Building a House: 101

In the last message in the Sermon on the Mount series, David covers our two options for life: Building on the rock or building on the sand.

TRANSCRIPT

INTRODUCTION

Good morning.  David Sorn.  Lead pastor here at Renovation Church.

We are finishing our sermon on the mount series today…

And today we’re talking some basics about building houses

Which I really know nothing about

My wife and I are going to be buying our first house sometime in the next year or so, and I keep saying that we just have to buy something that’s all finished. 

Because if it’s something we have to fix, or redo, or put in ourselves, don’t look at me

I’m manly in other ways, but fixing things isn’t one of my more manly characteristics

But even though I couldn’t fix a water heater, or finish a basement, I do know some basic principles.  Some “101” things if you will…

Like the importance of being detailed, and taking your time in building a house

Like the importance of hiring someone else to do it when you can’t figure it out

Or like the importance of laying a good foundation…and that’s what I want to talk about today

 

 

THE PASSAGE

I mentioned about 4 weeks ago that as Jesus finishes out the sermon on the mount, that he continually gives his listeners two options a number of times throughout his conclusion

And we have seen that.

Last week, he let us know that those who follow him are good trees bearing good fruit, and that those who refuse his invitation of grace are bad trees with bad fruit. 

Tough words, but he shows that there is a dividing line….that there are two options. 

Two weeks ago, he told us we had the option of two paths. 

That we could choose the narrow gate and the narrow path (Following him) or the wide gate of this world, which comes with the wide path, but also destruction.

This week, he’s going to give us another two options of how to live life. 

(Matthew 7:24-29) – NIV

24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the stReams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

 28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

So Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount with a parable.  A parable that most likely inspired another brilliant story, the 3 little pigs

But what Jesus is calling his listeners to do here is to not just be amazed by his words, but to put them into action. 

And if we do so, our lives will be built on a rock. 

And it really does make sense if you think about it. 

Let me preface:  Jesus covered A LOT of things in the sermon on the mount

In fact, we covered the Sermon on the Mount scattered throughout the year, but we spent 18 weeks on it 

And in those 18 weeks, we read Jesus’ challenging thoughts on anger management, how to be salt and light, how to keep our word, how to love your enemies, how to be a humble Christian, how to pray, what to seek first, how to avoid judging, who to follow, and I didn’t even mention the half of it. 

In just 3 little chapters of the Bible, Jesus has given us a lifetime’s worth of wisdom

And if we were to place our lives on a foundation like that, a foundation built upon that wisdom…things would be different. 

And I think we get this intellectually at least. 

I mean think about this…  If YOU were able to take Jesus’ advice in the Sermon on the Mount AND implement it…I mean, if you were able to actually forgive your enemies, keep a true life of humility, seek God first in everything, avoid judging other people in the wrong way…THINK about how much stronger your life would be. 

Now, nobody, except for Jesus, can actually fully pull that off, but I can think of some people who get a whole lot closer than I do

Most of them tend to have been on earth a little bit longer than I have too…which says something about how much work it takes

But when I think of some of the most humble people I know (think of some yourself) who are also always putting God first and quick to forgive…. One of the words that comes to mind about these people is stable. 

They’re just stable.  If something dramatic and unforeseen was to come at them, I just KNOW they would weather it better than probably the rest of us. 

Because they’re stable people.  Because their FOUNDATION is strong. 

 

 

 

 

BUILDING RIGHT

The sort of building language that Jesus uses would have been quite familiar to Jesus’ listeners. 

He gave the sermon near the Sea of Galilee, so his example makes sense.  Because you could build your house on the sand. 

The deposited sand, especially in the summer, was quite hard, and people even did try and build structures occasionally. 

And that was the easy way.  It didn’t take much.  Not much thinking.  Not much work.  Not much investigation or planning.  Just put down and start building!

But the hard way was to dig down deep.  Maybe even ten feet below the surface, and establish the foundation of your house on the rock.  The bedrock. 

It was hard work, but it was always worth it in the long run because you would be able to weather the storms that would surely come

And sometimes taking the extra precautions to build right in the first place is tedious, but often, it’s necessary. 

I want to show you a video of an incredible house that took extraordinary precautions to withstand a storm

(PLAY HURRICANE IKE HOUSE VIDEO)

These people obviously took a lot of extra precautions.  And it took some extra work, extra money, and extra time. 

They had to look up all the things they could do (raise the house to 19 feet, different angle roof, different windows, different builder). 

But they could have been like so many other people who throw up houses on beaches like that…

Just throw some money at some builder who’s building a house just like everyone else and will get it done quick so you can have a house on the beach!!

 

 

LIVING ON SAND

And unfortunately, so many of us live our lives like that…

We just kind of throw things together. 

We’re working on things…we’re trying to be nice, trying to be Godly, but we’re just not very intentional in it. 

Instead of sitting down (sit down) and saying, “OK, I really need to build my foundation on the teachings of Jesus and who He is…”

I’m going to build my life on his word.  I’m going to stop and study it. 

“God, here’s what’s going on.  Speak to me.  How can I actually apply more of your teachings to my life.  Where am I falling short.  I want to build my entire life on you!”

Instead, most of us, if we do anything, we build on the run. 

Like the people who were just in a hurry to get a house up on the beach!

So we do Christianity on the run

Off to work…help me not die in traffic today

Oh looky, it’s lunch time, time to pray again

On my way home, got a text, oh it’s the Bible verse of the day (got my Bible reading in)

Friend from church wants to get together and talk or wants you to go to house groups, you’ll give him 15 minutes on the phone next Thursday

And imagine if I was actually laying a foundation for my life doing that.  Because you’re always laying a foundation for what is to come…I don’t care how old you are. 

And there’s a big difference. 

In the first example, I’m focused on the principles of what I should build my foundation on.  I’m intentional about it.  And if I would have had bricks in my hand, I could have begun building it.  That came first.  The foundation came first. 

In the second example, I was living my live and trying to sprinkle in a few bricks as I went…but you can’t build any decent sort of foundation like that

And when the rain comes, any sort of structure built on a life like that…will crumble. 

And the tough thing is, it’s quite possible to look like you’re quite “religious” on the outside, but not have much of a foundation on the inside. 

Jesus really fought against this when he was on earth. 

WAY too many of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day (the Pharisees) were advocating a manner of “surface righteousness.”  Just look spiritual enough on the outside where people can see. 

And they put almost absolutely no focus on the inside.  On the foundation.  On doing the work of digging down and seeking God and working on the stuff that normal people can’t even see. 

Just put up a nice religious front!

Make sure you do the things people notice!

Going to church on Sundays!  That’s #1!  People notice that one!

Don’t do any big name sins:  Drink, smoke, etc. 

Go to as many church events as you can so you can look “churchy”

And make sure to say God a lot, but say it like you’re super religious, “Gawd” or “Jeeesuss”

And you know what, sadly enough, you can fool a lot of people like that. 

But you could appear to have a decent relationship with God by just coming to church every Sunday or going to House Groups every week

Your average every day person probably couldn’t tell the difference

It’s kind of like, if you and I were to go down and visit Gilchrist Texas before Hurricane Ike hit, and looked at the houses.  I couldn’t have told you which one really had a great foundation and was built well. 

 

 

THE RAIN

But there is one great revealer…the rain.  The storms of life. 

The storms of life, the suffering that we will all endure at different times, is always the true test of the foundations we have laid in our lives. 

These verses are actually incredibly helpful for what has been a confusing topic for American Christianity in the last 10-20 years. 

There has been abundant confusion on how “well” God wants our life to go. 

More and more, and louder and louder, are the voices that talk of how much God wants to bless us, make things work out, and prosper you, and keep you healthy and so on. 

And something inside most rational people goes, “Yeah, but…”

But we don’t always know how to answer, for it would be weird to counter with, “He doesn’t want to make me happy or make life go well for me!”

But these verses in the sermon on the mount are a perfect answer. 

God truly does want your life to be like a house on a solid foundation.  He wants your life to be strong, your personality to be stable, and your mind to be steady and wise…and thus, your life full of joy because of that. 

BUT…notice…whether you have the house on the sand, or the house on the rock…THE RAIN STILL COMES. 

Jesus says a similar thing in the last words of his sermon during the last supper

(John 16:33) – NLT

 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

The rain is going to come no matter how you build your life or who you build it on. 

But trust me, if you are building your life on the solid rock of Jesus Christ, when that rain comes, your ability to withstand it, your ability to praise God in the storm, your ability to continue on when it’s over, is increased tenfold. 

You can move on, you can go another day, because you do “Take heart, because Jesus did overcome the world!” 

You know, (and I mean you KNOW), that this world is just a blink, just a test, and soon you will be rejoicing with Him for eternity. 

So what’s a little rain?  Nothing.  Just water.  Just resistance.  Resistance that makes you believe EVEN stronger in the foundation you’re living on. 

Resistance that increases your trust in Him even further!

So build your life on Him.  On his teachings.  It’s good.  It’s SOOO Good. 

It’s so much more than rules.  It’s a guide.  It’s a guide to true life. 

A guide to building a good foundation. 

And maybe you feel like it’s too late… David, my life is a mess.  It feels like a hurricane has ripped through my life at this point. 

Then start over.  With God, his mercies are new every morning.  Accept the 100% forgiveness that Jesus offers you on the cross, or remember it again (maybe for the 1st time in a long time), and start building on him again. 

That’s okay.  A life that feels like it’s in ruins is also a great opportunity to rebuild. 

I don’t know if you caught it in the video we watched, but that house that was left standing was previously destroyed by another hurricane only 3 years earlier. 

And they could have just left in there in ruins, and said that’s it…it’s over. 

Or, they could have done what a lot of us do (even though it’s foolish), just rebuild again right away the same way we built it before

Which is what almost everyone did on that beach

But they took the devastation as an opportunity to build the foundation right this time. 

And may you do the same if you are there right now.  Try building your life on God.  Building it on his word. 

Getting focused on getting in the Bible (reading a chap day in Matthew).  Taking time to sit down and talk to Him.  And building it slowly on Him. 

Don’t be okay with just letting things go back to normal again.  Normal doesn’t work. 

Trust God. 

 

 

CONCLUSION

I just want to close out this series by reading the last two verses of Jesus’ sermon on the mount one more time.  IT says this…

(Matthew 7:28-29) – NIV

  28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

And My prayer is that we too would continue to be amazed by the powerful teaching of Jesus in our lives, and may it move beyond amazement and actually change the way we live. 

Let’s pray.


Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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