31 July, 2014
The Hearing and Doing of The Word of God-Part 2/2
"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." This is very clear in the matter of trees. Nature never deviates from her fixed laws. No one expects to gather grapes off a bramble bush; nor does one ever find thorns growing on an apple tree. Every tree bears its own kind of fruit. The same is true of life. A bad heart does not make a good character; nor does it produce acts of beauty and holiness. It is a law of life that "as a man thinks in his heart—so is he."
We have it all here in the following verse. "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart—his mouth speaks." The thoughts make the life. The temple rose in silence on Mount Moriah; no noise of hammer or ax being heard in the building all the time it was in rising, because down in the quarries under the hill, and in the shops in the valley, every stone and every piece of timber was shaped and fitted perfectly, before it was brought to be laid in its place.
Our hearts are the quarries and the workshops, and our thoughts are the blocks of stone and the pieces of timber which are prepared and are then brought up and laid in silence upon the temple-wall of our character. Think beautiful thoughts—and your life will be beautiful. Cherish holy impulses, unselfish feelings, gentle desires—and your conduct will show beauty, purity, and gentleness to all who see you.
The picture upon the canvas if first a dream, a thought in the artist's mind. Just so, all the lovely things we do have their birth in lovely thoughts within us. On the other hand, think unholy thoughts—and your life will be unholy; think impure thoughts—and your character will be stained and blotched; think bitter, unkind thoughts—and your life will be full of unkindness, resentment, and bitterness. No wonder that we are told in the Bible to "keep our heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life!" If we would be godly and live well, we must have our heart renewed by God's grace. If Christ lives in us, then all will be well.
"Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" Confession of Christ is a good thing—but unless the life corresponds, it is only a mockery! It is not enough to honor Christ before men, praying to Him and ascribing power and glory to Him. Jesus tells us that those alone shall enter heaven—who on earth obey the will of the Father who is in heaven. Every confession of Christ—must be confirmed and approved by obedience and holiness.
"Simply to Your cross I cling" is not all of the gospel of salvation; it is only half of it. No one is really clinging to the cross—who is not at the same time faithfully following Christ and doing whatever He commands. We never can enter heaven—unless heaven has first entered our heart. We shall do God's will in heaven when we get there; but we must learn to do it here on earth—or we never shall get there.
"I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 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. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete." All turns on the doing—or not doing of Christ's words. Both the men hear the words of Christ—but one of them obeys, and thus builds upon the rock-foundation. The other hears—but does not obey, and builds upon the sand.
Both men built houses which were probably very much alike, so far as the appearance was concerned. But there were two kinds of ground in that vicinity. There was a wide valley which was dry and pleasant in the summer, when the men were looking for building sites. Then there were high, rocky bluffs. One man decided to build in the valley. It would cost less. The digging was easy, for the ground was soft. Then it was more convenient, for the bluffs were hard to reach. The other man looked farther ahead, and decided to build on high ground. It would cost far more—but it would be more safe. So the two homes went up at the same time, only the one in the valley was finished long before the other. At last the two families had settled in the two residences and were happy.
But one night there was a storm. The rain poured down in torrents, and floods swept down off the mountain. The house that was built in the valley was carried away with its dwellers. The house on the bluff was unharmed.
The illustration explains itself. He who has built in the valley is the man who has only professions—but has really never given his life to Christ, nor built on Him as a foundation. The man who built on the rock is the man who has true faith in Christ, confirmed by living obedience. The storms that burst—are earth's trials, and the tempest of death and judgment. The mere professor of religion, not a possessor, is swept away in these storms; for he has only sand under him. He who is truly in Christ is secure; for no storm can reach the shelter of Christ's love. It is a terrible thing to cherish a false hope of salvation throughout life, only to find in the end—that one has built upon the sand!