The Best

 The Best                        Matthew 7                   June 11th 2017 

 Are you obsessed with the best? If you are going out to try a new restaurant does it take you two hours to research yelp, thrillist or the eater trying to find the best chef in the area? If you are going to buy a car do you walk on the lot and just say I want a blue one, or do you take some time to research?  I want the Best. I know you do too. Because who doesn’t want the best? Who wants grade B beef. Nope it better be grade A and maybe even a couple extra adjective like choice or select after it. Who wants to have a their seat get downgraded? Who wants second class treatment? I mean we don’t need the best for everything. But that doesn’t mean we don’t prefer it. If given it’s the same price and you have the choice between the best and anything that is not the best, why wouldn’t you pick the best? It’s the best. 

    Our lesson for today is from Matthew 7:15-28. This is the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. For three chapters in Matthew we just have this wealth of information. Where God gives us insight and understanding that is the best. Jesus talks about the scriptures and he spoke with authority on them like the people had never heard. Because he explained the word of God to them and he was God. It was great. And our verses today are the conclusion to that sermon. This is Jesus’ big finish to this great sermon. He ends it with a warning and some advice. 

    First the warning. Watch out for false prophets. Jesus might have preached the best sermon but that doesn’t mean it was the last sermon. There are always going to be more, because we always need to be reminded of what God says. There are always more precious treasures to be found sitting clearly in plain sight on the pages of scripture. We can always learn more. We can always be reminded of more that God has to share with us. And the more we are in God’s word. The better God is able to work through us. This is how God speaks to us. This is how God teaches us. This is how he gives us the precious treasures of heaven and the secrets of this life that are hidden to the rest of the world. And those treasure are for you. And Jesus wants you to have the best. He wants you to receive the true word of God.  He doesn’t want you to get a defective product. Or even worse than defective a dangerous product. He wants you to receive the true word of God. So he says watch out. 

    There are some out there who are the worst. Who instead of teaching what Scripture clearly teaches, they manipulate God’s word to suit their own agenda. They prey on people, They pretend to be speaking from God, but instead of using the Word of God to give strength and comfort, to destroy death and evil and sin and give life, they  God’s word to destroy and kill. To harm. To justify a message that is not about the love that our God has for us. Wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    If you want to know what the best is, you need to first know what is good. So what is the best good thing. Maybe answers will vary at first thought of that question. But if you really think about it what do we want? All the money in the world?  That could be nice… but I bet if you had all the money, you would also want love, someone to share your life with, that would be better, and if you had someone to share you life with, it would be better if you could trust that person to love you perfectly, and if you had that well I doubt you would ever want that to end, so you wouldn’t want sickness or death to ever effect either of you, cause it would be hard to see them in pain. And no matter what kind of money you have, or love you have for someone we still can’t do much about those things. And even if we had all of those things, we would want to happy and realize what we had. So it would probably be the best to have perfect happiness, with everlasting life, in a place without death or sickness or disease, with someone who loves us perfectly, where we would never have to worry about money or any other problems again. That would be the best wouldn’t it?  

    That’s heaven. That’s what our God gives to us. That’s what he wants us to talk about here in church, about the love that our God has and the path to heaven that he has given to us. That is what his word is all about. It’s about God and how he did for us what we couldn’t do. It’s about how he lived the life we couldn’t live - a life of perfection. 

    It’s not enough for us just to be the best person that we know. Our God demands that we be perfect. Never sin. Never make a mistake. And he doesn’t give any leeway on that. He doesn’t turn a blind eye to sin. He doesn’t give you a pass for those times that you have messed up. Which sounds like to worst doesn’t it. Do you like being told that you are wrong? Do you like being told that your best isn’t good enough? Do you like being told that you there is a standard that you don’t measure up to, and you can’t measure up to, because you aren’t good enough, and because of that you deserve punishment, and not just a slap on the wrist, But you deserve to pay with eternal soul. I don’t know about you but I don’t like hearing that. We like to make our own rules and live by them. We like to think that we can decide what is best. From the time we are very young we tell our parents i can do it myself! We like to believe that we can do anything we set our mind to! And we can overcome any mistake! 

    But we can’t. All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. There isn’t one of us that’s good enough. There isn’t one of that can boast that we are good enough to have God love us. 

    And I don’t tell you that to kill your self-esteem. Or your children’s self-esteem. I don’t tell you that to make you feel the worst. I tell you that so you can know the truth. Jesus once said it’s not the healthy that need a doctor but the sick, Doctor’s don’t tell us bad news about our health to hurt us, they do to help us. We have to understand the severity of situation. Jesus is the best. And that within him we don’t deserve anything good. A good doctor isn’t going to lie to you and tell you what you want to hear. Everything is OK do whatever you want it doesn’t matter. No a good doctor is going to tell you what you need to hear if you are sick you need to take a certain medicine. We are all sick. We are all flawed. We are all weaker than we wish we were. We are all worse than we want others to know. We all have pain. We are all sinners. But we have the antidote. We have life through Jesus. 

    This week in our VBS the theme was a mighty fortress. That is what Jesus is for us. He is a mighty fortress. A fortress is a structure built for protection. A place that we can feel safe. A place that we can go to when we are in danger, and we know that no matter what is going on out there in the world here in my fortress I have protection. This is Jesus. This is what our faith does for us. No matter what is going on out there in the world. No matter what fear or terror or danger there is, Jesus is always a fortress for us. He is always there for us. Letting us know that he loves us and he will take care of us. 

    The bible talks about God’s influence in our life in many different ways. He is not just a fortress that we can run to. The Bible says he is also the foundation. He is the rock that we build our life upon. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t change. He doesn’t give in. He doesn’t let us down. And if you are going to build anything. And you are going to put work into anything why wouldn’t you build it upon the best foundation. When you think about your life. What you are going to build, or you have built.  The career, the family, those life experiences that you would trade for the world, those things that you are so proud of, we work so hard on them praying that they will last. We want them to be best, and we don’t want them to be destroyed. That’s why we build them on Christ. Because he won’t let us down. 

    When tragedy strikes, he is there to assure of of heaven, when difficulties strike, he is there to reassure us that he is watching out for us, when we have struggles in our family, he is a constant who teaches us love and forgiveness. This is the best that we have. This side of heaven. This is the best. To be with Jesus. To trust his promises. To know that our God will never let us down. To know that following his laws and his commands. 

    Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them to practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat that house, and it fell with a great crash. 

    The VBS kids just spent a week in Gods word. They know Jesus loves them. They know he wants them to be perfect and they know when they aren’t Jesus will forgive them. They know that God has promised them many things and that he won’t let them down. Their lives are being built on the foundation of Jesus. And parents who brought them hereto helped them do that. But our life doesn’t stop building with we are in graduate kindergarten, or 6th grade or 8th grade, we never stop building.  We build our life through. And at every addition, we need to keep building on him. Keep looking to that love that is the foundation of our life. VBS has been a great opportunity for us to build. But it doesn’t stop here. There is church hear every Sunday, There is Sunday school in the fall, for the younger kids there is a preschool that teaches them this every day, there are Bible classes all next year. And those things are here at this church because we keep building. We keep growing personally and unless we are building our lives on Christ, it’s like building house on the sand. Everyone besides Jesus is going to let you down from time to time. Everything else in the world changes. Only Jesus is the best. He is our fortress. He is our foundation. He is the best. 

 

Amen