Delivered on July 23, 2017
On Solid Ground
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
We are wise if we fill our minds with the many images of who our God is for us. He is our Rock, our Fortress…a place of rest and security. Our strength, in times of weakness, in times of need and comfort. Our Shield…as you all know a shield is part of an armor, which is used for protection from the enemy, from danger. Our salvation, Our stronghold. As we have read fron this short verse, there is no such thing as defeat, no source of weakness when it comes to our Lord!
Today, we will into a very popular Parable. I am sure that you are all familiar with this lesson from our Lord. There is a lot of truths in this lesson so please take it seriously. Anything that we learn from the Lord, will either make us wise…or sad to say fools.
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” 28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Short Story: Show Pic ( Tower Of Pisa )
In 1174 the Italian architect Bonnano Pisano began work on what would become his most famous project: A separately standing eight-story bell tower in the city of Pisa. 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! Before long it began 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.” The 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. One day, experts say, it will fall…all because it wasn’t built on the right foundation.
The builders were in such a hurry to go up that they didn’t take the time to go down. The façade looked alright but because the foundation was not secure, the tower still totters today. I’ve been told that the depth of a foundation depends on the quality of the soil but most engineers will tell you that no matter how long it takes to get there, the best foundations go right down to the bedrock.
Jesus tells us that in order to have a life that lasts, our foundation must be anchored to the solid rock. We could say it like this, If you want your life to last, then listen to Jesus and live your life on what He says. It’s not enough to just hear what He says, we must obey what He says. We must move from preaching to practicing what has been preached.
Last Sunday, Pastor Morley delivered a very powerful message on parenting, and children towards their parents. After the message, my wife and I were talking…we both said, that if only every family would listen to what Jesus has to teach…not just listen, but to actually do what Jesus is teaching. You are either, wise…or you are a fool!
I guess the scariest part about the Pastors ministry, is when he can see certain members fall apart simply because they chose to ignore what God has to say. We come to church every Sunday, we hear God speak, and then what?
Scripture is right. God did say that, “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” ( John 8:47 )
Anyway…Those listening to this sermon on the side of the mountain only had to look around to know that the land was filled with hills and valleys and was subject to sudden and violent rains. The dry streams would quickly overflow and everything in water’s way would be swept away. They also knew that the ground was a mixture of sandstone and limestone.
Listen to the story Jesus tells as He uses four very common images – two men, two houses, two foundations and one big storm.
Jesus uses a lot of contrasts and comparisons when He communicates. A few weeks ago we looked at two different gates, two different roads, and two different destinations. Jesus does this in order to show us that there are really only two options. We are either trusting Christ and have entered through the narrow gate or we’ve gone through the wide gate. We’re on the road to heaven or on the highway to hell. According to the Bible, there are only two ways…Christ and everything else. Notice the word “everyone” is used to indicate that there are no exceptions and no room for middle ground. One way leads to life, the other leads to death.
It does not matter what church you go to, what denomination you carry. You either belong to Christ or you belong to the enemy. You are either born again, or you’re still dead in your sins. You are either forgiven, or you’re still chained to satan. No middle ground!
Two builders were introduced in this story to two different men. By all appearances, they may have looked the same, used the same tools, and they both were committed to build a home for their families. They may have used identical materials and both persevered until their homes were finished. Notice that there are only two kinds of builders… once again Jesus divides people into just two groups. Our desires, thoughts, attitudes, actions and words are building blocks over time a structure arises. The question becomes… Are you building to last or to crash?
A new born baby Christian, does not remain a baby forever. If you are in Christ, you are in a foundation that will grow and last for all eternity. Simply because Jesus does not fail.
A wise man…The word “wise” means “to be thoughtful, understanding and prudent, exercising good judgement.
The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.
There is also a mention of a foolish man. This is the word moros, from which we get “moron.” The root meaning is deficiency and was used of one who is stupid and foolish. The foolish man took short cuts because he wanted quick results and instant gratification. The foolish live just for the moment and give no thought to the future.
A famous poet, lecturer has this to say…
“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Wow!!! That’s true, right!
Now… Two houses are mentioned. From the outside, both homes appeared to be well-built and neither looked to be defective. One house may have gone up quicker than the other, but both looked quite secure and sturdy in good weather. The houses are finished and furnished but there’s a huge difference between them. Here’s the point. The difference between two lives is not always obvious, at first. On the surface the houses look about the same. When I look at you, I can say that you’re fine. But God knows the heart!
Two foundations. The main difference between the two builders is that only one took the time and determination to dig down to the solid rock and anchor his home to that which would not move. And all this work was out of sight. The foundation of his house was fastened to the rock while the foundation of the other house settled on sand. The nature of sand is to be shifting, sliding and sinking while a rock is stationary, strong and secure.
The Rock is Christ and the sand is self. We see this in…
1 Corinthians 3:11
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Many of us know the song that goes like this: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, (self) but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” Christ alone!!!
I read a devotion which goes with this story, about a ship that capsized at sea. Many drowned but one teenager was found clinging to a rock. After he was rescued someone asked him if he was terrified. He responded by saying, “Yes, I was shaking the whole time…but the rock wasn’t.
From our opening verse:
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Now…both builders, both houses faced the same storm. We know that storms are coming, we the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great and complete was the fall of it.” Notice that adversity comes from above (the rain fell) and from below (the floods came) and from all sides (the winds blew). At times problems drench us like driving in the rain. Stress surrounds us like rising flood waters and pressures of life pound on us like hurricane-force winds. What do we do? Like the teenager in our story, we hold on to the Rock…the Rock cannot be moved!
Observe also that the same storm hits both houses. No individual is immune from adversity. Jesus said it like this…
“that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”.
Everyone will face the same storm. The only question is, are you on Solid Ground?
Spurgeon writes, “Whether your religion be true or not, it will be tried.” Foundations are usually hidden and are only proved by storms. Storms can serve as wake-up calls, can’t they? Some of you are in church today because some sort of stress, some storms has entered your life. Storms also test the faithful to see what we’re really made of.
If I asked you a question…why are here today? You already know the answer to that, only you. Your heart may be heavy right now, you’re in a storm, you’re stressed out. Hold on tight, it may get bumpy, but the Rock cannot be moved! Be the wise builder, and trust Jesus. Stand firm, you belong to the King! Storms on the outside will reveal what’s on the inside. (Jesus)
Now, let’s bring this all together to get at the main point of the parable. Both men had the privilege of hearing the words of Jesus. The only difference between the two men is that while both of the men listened to the words of Jesus, only one obeyed and lived them out. The wise man heard and heeded the Word of God. If you want your life to last, then listen to Jesus and live on what He says.
When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.
“stand firm forever”. Those who practice what Jesus preaches will weather the storms of life.
Church…stop excusing disobedience. One of the most frustrating things I hear goes something like this: “I know what the Bible says, but…” That’s what a fool would say. Let’s determine to be a wise man or woman and respond like this, “I know what the Bible says, therefore I will obey it.”
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
It says “everyone who hears…and puts them into practice.” This is in the present tense, meaning that we are to continually hear and continually obey. Here’s the literal translation: “and keeps doing them.” Listen to what Jesus said in…
17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Are you putting yourself in a position to continually hear God’s Word by reading your Bible daily? Are you committed to regular Sunday worship? It’s hard to hear and live what you haven’t learned. You have heard me say it before, you will not hear Gods voice audibly! If you do, then that means you have died, and I hope you are ready to face Him. Continue to read your Bible… Scripture, be faithful in your devotions… your time with the Lord, only then will you hear Him speak…only then will you grow in faith…in strength, to withstand any storms in life, because you are standing on Solid Ground!
As churchgoers we’re in danger of doing a lot of listening but not so much living out what we hear. Most of the people listening to Jesus that day would have considered themselves to be His followers. Could it be that some of us are not Christians, even though we think we are?
2 Corinthians 13:5
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
Are you on solid ground, or shifting sands?
Turn your house into a home. If you are a parent, I urge you to lay down a deep foundation for your family. Your kids are under construction and you are charged with giving them a good start. If you don’t have Christ as the Rock of your home, then you are in great danger of being swept away.
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
On the outside, some people look like they have it all together. They have a nice family and do a bunch of good things that are impressive and admirable. But eventually a storm comes and it all comes crashing down.
Let me personalize it. Every one of us is a builder and our life is like a house. Our lives are made from the same materials as other lives and they are pummeled by the same problems. There are storms of sickness, sin, sorrow, suffering, financial stress, relational conflicts and so on, you name, we all go through it. Some of you will weather these storms because you have wisely built your life on the Lord Jesus Christ. Others of you will compromise and capsize, and sadly fall.
2 Timothy 2:19
19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
If you’re ready to settle this once for all, then get off the shifting sand. It’s time to take His hand and get to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Confess His name, ask to be forgiven, and turn from wickedness. If you are not sure whether you are saved or not, then that is a good indication that you are not. Come to Jesus, when you do, the Lord says, “The Lord knows those who are His.” Don’t you want to belong to Him? Of course you do! Then and only then will you be cemented to God’s solid foundation that will always stand firm forever.
Pastor Richard Santos
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