The Three Most Important Chapters in the Bible

A friend of mine likes to say, “Salvation is not a plan, it’s a man.”

Our faith is not to be in something Jesus has done, but in Jesus himself, the Savior of the world.

But what does it mean to have faith in Jesus Christ?

Faith and Obedience

Jesus once said:

Whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will compare him to a wise man who built his house upon a rock. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, and it didn’t fall because it was built upon a rock. (Matt. 7:24-25)

Apparently, Jesus—the one in whom we are to have faith—thinks that having faith in him is listening to and obeying what he has to say.

Corroborating Jesus

Now I know we shouldn’t have to corroborate the words of Jesus. He is, after all, the Lord and Creator of everything and everyone.

But since Christians today seem to prefer other voices than that of the great Shepherd of the Sheep himself—Jesus doesn’t always seem to grasp or agree with our ideas about faith alone—let me point out that the writer of Hebrews entirely concurs with Jesus.

He has become the author of eternal salvation to them that obey him. (Heb. 5:9)

To whom did he swear that they would not enter into his rest except to those that did not obey (Gr. apeitheo: to refuse to be persuaded or comply)? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (Gr. apistia: unbelief). (Heb. 3:18-19)

And Paul warns us about people who would trick us into not believing that faith has nothing to do with obedience to Christ:

For you know this: No sexually immoral or unclean person, nor a greedy man—who is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Don’t let anyone deceive you with empty sayings, for it’s because of these things that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. So don’t be their companions in crime. (Eph. 5:5-6)

In fact, so does the apostle John:

Little children, don’t let anyone deceive you. The one that does righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous. (1 Jn. 3:7)

Jesus Speaks on Obedience Again

Jesus makes his concern about obedience even more clear a few verses before his comment about who is building his house on a solid foundation:

Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father in heaven. (Matt. 7:21)

So Jesus is concerned about obedience. To Jesus, faith is obedience.

But what does he want us to obey?

The Three Most Important Chapters in the Bible

Both passages from Matthew (above) are part of the Sermon on the Mount. Chapters five, six, and seven of the Gospel of Matthew are about the most concise description of how God wants you to live that you could ever hope for.

You could spend the rest of your life living out those three chapters and learning what they mean by obedience to them.

And according to Jesus, you’d be wise if you did.

This entry was posted in Gospel, Holiness, Modern Doctrines and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Three Most Important Chapters in the Bible

  1. Java says:

    Thanks, Shammah. I can amen your response. More specifically, I agree with your number 1, need to go back to your article on “apostolic teaching” from number 2, and I really, REALLY agree with your number 3! In fact, I struggle myself with how to live out His teaching on the kingdom of God, and, even more, how to communicate it to my children…especially in light of what seems to me to be the central teaching of Jesus. I’d like to talk more with you about this.

    Thanks and God bless you.

    java

  2. Java says:

    Hi Shammah! Just yesterday I was trying to come up with a statement of faith of sorts, when I felt like I just wanted to park my statement at those very three chapters. Not that there aren’t other very important teachings by and/or about Jesus, but these seem to be the ones that can cause just about any believer to stop short and see our desperate need for Jesus abiding strength.

    I’d like to hear more about how these chapters have shaped you and the rest of the believers at Rose Creek Village.

    God bless you

    • Shammah says:

      Hey, Java. Really good to hear from you!

      It would be hard to describe the influence of the Sermon on the Mount on us. Most of the teachings there are really well known, so even without purposely going after those commands, we have to deal with them. For example, the “golden rule” is there. The commands not even to look at a woman with lust and not to be angry with your brother without cause are there. The command to turn the other cheek is there, and to give your shirt in addition if someone sues you for your coat.

      How well we’ve been shaped by such commands will have to be for God to decide. We know those commands, and we don’t excuse ourselves from them. I would hope than anyone who visits us would find us honest (“Let your yes by yes”), seeking first the kingdom of God, and willing to put others first (“Do to others …”). I hope that we would be found merciful, poor in spirit, pure, and peacemakers, and we have definitely had opportunity to leap for joy when we’ve been slandered for righteousness’ sake.

      Such commands and teachings are everything for us. That doesn’t make us unique. Those passages I referenced are famous because Christians in general talk about them. I’ve definitely met people, both here and elsewhere, who live those teachings well. May God grant me grace to be found an imitator of such.

      There are three places I think Christians fall short of the Sermon on the Mount:

      1. The city set on a hill: We don’t combine our little lights into one big light on a hill.
      2. The fullness of the Law: We’ve completely forgotten apostolic teaching on that matter, both Sabbatarians and non-Sabbatarians alike.
      3. Seek first the kingdom of God: That command gets a lot of lip service, but Christians in general think it’s naive to put the kingdom of God ahead of college, career, and retirement. (At RCV, we encourage families to determine what is best for their young person’s soul first, not their career or income first.)

      I would add that the command not to resist an evil man is not very popular in most churches, and it is usually explained away. Mind you, I would stop a violent crime–to someone else–if I could because I believe not doing so is not love, but we’re supposed to give to thieves, I believe, not karate chop them or kick them in the groin.

Comments are closed.