Summary: If you want your life to last, then listen to Jesus and live what He says.
Building on a Firm Foundation
Rev. Brian Bill
In 1174 the Italian architect Bonnano Pisano began work on what would become his most famous project: A separately standing eight-story bell tower in the city of Pisa. There was just one “little” problem: builders quickly discovered that the soil was much softer than they had anticipated, and the foundation was far too shallow to adequately hold the structure! Before long it began to tilt...and it continued to tilt...until finally the architect and the builders realized that nothing could be done to make the Leaning Tower of Pisa straight again.
It took 176 years to build the Tower of Pisa and during that time many things were done to try and compensate for the “tilt.” The foundation was shored up; the upper levels were even built at an angle to try to make the top of the tower look straight. Nothing worked. The tower has stood for over 800 years, but it leans 18 feet away from where it should be. One day, experts say, it will fall…all because it wasn’t built on the right foundation. (Source: Rodney Chestnut, sermoncentral.com).
The builders were in such a hurry to go up that they didn’t take the time to go down. The façade looked alright but because the foundation was not secure, the tower still totters today. I’ve been told that the depth of a foundation depends on the quality of the soil but most engineers will tell you that no matter how long it takes to get there, the best foundations go right down to the bedrock. Did you know that the foundation for the Sears Tower is 100 feet into the ground?
As we come to the end of the most famous sermon ever preached, Jesus tells us that in order to have a life that lasts, our foundation must be anchored to the solid rock. We could say it like this: If you want your life to last, then listen to Jesus and live what He says. It’s not enough to just hear what He says; we must heed what He says. We must move from preaching to practicing what has been preached.
Before we jump into our text, I want us to stop and reflect on the very first word in Matthew 7:24: “Therefore…” This word serves as a connection to all that comes before as well as a conclusion. The Sermon on the Mount begins with blessings for those who have beatitude attitudes and concludes with a clarion call to commitment.
This is a good time for us to review what we’ve learned in this series called, “Finding Hope in Hard Times.” By the way, all of our sermons are posted as full-text manuscripts and audio files on our website: www.pontiacbible.org.
* How to Handle Conflict: Being reconciled is more important than being religious.
* Learning How to Pray: We should pray for God’s glory and for our good.
* Overcoming Anxiety: When we fret with anxiety, we’re to focus on the Almighty.
* Helping Those in Need: Secret service results in rewards.
* Making Your Money Last: Whatever we value the most controls the course of our life.
* Taking the Narrow Road: The gate you take determines your fate, therefore keep it straight before it’s too late!
Instead of closing His sermon with a poem, Jesus wraps everything up with a parable. Next Sunday we’ll kick off our summer sermon series called, “Practical Parables” as we look at how Jesus used simple stories to communicate great truths. Those listening to this sermon on the side of the mountain only had to look around to know that the land was filled with hills and valleys and was subject to sudden and violent rains. The dry streams would quickly overflow and everything in water’s way would be swept away. They also knew that the ground was a mixture of sandstone and limestone.
Listen to the story Jesus tells as He uses four very common images – two men, two houses, two foundations and one big storm. Please turn to Matthew 7:24-27: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
This parable is pretty popular but I want to give you a pop quiz to see how well you were listening just now. Simply answer “true” or “false.”