Monday, 16 October 2017

Sermon Sunday 15 October: Houses on the rock and the sand

Readings:

Matt 7:24-7 
1 Chron 28:1-10,20
Matt 7:13-29

I am always glad that I am busy, and have a house to maintain. Are you a builder? Or just content to sit? We NEED to build, as we need a house, but also need to build the church, and to build our lives.

Jesus was a workman! And seeks to build his church (Matt 16:18), but He builds through us.  But even if we do the work, we must always remember that He knows what to do, so we must listen, which is the key point of the parable!  His word is essential.  So the parable is at the end of sermon on the mount, which gives our instructions.

Just before this, Jesus talks of the danger of false teachers (Matt 7:16, 22).  These can be popular and persuasive (Matt 7:13), and even able to do miracles!  Jesus thus says that they are known by fruit not works, what they are not what they do. And do we think that we know better than Jesus?

The parable is of two houses, identical but with just one difference - the foundation.  The one which lasts is built on the ROCK.  What is this?    Jesus builds his church based on Peter's confession (Matt 16:16) of faith.          Peter's name means the ROCK, and we are likewise saved by our faith.  In Jerusalem there is the Dome of the ROCK, over the place of Abraham's sacrifice.  Our faith rests on the sacrifice for our sins by Jesus. In a building the foundation is not seen, neither is our faith immediately visible - Jesus is humble.

Paul also says that there is no other foundation (1 Cor 3:11). We must build on that rock to avoid disaster.  Note that we do not make the foundation - Salvation is a GIFT, only to be accepted by us.  What matters is that we build in the RIGHT place.  The wrong place is ultimately useless - where are you trying to build?

This matters because of the rain, flood and wind. They WILL, not might, come.  And there will be other problems!  But these do not affect the foundation.  Troubles are hard, but they are not disastrous, and so trouble need not disturb your faith.

In contrast, the house on the sand WILL fall.  In any case, we all die! But usually there is a warning first.  Often the wall will crack before it falls. What do we do?  Do not try to strengthen the wall (which is often our solution), but which will not ultimately succeed.   The only cure is a good foundation, so to move to the rock.  Swallow your pride!

And then?  You cannot live just on a foundation!  Build on it (1 Cor 3:10f), but with two requirements.  Let Jesus be the cornerstone (1 Pet 2:6f), and use good materials, not wood, hay and stubble!


But finally, that house is for this life!  I am looking to the one that Jesus is Himself building for us (Jn 14:2), in heaven.

Picture copyright: https://www.flickr.com/photos/49030844@N05/16969837015/