June 6, 2021 Who Enters the Kingdom? Part 20

Who Enters the Kingdom?

Building Our House, Part 2

(Part Twenty)

June 6, 2021



Read Matthew 7:24-29.


This will be the last message on our Lord’s wonderful and marvelous Sermon on the Mount. Seeing that this is last message, I wish to remind you of four principles that will help you understand this blessed sermon.


First, we saw that this sermon is for his disciples. It is not for the general crowd. Although, as we just read in verse 28, they had followed Him the up the mountain sometime after he took his disciples up there, and they heard what he had to say. Because it is for his disciples, it is for us. Because we are also the Lord’s disciples.


Second, we saw that the theme of the sermon is entering the kingdom. Our Lord’s great message is how we need to live and think in order to enter the kingdom.


Third, we learned that the “kingdom of heaven” is not heaven. Rather, it is the earthly kingdom that the Lord will establish when he returns to the earth.


Fourth, we learned that not all genuine Christians will enter the kingdom that is coming. Only those who live by God’s will as revealed in this sermon, will enter. (Those followers of the Lord who fail to live by Christ’s words will be excluded from the kingdom and must wait until the New Heavens and the New Earth to be united with the Lord.)


Last week, we saw that we, his disciples, must do two things. We must hear his words and we must do his words!


The first one is easy. The Bible, where we find the words of our Lord, is readily available in the West. There are Muslim countries and communist countries where the New Testament is difficult to come by. But we are blessed to have one in nearly every home. Book stores are filled with them. Most, though, do not hear the words of our Lord because they are too busy with trivial and worldly matters. Sad to say, that there are even some Christians who do not hear the words of our Lord very often. But that is the easy part.


The harder command to obey is to do his words. The “doing” is the building. We are building a house. This house is our life. Everyone is building. But the question is: what are you building upon? Are you building upon sand or upon the rock? I am talking about Christians. Unbelievers always build upon the sand! No matter what they do, they are building on sand, because sand is anything other than the words of Jesus.


Christians are faced with an option. They may build upon the sand or they may build upon the rock. I tell you, just from observation, there are many Christians who are building upon the sand. I know this to be true because when I talk to many people I discover they neither read their Bibles regularly (they are not hearing the words of Jesus) nor do they make wise decisions. They make decisions that are contrary to God’s revealed will. That is building on sand!


Building upon the rock is doing what Jesus said. We saw last time that there is an essential thing that we must do to in order to do what Jesus says. There is really only one thing we must do. There are many good things that we ought to practice that will help us to fulfill the words of Jesus: We can pray. We can fast. We can memorize Scripture. We can ensure a quiet time with the Lord. We can practice solitude. We can ensure never missing a meeting of the church. All these things are good and help direct our hearts. But they will all be of little avail if we do not do this one thing.


The one thing that we must do in order to do what Jesus says is to walk by the spirit.


But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.[1]


I mentioned last week, our default condition is the flesh. This is important to realize. It is not our natural condition to be in spirit. If we just wake up, maybe say a short prayer, eat breakfast, and plod through the day without turning to our spirit, we will be in the flesh. Sadly, there are many genuine Christians like this. Even though they have a desire to live by God’s law, they are in the flesh.


The word “walk” in verse 16 means to move, act, and have our being. It includes everything we do and say. It covers our whole daily life. In this verse Paul is charging us to have our daily life – to live, walk, and have our being – by the Spirit.


We looked at that verse last week. We also read this one:


For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.[2]


We must live according to the spirit, then our minds will be centered upon godly, spiritual things and the fruit of the Spirit will be lived out.


I wish to repeat a few things I said last time and I will add a few things, because it is so essential for us to understand this. How do we live according to the spirit? We do this first by recognizing that we have a human spirit where the Spirit has come to dwell if we belong to Christ. He is one with our spirit! Then, we simply turn inwardly. As simple as this is, both the fact that we have a spirit and turning inwardly, it is a sad truth that there are many Christians who either do not know this or do not turn to their spirit. My experience was that I was a Christian for four years or so before I understood that I had a human spirit and that I needed to turn to it in order to live by the Holy Spirit, because that is where he dwells! Why did it take so long? Because I was never taught these truths at first.


Once we know know that we have a human spirit, how do we turn? Some have found that by simply saying, “Lord Jesus, I love you,” or, “ Lord Jesus, I need you,” or, “Lord Jesus, you are my everything,” they are immediately in the spirit. A short, sincere, heart-felt prayer will enliven you! As I have encouraged you a hundred times before, calling on the Lord also gets one in the spirit.


Why is it so effective to live by the spirit? Because there is a wonderful Person in our spirit, if we have been born again. This Person is Christ Himself! It is common to hear Christians speak of the Holy Spirit living in them. But, it is not just the Holy Spirit who is within the disciple of Christ! It is the entirety of the Triune God! Yes, the Holy Spirit is within us. But Christ is in us! And, the Father is in us! All of who God is, is available to us! Because all of who God is, is within us!


Let us read Galatians 5:17 again:


For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.[3]


Don’t think that you are so sanctified that you cannot be pulled away from the straight path. The “flesh” is Paul’s word to express the “old Adam,” that is, human nature in its fallen condition.


Here is a sad truth. I said it already. But I need to emphasize it.  Even as regenerated believers, we will function in our flesh, our human nature. We can even try to live by God’s law in our flesh and we will think that we are doing well! Yet, it can be mostly outward, without the inward reality of God’s power.


Look how often the Pharisees studied the Scriptures!  But they did so in the flesh!


But it’s not just the Pharisees. It could be you. It could be me. This is one of the problems that he told the church in Galatia that they had.


Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?[4]


The Galatians had the Holy Spirit! But, rather than relying upon Him, they were trying to follow God’s laws, to build their individual houses, by the flesh!


This proves that our default condition is the flesh! If we can even carry out the law outwardly by the power of the flesh, then we see how easily we return to our flesh.


This is what I wish to impress upon you this morning. It is this: In order to live by the spirit, we must intentionally set our minds on the spirit.


For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.[5]


I tell you, outwardly, things can be going well in your life because you are following the guidelines of God’s word.  Even if unbelievers follow some biblical principles (maybe because they were their family’s values when they were growing up), then their lives will be relatively good. But all they are doing is doing things by their natural man, by the old Adamic nature. Christians can do this, too. This is what the Galatians were doing. They were attempting to live by God’s laws in their flesh.


When we live this way, I will tell you what will happen. You will succeed for a while. Things will go well for a while. But, eventually, you will fail and you will succumb to temptation, even a major temptation. This is why Paul said the deeds of the flesh are evident.


Did you ever have a lamp that had some kind of disrupted connection somewhere? Either in the socket base or somewhere along the cord, so that when you turn the lamp on it will go off by itself. And then maybe it will go on by itself. If you are sitting by this kind of lamp, sometimes you will have light and sometimes you won’t.




This is the way we are! We are like lamps with a disrupted connection. If we have a quiet time with the Lord in the morning (and I strongly encourage all to do this!), we will begin the day walking in spirit. But, it won’t be long before our light goes out. As we are driving to work someone might cut in front of us and there we are…in the flesh!


Paul commands us to live in the spirit, but this is something we must be vigilant about all day long! Why? Because our default condition is the flesh! There are many things that can help us to do this. I mentioned several things earlier. I found that listening to Christian music gets me in the spirit. But the easiest way, as I have said, is to simply turn to our spirit and say, “Lord Jesus, I love you,” or, “Lord Jesus, you are my everything!” The Jesus Prayer is also effective to get us to our spirit. The Jesus Prayer is found several times in the gospels. It is worded in slightly different ways, but the standard form (taken from the conglomeration of said prayers) is:


“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”


A shorter version is:


“Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.”


You recognize that we all need mercy, yes? Sometimes, we sin without recognizing what we have done. That is why the Jesus Prayer is so good! It is short, simple, and gets one in the spirit!


We are those lamps that are not connected right! This means we must be vigilant to turn to our spirit all day long.


If we will walk in spirit we will find that we are able to build upon the rock!


Who will enter the kingdom? Those who build upon the rock!


Who builds upon the rock? Those who hear the words of Jesus and then does them.


Who lives out the words of Jesus? Only those who live according to the spirit. That is, only those who set their mind on the spirit.


So, we can faithfully say that only those who live according to the spirit will enter the kingdom.


This very day, this week, and even the rest of your life, commit to receive the words of Jesus daily and then walk in spirit! Turn to your spirit every hour!


There is a song by the Canadian classic rock band, Triumph that I found to be quite uplifting and encouraging. As far as I know, they were not Christians. But this one song they wrote and recorded couldn’t have been done better. The name of the song is Fight the Good Fight. The chorus goes like this:


Fight the good fight every moment
Every minute every day
Fight the good fight every moment
It's your only way


We can change these words and make them fit our calling to live by the spirit:


Turn to your spirit every moment
Every minute every day
Turn to your spirit every moment
It's your only way


Press into the kingdom!








[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ga 5:16–17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 8:3–5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ga 5:17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ga 3:2–3). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 8:6). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.