“Which Way Now?” (John MacDiarmid)

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Notes on Sermon Preached at PCF on 2 January 2011

“Which way now?” (Luke 6 v.43-49)

The first sermon of the New Year seems like a good time to take stock and to consider where our lives are going. The passage we have come to in Luke gives us the opportunity to do just that.

These verses conclude a section in Luke’s gospel in which Jesus has been teaching His disciples. The “Sermon on the Plain” contains some key teaching directed to the wide group of disciples (not just the  twelve ) which He concludes with this  challenging exhortation.

Three points emerge:

1. Two Types of tree

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.

There is only one true way to determine what kind of tree is in your garden. What kind of fruit does it bear? In the same way, there is only one way to determine what kind of disciple you are. What kind of fruit do you bear? The fruit of a genuine disciple of Jesus is their obedience to His will.  If the fruit is not there, there is no evidence that they belong to Jesus. So we have to ask ourselves – is there fruit in my life- obedience to the word of God- that indicates that I belong to Him?

2. Two Types of Disciple

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like.8 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock…….But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation…”

Just as there are two types of tree, there are two kinds of professing disciples. Notice that both types hear the word of God, and are perfectly aware of what he wants. The difference? One does it…one does not.

What are the areas in our lives that indicate whether or not we are true disciples of Jesus?

  1. Our church life. Is church for us something that we are a part of for our own needs – or are we interested in fulfilling the purposes of God?
  2. Our Family life. In every relationship we have there are indications in God’s word as to how we should conduct ourselves. So God tells us how to behave as a husband, as a wife, as a child and so on. Is Jesus Lord of our family lives? And is our family life submitted to Jesus? It is quite possible for family life to be exalted far above God’s kingdom.
  3. Our working life. Is Jesus Lord of the time that we spend at work during the week? Whether as a boss or an employee Jesus has ways he wants us to behave. The same applies if we are at school, college or University. Is our work done “as to the Lord”? And if we are retired, does our retirement have Jesus at its centre? If we are unemployed, do we look to Jesus for the future and do everything we can to find work?
  4. Our financial life. When Paul said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” he was talking about his ability to life in want or in plenty – to live within means which God had given him. Does our use of God’s resources bring him honour? And do we use God’s resources to honour him, giving generously and sacrificially into His work?

There are many other areas in which we need to obey God – but these four are a good place to start off 2011.

None of this is to suggest that perfection is going to happen overnight. But the question is, in these areas and other areas is the chosen direction of our lives that we will, in every area of our lives, determine from God’s word what is right and make a firm commitment to follow his way?

If not Jesus has a question for you: “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do as I say?”

3. Two Types of result

“When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built….The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

God governs his universe by means of consequences. Every action has its own consequence. The choice you make determines the consequence you will reap. You cannot make one choice and reaps a different consequence.

For those who are the “bad tree” the false disciple who is not serious about obeying Jesus, there is only trouble ahead, in this life and in eternity.

For the good tree, the true disciple, who obeys Jesus there is the promise of security, the promise that though difficult situations may come, our house will not fall. There is the promise of heaven and that we will be welcomed with “ well done, good and faithful servant”.

What kind of tree are you?

What kind of disciple are you?

What kind of consequences will follow you, in this life and in eternity?

John MacDiarmid

January 2011

Posted Under: Talks

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