Summary: The Storm tests our faith and reveals our character, but what separates those who survive it are those who built their hopes on Jesus, not merely hearing but doing what He says.
Standing in the Storm
Introduction: In today's culture the lines that divide what is right and what is wrong are blurred. While there may be ambiguity in the world, there is no ambiguity in the word. The word of God is described as a two edged sword in Hebrews 4:12 It is so sharp it separates soul from spirit, bone from marrow. I recently read that some edges on blades are finer than a human hair, and yet that would be the size of a house compared to the edge of the sword of the spirit. It separates like a surgeon's scalpel separates infection from good tissue, it separates life from death, right from wrong, good from evil, what is truth from what is false. Just as we've seen many times before in the word there is a choice between twos; life or death, God or Baal, to be a sheep or a goat, or a wheat or a tare, there is a narrow way and there is a broad way, Heaven or Hell, The choice is laid down plainly. But there is no third option. The same is true this morning with the wise and foolish builders.
Scripture: Matthew 7:24-29 (read)
Transition: Let's first notice what it is that reveals the difference between the two foundations? It is the storm.
The Storm reveals our Character
I want us to investigate the storm. What is a storm? We read about a storm in Proverbs 10:25 - “When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” The storm will reveal what you are made of, what you put your faith, hope, abd love in. The storm sweeps away the wicked, but the righteous still stands. A storm is a metaphor for severe trials and/or tribulation. Jesus promised us this in John 16:33 - “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The storm will reveal where we take heart. Do we trust in ourselves? Our government? Our money? Our skills? Our strength? Our creativity? Our intelligence? Or do we trust in our God? Since the storm comes from the world it makes sense to trust in the one who has overcome the world.
The storm can come in many forms. It may come in the form of a disease or cancer and take your health. It may come in the form of death and take a loved one. It may come in the form of a natural disaster, like an earthquake, tornado, flood, or fire and take your house, your car, your valuables. It may come in the form of corruption, or in the form of temptation, or in the form of false doctrine, It may come in the form of persecution.
Sometimes people forget who they should rely on in life and the storm is necessary to remind them. If it weren't for the storm Jonah wouldn't have been swallowed by the great fish and thought “You know maybe it wasn't so bad to hear & obey and preach to the Ninevites! Some will come out of the storm still standing, while others will not.
Remember Job's storm. Satan had free reign to take away Job's blessing. Satan was allowed by God to take away Job's health, wealth, and prosperity, his property, and his children and all he was left with was some so-called friends that did nothing but tell him he deserved what He got and criticized him for not admitting it and a wife who was so discouraged that her only counsel to her suffering husband was to curse God and die! But why would a loving God allow such a thing? It was to test his faith and to reveal his character. He went through the fire and came out as fine gold, where many men would have burned up like chaff.
The beginning of the two verses in Matthew 7:25 & 27 are identical, “The rain came down the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, ...” the same storm that struck the wise man's house struck the foolish man's house as well. The storm is the same but the result is different. The result is different because the foundation is different. The rain came from above, the streams rose from beneath and the winds blew from across and the storm beat and whipped against that house from every direction! Have you ever felt like you have been taking a beating from every direction? You try to look down in humility and see the water rising. You look forward to forget whats behind or back to remember a comforting thought only to be hit with a contrary wind. You finally look up to God only to get rain in your face. Church, You can't control the storm. if you could it wouldnt be a storm. You must endure it. You must survive it.