“Think on These Things” is a column written by retired Creston Pastor Ian Cotton.

“Think on These Things” is a column written by retired Creston Pastor Ian Cotton.

Think on These Things: Saying and Doing – Part 1

‘Words are of no value unless they are accompanied with appropriate actions.’

By retired Seventh-day Adventist Pastor, Ian Cotton

A certain man had two sons; and he asked the first, “Son, go work today in my vineyard.” He answered , “I will not” but afterward he repented, and went. Then he asked the younger son who answered “I go, sir” and did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? They said, “The first.” Matt. 21:28 ff

In the sermon on the mount Christ said, “Not every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father in heaven.” Matthew 7:21. The test of sincerity is not in words, but in deeds. Christ does not ask, “What say you more than others?” but, “What do you do more than others?” Matthew 5:47.

Full of meaning are His words, “If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.” John 13:17. Words are of no value unless they are accompanied with appropriate actions. This is the lesson taught in the parable of the two sons.

This parable was spoken at Christ’s last visit to Jerusalem before His death. He had driven out the buyers and sellers from the temple. His voice had spoken to their hearts with the power of God. Amazed and terrified, they had obeyed without excuse or resistance.

When their terror was abated, the priests and elders, returning to the temple, found Christ healing the sick and the dying. They heard the voice of rejoicing and the song of praise. In the temple itself the children who had been restored to health were waving palm branches and singing hosannas to the Son of David. Voices were singing the praises of the mighty Healer.

The priests and elders had had unmistakable evidence of Christ’s power. In His cleansing of the temple they had seen Heaven’s authority flashing from His face and the power of His words. In His wonderful deeds of healing He had given evidence of His authority which could not be controverted.

Jesus knew that if they could not recognize God in Him or see in His works the evidence of His divine character, they would not believe His own testimony that He was the Christ. In His answer He evades the issue they hope to bring about and turns the condemnation upon themselves.

“I also will ask you one thing,” He said, “which if you tell Me, I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?”

The priests and rulers were perplexed. “They reasoned with themselves, saying, If we say, from heaven, He will say unto us, Why did you not then believe him? But if we say, Of men, we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. They saw the position they were in, and lied, “We can not tell.” And He said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.”

John the Baptist had borne witness of the One whose authority they were now questioning. He said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. He had baptized Him, and after the baptism, as Christ was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God like a dove rested upon Him, while a voice from heaven was heard saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17.

– Adapted from Christ Object Lessons

READ MORE: Think on These Things: In the Last Days

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