On the rock

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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.”

It is dangerous to be outward and superficial in matters concerning our faith. According to Jesus, those who take their faith for granted are those who merely hear the word of God but never truly put them to practice.

In the book No Place for Truth, theologian David Wells talks about the “theological vacuum” present in many churches today. According to him, it is because of this theological vacuum that, “Many church worship services have become one huge entertainment, and what is being offered is a therapeutic gospel.”

What he meant by therapeutic gospel is the propagation of a kind of faith that no longer confronts people of the reality of genuine repentance and righteousness, but instead promotes a self-serving, feel-good and prosperity-focused brand of Christian discipleship.

You see, Jesus clearly points us to us that at the end of the day, we can never fool God. He sees the deepest attitude of our hearts, and he perceives every hidden and secret motive of our hearts.

What truly draws the line at the end of the day is not just about hearing the Word of God, but allowing the word of God to transform us deeply as we follow the ways of God.

Jesus reminds us that those who truly, deeply, and sincerely put God’s Word into the practice are the one’s who are truly wise in the eyes of God.

It is important to remind ourselves always that wisdom and intelligence are not the same. Intelligence has something to do with acquiring information and knowing fact but wisdom is about the conduct of our lives before God and others.

The Hebrew word for wisdom is hokmah. It is related to a root meaning “correct skill” or “care” and came to imply “right skill in living.” It is our ability to pursue what is righteous before the Lord and beneficial to others.

Sadly, the world we are living in is obsessed with intelligence but not wisdom. As a result of this neglect for true wisdom, the world has become tolerant and undiscerning of many philosophies and world-views that are emerging in recent times.

In September this year, a book was published titled The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking (with Leonard Mlodinow), one of the most respected physicists in our time.

He argues in his book that God did not create the universe. Hawking says that given the existence of gravity, “the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”

Apostle Paul, in his letter to a very intelligent-conscious and progressive-thinking group of Christians wrote, 18For the message of the cross of Jesus is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Corinthians 1:18-20 (New International Version)

Jesus is reminding us that it is not easy to pursue genuine wisdom of God in a world that continues to reject him.

Jesus then begins strengthen his point by teaching about two builders who built their respective houses. One built his house on sand, but one built his house on the rock.

Seemingly, everything went on normally and quite well for these two houses until one day when the rains came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew. The house built by the fool collapsed, but the one built by the wise withstood the storm.

In the final analysis, it is not just the outward and external trimmings in life that really matter. It is the foundation of our lives that will be the most important consideration at the end of the day.

Jesus argues further that in this world, the strongest and most durable foundation is not wealth, or power, or achievements, but only Christ and his word.

We may have all the money in the world, the greatest profession, and even the most powerful friends, but if we build our lives on the fleeting things of this world, we will crash, sooner or later, just as Jesus himself warned.

There are two things that God wants to leave in or hearts today as we put this message to a close:

Discernment

We should not believe everything we hear and agree with everything we see in this world. Discernment then is our ability to draw the line between what is right or wrong — not according to what we feel or not according to the opinions of people but according to the precepts and standards of God’s Word.

One cannot be wise apart from the Scriptures. As a mother of two young children, I often imagine how the world will be 20 or 30 years from now. At the rate things are going, we parents cannot afford to be lax. We need to prepare our children for the battles ahead.

These battles are not physical. They are spiritual. These are the battles our children need to fight against philosophies, teachings, and world-views that are anti-Christ and anti-Scriptures.

Decision

Decision, in the context of the message today, is making a conscious, deliberate, and intentional choice to hold on to Jesus Christ and his Word when rains come, the streams rise, and the winds blow, and beat against us.

Decision is the choice we make to align with the Lord and believe in our hearts that these storms are just passing by.

God have mercy on us! Surely, we can never stop the violent storms from ravaging our lives, but one thing we can do: to be immovable in our faith that as we stand firm on Jesus Christ and his Word, we will make it through — someway and somehow.

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