Jesus’ Four Warnings On How Not To Respond To His Sermon (That We’re All Guilty Of)

Jesus ended the Sermon on the Mount not with a final command but with four warnings on what not to do in response to his words. His warnings address the three traps every believer has fallen into—including you and I. What he says is absolutely brilliant as it shows he knew that hearers would be overwhelmed by the difficulty of his words and resort to using three common human problem-solving strategies. Normally effective strategies, they fail here and what's worse, you won't even realize they're failing for a long time—if ever. Once you know what the four warnings mean, you will recognize your own mistakes as a Christian and finally see in the forth warning the one viable response to Jesus' words. Armed with the right approach, you can start over in your walk with God.

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Tim McHyde

Tim is the author of this site (since 1999) and the book Know the Future that explains Revelation literally at last--including the key event of Wormwood (Rev 6-8). To read more from Tim and not miss a single new article, sign up for his free newsletter above.

13 comments
Andreas - February 26, 2017

Mmmmmmm…..that article tasted good, like a good fruit does. 🙂

Reply
Sue W - March 1, 2017

Tim, wow!
Thank you for the encouragment in this article.
I have more peace as a result and also some things to work on!
May God continue to lead and inspire you.

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    Tim McHyde - March 2, 2017

    Sue, thank you, that’s what I hoped the article would do for people. Give them some clarity on the rock foundation Yeshua said we can have and how it looks like differently than the sand foundation today even most Christians have.

    Reply
William Trinh - March 3, 2017

Thanks Tim for the amazing insights. Since my active church going days ended a few years ago, I’ve been feeling down about myself and my walk. Your articles and personal testimony definitely gives me hope that perhaps it was all part of the Father’s plan that I distanced myself from that institution for a while so I can unlearn some of the wacky things I learned and build my faith again on solid stuff like the Sermon on the Mount. It always did bother me how pharasaical I became the more I went to church and tried to get involved. For the longest time I was convinced that I was simply incorrigible, the chief of sinners because no matter how much church and Bible i consumed, I was still turning out like a pharisee. Now I realize that it wasn’t so much the church that was turning me into a pharisee as it was me not applying my energy to practicing the things taught in the SOTM.
Like you and probably everyone on this thread, I did everything Yeshua said not to do. Its amazing how He captured the entire modern church experience in those four warnings. Brilliant!
It’s also amazing how all of these years, I never saw the connection in these verses. They were just isolated warnings to me, not four components of a bigger picture Yeshua was painting about false religion. So much to chew on . . . .

One suggestion, for your bullet points at the end, you should just make a running list and let all of your supporters add to it when they feel inspired (you would have to moderate the list of course). After a little while, we should have a pretty long list of practical things we can do in any situation to be better followers of Christ.

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    Tim McHyde - March 3, 2017

    William, you get it! Yes, it’s all there in the four warnings, an interconnected prediction of what believers do instead of what Yeshua described (albeit opaquely). I’ve noticed that Yeshua only warned about things that were 100% sure to happen to us, such as “take heed no man deceive you” (lol, see Rev 12:9).

    Just one correction to help you understand what I wrote better. It really was “the church” = religion that made you into a self-diagnosed judgmental tradition-following Pharisee, not failing to study Yeshua’s words. That’s how the Pharisees were created, by religion with its manmade rules and regulations. Had it not been for Christianity, you never would have come up with so many invented standards and practices that made you judgmental. Like most Christians, because of Christianity you ended up more a Pharisee than Jesus as the Barna Group survey shows. Christians judge others for drinking, dancing, dress, swearing, being divorced, not going to church, not tithing, not reading the Bible, etc. God’s universal law for all humanity is love, not often culturally-derived standards like those.

    I need to do an article on this, but briefly “false religion” is an oxymoron, just like George Carlin famously joked about “military intelligence.” There is no “true religion.” Religion by definition is a system of traditions, rules and regulations invented by men in place of just following the Word of God directly. Consider: what religion do the angels have in Heaven? They don’t have a religion. They see the face of God hear his words and do them (plus spontaneously worship and glorify him out of this constant awareness of God’s awesomeness). That’s all we need to do to please God, too: obey his will/word (Lk 8:21=Mt 12:50). No religious meetings, sacraments, or taxes required–although you can pursue them if you wish. Just watch out, as Yeshua warned, that such things may distract you from focusing on what Yeshua focused on.

    Thanks for commenting and your suggestion. For now I have no way of doing that so I will continue to direct people to contact me or comment below with their questions and suggestions on the repentance behaviors list.

    Reply
Tina Black - March 5, 2017

This article made me cry in a good way! Its so nice to know that I am not as worthless and lost as the devil would like for me to think that I am. I have much more room for improvement but now I know that it is possible, thank you Tim!

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Jodie Pickard - March 12, 2017

Thank you Tim,
Can you please comment on what you think would be the way of love, the Fathers will in those extremely difficult situations. I have a brother who is a drug addict, 30 + years of living a double life. Praise God I was saved & soon after my parents before the very serious part of his addiction emerged. We have shown love & support, but also needed to put in boundaries when it was dangerous to have him coming to us. He went to rehab for 2 years, instead of jail. Has nothing to do with his children, who we support his ex wife with. There is no sign of repentance & continues to ask for money. We have recently made it clear there is no more support while he chooses that life. Is this the love of the Father, the only reference we cling to is the story of the prodigal son?

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    Tim McHyde - March 12, 2017

    Jodie, that’s a tough one when there is addiction or mental illness involved and what the person wants may not be best and they won’t understand when you’re acting in love for their best. I don’t know the answer and suggest it demands anyone to be led by prayer more than ever to handle it effectively. This TED talk comes to mind on the topic, not sure if it applies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY9DcIMGxMs but I share it in case it does.

    Reply
Thomas Burke - March 24, 2017

In the Third Warning Yeshua says: “Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers'” In this comment I want to emphasize the part: “I never knew you”. To me it seems to have always been clear that another key to understanding this warning is in the meaning of: “to know someone” which in the Bible has a strong connotation of closeness, of intimacy. I get Tim’s teaching of living the message of the Gospel and not just admiring the Messenger. However, Yeshua makes it clear in the parable of the grapevine that we are to remain in Him in order to remain in the Father, thus tying in with the intimacy we acquire by becoming “lowly of heart” and communing with His Spirit. Although my spirit leads me to pray to the invisible Father, I aspire to be like and bond with Yeshua intimately!

A cursory review of different translations on biblehub.com showed translations uniformly using the verb “to know” in Matthew 7:23 until I chanced upon the Orthodox Jewish Bible which gives this language: “And then I will tell them to their face, I never had da’as of you.” This link gives a confirmation and better understanding of “da’as” rendered as “to know” in this verse: http://www.egrc.net/articles/Rock/HebrewWords/yada.html

In particular: “When English speakers use the verb “to know,” we think of knowing in terms of the mental grasp of facts. In Hebrew, the word for “to know,” yadah, is much broader and will enrich our understanding of the scriptures. Many languages have two different verbs to express the idea of knowing a fact (information) as opposed to knowing a person (relationship). Hebrew tends toward the second idea – having a relationship with a person, and even extending it to mean to care about someone, even to be intimate sexually. For instance, the very literal King James version reads,

And Adam knew (yadah) Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain.
(Genesis 4:1)

This idea is especially important when we learn about the biblical concept called the “knowledge of God” (da’at elohim). A Westerner opens the Bible and wants to prove God’s existence and develop a theology about God’s nature, and would call that “knowledge of God.” But the Hebraic view is that “knowledge of God” is having a life in relationship with him. This is true spiritual wisdom – to know the Lord’s will and live it.”
Thomas Burke CR

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time - May 4, 2017

Thanks for another excellent article Tim! Even while an athiest I always had an instinct not to follow the crowd, an instinct not to trust leaders who showed wolfish characteristics (most of them), and an instinct to feel bad about myself whenever I complained or felt down or criticised others, as if I had no right to do it, even when there appeared to be just cause. And here we learn through the Bible that these instincts appear to be the natural Godly ones. It seems then that all on the wide path must be going against these instincts to some extent, else they wouldn’t be on the wide path. I really wonder how they manage to do it, but different life experiences, I guess. The most difficult thing about trying to walk the narrow path is having to deal with all the unjust forces that appear to be against you, but in Yeshua we trust. I used to often feel alienated and horrible, but am managing to stay peaceful in difficult circumstances much better than I used to.

I must admit however I am guilty of being a bit sheep-like to one leader, and that leader is you. Like you, I have found and subsequently discarded many other sources. But since finding you, I no longer search for any other source, such is how highly I rate your writings. The guilty part is, I now read your articles more than the Bible, as they tend to give me greater clarity. Having found no wolfish qualities in you though, it is not something that weighs on me heavily!

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    Tim McHyde - May 4, 2017

    Timothy, thank you for the comment and kind words. Don’t feel bad, I’ve heard this before and personally I also read more words about the Bible than words of the Bible itself these days. Stands to reason that it takes a lot more to explain it than the words it contains. As long as you check the verses I cite and check what I teach in the Bible, you’ll be a good Berean (Acts 17:11).

    Reply
    Thomas Garza - May 6, 2017

    Time, What a wonderfully honest post. Thanks

    Reply
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