Faith on the rocks/”how do I make the most of the rest of my life”(Alpha Sunday) WBC 28/3/04 am Mat 7:24-29
Video clip ‘inafrica.mpeg’
Well, this morning’s question is ‘How do I make the most of the rest of my life’
- unlike this gazelle
- > hear some sound advice in the ‘words of Jesus’
MT 7:24 "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. 25 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. 26 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. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
MT 7:28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
In 1174 the Italian architect Bonnano Pisano (pç-zäʹnô) began work on what would become his most famous project: A separately standing eight-story bell tower for the Cathedral of the city of Pisa
(PPT image of tower)
. The tower was to be eight-stories and 185-foot tall. 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! And sure enough, before long the whole structure had begun 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 (10 degrees from the vertical, for all the engineers). One day, experts say, it will fall all because it wasn’t built on the right foundation.
From Two Builders - Two Foundations (Matthew 7:24-27) by Joey Nelson on www.sermoncentral.com
How do I make the most of my life… storm proof my life.. . invest for eternity?
- build on the rock, Jesus says. (could have called this ‘faith on the rocks’)
Because this passage..,.. Jesus… life tells us ‘storms will come’
- ‘stuff happens’ (to put it in the vernacular
- PPT show swine.jpg
And what’s notable is- storms come to ALL. To both builders in this passage
- “floods”, “rains”, “streams rose”, “wind blew”
o real image to those who have flash floods in desert
o real image to us (remember 1988?). Poltimore.
Just note a few things about these storms and floods
- nothing to do with the PERSON at all- whether they are nice or bad… godly or ungodly
o simply happens to all. A part of being in a fallen world
o Or, to use Alpha terminology, result of ‘Pollution of sin’
- Also- we’re very concerned about the storms
o Ask questions like- ‘what’s the source of these storms?’
o ‘why?’. “doesn’t seem right… fair”
(the very fact we know this shows there is a God-given sense of rightness & fairness built into us)
o But these things don’t concern Jesus.. He knows it’s ‘not fair’. Not concerned with the ‘source’
- … rather: whether you can STAND the storms
- he’s concerned with your FOUNDATION because THAT determines whether you can stand or not
Lots of people have ‘deep theology’… ‘religion’ etc
- but to me (and Jesus) what matters is:
o whether it’s applied
o whether it WORKS
o (because it works if applied)
Are you building something that can stand? Will YOU stand? Seriously!?
- in fact (taking it further than the parable here- this is practical, working wisdom… as well as explained elsewhere in the Bible)
- if the FOUNDATION is good- storms aren’t necessarily ALL bad (Roms 8:28- all things work for our good!)
For two years, scientists sequestered themselves in an artificial environment called Biosphere 2. Inside their self-sustaining community, the Biospeherians created a number of mini-environments, including a desert, rain forest, even an ocean. Nearly every weather condition could be simulated except one, wind. Over time, the effects of their windless environment became apparent. A number of acacia trees bent over and even snapped. Without the stress of the wind to strengthen their wood, the trunks grew weak and could not hold up their own weight. Though our culture shuns hardship, we would do well to remember that God uses it
Jay Akkerman, Silverdale, Washington
Shipping fresh North Atlantic Cod from Boston to San Francisco was extremely difficult during the 19th Century.
The only shipping route was around the S American continent- a journey of several months. Packing the Cod in ice failed miserably as well.
The next thing they tried was putting the cod, live, into holding tanks of water and shipping them. They arrived okay- but because they didn’t get much exercise during the trip the cod were pasty and tasteless.
Someone hit upon an idea: why don’t we put some catfish in with the cod? Why- because catfish are cod’s natural enemy.
Sure enough, when a few catfish were placed in the tanks with the Cod, the cod were always alert and swimming around.
As a result- when they reached San Francisco they were in perfect shape
Here, Jesus is saying “there IS a way to make the most of your life”
- … to ‘weather the storms of life”
- TO BUILD ON A ROCK
Illustr: let me tell you- it’s a relief to find that you have built on a rock. Illustr: me 3 years ago- all stripped down, stripped away, dug down through all the cr*p & extras- found that what I hit was rock. Rock bottom solid. Was able to cry “so help me God I STILL believe and trust! I just can’t give up believing in God and trying to trust Him, rather than myself. Because it IS true”
We all (will?) have these experiences- and they’re good, as 1) only way is up 2) sort out what you believe 3) prove how rock solid Jesus’ words are
- Job had a harder ‘dig’ than most. “Though He slay me, yet will I praise him!”
Again- it’s FAITH ON THE ROCKS. Solid rocks
Don’t worry- I AM going to tell you HOW you can do it. (in a mo)
But I reckon there could be more than just the ‘storms of life’, here
- to OUR generation- that’s immediately how we interpret it
o as we’re very concerned for THIS life
- but remember- THEY weren’t so concerned only for this life
o knew it was short, stormy- therefore intent on building/investing for the future… NEXT one
Previous verses- Jesus is speaking about the storm… trial of… the judgement people face when they stand before Him at the end of their lives
- (note: stand before HIM! Jews understood this was God’s role)
- “Lord, Lord, didn’t we drive out demons in your name… and didn’t we do all the right ‘religious’ things
- > “NO. You never knew ME. Away from me”
So- there’s a lot more at stake here than just this life: eternity is at stake
- “will you be able to stand… in eternity?”- is being asked
You see- it’s nothing to do with HEARING Jesus’ words
- the people who cried “Lord, Lord” heard Jesus’ words
- both of the builders heard Jesus’ words
o because they built using the same material
At the end of Jesus’ many words (2000 + , here , in SOM)- Jesus says you must do MORE for the building to stand
You must put them into practice. Act on them. ACT as though FACT
- and you’ll find they ARE
You must put them down as the foundations fro your life
- then everything else put on that will stand
Ravi Zacharias writes, “A few weeks ago, I did a lectureship at Ohio State University. As I was being driven to the lecture, we passed the new Wexner Art Center. The driver said, "This is a new art building for the university. It is a fascinating building designed in the post-modernist view of reality."
The building has no pattern. Staircases go nowhere. Pillars support nothing. The architect designed the building to reflect life. It went nowhere and was mindless and senseless.
I turned to the man describing it and asked, "Did they do the same thing with the foundation?" He laughed. You can’t do that with a foundation. You can get away with the infrastructure. You can get away with random thoughts that sound good in defence of a world view that ultimately doesn’t make sense. Once you start tampering with the foundations, you begin to see the serious effects. Yet the foundations are in jeopardy; the foundations of our culture do not provide coherent sets of answers any more.”
-- Ravi Zacharias, "If the Foundations Be Destroyed," Preaching Today, Tape No. 142.
From THE KEY TO SURVIVAL Mark Beaird 9-2000 Text: Matthew 7:24-27 on www.sermoncentral.com
Everything else is secondary
- put rocks and sand in jars?
I said I would tell you how to have this ‘faith on the rocks’ so you can ‘weather the storms’ and ‘make the most of the rest of your life’
- but it’s not me TELLING you that will do it. It’s you LIVING by it
What are the things you lay down as a foundation?: the words of Jesus
- v24 “these words of mine”
- how do you know Jesus’ words?
o = the Bible. Just like we covered in Alpha 2 weeks ago.
o Don’t just have it. Read it. Apply it & live on a rock
- “blessed are you if you are hungry for God- you will be filled”
o = Alpha, yesterday, on HS + 7:7 “ask, seek, knock”
- don’t live by the priorities/value of THIS world
o but put God’s ways & priorities first (beatitudes, 5:5)
- become friends with God. Talk to Him like you would a friend and father (6:9, Lord’s prayer)… let the relationship develop
o Alpha last week, on prayer. Build on the rock- do it
- Don’t worry about your life (6:25)
o Alpha next week: guidance
o Your Father & friend knows what you need
But most of all- Jesus’ words are about HIMSELF
- v22- He’s the judge. V28- they were amazed at His teaching and authority in Himself
HE is the rock… foundation
1 Cor 3:10 But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day (of testing) will bring it to light.
1 Pet 2:6
"See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame."
He’s the foundation, and cornerstone and capstone, too
He’s the one we build our lives on.
- covered in ‘why did Jesus die?’
o I AM the way. He who has seen me has seen God the Father
So- how do I do it? Build on Him? Apply his words
- start doing it. Start living by it and for Him. Act on it BY FAITH
- Say: “sorry. Now take me & I’ll live for you”
- -place Him at the centre… at the v foundation of your life
o now- we often fail in that… but there’s grace for that
o failing is not trying! Not ‘not being perfect’
- start building, together, with others (i.e. other Christians… us!)
- make the most of the rest of your life… eternity
- stand the storms that WILL come
In Christ alone
How firm a foundation
O sacred king