Summary: The five sermons in this next series are going to be about building your spiritual house. We heard Jesus say in the Sermon on the Mount that we need to build it according to his instructions or it will not last. So these five weeks are geared toward showi
The five sermons in this next series are going to be about building your spiritual house. We heard Jesus say in the Sermon on the Mount that we need to build it according to his instructions or it will not last. So these five weeks are geared toward showing us how to build this house so that it will pass inspection.
We’re going to look at the property this week, then we need a plan or blueprints, a foundation, building materials, skills, and tools, and finally, hard work and perseverance. Never mind Mike Holmes, Jesus is going to inspect this house, so let’s see what it takes.
There’s a term called “spiritual disciplines”, the first word sits OK with most people, it’s the second one that makes us cringe a little bit. But like the word surrender, there are different ways of looking at disciplines. In one way these words immediately bring to mind restriction and loss of freedom. Discipline even has a punishment connotation to it. But what I hope you see through this series is that these two words when applied to your spiritual life are the most freeing words there are.
Take an extremely talented musician. Sure they may have some natural talent, but to get to the point where they can play a solo at Carnegie Hall they had to surrender their lives to learning their craft, they had to have the discipline to practice consistently. Now they look totally free up there playing so perfectly with such apparent ease. How many of these people or world class athletes for that matter, complain about the dedication and practice that got them to where they are?
Now they would also say that they wanted it more than anything else, and therefore were willing to go through the practice sometimes daily for many, many years, sacrificing other activities to get there. The same is true of your Christianity. What are we told to hunger and thirst for? Righteousness, Godliness. The desire makes the disciplines tolerable, or even enjoyable.
Well to achieve this, God has given us grace, the Holy Spirit, and he has made us Holy in His eyes through the shed blood of his son, but he also gave us certain practices or disciplines to help us achieve greater godliness, and just like a slack practiser of music or athletics will never be great, neither will the Christian who is slack in their practice.
But practice without a goal is useless, just like repeating a bad golf swing won’t make you a better golfer. So what is the goal? For the musician it might be playing for a great metropolitan symphony, for the athlete it may be an Olympic Gold medal, what is it for the Christian?
I think the Bible makes it pretty clear that it is to be like Jesus and therefore have the impact that he had on the world. How many of us can say that in becoming a Christian, that was our ultimate goal, how many of us can say that now? Is that our intention?
Well, we’ve already covered that, either you are committed or your not, and if you are these next five weeks are going to look at the means to build this spiritual house, to become more Christ like. These are biblical practices that God’s people including Jesus have been doing for centuries, and if you look at the most godly people throughout history, including Christ himself, you will see that they were consistent in these disciplines. They were the cornerstones of their lives.
Has there ever been a spiritually mature Christian who didn’t get there through consistently applying the basic practices of Christianity in their lives? 1 Timothy 4:7 gives the true meaning of this word discipline in the Bible where it says, “Train, or exercise yourself for godliness”. Discipline in the Greek actually comes from the word for gymnasium.
So if we want to build a Godly house, these next five weeks are going to hopefully give us what we need to get started, or to continue if the building has stopped. Today we’re going to start with the property, is it ready for building on?
Before you can build anything you need to have a piece of property, and that property has to be such that you can build a house on it. Jesus just told us in the Sermon on the Mount that building on the right kind of property according to his instructions, is vitally important.
This reminds me of the parable of the sower where we see the different kinds of soil in Matthew 13. So much of Jesus teaching especially in Matthew was about being fruitful. These were very appropriate stories in that agrarian society and for us here in southern Manitoba we can relate well to them also. Though this parable is about planting, I think it can also be applied to building because it is talking about the underlying conditions needed.