Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” is recorded fully in Matthew 5-7. However, Luke also has much of the sermon in his Gospel as well. It is in Luke’s account that we see a very painful, pointed question. Luke 6:46 says, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Jesus had a way with words that few preachers ever seem to grasp (myself included). Why such a strong question from Jesus? What would happen in preachers today spoke so openly and in the straight forward manner as Jesus did? How could Jesus speak to people like this? Those are just a few of the questions I thought of as I read this passage. I believe Jesus asked strong questions because following Him requires strong commitment on our part. I think some people would get offended if a preacher today was this straight forward, but I also believe those who are truly committed to Christ would accept the message as from God. In a side note, I believe that too many times churches cater to the fringe masses, who regardless of what the church does will not fully embrace and accept the message and mission of Christ. I believe Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit gave us the words necessary in Ephesians 4:11-13 when he talked about that we are to equip the saints (key word there) to do the work of ministry. Jesus modeled this for us when He left the many to teach the few (His disciples). I believe that pastors today need to focus on those who are on fire for Christ and are willing to do the work of Christ, then lovingly pray for an encourage those on the fringe to fully devote themselves to Christ. But the bulk of the energy must be spent on those who are “doing what Christ said to do.” But this is a blog for another day 🙂
The final question I posed is where I want to spend the remainder of this post at. I believe Jesus could speak to crowds like this because they saw Him model what He was teaching. There was a story that broke late last week about the NCAA (college sports governing body) and the story said that the NCAA’s investigation into some “cheating” by a school was handled improperly. However, the big part of the story was the fact that the head of the NCAA, Mark Emmert, was not accepting any responsibility for what happened. The reason this is a big deal is because Mr. Emmert “preaches” to NCAA schools that accountability begins at the top. He has called out head coaches, athletic directors, and even university presidents for what he calls “lack of institutional control.” Yet now when a story comes out that people he is in charge of acted improperly, he wants to distance himself from it. Is this a big surprise? Absolutely not, it is called politics. However, what Mr. Emmert needs to realize is that he has just branded himself as a hypocrite and has lost the ability to speak about “lack of institutional control” and that accountability starts at the top. Jesus was different however, He led with love and integrity. He could teach in a straight forward manner because in a sense He was saying “do what I say, because I am already doing it.” Church leaders and Christians need to lead not just with their words, but (possibly more importantly) by their actions. Notice what Luke 6:47-48 says, “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock., ” Notice Jesus said this type of person does three things. First they come to Him. All truth is found in Jesus Christ! Secondly, they hear what Christ says, that is they not only hear it in their ears, but they apply it to their hearts which leads to the final stage, they do what Christ has taught.
Don’t lose your voice and right to speak because you are unwilling to model what you are asking people to do. If you want people to trust Christ with their heart and follow Him with their life, then you must first already be doing it. That is leading like Christ. That is what the world needs to see, and when they see it, you will have gained an audience and the right to speak to them.
By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him