Summary: Jesus asks the question; On what is the foundation of our lives built?
The Church’s one Foundation
Story: From 1173 to 1350, the bell tower of a wonderful Cathedral was built -in an area known today as the “Field of Miracles”.
The Tower was built just 2 metres above sea level.
And even before it was finished - this masterpiece of medieval architecture began to topple - shaken by earthquakes and sinking slowly into the unstable soil.
In 1991, the top hung just 16 feet over the base - and it was felt as if it would soon topple. So it was closed for repairs, which lasted a decade and cost US$25 million dollars.
And even in 1997 it still had a lean of 5.2 metres from the vertical.
Of course, we all know the name of the city where that Cathedral is - Pisa.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is an important reminder to us of how vital it is to get the foundations right
And Jesus, in our Gospel reading this morning challenges us, by asking on what foundations are we building our lives
Story: In a sermon at Northfield, USA the famous 19th Century Evangelist D.L. Moody said,
"We want more Christians like the Irishman who, when asked if he had trembled during a recent severe storm when he was standing out upon a rocky projection, said,
"Yes, my legs sure trembled, but the rock didn’t and because my feet were on the rock I felt safe."
Is Jesus and his teaching that sure rock on which we build our lives – or are we building our lives upon sand?
We live in a society where many people think: “It doesn’t matter what you believe, so long as you are sincere.”
But that argument reminds me of Edward Smith, the Captain of the Titanic and Bruce Ismay the owner who sincerely believed their ship was unsinkable and so didn’t bother to have the full compliment of the necessary lifeboats (though they were within the regualattions of the then Board of Trade). In fact they were so confident that the White Star Line boasted that "even God couldn’t sink the ship"
He was wrong - sincerely wrong - tragically wrong but his sincere intentions did not avert the tragedy.
Michael Green in his Commentary on Matthew says this:
“ In our post-modern, relativistic and plural culture how can Christians justify this exclusivity - which seems to be so arrogant. It is not that we are defending Christianity and saying it is better than anything else….
I could never claim ultimacy for Christianity as a system. I do claim it for Jesus Christ. In him, God has broken - with blinding light - into our darkness. In Him God has provided for sinners a way back to himself. (Michael Green: The Message of Matthew p.110)
In other words, what we can claim is that the only true foundation for our lives is Jesus Christ and his teaching.
This means that we need to allow Christ to reach the very core of our being. We simply need to hear the word of God and do it.
We are called in this parable to build our lives on a sure foundation – Jesus and his teaching.
We are called to hear the word of God and allow it to change our lives.
It is not enough just to listen. Jesus calls us to be disciples – and this is 24/7
So what are the areas in our lives in which we can make Jesus a sure foundation.
Throughout the Old and New Testament, we read of men and women of God being commended because they obey what God has called them to do.
Our Gospel passage comes at the end of one of the most famous of Jesus’ sermons – the Sermon on the Mount – which bridges Mt Chapter 5 to Chapter 7.
It has rightly been called a Christian manifesto because it sets out what it means to be a follower of Jesus
So let us take a look at some of the key elements of that sermon.
2.1 The first key element in the Sermon on the Mount is addressed in the famous Beatitudes. How do we live our lives
You will recall that Jesus said:
3. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted
5 Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth
6 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for thee shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 5:3-12)