Summary: Being followers of Jesus Christ
In 1174 the Italian architect Bonnano Pisano began work on what would become his most famous project: A separately standing bell tower for the Cathedral of the city of Pisa. The tower was to be eight-stories and 185-foot-tall structure. 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." 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.
In a real sense, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy is going to fall. Scientists travel yearly to measure the building’s slow descent. They report that the 179-foot tower moves about one-twentieth of an inch a year, and is now 17 feet out of plumb. They further estimate that by the year 2007 the 810-year old tower will have leaned too far and will collapse onto the nearby ristorante, where scientists now gather to discuss their findings. Quite significantly, the word "pisa" means "marshy land," which gives some clue as to why the tower began to lean even before it was completed. Also--its foundation is only 10 feet deep! Thousands of tourists travel to see this great edifice that will inevitably fall. All because it was not built on the right foundation. Foundations make the difference and become a matter of extreme relevance and importance.
The great architect Frank Lloyd Wright was given the challenge of building the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, one of the most earthquake-prone cities in the world. Wright’s investigation showed that a solid foundation could be "floated" on a sixty-foot layer of soft mud underlying the hotel, which would provide a shock-absorbing but solid support for the immense building. Shortly after the hotel was completed it withstood the worst earthquake in fifty-two years, while lesser buildings fell in ruins around it.
Buildings in Manhattan stand tall and secure because they are founded upon the rock under Manhattan Island. To be sure, a boat without an anchor will drift with the tide; it cannot be kept in place unless it is securely anchored. Brothers and sisters, this principle is no less true in the spiritual realm whereby we peer into the purposes and the promises of our God. If a man does not have an anchor for the soul, or a foundation for life, he cannot stand. He will be swept with the tide and drift aimlessly.
Jesus told a story about the importance foundations in Matthew 7. Christ gives here a severe warning. He had been speaking to the multitudes assembled, who sought an answer to the question as to what kind of righteousness a man needed to be accepted into the Kingdom Christ had come to institute on planet earth. In other words, they were asking “How can a man be acceptable to God?” the people for generations had been schooled in the teachings of the Pharisees. They said that if men observed the laws of the Pharisees, performed all the rituals, attended the feasts and offered the sacrifices, observed the 250 positive and 365 negative commandments and ordinances, they would certainly be acceptable to God. But our Lord, against the concerted teachings and efforts of the Pharisees, delivered a startling new word and covenant. He taught the multitudes it is not by what a man does he becomes acceptable to God, but rather it is by receiving righteousness from God by faith that makes men acceptable to God. (Titus 3:5; Ep. 2:8-9)
Here are two contrary systems of thought, and those who heard Him were forced to make a choice. They could not choose both Pharisaism and the word of Christ. It was an either-or decision, and Christ warned that it would be easy for them to follow the Pharisees.
I. WE NEED TO BE SURE
(Mt. 7: 15-20, Lk 6:48)
How can we be sure that, as disciples, we are building on a solid foundation?
A. We Must Have The Word Of God
Jesus said that the foundation was the Word of God. He said, “Whoever hears the saying of mine and does them is like a man who built his house upon a rock.” (v. 24)
In Mt. 7: 15, Jesus said, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.