Altar’d Day 7, House on the rock

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Matthew 7:24–27 NIV
“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. The 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. But 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. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Sermon on the mount context
We need to understand the sermon on the mount, this great sermon given by Jesus and the thematic intro is 4:17, it says “From that time Jesus began to preach, Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Then he gathers together disciples or those that are already following him:
· For the believers, to understand the kingdom of heaven
· For the non-believers…this is the opportunity to peer into the heart of Jesus’ message
So he gathers them together and begins to teach…what is he teaching on? All kinds of things, anger, lust, revenge, generosity, witnessing to the world, divorce, adultery, etc. etc. How do we organize all of this in hopes of understanding everything? Well that verse from 4:17 gives us the theme. “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…” so everything else is about that.
“The sermon on the mount, then, is to be seen in this context. It portrays repentance (metonia, the complete change of mind) and the righteousness which belongs to the kingdom. That is, it describes what human life and human community looks like when they come under the gracious rule of God.”
So this parable comes at the end of the sermon on the mount and Jesus is going to ask them…do you believe? What will you do with this? This is such a fitting passage for the beginning part of lent.
Theme Verse: “But 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.”
It is our work today to decide what it means to build our house on the rock.
I want to always challenge you to consider what is going on in the general context, we have already unpacked the sermon on the mount as a whole. What is going on right around it?
What do you see around this text that highlights or instructs what is happening here?
There is this terrifying story where Jesus tells us of some people that thought they were in the Christian club and they were wrong. Jesus tells them, I never knew you…away from me “you evil doers…” or in better translation, “you workers of lawlessness.”
You say you believe in me, you even say my name and use it in certain situations, but overall your life resembles something quite different.
Workers of lawlessness= really they are pretenders.
When I look at these two texts side by side, the question comes to mind….How do we know? How do we know we are the ones that he KNOWS? How do we know we are actively building our house on rock, on firm ground?

Believing Loyalty, a relationship with him

You must believe to have eternal life. Uhhh yeah I got that. No, no, hang on let’s develop this. You must believe in Jesus, the Son of God for eternal life. Or to say in another way, You must believe in this historic creedal central points of the faith:
The Gospel: An Outline
Jesus the king
1. preexisted with the Father,
2. took on human flesh, fulfilling God’s promises to David,
3. died for sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
4. was buried,
5. was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
6. appeared to many,
7. is seated at the right hand of God as Lord, and
8. will come again as judge.
AND here is the kicker….be loyal unto him. When he shares in the sermon on the mount, this there will be some that I never knew…get away from me. He is targeting the pretenders. He is not targeting the disciples. and he is not saying we never have our doubts of fears or anxieties. Peter denies him at the most crucial time, when the stakes were high, but his loyalty was still with Jesus.
What is loyalty? Faith and works:
So how do we know?
We believe in God, Jesus Christ. And we allow our lives to be shaped by our loyalty unto him. Every aspect of our life. And finally…how do we know, well when storms hit…what is standing? Do we run to him?
Listen, and I know our experiences will bring this home…the storms in our life expose where our loyalty is. When everything is stripped away, when life forces us to consider priorities, when we walk through the worst that life brings us….
The life built on Jesus’ teaching and in relationship with him, is a life that transcends the storms.
There is no in between here in this short parable:
· Verse 24: everyone either hears and put them into practice
· Verse 26: or everyone hears and does not.
Those that hear and do, those that hear and do not.
3 points to walk away with here:
1. There will be storms
a. Both the houses get storms
b. The story is not, if you build the house on rock then no storms come. It is unfortunate that there is competing narratives in the Christian faith that try to say otherwise.
c. When the storm comes some will not have anything to stand on. The obvious part of the story, but necessary to point out.
i. Proverbs 10:25 could be in mind here: “When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.”
ii. In the wisdom literature (psalms and proverbs) of the bible, the wicked are those outside of the covenant relationship with Yahweh and the righteous are those in the relationship.
iii. Translated to our context: those that have hope in Him…they will be still standing.
iv. There is grace here! For those of us that have been exposed and found to be lacking…there is the opportunity to change that. That is grace too. To see where I have not been putting my loyalty in front.
2. Disciples have been hearing this whole time, It is time to act.
a. How many here today need to start to put this in play?
b. I have studied a few languages in my education. It was not until I started to practice all of these that I began to learn some of the language. Some of us need to get out of the classroom and put it into play. When it comes to church we are like the addict coming to meetings but not practicing any of the steps in between our meetings.
3. Authoritative teaching. Look at verse 28:
a. “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had real authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
i. This is not a ted talk, or some inspirational quote
ii. This is transformative stuff
b. Why we preach:
i. 2 Corinthians 4:5-6 “For what we preach is not ourselves; but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”
ii. Barnes puts it this way, “What the congregation needs is not a strategist to help them form another plan for achieving a desired image of life, but a poet who looks beneath even the desperation to recover the mystery of what it means to be made in the image of God” (Barnes 18).
What does it look like to practice what we are hearing? Do any of you have ways that this has happened?
Have you felt what it was like to endure a storm?
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