for themselves. It was not for the glory of God at all.

However, I know many Christians who are not anything like what I just described, but none of you are part of one of those “Mega-Church,” Narcissistic, Purpose Driven, Seeker-Sensitive, personality-based, works-righteousness, semi-Pelagian or Pelagian sorta-Churches. I know this because we have had conversations and I know that God has opened the eyes of those who belong to him and there are many leaders and many good Christians in the Church in pockets all over the World. Yes, it looks like the majority of what is called the “Church” is fake and it is, but that is not the real Church. The real Church, or remnant is very much alive and God knows who are his. Let us obey him and live for his Glory under his authority until his return for us or until we depart this life and go to him. Either way—all for his glory!

Soli Deo Gloria!

15 thoughts on “The Sermon on the Mount Part 22

  1. It has been a great series. I have been humbled and have learned so much from your posts Mike. To truly love the Lord we must worship in “spirit and truth” and the “truth” part of the equation would be defending His doctrines no matter the cost. I would like to know what Bible Ed Young Jr. is reading? He’s just one in a long line of people who have a problem with the Lord’s sovereignty and probably believes it just comes down to human decision and easy believism.

  2. Our desire is to conform ourselves to His Word in context. Those who walk another way are walking a much broader, easier path…that leads to eventual destruction. It is what it is. If a person doesn’t desire the Word in context, they really do not desire the Lord. “Oh, but brother you don’t understand, I am a poor reader!” Well then purchase the bible on DVD for less then those series from the annointed ones and listen to the Word…You will finally understand what being blessed is all abouit!

  3. Dear Mike,

    Thank you for your studies that are grounded in God’s precious Word.

    Due to a trip I had been out of the Word for about a week and how quickly we fall! My mind was distracted and filled with the world [thought of Vanity Fair in Pilgrim’s Progress] and ashamed to say that I did not fair as well as Christian (pun intended). This little excursion has lead to a new level of humility in my walk with Christ because I now fully realize how pitiful I am, but how long suffer and merciful my Great Redeemer is to be patient with me.

    Please pray for perseverance, and thanks again for your faithfulness to our Savior.

    Blessings in Christ Jesus, charisse

  4. Mike thank you for all your hard work and I pray it is rewarding not just in this this temporary world of gaining knowledge but eternally in your character and for you to come to know Jesus Christ in ways you’ve never known him before and take great delight in him that soars above and beyond anything that tries to pull you down..

    I haven’t read all this as I’m working on one of my computers. So had your beginning lines just come out and mean so much I had to make a comment–

    May the Lord richly bless you and your family

  5. I can empathize Charisse having been traveling a bit myself over the last several weeks. It is good to be back home with the time to settle back into the Word

  6. Mike, I am so thankful that God has given this gift to you of being able to do this exegeting, ” After all, the process of exegeting Sacred Scripture has as its primary goal the original message penned by the author of the text.” I have no knowledge of Greek and therefore rely on you to dig for the Truth!
    I have heard so many sermons built on a verse of scripture that leaves me scratching my head wondering on the connection? I must confess that I partook in the Purpose Driven Life a few years ago and at the time saw nothing wrong with it. Our home study group did the second one (I don’t remember what it was called) also but we all 10 of us felt something was wrong but did not know what. I believe now that the Lord was protecting us. Our group finished the book and wanted to continue meeting but didn’t have “material” to use. I got volunteered to lead the bible study so that is what I wanted us to do study THE BIBLE not some how to book. My search for how to properly study or feed on the Word led me to this site which has been such a blessing. I have had to shed (dump, trash, delete) a lot of false teaching which I accumulated over the years since receiving the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. I always look forward to your blog and get a little anxious (I know I shouldn’t) when you don’t write for many days.
    Don’t let the flaming arrows of the enemy get you down but inspire (as you have done) you onward. “Thank you Father for this faithful soldier who carries high the banner of the Truth of Jesus Christ, on this battle ground”.

  7. “If we really do then that means we really would love his truth completely and that means his doctrines as well even to the point of death. Yes, that also means that we must divide from fellowship with those who refuse to do so.”—

    Amen,, we who are true believers WILL DIE before we compromise the very doctrine-the very truth that set us free… btw, Jesus even said -“My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.”-John 7:16.

    Peter said-“I got volunteered to lead the bible study so that is what I wanted us to do study THE BIBLE not some how to book.”-amen that’s a YEsssss with an accolade–Praise the LORD!!

  8. Peter, I did the Purpose Driven Life study by myself back in 2002 or so and the only part of it that I liked was the very first statement in it, “It’s not about you…” The rest of the study seemed to be all about getting me “to do” something based upon a lot of scripture twisting using all sorts of different Bible translations in order to make it look like the Bible supported what R.W. was trying to say. However, that was before God really woke me up by drawing me out of the religiosity treadmill and that book was really hot in the church I was attending. There were small groups in out church doing each lesson for a whole week rather than each day. None of the leaders behind doing this had been Christians very long. It was during this time that our older Church members began leaving. My spiritual awaking or revival or however you want to describe it took place over 8 months from January through August of 2004. By the end of that month I also began writing and blogging and became acquainted with many of my discernment friends that I associate with now. It was through this, their prayers, and my own digging into God’s Word that I became Reformed in my Theology. That was a radical shift in my hermetical approach to Doctrine I assure you. It also brought discernment, which had always been sort of dim or fuzzy to me into a glaring sharpness. Now, when discernment comes into the picture, traditions mean nothing. Leader’s personalities and reputations mean nothing. No, it’s just God’s Word as the ultimate authority, that is, His Doctrines, His truth. There is no ambiguity. There is absolute truth and that means I and all who are drawn by God to this walk will never be politically correct and will always be opposed by those who would compromise the truth to please men. Now I look at the Purpose Driven stuff and shudder. What man-focused drivel! I rejoiced when I read your comment and recognized the path you were on and knew that God had drawn you to it as he had me and so many others. Again, thanks for your prayers and encouragement brother.

  9. Thank you Mike for sharing your studies with us!

    No wonder there’s such apostacy. We were at a big homeschool conference trying to sell our reformed videos there. Unfortunaly upon arriving and heading inside the building we realized that the place was actually a section of a giga-“church” that had gaming rooms, cafeteria services, and even a gym. A gym!! With people actually doing physical exercise in there for which they probably had to pay a membership fee.

    I’ve never been to such a building before. I kept thinking to myself “this is a place the Lord would tore up to pieces if He were here right now.”

    I am learning that you could pretty much tell a church’s doctrines by the entertainig services they offer.

  10. You are welcome Joao. I’ve been to a few of those “campus” churches. In fact, there was one just a few blocks north of our old church that caused our pastor to get so jealous since it grew from a very small church plant meeting in the local library to a “Mega-Church,” that he “decided” to convert our church to a “seeker-sensitive” model and he specifically went after the Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren. The battle to try to stop that was why my wife and I left that church.

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