Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content


Home > Sermons

Brand New Image of God

Jesus changed the way we relate to God.


Go with me to Matthew chapter 7. We are going to look at the last three warnings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 7, verse 13 all the way through verse 29. Jesus is speaking directly to his disciples in the midst of a crowd. The last verse mentions that the crowd was shocked at hearing what Jesus was saying because they recognized this guy is like none other. You can't fall asleep listening to him, in fact you get electrified by listening to him. There's something to him like no one else. They recognized he spoke with his own authority. In the very same way, he's speaking not to crowds this morning, he is speaking to you individually. Every single one of us here today is being called by name. The question is, will you respond?

More than a pep talk

In this passage, Jesus is intending to not give them just a pep talk, just to kind of get them all rallied up to go for the two or three years. What he is going to give them in the Sermon on the Mount, is the interpretive tool that will last them for a lifetime; to take them all the way to even the center of Rome, to take them to places where people are going right now. Right now there are missionaries in China, there are people going to Afghanistan, there are people in South America, Africa, and India, and throughout the world. People going to dark neighborhoods, difficult universities, there's people ministering to gangs. People who have found this key are people who have fire to keep them going over and over again. The gospel went from Asia to Africa to Europe to Latin America to Asia again, and it has been going on the fuel of this one single interpretive key.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus talks about everything and then some. He talks about crying, he talks about being insulted, he talks about persecution, he talks about bearers of peace, he talks about justice, he talks about the law, he talks about being killed, he talks about when people insult you, he talks about your offering, about forgiving and asking forgiveness, he talks about legal demands, about suing somebody in court, he talks about jail, he talks about adultery, about hell, about divorce, about marriage, about oaths, about words of honor and speaking of truth and living out truth, he talks about when somebody assaults you, when somebody abuses you, he talks about legal or government abuse, he talks about love, about hate, talks about giving to the poor, he talks about praying, he talks about asking forgiveness in prayer, he talks about fasting, he talks about going shopping, he talks about riches, he talks about money, he talks about preoccupation, he talks about food, he talks about clothing, he talks about drink, he talks about anxiety, about fathers, children, and friends, houses and temples, and religion and miracles and demons. He talks about everything in one sermon.

It was Jesus' intention to give a brand new image of God to us.

If you catch that, you will have everything. It is basically a new relationship. Just like that. It is very simple. Jesus says, "If you see me, you will see God. If you see me, you've seen God." In other words, I am God present here with you and I am showing you the heart of God. If you see me, you will see God. If you today are able to see him, to develop a relationship with him, in other words to grab on to God in this relationship you will have everything that you need to go on through the darkest, most difficult moments and times in all of your life, and that is a fact that happened to the church.

Three images of the kingdom

The kingdom drawn near
Jesus displays the heart of God in three images. The first image is in chapter four, verse 17. Jesus says "Repent because the kingdom of God has drawn near." What he is saying is repent because I am inaugurating something. The King is present now. The kingdom begins the moment the King has arrived. Now, how do you join the movement of the kingdom? You repent. Enter the kingdom, the King is here. Then he turns around and he says, "Follow me." Throughout the entire Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit because the kingdom of God is exactly for them." He says in other words, those people who look into their hearts and they say, I am desperately bankrupt, I have nothing to my name, and I have nothing that I can say this will count for something good. Jesus says, "You are so close to the kingdom." The kingdom is for those who look at their hands and they say I am nothing, all I have is just to stretch out my hands and say, I need you desperately. Jesus says the kingdom of God is for them. He is saying, when you look at me and you understand that I am the King and you relate to me as the King, you have everything you need. That's the image we need this morning.

What do you do with a King? Jesus is saying, grab on to me as your King. Well, what do we do with a king? A King demands absolute and total allegiance. That is exactly what Jesus is saying. Jesus is saying, as your King, if you want all the benefits of the kingdom, what you will do is you will let go of everything else and you will grab on to me. Put him first, put the kingdom first. Now, he says something in verse 32 that's very interesting. Jesus says, "The pagans run after all these things, but your heavenly Father knows that you need it." The pagans run after all these things. They run. Of course the image that I have always had in my mind whenever we read this is it's running like crazy, or running like a chicken with its head cut off. Jesus says you can either run after all these crazy things in life or you can bring order into your life. Does your life feel like a mess? Do you look inside and you say, my life looks like a mess, it's filled with disorder, my heart is filled with disorder. Do you want order in your family, with your relationships with your children, with your parents? Do you long for having order in your life? Jesus says; begin by putting me in the center of your heart as the King.

He gives us three warnings that I think are important. First warning, I don't know how to say it in English but in Spanish I call it la bola. In other words, you just go with the crowd. So Jesus says, "Behold, life is like getting into Jerusalem." Getting into Jerusalem, there are crowds, there are doors that are huge doors and you don't even need to make your way there, all you do is you just jump into the crowd and let the crowd take you in. Wide is the gate. Now, if you follow without thinking about where you're going without making a personal decision, watch out that you will not be driven into destruction. In Jerusalem there are also smaller gates. Small enough so that only one person can go in at a time, and Jesus is saying you can either choose to go with la bola, go with the crowd, or to be taken by the crowd. Or you choose to go in by your personal decision. Jesus is saying you have a choice—worshipping anything else that you want, following the crowd in worship, or you can make a very conscious decision about who you will worship and join and enter into Jerusalem and dance all the way to the temple, by your own personal decision of saying, I am crowning Jesus as the King of my life, as the King of the world.

Whenever Jewish people think about going into Jerusalem throughout history, it has always meant worship. So Jesus is talking about worship through this warning. He is saying, put me number one over anything else that you would ever mildly worship. Of course you and I are worshippers, and we display it so clearly. I mean, even non religious people, they just can't hide it. None of us can hide it. Because no one disagrees with the idea of tithing and offering, we just disagree with the idea of who do we tithe and who do we give offering to.

When was the last time that you went to a Bears game? Chris and I went to a Bears game last year. It was a lousy game (Kansas City won), and there was nothing to cheer except when the chips came by or something like that. But here's the thing. People gave thousands and thousands of dollars to the Bears. And people put on the uniform. I've been told that Americans don't like wearing uniforms. Have you ever gone to a Bears game? Everybody's wearing their own jersey. Americans don't like being told to wear it but we wear it naturally depending on who we worship and what we worship. If you worship your job then you bow to the altar of your job and you say, "My job is calling me, oh beautiful job, I will never leave you, I will never forsake you. I have my job, my job is number one."

You and I were designed to put something as number one. For some of you, it is looks. I worship my beautiful self. You look in the mirror, and you have no problem giving away money in the offering in the temple of whatever will make you beautiful. How much did you pay for your membership at the gym? What is it that you worship? Maybe you have a communion of gods that you worship, but Jesus is saying, "Will you cut away with any one of those?" It's interesting that even things that are good—like our marriages or our children or our health—we end up worshipping. We end up putting them in first place. God's something else, a secondary thing.

The religious people, those people who put Jesus in second place—not in third, not in hundredth, not in thousandth—those people who put Jesus in second place are going to be the people that will end up taking him to the cross, spitting on him, insulting him, and crucifying him. Beware that you and I are not people who put Jesus in second place.

The second warning has to do with a tree. He talks about trees and the kind of fruit they bear. He says there are prophets who bear different types of fruit. Who are the people that you want to imitate your life after? Jesus says go and poke some of their fruit, check it out. Could it be that people are following you and they are seeing the tree that looks good on the outside but is rotten on the inside? So Jesus says go and check the people that you are following because maybe you think that you are crowning me as King but I'm not King of your life at all. Imagine people who are feeling like they are very religious, they come to church and they say, "God, you and I are so tight, aren't we?" Which is exactly what these guys say, on the Day of Judgment. People will come saying, "Senor! Senor! Don't you remember, Jesus, when we expelled those demons with the miracles? We were so good together." And Jesus says, "I'm sorry, do I know you?" "Yeah, don't you remember me at that church? I went every Sunday. I had you as number two in my life." And Jesus says, "I never knew you, I've never met you, we've never known each other, you really never knew me."

The third warning has to do with a house on the rock. Every Israelite at that time knew that Herod was building a house of God on Jerusalem, on Mount Zion. In other words on the mountain that is a rock. Here's the guy who is building a house on the rock. Isn't that impressive? Isn't that great? That temple will never come down. And behold, 70 AD, the entire temple in Jerusalem was absolutely destroyed. Not one stone over another stone. What is Jesus speaking about? Jesus is saying every single one of us is creating a temple in our hearts. Every single one of us is building a temple. Now, you might be impressed by that religion, by Herod building a temple, but there's a greater temple that will never fall. Here's the question again: Will you crown me as King or will you crucify me as number two in your life? You can only have me one way, as King.

Following the new Moses
I told you three images, the second image is Moses. Jesus says throughout the Sermon on the Mount, "Moses said this, to you guys, Moses got it from me." Jesus says, "I have good news, I will explain to you what Moses was trying to communicate from me to you. So now I am here and I can tell you clearly what was meant." The crowds are saying, "Whoa, he speaks with an authority greater than any other teacher because all the other teachers would just explain the law, what Moses had given." Jesus is saying, "I'm not explaining the law, I am telling you what I meant from the very beginning." Jesus presents himself as a new and greater Moses.

Now, think for a moment about who Moses was. Moses was that guy that went into Egypt and brought out the people who had been for at least 400 years in slavery. They had been in slavery for so many years that they could not even think what freedom looked like. They didn't even have an idea what freedom looked like. Maybe it is like some of your families. You were born in the same slavery that your mother and your father … I mean just for generations so that when you think of a family you can't think of something the way God designed it because you have had family or riches or sex or money or whatever it is. You have it so distorted in your mind because you got it for so many generations that have been lost. You look at other people and you see fathers loving their kids. You see men and women relating in ways that you think is strange. You find ways of counting them out by saying they live in the suburbs or they are too white or they are too Asian or they're too Mexican. We find ways of telling ourselves that they're weird what we really are saying is I have no idea where they're living at because I have always lived in slavery. Moses took those people and he took them to the Promised Land, the land flowing with milk and honey. Moses led them to the place they always dreamed of.

Jesus, as the new Moses, is saying, "I am the only one that can take you out of the darkness of the slavery you were born into. I will drive you through the desert. You will suffer, you will be persecuted. You will be disappointed, you will want to give up. But follow me, I am greater than Moses, and if you follow me I will deliver you all the way to the door of the land with milk and honey." The new Moses is saying, "Follow me." What does it mean to follow Jesus?

God, the rewarding father
The last image is Jesus saying not only am I King and you can only relate to me by putting me number one in your life, not only am I Moses and you can only relate to me as you follow me, as you step out of your comfort zone and follow me, but the third one is the dearest one. Jesus does something that they could never imagine. He begins calling God "Daddy." So Jesus is saying you can relate to God, and this will give you everything you need for the darkest, most difficult times. He says three things about our heavenly Father. He says three things about God being seen as a Father.

In 5:48 he says, "So be like your Father." Just like that. "Be like your Father." So here it is. In other words, if you choose to follow me, to crown me as your King, to follow me, what you will find is not a King that is far away, it's not a Moses that you can never approach. You will find a God that is so amazing, and approachable, and you will want to be like him. I just want to be like my dad. He says, "So be like your Father."

Throughout chapter 6, he says pray, but pray not like everyone else does. Pray in such a way that you touch your daddy's heart. He said give, give to the poor, but don't give to the poor like everyone else. You give to the poor differently because if you've crowned me and you're following me, you will find that you want to give to the poor because the only one that finds out is your heavenly Father and he loves that, and you are being like your Daddy.

The third way is to fast. Put food to the side, pursue him with all your strength and your heavenly Father will reward you. Children look to their fathers to be rewarded. Have you ever noticed that? Children look to their daddy's to be rewarded. I was looking at the news with my daughter regarding Shirley MacLaine. Shirley MacLaine was a very famous actress and she put her career as number one in her life. She had a daughter, and she was absolutely poor. She said that she grabbed her daughter, sent her to a boarding school, and she forgot to go and pick her up. The daughter has just come out with a book talking about how much she longs for her mother but also talking about how messed up as a mother Shirley Maclaine was to her. At the end of the interview, she comes out in an interview and was asked, what she wanted to accomplish with this book. She said: "I just want my mom."

A father's reward is like none other. You have been looking to be rewarded by so many other people. Maybe with your looks, trying to be rewarded by somebody who would love you. Maybe with your money, wanting to be rewarded by somebody. There is no reward like the love of your heavenly Father.

He says one final thing in regards to fathers, and this is probably the one way in which you can evaluate your very own heart. Are you a religious person that is crucifying, spitting, assaulting Jesus, putting him second in your life, or is he the King of your life, is he the Moses that you're following, is he the Daddy that you respond to? You will know it by one thing. Jesus says, "Ask your heavenly Father because he is a good Daddy and he loves giving gifts to his children." Chapter seven, verse eleven, he loves giving gifts to his children. If your first reaction is, "Daddy, here's the situation, I don't know what to do." If your first reaction at losing everything is, I would lose God, there it is. That's a clear sign to your own heart. Evaluate your very own heart because your heavenly Father is good and loves giving gifts to his children.

Last week we went canoeing for 5 days. So Matt, Chris, and I went, and we brought some of our kids. It was such a fun time. I took my oldest son. Matt brought his son and then we took Chris' three kids. We are out in the canoes on the first day. We're like within an hour of paddling, we're paddling like crazy for our lives because the wind is coming up. So we have three canoes, Matt's going in one, I'm going on the other and then Chris is going in the other. He's got one of his boys right in the middle of his canoe, and he is sitting there and he's just sitting, this kid is bored, for an hour just sitting there. He's never done that, ever in his life probably. He starts crying. Something turns on in him and he says, "I want to go home." We're thinking, We are only an hour into paddling, and we're here five days. Should we throw him overboard and just say a bear ate him or something? I notice that Chris is just as calm and patient as can be. Then the next time he just yells out, "I want to go home!" The third time Chris stops. Stops. Then he grabs him, stands him up, takes his pants off, and he says, "Pee." And he goes, and when he is done he's like the happiest kid on earth and just starts fishing.

Many of us don't even know what we need. But our heavenly Father knows us. I could never in a thousand years know that was Chris' son's issue. You and I don't understand ourselves. What we need more than anything else, is a heavenly Father who knows us.

Jesus is saying, "See me as Moses. I am the only One that can draw you out of the darkness of everything that has ever held you back out of your captivity of sin. I can draw you through, I can walk you through if you stay, remain close to me I will walk you through the deepest and the hardest moments of the desert of life and I will deliver you to the Promised Land, the land flowing with milk and honey." Then Jesus says, "But the one thing that as you take me as King and as you take me as your Moses, where you will find me is not somewhere far away. You will find me as your Father that you have always been longing for. The Father that can reward your heart, the Father that knows your every need, your deepest needs, and the Father who loves to give to his children."


What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you right now? If you sense some nudging in your heart, some pulling, tugging at your heart, that's God. That's God, that's the Holy Spirit, He's inviting you. He's saying, "Would you come today, would you follow me today, would you step out of the crowd? Would you step out of the crowd that's leading you to destruction? Will you take the one decision that no one else can take for you? Follow me today. Bring order into your life."

Paco Amador is the pastor of New Life Little Village in Chicago, IL.

Related sermons

Don't Go To Church!

Being the church demands more than attendance.
Matt Woodley

Your Whole Life Matters to God

All of life is an act of worship and an opportunity to serve and please God.
Sermon Outline:


I. More than a pep talk

II. Three images of the kingdom

a. The kingdom drawn near
b. Following the new Moses
c. God, the rewarding father