Summary: A sermon for the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost Building your house upon the Rock

2nd Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 4

Matthew 7: 21-29

Romans 3:22-28


21 ¶ "Not every one who says to me, ’Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

22 On that day many will say to me, ’Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’

23 And then will I declare to them, ’I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’

24 "Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock;

25 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

26 And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand;

27 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."

28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,

29 for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. RSV

Romans 3

22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction;

23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

24 they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,

25 whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins;

26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On the principle of works? No, but on the principle of faith.

28 For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law. RSV

Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus who is the firm foundation. Amen

I really enjoy watching the Discovery Channel or the History Channel on television. I enjoy watching the programs Modern Marvels, or Big Machines. They show being built tall buildings or watching bridges or houses being built.

They show the building of these structures from the beginning to the end. At the beginning they show the foundation of the building. Depending on how tall the building will be, they show how complicated the foundation needs to be. If it is a tall building, they show how pillars or cement is put deep into the ground for the building to rest upon.

With all the buildings, the narrator show how important the foundation of a building is. They also show some buildings that did not have a firm foundation and they collapse. They show bridges that were not fasten to the shore correctly and how the wind and waves collapse the bridges.

Do you get the idea that a sound foundation is important in building.

In our gospel lesson this morning, Jesus is also speaking about sound foundations.

He says: 24 "Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock;

25 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

Jesus is telling us that a firm foundation is important in our faith lives. He is telling us that location matters. We need to build upon a firm foundation.

And that foundation is Jesus Christ and His word.

A story makes us wonder where our foundation is today.


Many years ago, a visitor to America stood in the middle of Wall street and said to himself, "Here is the power and greatness of America."

Shortly afterwards, he traveled to Washington D.C.. and stood in the middle of the rotunda of the Capitol and beheld the statues of the country’s greatest statesmen.

He said himself, "Ah, here is the greatness of America."

Later, he found himself in the heartland of Iowa. It was noon as he visited a family farm. The bell was rung on the back porch, the rest of the family, plus the hired man came in from the fields. He watched as they washed up by the pump, then they all gathered around the table piled high with food.

The visitor saw the farmer reach for the large family Bible. He read from Psalm 90, then everyone bowed their head. in prayer as the farmer prayed a simple prayer expressing his love to God his pledge of continuing service, and his gratitude for ail of his blessings.

"Now, II said the stranger to himself, "now, I have seen the true greatness of America."

He was reminded of a verse from his childhood from Deutronomy. where God said,

"You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul; and you shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house"

I wonder if a visitor came into the heartland of America today, if he would be able to say the same thing? Are we still rooted, grounded, and established upon the word of God, the power of redemption as shown through Christ as our forefathers were many years ago?

Jesus is talking about in our gospel lesson this morning to build upon a firm foundation. He is talking about building in the right location.

In the housing industry, the word location, location is very important. When we bought our house, the Realtor emphasized the location, close to shopping and schools. On the paper that talked about our house the words, Location, Location we bold across the top of the page.

Jesus is talking about this morning not the type of house that is being build so much but the location of the house. The location would be upon a rock and that rock is Jesus Christ himself.

Could a visitor to our land today say that we have built upon the right location, the rock of Christ?

Pastor Hoefler in his book, "The Divine Trap" says on pages 10 and 11 about this text, he says, " Jesus says to the Jews with this parable, ’You are doing a good job of building, but your site and location are all wrong. you are building on the Torah and the Low. I have come to give you a new site, a new location to build your lives.’

He came presenting a new teaching. He came to establish a new covenant between man and God. And that new option, new teaching, new convent was Himself and the message he brought. Jesus is saying, ’hear me and my words. Plant your feet firmly on my teachings and you will build a life that will endure."

Jesus says "Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock;

The Rock is Jesus Christ himself. There is no other.

Luther says in one of his sermons: "He is called a Christian because he clings with his heart to the this Saviour who has ascended to the Father, and he believes that for his sake and through Christ he has God’s grace and everlasting salvation and life."

Our foundation is built upon Christ. We live in an age when we can learn about Jesus from the Bible in many different ways. We can read the Bible, we can hear it read through audio tapes or on our computer. We can watch television and see some great movies about Jesus.

Leroy Eims, in his book The Lost Art of Disciple Making, tells the story of an experience in a restaurant one morning.

He says, "One spring our family was driving from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa, Florida. As far as the eye could see, orange trees were loaded with fruit. When we stopped for breakfast, I ordered orange juice with my eggs. ’I’m sorry,’ the waitress said. ’I can’t bring you orange juice. Our machine is broken.’ At first I was dumbfounded. We were surrounded by millions of oranges, and I knew they had oranges in the kitchen &emdash; orange slices garnished our plates. What was the problem? No juice? Hardly. We were surrounded by thousands of gallons of juice. The problem was they had become dependent on a machine to get it."

Then he writes: "Christians are sometimes like that. They may be surrounded by Bibles in their homes, but if something should happen to the Sunday morning preaching service, they would have no nourishment for their souls. The problem is not a lack of spiritual food &emdash; but that many Christians haven’t grown enough to know how to get it for themselves." 1

Is your foundation secured upon the rock of Christ? Can you and do you read the bible, study God’s word on your own? Do you pray on your own?

Do you have a firm foundation in Christ to with stand all the tumult of life?

Are you like the man in the following:

In a sermon at Northfield, D.L. Moody once said, "We want more Christians like the Irishman who, when II asked if he hadn’t trembled during a recent severe storm when he was standing out upon a rocky eminence, said, "Yes, my legs sure trembled, but the rock didn’t and because my feet were on the rock I felt safe."

I felt safe because my feet were on the rock? Were are your feet? Are they on the rock of Christ? Have you built in the right location?

Our second lesson speak s about faith. Faith that believes in Christ. Paul says: 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.

Not only do we have to have the right foundation we need to believe in that foundation for our lives and salvation. It does no good to just call upon Christ when the storms of life attach, but we must believe that Jesus stands with us in those moments. We must believe that he is our strength and our Rock.

Is your foundation secure? Is your faith placed on Christ?

The following speaks about a firm foundation and where to place one’s faith.

A student in Providence on his way to classes at Brown University used to stop and watch the workmen walking along the steel girders of a skyscraper. He would get tight inside when heavy winds were blowing - a worker might fall. Then one morning the terrible thing happened: he saw a workman fall.

A foreman came down from the construction and the student heard him say, "The fool was leaning against the wind! I told him to quit leaning against the wind. He was new at this game or he wouldn’t have done it."

Along the New England coast, especially mornings, a brisk wind blows in from the ocean. It is easier to work by leaning against it a little. But experienced workers know that the wind is not always steady and you can topple to your death.

There was a parable for us. How often we get to leaning against the wind in life against something which is just as fickle, unstable, and uncertain as the winds that blow.

Are you standing firm on the rock of Christ or leaning into the winds that blow all around you?

How firm is your foundation? How sure is your belief?

I would like to close with a famous poem by Robert Frost;

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black,

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wook, and I-

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Have you taken the road of Christ as your firm foundation?


Written by Pastor Tim Zingale May 23, 2005

1from a sermon by Rodney Buchanan sermoncentral