June 7, 2014
Matthew 7:28-29 (in context)
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.
CONSIDER THIS. . .
As one who had authority. . .
As we end this 50 day series on THE SERMON, let me begin our work today by reaching all the way back to the first discourse of our faithful tutor, John Wesley.
Let us observe who it is that is here speaking, that we may take heed how we hear. It is the Lord of heaven and earth, the Creator of all; who, as such, has a right to dispose of all his creatures; the Lord our Governor, whose kingdom is from everlasting, and rules over all; the great Lawgiver, who can well enforce all his laws, being “able to save and to destroy,” yea, to punish with “everlasting destruction from his presence and from the glory of his power.” It is the eternal Wisdom of the Father, who knows whereof we are made, and understands our inmost frame; who knows how we stand related to God, to one another, to every creature which God has made, and, consequently, how to adapt every law he prescribes, to all the circumstances wherein he has placed us.
It is he who is “loving unto every man, whose mercy is over all his works”; the God of love, who, having emptied himself of his eternal glory, is come forth from his Father to declare his will to the children of men, and then goes again to the Father; who is sent of God “to open the eyes of the blind, and to give light to them that sit in darkness.”
There is so-called authority that comes from power (i.e. their teachers of the law).
And there is power that comes from true authority (i.e. Jesus).
The authority that comes from power is fear. The power that comes from true authority is love.
The former is a matter of force which is ultimately powerless. The latter is the measure of love which ultimately wins.
Listen to how the Apostle John puts it, There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:8.
And this entire message of THE SERMON can be brought down to these three words: “Perfect in Love.” THE SERMON casts the vision of perfect love, which is not to be confused with flawless perfection. Perfect, or holy, love is the fullness of the Holy Spirit present in the frailty of a human person living into the dream of Kingdom come, “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Here’s the secret: Perfect love will reside in me to the extent that I know I am perfectly loved. To the extent that I do not know I am perfectly loved I am afraid. Here’s the kicker: I can only know I am perfectly loved when I come to the realization that in the midst of my deepest imperfection I am most deeply loved. And because the nature of this knowledge is ever expanding and increasing, this different kind of perfect can always grow more in love.
THE SERMON is the vision of authentic love. The sheer authenticity of the love of Jesus through his life, death, resurrection, ascension and promised return is the source of his authority. Through THE SERMON and in the power of the Spirit, Jesus disciples us into this very same authenticity and shares with us the very same authority. And this, my friends, is the Gospel: His life through ours and our life in Him.
Wesley has it right. In every word, THE SERMON sings the bold invitation of the Son of God,
“Behold, I show you the thing which your soul longs for!”
“As one who had authority.” Amen!
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