Jesus closes this sermon by describing two kinds of disciples – one group contains true disciples and the other false disciples. Both these groups are distinguished from all others who reject the teaching of Jesus as irrelevant. What distinguishes both true disciples and false disciples from all other people is their willingness to listen to the words of Jesus.
This is a very important point to notice – a false disciple is willing, at least for a while, to listen to the teaching of Christ. Therefore we can deduce from this that an interest in listening to preaching and in discussing the Bible is not in itself an evidence of conversion. It is a sign that such are different from those who reject the message of Christ out of hand, but it is not a sign that guarantees a person has become a true disciple. Jesus points out that in times of good weather, when everything is going smoothly, the true and the false look equally good.
But Jesus tells his disciples that times of trouble are inevitable. The storms are going to come sooner or later, and these storms will test the reality of each professing disciple’s commitment to the word of Christ. He states very clearly that the essential preparation for stability and perseverance when difficulties come is obedience to the teachings of Christ. Perhaps we can reflect on some of the details mentioned by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and see how strong is our conformity to his requirements regarding heart religion and focussed prayer.
Therefore we can see that obedience to the words of Jesus should be the highest priority in the life of a professing disciple. It is always possible to assess our spiritual temperature by the extent of our obedience.