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When the Lord spoke to the crowds and disciples from the mountainside, He said to them, “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…” [Matthew 7.24-25]

As anyone knows, from practice comes failure and success.  However, the more one practises, the more one reduces the failures and improves the frequency of his success, and not only the frequency, but the magnitude of the success increases so that like the wise man who did built his house on the rock, as he continues to build more houses, he improves each house.

See that in the way the Lord said it in Matthew 7.24, “Therefore everyone who hears these words…” there is no implied personal relationship at all.  Anyone who happens to hear His words and practises them becomes like that wise man… much like those who buy the DVDs of self-help teachers… they pay the money but they never meet the person.  Now compare this to when later He again taught them about practising His words in Luke 6.47-48, except this time He said, “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.” The comparison of these two passages shows you the superiority of those who develop a personal relationship with Jesus, “…who comes to Me…” as Jesus said, to those who happen to hear the word, use it and benefit from it, but develop no personal relationship with Jesus per say.  Those who not only practise the words of Jesus they have heard, but also develop the relationship, are like persons who build the house that cannot even be shaken by the torrent of a flood… much less by some wind, rain or a rising stream.

As the days of distress increase, even those who practise the words of Jesus they have heard will find that it is not enough to have heard and practised when the rising stream becomes a flood and then a torrent… as it is those who have a personal relationship with Him who will withstand the torrent.  For it is those who do come to Him who can ask what He meant by what He said… for the Lord spoke in parables, and parables are hard to understand unless you ask and He explains, just like His disciples asked Him in Luke 8.9 what the parable of the sower meant.  After all, instructions are best followed when the instructor is there to explain.  That personal relationship with Jesus is now still available to all who receive the Holy Spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to not only remind them of what Jesus has said, but to guide them into the truth and open and reveal to them what Jesus meant by what He said.  That is why those who take hold of Jesus’ words and put them to practice build a lesser home than those who come to Jesus and hear His words and then put them to practice.

However, with sustained increasing practice, the success leads to an expertise that produces the mastery of His word.  If Cain was told by God to master the sin that was crouching at his door [Genesis 4.7], that is, to overcome it and be its master… then how much more the Lord would have us not only practise His words, but be experts at its practice to the point of mastering it.

Like all His parables that not only describe with words, but also by the words paint a picture so that not only do you hear the words, but you can also see the picture… the parable of likening a man who hears and practises His words to that of a wise man who built a house that could survive a blowing wind, falling rain, a rising stream and even the torrent of a flood, gives rise to the picture.  The version of the one who has not only come to Him, hears His words and practises them, but has also mastered them… he is like the wise man who not only built the house to survive the environment, but a device to overcome and master the environment… a machine, if you like, that could divert the wind, stop the rain, control the stream and hold back the flood so that not only his house is spared, but also his foolish neighbours’ houses.

If the practice of the words of Jesus gives you the security like that of a wise man’s house… then, elect, the mastery of His words makes you like a man who has the ability to devise ways to overpower the environment.  It makes you like one who can stop the wind from blowing, the rain from falling, the stream from rising and the flood from striking.

Beyond the hearing of the words, which is obedience to the Father, for He commanded all disciples to listen to Jesus… beyond the practice of the words, which is obedience to Jesus, for He commanded all disciples to practise… comes the mastery of the words of Jesus for which there is no command, but the natural reward for anyone who dedicates himself earnestly to its practice.  Anyone who dedicates himself to practising his gift will one day become a master of that gift.  There is no command to do so, but it is an inevitable result from the effort… a result that flows from the presence of the Holy Spirit’s delight as He watches the one and ones who have dedicated themselves, even by sacrifice, to the practice of the words of Jesus until by perseverance they have mastered them and continue to master them, showing themselves not only as casual disciples or acquaintances of the word, but experts who not only know the word, but also understand the word to use the word and teach the word.  They are not just people who fly in a plane or pilots who fly the airplane or mechanics who maintain the plane or designers who design the plane… but they are all of the above and can cause the plane to perform manoeuvres no one has dreamt of.  Likewise, those who master the words of Jesus are not those who believe the words or those who put the words into practice when they remember them or when the need arises or teach them from theories… but they live them constantly, so constantly that their lives are inseparable from the words when in fact their lives are the word become flesh.  Through them you don’t hear about the blind seeing, you see the blind seeing; through them you don’t hear about walking on water, you watch them walk on water; and so on.

When you who have come to Jesus and put His words to practice produce the success that displays the mastery… that is when you have truly become the light of the world by which people may see the salvation, the Father and the kingdom that Jesus came to reveal.  You are the sons of God that creation is groaning, waiting to be revealed.  Not those who claim to be manifest sons of God but cannot do a thing like their Father or Lord can… that is, those who hear the word but do not put it to practice, if they have not come to Him.  These ones will be blown away by the first whiff of a wind, dissolved under the weight of the first drop of rain, and washed away by the merest rise of the stream.

But those who do come to Him and yet still do not practise may be of stronger stock… claiming a personal relationship, even a personal appointment as a minister in the fivefold ministry… yet do not put His words into practice, but profess to practise the words of other men, will be completely obliterated… swept away in the torrent of a flood so that when the waters are subsided, there is not a trace at all of their house.  So likewise, the works of those who claim they have Jesus but do not practise His words will have their life’s work completely wiped out, as if it never existed.  If you have ears to hear, hear, but better still use your eyes to see if you claim you are sent by Jesus as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher or pastor and yet you do not practise His words that you have heard.

However, for those of you who have heard, who have come to Him and are practising His words in the midst of a world and a church that run after the words of other men and their practices… be encouraged.  Your labour will not go unrewarded, and as the Lord has said, “All men will hate you because of Me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.” [Luke 21.17-19] Even in the midst of a world where all men hate you… not even a hair on your head will perish.  Why?  Because you are one who can change the wind’s blow, stop the rainfall, keep the stream from rising and turn the torrent around so that it will not come near you and those you choose to protect.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are
taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®,
NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission of Zondervan.  All rights reserved


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