Build on the Solid Rock

MEMORY SELECTION: “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” —Matthew 7:20


IN CONCLUDING his Sermon on the Mount, our Lord said: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it”—Matt. 7:24-27

It is important to note that this point of time in our Lord’s ministry was the beginning of a change in dispensations. Previously the Jews were under the Law Covenant and all the Jews, including the disciples, were instructed in the Law. John the Baptist was the last of the Jewish prophets. Jesus said of John, “For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.” (Matt. 11:13) When Jesus learned that John had been cast into prison, he realized John’s ministry was finished and that his own was to begin. In Matthew 4:12,17 we read, “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee … from that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (See also Mark 1:14,15.)

While the death of Jesus meant the end of the Law Covenant to those who believed, his ministry marked the beginning of the Sarah feature of the Abrahamic Covenant. The purpose of God under this covenant is to establish his church with Jesus as the Head. (Gal. 3:16,26-29; Col. 1:17,18) At the first advent of Jesus, his mission was to proclaim the Gospel and the liberty and freedom that was inherent in turning to Jehovah and accepting Jesus as the promised Deliverer.

The declarations and illustrations given by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount were to bring into focus the differences between the teachings of the Law with the embellishments of the scribes and Pharisees, and the law of liberty under Christ. Those who were hungering and thirsting after righteousness in our Lord’s day, as well as down through the Gospel Age, heard the message and gladly accepted its terms. In our Lord’s day it was only a remnant of the nation of Israel.—Rom. 11:5

Later in his ministry Jesus told his disciples, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” (John 16:12) The reason they could not bear them was because those things that Jesus withheld could only be understood and appreciated by a Spirit-begotten mind. And the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:39) After Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, those things were revealed to them in fulfillment of the promise in John 14:26.

One of the things that was revealed to the disciples and to all the footstep followers of Jesus down through the Gospel Age is the true basis or foundation of our belief. And this very briefly stated is: Jesus Christ and him crucified. They and we are brought to realize that Jesus took Adam’s place in death, providing the merit to ransom Adam and all of his progeny from death. Those who, because of a good conscience toward God, are moved to consecrate their lives to him, have the merit of Christ applied on their behalf during this Gospel Age, before it is applied on behalf of the world, which will be during the kingdom age. This gives Gospel Age believers a standing of justification before God. They receive this privilege provided they agree to lay their justified life down in sacrifice in the hope of a heavenly reward. In the process of carrying out this covenant of sacrifice, if they are rightly exercised the experiences they have will develop in them Christlike characters. This must be accomplished if they are to receive a heavenly reward.

The declarations by Jesus in the Beatitudes reveal such a character and those of Jesus’ followers who develop a like disposition have built on the solid rock, for “by their fruits ye shall know them.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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