Summary: Jesus spoke about building our homes on rock but what about our churches?
Two men, the number is both important and irrelevant. It is important because there had to be two, one would not have been enough. It’s irrelevant because those two men represent every human being who has ever lived. Two men, the number is both important and irrelevant.
The story is a familiar one to those who grew up in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School. Two men decided to build homes, an activity as common then as it is today. The need for shelter spans and crosses cultural and time lines. For some it is the need to keep out the cold for others it is to protect them against the heat but for all of mankind there is an innate need to have a home of some kind. A tent, an igloo, a hovel or a palace they all do the same thing they provide privacy and protection for those who occupy them.
And so Jesus has come to the end of the Sermon on the Mount in continuing to explain the Kingdom of God Jesus reaches out to embrace a metaphor that would have been very familiar to him as a carpenter, the construction of a new home.
Ruth read our scripture this morning and it tells the story of these two men. And as a part of the story there are a number of things that the men have in common as well as areas where they differ.
First of all they both built homes. Now remember this is a metaphor and Jesus doesn’t play games here he is very upfront about what he is trying to explain and he begins by setting the guidelines of the metaphor.
What the men are building are their lives. They are taking what they have learned from Jesus on the sermon on the mount and they are deciding what to do with it.
Both men built houses and we know absolutely nothing about the houses they built we don’t know if they were big house or little house we have no idea about the quantity or quality of the material that was used in their houses. For all practical purposes the houses were the same.
In most cases Christ Followers are very similar to those who don’t follow Christ. There are no glaring differences, instead we discover that in most cases those who don’t know Jesus are very like those who do know Jesus. With one critical difference of course, they don’t know Jesus. After all they are our neighbours, our friends and our loved ones. Tom Rainer says “Most of the unchurched are concerned for their families. Their moral values are not radically different from ours. They work alongside of us, and their children and our children play together. Some of the unchurched are the teachers of our children. The unchurched live in our neighbourhoods and carry on friendly conversations with us. They often carry the same financial burdens we do, and they are just as patriotic as we are. And many of the unchurched live in the same home we do: they are our family members.”
The houses were the same what wasn’t the same were the foundations the houses were built upon. Life was the same and it brought the same storms to both men, what wasn’t the same was their foundation’s ability to stand up to the storm.
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to stand in the snow on our lot along with two engineers and watch Billy Hubbard use a little excavator to dig holes and what we discovered was that down about a metre was bedrock. Which wasn’t all that surprising considering the amount of bedrock there is in this area.
And it wasn’t even a matter for concern because our building isn’t designed with a basement; it’s sitting on a slab. If it had been designed with a basement that would have been a matter of concern. When Billy told us that he was at bedrock and couldn’t dig any deeper the first thought that went through my mind was a scripture and not just any scripture it was Matthew 16:18 . . . Upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.
No doubt about it the church was being built on rock but what does that mean? In the physical it means one thing but what does it mean in the spiritual realm? Well time and time again the scripture uses “The Rock” as a metaphor for God and His unchanging nature. The first time was in Genesis 49:24 But his bow remained strong, and his arms were strengthened by the Mighty One of Jacob, the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel. But it certainly wasn’t the only time it was used Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock; his work is perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is! And Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.